Eat this: SpiceBox

Award-winning vegan Indian street food entrepreneur to open her first permanent curry house in East London.

18 December 2018
asianfood wasteindianpackagingrestaurant openingstreet foodvegan
image credit: SpiceBox via Twitter

The Gist: Vegan Indian street food concept finds permanent site.

The Chef: Grace Regan

Location: 58 Hoe St, London E17 4PG

Food in 5 Words: Plant-powered curry house classics

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 How did we get here?

Via the Silicon Valley tech start-up industry. Grace Regan, founder of Spice Box, spent half a year in California in 2015 after co-founding news app Clippet, an experience she called “a nightmare.” But it was where she became a vegan.

After returning to the UK with an eye on tackling the food industry, Regan started cooking out of her kitchen at home and selling dishes, quite literally, out of her front door from 2016.

SpiceBox grew from these humble beginnings and joined the ranks of vendors at Kerb Camden. The vegan spins on Indian curry house classics have been making waves ever since, with the signature tarka dal even named the best in Britain at the British Dal Festival 2018.

Now about to enter its third year, SpiceBox has announced plans for the first permanent site in Walthamstow for January.

What’s different about it?

Aside from the many accolades given to Regan and her small team, which also include a spot on Time Out’s list of the top 10 street foods in London and a ranking in the Evening Standard’s top 20 veggie dishes in London, SpiceBox is also looking to start the UK’s first zero-waste Indian takeaway and delivery service.

Reusable tiffin boxes will be sent out with each customer’s first delivery, which will then be refilled by SpiceBox with each subsequent order.

The move comes one year on from SpiceBox’s successful investment push, where it raised £450,000 for the first permanent space.

The 30-cover restaurant will feature plenty of familiar mains translated into vegan-friendly recipes, including the ‘chickn’ tikka masala – a creamy curry with slices of tandoori chicken substitute and green pepper – and a fiery jackfruit jalfrezi.

SpiceBox will also be cooking up brinjal bhaji: charred smoky aubergine and peas in a rich tomato gravy, served with a selection of breads and rice – the popular choice being the three-grain pilau (quinoa, bulgur wheat and pearl barley with tempered cumin seeds and onion).

A ‘street bites’ section will feature pani pani; onion bhajis with pickled onions, green chilli, date and tamarind chutney; and puffed puris filled with chickpeas.

You’ve got to try…

Grace Regan’s famous tarka dal, of course, made with red lentils and a top secret spice mix.

Sparkie also likes…

The Crimbo curry, because it’s Christmas! Stuffing ball kofta and roasted seasonal veg are presented in a Christmas-spiced tomato curry sauce. (There have also been positive reviews for the chai-spiced mince pies.) While the new SpiceBox site won’t open till January 23, Regan and co. can still be found at their Camden stall until then.

Go if…

You, like Grace Regan, believe that the vegan curry house is a glimpse into the future. Or if you fancy being naughty and nice with an indulgent curry that’s animal-product-free.

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