I was recently asked how far I was willing to travel for food. This query came in connection with the distance and traffic challenges in Bangalore, and the fact that I travel from South Bangalore to Marathahalli, Sarjapur Road, Whitefield, etc. Spending an hour or two in a vehicle, even when you know a lovely meal awaits, is quite tiresome. Still, for a great dining experience, I find I am willing to travel far and wide. And that is exactly how I feel about my afternoon at Spice It, the flagship restaurant at Ibis Hotel, Bangalore. I was told it’s a budget hotel, and so my expectations were not high. Housed in the same complex as Novotel, which is the higher-end establishment, I think Ibis delivers quite well on its own. I was impressed by the range of food offerings at the buffet at Spice It, and also its a la carte menu.
There is a range of Indian food, with a focus on South Indian, and also some Continental, or Western Mains, as they’ve named it, on the Spice It menu. What stood out for me was the care and attention to detail with which each item was prepared. It’s not always necessary to overpower with the vastness of a menu. A smaller selection, done well, can wow just as well. Spice It’s menu had categories like Prawns and Fish, Chicken, Mutton and Beef, Chef’s Favorite Dishes, and Biryanis too. Sides included Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Bread. The Desserts numbered but a half dozen, but having tried a couple, I will say-wow!
We were welcomed with a Kiwi Lemonade, followed by starters including “Indianized pizza”. Of this genre, I am not a fan, but, if you took the term “pizza” out of the equation, it was a Chettinad spiced starter on crispy flat bread that tasted quite good! For the soup, we tried the Rasam of the day, which was spicy and tangy and good, though my dining companion couldn’t quite wrap his mind around it as a soup, saying it was something he’d rather have with rice. I agree, but I also know a number of people who enjoy drinking rasam. So I think having a rasam soup on the menu is a clever idea.
[quote type=”center”]What stood out for me was the care and attention to detail with which each item was prepared. It’s not always necessary to overpower with the vastness of a menu. A smaller selection, done well, can wow just as well.[/quote]
We tried a sampling of the Chef’s South Indian specialties, including Andhra style Tomato Dal and Radish Curry, Podimas Potato Curry from Tamil Nadu (like my grandma makes it), and Kozhi Varathu Curry, Kerala style. All tasty and what you would expect, distinctly flavored for the region and culture they represented. For our mains, my friend tried the Fish (Grilled and Beer Battered) with the usual accoutrements, and I had the most divine Rib eye, medium done, with a red wine reduction and speitzel. This was prime, imported American Angus Beef and I completely relished every bite, and the Chef’s choice to not over power or over decorate it in any way, just letting the meat do the talking.
For dessert, we had Apricot Cheese tart in a lemon reduction and Chantilly Cream that was just exquisite, as was the Vanilla Creme Brulee. Two very full and very happy people made our way out that Sunday afternoon, content with food and the cozy atmosphere.