Dinner At Shapla Spice, Ripley
When one door closes another one opens as they say, and so it was last week when we found our original dining plans had changed. Never ones to sit on our perches we did a quick about-turn and headed over to Ripley for a cheeky flock dinner at Shapla Spice.
The restaurant itself is quite small in comparison to a lot of places we’ve been, but it has a lovely feel inside. Its decor is fairly neutral to open up the limited space and thankfully they haven’t fallen into the trap of trying to cram more tables in closer together choosing instead to keep a nice space between each table.
Shapla isn’t licensed so we took our own wine with us, but they do serve a great range of soft drinks and my Chick had a J2O. Whilst we were looking through the tempting morsels in the menu we had Poppadoms and pickles to graze on. The Poppadoms were lovely and Crispy, not greasy at all and the pickles with vegetables in were freshly prepared.
For our starters we had Prawn Puree, Tetul Malaba (Chilli Chicken stir fried with Tamarind sauce) and Sea Bass with Peppers and Onions. All three were very tasty and nicely presented; my own sea bass was still moist and very nicely spiced without the flavour of the fish being overpowered.
After only a short time our main courses were brought out to us. My Chickadee had plumped for the Jalpati dish which is a combination of Chicken and Lamb Tikka cooked in Pathia and Jalfrezi sauce. She said it had great warmth to it without being overly spicy, and liked the amount of meat that was in it.
The Boy Wonder chose the Shashliq Bhuna Kadai, which is pieces of Chicken and Lamb Tikka with Char grilled Peppers, Onions, Tomato and Garlic in a thick Spicy sauce that is slightly sweet and hot. Again there was a fantastic amount of meat in the dish and the vegetables were tasty too, but the sauce was absolutely yummy. It had a great consistency to it that lent itself perfectly to being dipped in the Garlic Naan bread and savoured, and its heat would appeal to those who like a moderate amount of spice without leaving you reaching for a drink to ease the heat (and they do serve Lassi in case you need to damp down excessive spice heat!).
I eventually decided to have the Shatkora dish but I asked if they would do it with King Prawns rather than the usual Chicken or Lamb, which they kindly did. The Shatkora dish is a spicy dish cooked with Bangladeshi Lemon to give it a distinctive pungent taste, and I have to say that the King Prawns went very well with the citrusy tang of the sauce. It did have a good amount of heat to it, but I like my dishes to be spicy so I was most content with it. We ordered a portion of Lemon rice to go with our mains and it was lovely fluffy rice with just the right amount of Lemon Peel in it, and the Garlic Naan we had was excellent too ; not greasy at all, a nice size and just the right amount of Garlic in it.
For pudding I opted for the Mascarpone and Raspberry Pot whose rich creaminess was tempered by the tangy Raspberry coulis layer, the Man (predictably) had the Fantastica ice cream concoction and our Chick had the Chocolate Mousse which was lovely and rich.
Throughout our evening the staff were all very attentive and pleasant, the food was piping hot and really tasty. They also do a full takeaway service with free delivery on orders over £15 and there is a generous 20% discount for those of you who collect your order. They don’t charge corkage fees for your own alcohol either.
The total bill for the 3 of us having had Poppadoms and then 3 courses and 2 sides and 3 soft drinks was £56, which we were very pleased with. It was our first visit to Shapla Spice but I can safely say it won’t be our last. If you haven’t been before then I strongly urge you to do so, it is a little gem. I would always be tempted to ring and book a table though, just because it is a smaller establishment. Well done team Shapla, you’ve earned your Hot Wings :)