Madame D is permanently closed
Himalayan in Spitalfields
- Perfect for
- Catching Up With Mates
- Small Plates
Written byEileen Twum
We would loved to have told you a cool story about how we ended up at Madame D. Like that we overheard a couple talking about it during our latest gin tasting tour. Or that our hairdresser mentioned it while giving us a new trend called ‘the mushroom’. Or that a carrier pigeon dropped a note on us while we were antiquing at the Shoreditch underpass. We have various methods of gathering restaurant intel...some more successful than others. But the truth is that we were led to Madame D for the same reasons that everyone else has been - it’s from the same folks behind Gunpowder, a Spitalfields Indian favourite.
We love Gunpowder for its ability to balance tradition with innovation - the food is a perfect mix of familiar flavours and unfamiliar presentations. So we’d hoped that Madame D would mean an application of those same principles to the Himalayan cuisine that this restaurant serves. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The case is that while Madame D may be traditional, it isn’t innovating.
If you know little of Himalayan food, you can think of it as a mix between Chinese-Tibetan and Indian. Much of it will be familiar, but your chilli paneer will be little less curried, and your noodles a little bit more.
On the whole, the food at Madame D can be tasty, and the fried chicken in particular stands out as being very good. But we’ve found that the more from this menu that you eat, the more it all begins to taste the same - slightly spicy and slightly sweet. This isn’t to say that the food at Madame D is bad, but next to Gunpowder, it’s just isn’t very interesting. And away from Gunpowder, it’s still not interesting.
What Madame D does have going for it is a cool and unusual setup. The restaurant is set on the top floor of a converted townhouse, which gives it a homely and intimate feel, and there’s a cocktail bar on the ground floor below. It’s the perfect for spot for grabbing a drink before a meal at Gunpowder - which, luckily, is just across the road.
Naga Chilli Beef Puff
Tasty minced beef in a light puff pastry, but not enough chilli for our puff.
Hakka Chilli Paneer
This is a decent chilli paneer, but when half of the menu hits you with a similar spice, it gets lost among the other dishes.
Himalayan Fried Chicken
An excellent fried chicken, dusted in some magical green spices. This is the one thing here you really need to eat.
Tibetan Pan Fried Whole Duck Leg
This was sold to us as one of the best things on the menu by the waiter. We can assure you that it’s not. Skip it.
Whole Sea Bass
In a sea of mediocre food, this perfectly grilled and lightly spiced fish should be part of your order. It’s slightly better than mediocre.
A nice vegetarian dish, though it isn’t particularly memorable.
Tiffin Masala Lamb Noodles With Fried Egg
If you’re having a severe noodle craving, this will do nothing to satisfy it. Pass.