Few places can achieve great tasting food and also be wallet friendly. Hot Stuff in Vauxhall achieves this with aplomb. It is a simple, neighbourhood Indian restaurant and it is unlicensed so you have to bring your own, though they charge no corkage. That is always a winner in our eyes and one reason to like Hot Stuff, but there are also many others.
You walk in to what looks like a school canteen but don’t let that put you off, the lack of effort they have put into their set up is doubled into the amount they have put into their food. The staff are friendly and on point to explain their menu. Just bear in mind that they discourage ordering al a carte and tell you to share lots of dishes at a set price. All they ask is what you like/don’t like and of any allergies, and they work out the rest. The price varies depending on how many there are of you and on the day we visited it was £17.50 a head. We have no idea how they calculate it, but they do say there will be lots of (apparently very good) food and they were not wrong.
For starters we had dishes of jeera chicken, chilli prawns, potato bhajis and chilli paneer. They are generous with their portions as they want to make sure we all get to try a little bit of everything (and a bit more!). The potato bhajis were delicious. Delicately spiced mashed potato with peas and what looked like spinach, were excellent. The chilli paneer was also very moreish. We have had various versions of this staple North Indian dish and this one ranks quite highly! The only thing it could have done with is a bit more of a charred taste that we at London’s Dinest normally associate with paneer.
We all made a conscious effort not to get too full up on the starters as we knew we were in for a treat with the main dishes. Out came karahis of butternut squash & spinach curry , chickpea curry, tarka daal, fish curry, lamb curry and chicken curry. Each was delicious in its own right. Herbie’s favourite was the butternut squash & spinach, a combination you don’t tend to find in most curry houses. The accompanying naan was soft and light, with the trademark tandoor taste that takes you back to Northern Idia with one bite.
Would we say it’s the best curry we have ever had? Maybe not, but its still a great attempt and we will definitely be heading back, mainly for that butternut squash curry but the price helps a lot!
17/19/23 Wilcox Rd, London, SW8 2XA