Molecular Gastronomy! Yes, that’s the theme in SpiceKlub, a vegetarian restaurant serving Modern Indian Cuisine. The moment I read that they served Indian cuisine with a molecular twist, I knew we were in for a visual treat and hoped that food would taste as good as it looked. It was a special occasion, my wife’s birthday, and since we decided to have vegetarian food, I looked no further. I called them up and reserved a table for lunch.
SpiceKlub is located on Nungambakkam High Road, exactly opposite to the GST Bhavan, and it is quite easy to spot. They have ample parking for cars, that was convenient. The restaurant interiors are nice and classy, they also have a small cozy dine-in space one floor above, accessible from inside. We quickly settled down in one of the reserved tables and couldn’t wait to order.
The regular water that they served out of a nice water jug was infused with mint leaves and lemon and tasted good. We decided to go full on with starters and order less of their main course. Ordered Spiced Tomato soup and Chilli Palak soup along with Masala Papad, Pav Bhaji fondue, Pani Puri, and Vadapav. Subsequently, we also added Hazari Paneer Tikka and Dahi ke Kebab to our order.
Firstly, the eight different chutneys, dips, and pickles in cute little tea glasses in a holder were placed on the table. James waited on our table and politely explained each one of them.
Tomato soup with cardamom smoke and moong dal dumplings tasted good, with a subtle aroma of cardamom. This came to the table in a bowl covered with a dome. When the dome was lifted, smoke slowly emanated from it. Perhaps this was the cardamom smoke which enhanced the flavor of the soup. James had already informed that the spinach soup would be served warm, and not hot. This was the first time I had an aerated soup, it was a bit different and tasted good, with the green chillies hitting the right notes.
Pani puri was the first starter to arrive, and needless to say, was a head-turner emitting smoke! Presented very differently with crispy pooris in a bowl accompanied by green-colored water in test tubes, the sweet tamarind chutney in a syringe, and boiled channa and moong dal as fillers. There was nothing very special about the fillers, but the pani and the sweet chutney tasted very good with crispy pooris.
Pav Bhaji Fondue was presented quite differently too. The cheese bhaji was made into a mousse-like consistency and served in a fondue pot along with the crispy pav which held on quite nicely to the forks when dipped in the fondue pot. It tasted very nice and yummy.
Hazari Paneer Tikka was soft and full of flavors. It was one of the dishes that didn’t experiment too much with molecular gastronomy.
Vadapav had everything in terms of taste and flavor and perhaps was the most re-architected dish 🙂 To imagine the vada in the consistency of a mousse, the dry chutney in edible packets made out of potato starch was mindblowing, to say the least. Putting it altogether in the mini pav, it tasted exactly like how a vadapav would. We loved it.
Masala Papad was also one of the regular dishes. Mini papads topped with cut onions, tomatoes garnished with coriander and spices. This is where we mixed and matched with the chutneys and dips on the table. It tasted nice with different combinations.
Finally Dahi ke Kebab arrived. Again, looked beautifully catchy with the mint curd spherics on top of delicately made kebabs. It tasted as good as it looked. We didn’t need lot of time to devour this.
After an elaborate round of starters, quite overwhelmed by the gastronimical experience so far, we decided to just to order one main course and share it among ourselves, and we went with a Veg Dum Biryani and Boondi Raita. The biryani was served in a clay pot with the Dum still intact. First mouthful felt a little low on salt, but with the boondi raita, it was wonderful. We didn’t take too long to finish it.
Decided to end with a couple of desserts. We asked James to recommend two good ones and he suggested that we try their signature dessert – Bubbling Kulfi, and Flower Pot.
Bubbling Kulfi was the highlight of the evening! Loved the way it was presented, felt so special. It was basically Kulfi frozen to very low temperatures which resulted in making it into rocks and it was served with an assortment of toppings- Rose caviar, Blueberry compote, Rabdi, Salted Caramel to name a few. We were warned that we should mix it really well with the toppings and then eat it, failing which it could result in tongue burns. We were extra careful with it, but enjoyed it thoroughly.
Flower Pot was also visually appealing, a chocolate pot stuffed with rasmalai and saffron mousse and topped with chocolate mud and served on a bed of pistacio soil, looked pretty close to a real flowerpot. Loved the combination of flavors. There were also 2 chocolate spoons which disappeared in no time! We ended the meal with complimentary pan chocolate which was very good.
The service was impeccable, and James made our dining experience very special. True to its fine dining class, the table was neatly cleaned after every course, plates changed, and water refilled almost every now and then, we literally did not have to ask for anything. Molecular gastronomy was one thing which was a delight to experience on a plate, the food was equally tasty and we didn’t have anything to complain. If at all, there was something to say, I felt they could have had some way of making occasions special. Not very elaborate like these barbecue joints do, but something small and special. They did say we were allowed to bring a cake ourselves, but we decided against it and reserved that for an evening party!
Paid close to 5K for five people, absolutely worth it for a special occasion like this!