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Curry Asia: Bollywood, Bhajees, And A Bottle Of Red

February 10, 2013

Curry Asia in Woolwich is a modest off-Broadway place that doesn’t give much away to the passerby. It hides behind vertical blinds that are always at least half closed, shielding the diner from the shivering gaze of those waiting for the 472 bus to Thamesmead.

Inside, however, it’s warm, friendly, and aromatic. An Indian television channel hums with Bollywood tunes in the corner, while the Curry Asia delivery lads scuttle to and fro with takeaway orders. The lighting is mellow—the sort of illumination a lady of a certain age appreciates after sunset. Comfortably padded dining chairs signal that this is a place for settling in with a few mates and being on first-name terms with the waiter well before the end of the evening.

You will be asked if you want pappadums. Say yes, but be warned—these are almost a meal in themselves. They come with four generous accompaniments, which, if you’re only human and as greedy as me, you’ll hoover up with reckless abandon while you watch the tide go out on your first bottle of 2008 Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet.

The menu offers more than enough choice. For starters, you could do worse than the onion bhajees and tandoori king prawns. The latter tantalise the taste buds like a troupe of well-rehearsed showgirls. Imagine plump and juicy morsels of prawn coated lavishly in a fragrant and smoky tandoori paste, carrying just a hint of citrus tang and served with a crisp, palate-cooling salad. The bhajees are light and crunchy on the outside and moist and oniony on the inside. If you’re in a large party you might add some tikka dishes (salmon, duck, chicken, or lamb) or garlic mushrooms to share.

For mains, there’s a wide range of curries with the usual choices of protein. The king prawn dupiaza is well-rounded and mildly spiced, packed with fat prawns and thick slices of onion and fresh green pepper. The chicken jalfreezi boasts a bit more attitude in the heat department while just managing to pull up short of bringing on a full sweat. I like to spoon cucumber raita over the soft pillows of chicken and let the spices mingle with the cooling yogurt. Mopping it all up with chunks of garlic naan is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Special touches complete the Curry Asia experience. There’s the Singapore Airlines moment at the end of the meal when the plastic-wrapped freshly-nuked face flannels come out: perfect for wiping away any post-vindaloo perspiration or, indeed, any traces of vindaloo. And, of course, there’s the little saucer of After Eights when you pay the bill. If you become even a semi-regular, the owner will likely offer you a nightcap on the house and will see you to the door and shake your hand when you leave. It’s that kind of place.

Dinner for two, including starters and mains and a bottle of wine, is about £40-£45.

Curry Asia is at 40 Thomas Street, Woolwich tel 020 8855 2951

Curry Asia on Urbanspoon

Note: this is a modified version of a review I wrote for Greenwich Curry Club last year. Find them and a whole host of great curry reviews at

From → Reviews

One Comment
  1. Tip – if you choose the vegetable or meat thali (under the veg list on the back of the menu) ask for your selection of items to be included. You may a few pennies more but it’s worth it!

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