We were invited to tantalise our taste buds at 1498 The Spice Affair. It was opened by Lloyd 18 months ago, yet we’d never been – a little hesitant that the dishes might be too spicy for our palate – however, we shouldn’t have been as our experience this evening was anything but hot – for us!

Hidden away down an alleyway off Priestgate is the entrance to the restaurant where you are greeted with not only colourful street art of Goan villages and a market scene – a great opportunity to take a selfie before or after eating – but also smiling staff who will seat you to your table.

Lloyd, owner and Michelin-trained Chef, accommodated us with some mild options of his wonderful dishes. His new spring/summer menu features some great ingredients for the adventurous among you – locally sourced Lincolnshire venison along with duck, wild hare (khargosh), crab, shark, salt dried cod, even octopus! Some of the dishes, Lloyd advised, are marinated for 2 days in order to get such a great flavour. He’s passionate about food, you can see he wants to share it with you. Having learned from his grandmother and mother in Goa, he expanded his knowledge through training in the UK and then opened up his restaurant in Spalding in 2014. Since closing that and looking for a new location here, he reopened in Peterborough at 20 Priestgate – it’s a little off the main city walkthrough, but worth the walk to find it. Goan dishes are obviously close to his heart, however his menu is not just Goan, you’ll find a mix Arabian, Portuguese and Chindian dishes too. There’s even traditional dishes under the ‘Made in England’ section including tikka, passanda, korma, jalfezi, etc.

Why such a complex name, I asked? 1498 The Spice Affair is named after the explorer Vasco da Gamas who travelled to Goa and created the maritime spice & silk trade routes to Europe & Asia way, way back in, you guessed it, 1498.

We started with a selection of starters after our papadom & chutney tray appetisers – ‘Rai Tikka’ – a lovely soft chicken tikka dish, ‘Kale & Cabbage Pakoras’ – Lloyd’s take on the traditional onion bhaji – very tasty, ‘Labaddhar King Prawns’ – a curled king prawn with a nice mild spiced sauce, ‘Paneer Rissois’ – small deep-fried puffs with a dry filling of Indian cottage cheese (nothing like our cottage cheese) more like a rice texture, ‘Pasteis de Bacalhao’ which is basically a very light deep-fried (non-oily) fish cake parcel. But the one that caught our eye was Lloyd’s creation the ‘Mushroom Cappuccino’! What? I hear you think…. It’s a gorgeously creamy mushroom soup with small mushroom chunks and swirled with fresh whipped cream – it’s served in a cappuccino cup and dusted with nutmeg and yes, it looks just like a chocolate topped frothy cappuccino! Amazing! It tasted fabulous too, something you’d never think of having in a restaurant like this, but Lloyd has really mastered this creation. You simply have to try it to believe it!
We moved on to some mains – again toned down slightly but you can look for the chilli pepper icons on the menu to rate the hotness that you prefer. The Chef’s signature ‘Murgh Makanwalla’ – Lloyds version of a butter chicken curry – don’t be put off by the redness in colour, it’s a beautifully creamy light dish of succulent chicken pieces. ‘Xacuti’ is a traditional Goan dish – we had the chicken option – marinated with ground spices and delicate coconut it’s a creamy dish with a much stronger flavouring than the Makanwalla, but still very nice and not hot. We accompanied it with some ‘Jeera Aloo’ which were baby potatoes in a curry sauce, pilau rice, roti and a superbly light naan (this one again is Lloyd’s own recipe of which he makes it extra light, soft and puffy) – not at all heavy like normal naan bread.

In between servings the staff were friendly and checked back often to ensure that everything was okay. We were next to a table of 5 and a party of 14, nothing was too much trouble for any table. If you’re looking to have a celebration, you can have a private party here including weddings for the whole restaurant or on the other side of the bar is a small private area seating 12 making a cosy and quieter location for a small celebration.

My last taster was a dessert. I was spoiled for choice but opted for the .Bebinca. – this is a cross between a bread & butter pudding and a milk pudding – layers of coconut pudding divided by a smothering of chocolate sauce, served drizzled with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It’s a melt in the mouth experience for those who love desserts.

A few months ago Lloyd was concerned about the cost of living crisis and to help out he’s created a reduced menu to entice you to try his restaurant. On the Wednesday & Sunday special set menu you can get a starter, main and 3 sides to share between two for £15.95 per person. He also has ‘Street Food Sundays’ which look interesting with bites to eat such as Indo Chinese (Chinian) Veg Schezwan Noodle dish, South Indian Masala Dosa (a filled wrap) , Mumbai Pani Puri (litle donut bites), Idli sambar (rice cakes) and other choices starting at just £5.95! Great if you want to go for a tasting.
What can I say about the whole experience? Really nice, good attentive staff, great tasting food and a calm, unrushed evening out.
You’ll find everything about their menu on their website at 1498-thespiceaffair.co.uk

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