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A SPICY seduction



You can pick from a variety of flavours at Spice Islands. — Photo: Murali Kumar K.

"SPICES HAVE been seducing our taste buds for centuries, hence we decided to recapture the irresistible lure of these flavours from across the globe," says Saurabh Srivastava, Executive Chef of Goldfinch, the boutique hotel.

With that intriguing intro we sit down for our meal at Spice Islands, the restaurant. Here, you can experience a variety of flavours from China, Europe, and our own India. For starters we get a fresh orange juice served with some salad. There were thin long strips of colourful vegetables topped with parsley that was served minus the lime slice or salt and pepper. That's because the chef Saurabh believes in serving food in its natural colour and flavour. "We avoid using food colouring of any kind in any of our delicacies," he assures you.

The restaurant is elegantly done up. Some classy designer chairs with glass tabletops complete with some fine cutlery ("imported from Japan"), makes it quite a comfy place. Turn around any corner and you'll find something to admire — design wise.

The menu here offers you a wide range — from tandoori vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs and Chinese crispy potatoes to the continental prawns 'n' mushroom vol-au-vent. Spice Islands offers a wide range of options even for the vegetarians.

We started off with the Italian starter anti-pasti platter. This is roasted mozzarella on crisp toast topped with melon drops. The other combination that worked well was the shrimps grilled with papaya toppings, of course with the papaya not playing spoilsport.

Chef Saurabh, who has spent quite a few decades in the kitchens of five-star hotels, is quite comfortable experimenting with food. Leave it to him, and he will carefully choose your menu and even mix and match dishes. For instance, you can start off with the desi tandoor items for starters and progress to the various items of videshi khana.

The spices of course are toned down. But if you want your food to be spiced up, all you have to do is ask. But chef Saurabh may not be too happy " as too much of spice or pepper will kill the natural flavour of the vegetable or the meat". The chef's other invention is the mutton pickle that can be downed with piping hot rotis or parathas. "The shelf life of this pickle is short. So, we make it regularly in small quantities," he says.

Coming to the main course it is an interesting mix of Chinese Mongolian meat balls with spring onions, murgh shahjahani shorba, murgh palak methi savoured with daal roti (this roti is made with the flour of five kinds of dals), methi paratha and paneer rice, which is cooked with a mixture of water and milk!

If you are a weight-watcher, the restaurant will not disappoint. But once here, all you have to do is simply let go and let your tummy do the talking. You'll feel loaded, but it's worth every bite. For desserts it is the ginger (!) ice-cream and the lemon grass ice-cream. A must try. But if you prefer your regular flavours then its best to opt for fig-rum and almond or the Swiss chocolate chip.

With the perfect ambience for a leisurely meal and great service, the place is surely a seduction of flavours as the chef had promised.

For reservations, dial 51291300.

Ambience: Classy and contemporary

Service: Good

Wallet factor: Rs. 600 upwards for a meal for two

Specialty: Indian, Continental and Chinese food

SHILPA SEBASTIAN R.

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