The bar at Café Spice Namaste in Royal Albert Wharf in the Docklands
Exactly one year ago this month, Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala began the painful process of emptying the old Victorian magistrate’s court in East London that had served as the home of Café Spice Namaste´, their acclaimed Indian restaurant, for a quarter of a century.
Besides taking with them a lifetime of menus and memories – including the recipe for a dish chef-owner Cyrus created for Her Majesty The Queen – the Todiwalas were determined to save as much as they could of the restaurant’s original furnishings, earmarking these for reuse when they rebuilt the family business elsewhere.
That elsewhere is the historic Docklands, where Café Spice Namaste´ has now
officially reopened as a 60-seater restaurant in one of London’s exciting regeneration hotspots, Royal Albert Wharf. The Todiwalas have reinvented Café Spice Namaste´ as an informal neighbourhood restaurant overlooking the Thames, with views of the Canary Wharf skyline and a glimpse of City Airport’s runway. Both the double height ceilings and floor to ceiling windows enhance the feeling of space and light, instilling a fresh, contemporary vibe. Gone are the starched white tablecloths of pre-Dockland days.
Besides the food, easily the stand-out feature of the Todiwalas’ re-invented Café Spice Namaste´ is the bespoke, tiled wet bar, built from scratch using repurposed materials such as wood stripped from pallets, old scaffolding, planks and poles and other reclaimed and salvaged items from their former premises in Whitechapel. The bar stools have been upcycled (as have the main dining room chairs) from the previous location as well, and now diners can enjoy a lunchtime drink, pre-dinner cocktails or post-prandials in a relaxed, light and airy atmosphere.
With input from design agency Tonik Associates, the Todiwalas have been able to create a cheerful, inspired space signifying a new energy and sense of purpose following the uncertainty of two challenging years.
Cyrus Todiwala said, “It feels great to be back in business in such a vibrant neighbourhood. Moving to Royal Albert Wharf has given Café Spice Namaste´ a new lease of life. And we wanted to open slowly, to make sure we had everything just right.
“Now we’ve been able to make the final tweaks and Pervin and I are proud to say that Café Spice Namaste´ has a terrific menu designed to meet the expectations of our loyal customers, who don’t mind travelling to a new destination to enjoy our food. But we also think we’re catering to the preferences of our next generation of customers, which includes the local residents in and around Royal Albert Wharf and the Royal Docks. In fact, ExCel London is just a few minutes down the road from us by car or train.
“Most importantly, we’ve kept true to our sustainability credentials and we are so proud of to be able to showcase our commitment to quality and sustainability not just through our food and service, but also in the materials we used to create this great new space.”