East London Food & Culture

Vegan fare at SpiceBox

So you’ve never been to… SpiceBox E17

Flavourful plant-based fare at this hip new Walthamstow curry house on Hoe Street

Age: Really young, at least as a bricks-and-mortar enterprise – just over a month. But the idea sprung to life in 2016 when owner Grace Regan started selling takeaway curries from her front door. Next, she made the move to street food purveyors Kerb (read our interview with her and review here), before setting up a permanent home in east London this year.

Previous incarnation: A joint dishing up tacos and build-your-own burritos by the name of Hermanos Mexicanos.

Where exactly is it? The inviting E17 spot is a ten-minute jaunt from Walthamstow Central station; it sits opposite pizza masters Yard Sale. We nip into Wild Card Brewery on the Ravenswood Industrial Estate for a pre-dinner pint; their recently refurbed tap room is worth the detour. Sitting surveying the cavernous surroundings whilst listening to an eclectic mix of tunes, we sup on a table beer, a tropical number and a relatively low-alc option at 2.7%

So what goes on there? Vegan Indian plates all the way, with the likes of pani puri (puffed pieces of bread filled with chickpeas and kachumber salad) and lentil-based dhansak, alongside dishes using soya such shroom keema and chick’n tikka.


What do I eat? Munching on a couple of poppadoms whilst taking in the menu, the accompanying bottle of homemade date and tamarind chutney – a glorious blend of sweet and sour – is almost polished off. We follow those by swiftly devouring well-spiced pea and potato samosas (£4.50) and super crisp bhajis (£6.75) topped with slithers of pickled pink onions, fiery green chilli, raita and more of that yummy tangy chutney. The deep-fried allium is not at all oily either, a complaint that can sometimes be leveled.

For mains? Don’t miss the chick’n korma (£9.25), a coconut and cashew-based offering with pieces of aubergine, shreds of carrot, mushrooms and a hint of clove. The protein? Pleasingly browned, texturally very similar to its poultry counterpart and comparable taste-wise too. Hands down the best meat substitute I’ve sampled. The jackfruit jalfrezi (£8.25) is also a must-order, a spicy combo of green peppers and roasted fruit that falls apart in shreds. Mop up the sauce from both of those with a paratha – a truly exceptional specimen, it’s supremely light and flaky.

An array of appetising vegan plates at SpiceBox
Appetising vegan plates at SpiceBox. Photo: PR

What do I drink? We sip on Rare Vineyards Malbec, a quaffable red at an excellent price point (£20). Other options include more traditional beverages such as mango lassi (plus a ‘lashi’ version laced with rum), chai, and sweet and salty lime soda.

The interior? Walk past the kitchen to the surprisingly large conservatory-like area out back and a rainbow of vibrant colour greets diners, with bright pink walls, orange upholstery and flashes of neon lighting – any grey moods will float away. Framed photos of the team over the years dot the walls, adding a personal touch.

What’s the service like? Super friendly and efficient: an admirable achievement given the place is packed on the Thursday evening we visit.

Do say: “I hear you serve brunch at the weekend.”

Don’t say: “Can I get the lamb rogan josh, please?”

Open Tues-Sun at 58 Hoe Street Walthamstow E17, more info here. Dishes from £4.50.

Main image: PR

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