As we walked towards Spice 52, we recalled from less than an year back of having savoured Panki (light, spiced pancakes, a Gujarati special dish) at the eatery that shared the name of this dish, and stood in the same spot. But like several eateries in the city, Panki shut down, and a month ago, a new Indian restaurant opened its doors.
Keeping with their Indian vibe, Spice 52’s bright new interiors were dressed in upholstery, in the shades of orange, white and green. The menu wasn’t expansive and the pan-Indian cuisine was restricted to common dishes from different regions of India such as Gatte Ki Subji, Dum Biryani, Palak Paneer, Vindaloo and a few unusual mentions that we came across during our time at Spice 52.
We began with a Bartender Special Mocktail (Rs 200), Dahi Kebab (Rs 249) and Tandoori Prawns (Rs 449). The mocktail was a let-down as it was served in a wine glass; and tasted like sweet-lime juice with pieces of the fruit thrown into it for aesthetic purposes.
The starters however, redeemed our opening round. The Dahi Kebab included six pieces of lightly roasted round cutlets with a deliciously sour twang, thanks to the dahi; the tangy green chutney helped up the mood by several notches. The Tandoori Prawns were cooked in a spicy marinade; the tender meat was soaked in it and was coated with a crispy outside that had developed from its time in the tandoor.
For our main course, we were surprised to find, but ordered a Karachi Chicken (Rs 249, perhaps a tribute to our pre-Independence days) and Lyodoor Tschaman (Rs 229), which our attendant informed us is a Goan dish (it’s actually a Kashmiri preparation). Misinformed staff aside, the food thankfully wasn’t as confused, and proved to be a saving grace.
The Karachi Chicken came loaded in well-cooked minced chicken laced with an assortment of spices, which was delicious with a some help from the butter-laced tandoori roti. The Kashmiri subzi masquerading as a Goan delicacy was a moderately spiced rich, creamy vegetable, with chunks of paneer for company. The Lyodoor Tschaman could have been any other paneer vegetable served in regular restaurants, but was tasty nonetheless. Our last order was a Chicken Biryani (Rs 299), with Gulab Jamun (Rs 99) to end proceedings on a sweet note. The biryani fared well — the generous pieces of chicken with a melee of spices in the rice brought the smiles back. The Gulab Jamun, however, was passable.
Spice 52 doesn’t offer all that is on the menu, its staff needs to buck up but decent fair camouflages teething issues. However, our flight ended on a sour note when we were presented with a Rs 2,000-plus bill, after adding taxes.