Spice Market, Saket, New Delhi

We tried out Spice Market in Saket and wished we hadn’t.

All Vice, No Spice

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Every so often, I’ve come aross some people saying nice things about Spice Market and was under the impression that I was missing out by not having been there. After visiting Spice Market yesterday I can now rest assured knowing the absence of Spice Market in my life will not be noticed.

Vivek Dujari, my guest for the evening, and I chose to go with Paneer Bhare Papad (385), Rajputana Sooley (465), Laal Maas (495), Rajasthani Gatta Curry (375) and Dal Makhani accompanied by Gilafi Naans (95). Much to our dismay our waiter seemed to have been instructed to only ishpik English when Hindi was a more effective and very much acceptable option. We did manage to get our order across though.

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The interiors at Spice Market border between urban and rustic with the clipped tones of chefs announcing orders in the kitchen permeating the dining room every now and then. The ventilation may need a little attention as Vivek’s eyes stung throughout the evening and the airconditioning duct I checked was caked with dirt. The good folks at Spice Market may also wish to ensure the grate in the washroom actually covers the hole it’s placed on to avoid nasty bugs coming in through the sewers.

The food ranged from the definitely avoidable to the awesomely mediocre. The raw onion salad passed muster. I do wish I could say the same about the rest of the food. Sometimes one is moved to poetry by food. In this case, I’m moved to bullet points.

  • Paneer Bhare Papad: Papads stuffed with a paneer bhurji sort of mixture and batter fried. Nice dish, very average execution, oversalted. Avoid.
  • Rajputana Sooley: Beaten cuts of boneless lamb with yogurt and clove seasoning. Nice dish again with below average execution, oversalted. Avoid.
  • Laal Maas: No chilies, low on flavor, dry, chewy mutton… when you can find it. Avoid.
  • Rajasthani Gatta Curry: Fairly well done gravy though the gattas were dry, underseasoned and powdery. Avoid.
  • Dal Makhani: Below average, but edible (not palatable). Order if you must; neutral option for emergencies.

Ideally, a well intentioned smile is what a restaurant dinner should start and end with; an expectation that wasn’t fulfilled. Fluent service is another fairly average expectation which too our evening had to do without. At the risk of this article going the gripe way, we were hardpressed to find anything we liked. To be fair, we even put our heads together at the end of the evening and thought long and hard trying to find something nice about Spice Market. Alas, apart from the cliched jars of spice adorning the entrance, the fairly oily Gilafi Naan and the raw onions, our efforts were in vain.

Should you visit? I wouldn’t.

By Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is a wellness coach who works with different aspects of lifestyle change towards the accomplishment of goals such as weight loss and blood sugar management among other health situations that require the presence of specialised, precise diets and lifestyle change. His methods address aspects of food, nutrition and the mind.