Spice Route, the long-revered Pan Asian restaurant at the Imperial, has just been awarded a top 10 place (9th) in the list of Conde Nast Traveler’s best 50 restaurants in India (https://www.cntraveller.in/story/spice-route-imperial-new-delhi-9-top-restaurant-awards-2017-list/). Luckily, I was invited to sample Chef Veena Arora’s new winter menu a few days before and understood why this truly is one of the best in the country.
The winter menu this time around focuses on prawns and has curated a menu for seafood lovers. The flavours are drawn from starting from the South East Asian regions of Thailand and Malaysia right to Sri Lanka and Kerala. Chef Veena has complete mastery in bringing together these regional flavours and make them sparkle on the plate, and this menu is no different.
Though all dishes are superb and you will not pick an average dish here, some of the standouts were Pla Kung, Malu Temperadu, Tom Yum Thalay soup and the Phad Khing Pla. Even the Meen Kodan Biryani deserves a mention as it stands out as one of the best fish biryanis I have had.
The Pla Kung is a spicy and sour Thai prawn salad that uses lemongrass (quite generously), kaffir lime leaves and tom yum paste to bring home an unforgettable dish summing up the philosophy and flavours of the restaurant. Thai food seem simple but are quite complex in flavour and only an accomplished Chef can get the balance spot on and Chef Veena has done.
Malu Temperadu, another appetizer on the menu, is a Sri Lankan dish that uses a combination of curry powder, Worcester sauce and ketchup! to jazz up chunky sole fillets and bring you a delicious dish, that is full of flavour and has the signature flavours of Sri Lanka.
All the soups on the menu are terrific but as I love Thai flavours, the Tom Yum Thalay was an easy choice for me. It is a mixed seafood soup that has a strong flavour of galangal along with lemongrass and kaffir lime. Spicy and sour this sumptuous soup is a fantastic winter dish as every ladle warms you up to the bone. ( I had to remove my jacket after having a bowl of this!)
The main course is terrific too but do try the Chef’s special tiger prawns that come along with stir-fried mustard leaves in Thai bean paste and thank me later. We in India pride on our sarson dishes, but I never knew authentic Thai flavours go so beautifully with mustard too. Phenomenal.
Another dish worth mentioning was the Phad Khling Pla, a dish common in Thailand and Laos, that has its roots in China. Generous use of ginger and black fungus gives it a great texture and the oyster sauce based sauce is the umami hit that elevates this dish.
Desserts are great too with a selection of homemade ice creams that you will not go wrong with.
The food, the atmosphere, the infectious energy of Chef Veena – all of them contribute toward making a meal at the Spice Route an unforgettable affair. The new winter menu further adds to the legend of this establishment.
New Winter Menu @ Spice Route, The Imperial, New Delhi
10th November 2017 – 31st January 2018
For Lunch & Dinner: 12:30pm – 2:45pm | 7:00pm – 11:45pm
Meal for Two without alcohol: INR 10000 plus taxes; Call at 41116605 for reservation