On Friday night, we planned to meet up with my sister-in-law, Pops (who I’m sure you’ll be hearing more of on this blog!) and her partner, Pete, for dinner. With us living in East London, and them in Wandsworth, Waterloo is usually a good central point for us to meet. But we’d all been busy and hadn’t got round to booking anywhere in advance. There are plenty of chain restaurants in the area (Wahaca, Ping Pong, Wagamama etc) but you can’t book on a Friday night and the queues are insane – we’d learned our lesson from doing this many times before!
Pops has a Tastecard, and I found that there was space at one of the restaurants in the Tastecard programme called Assado, a ‘Goan Canteen.’ The website describes how chef Cyrus Todiwala found a natural correlation between Goan, Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine during his travels and combined this with the food of his Indian homeland. It certainly sounded interesting!
The restaurant, located a short walk from Waterloo station, just past the Old Vic Theatre, is pretty big and glass fronted. It’s got a bit more of a cafe vibe than a restaurant, with slices of freshly baked cake available to buy at the counter. When we arrived at 7pm, it was quite empty but it picked up as the night went on.
We tucked into some bread and olives and prawn rissoles to start and then we ordered curries for mains. The boys went for the supposedly spiciest one on the menu (the lamb xacutti, which apparently includes 21 ingredients, although the waitress didn’t seem to be able to tell us what was in it!), I went for the vindaloo pork and Pops chose the goan prawn curry. We also ordered some garlic naan on the side.
The flavours were great, with some really intense heat. I’ve been more adventurous with the spiciness of my curries recently, as you may have seen from my Tastesmiths posts, but I think a vindaloo is my most daring yet. Yes, it was hot, but with great flavours running through it.
The only thing that let the restaurant down was the service – while it was efficient enough, the staff could have been more knowledgeable about what was in the items on the menu and how they were cooked.
Assado also offers a few ‘non curry’ dishes on its specials menu, but these weren’t included on the Tastecard deal. I would go again, but probably only to pop in for a quick lunch, rather than a big dinner.