Expect classic and comforting Indian bites at Spice Bazaar
Variety is truly the spice of life, and no one proves this old-fashioned line better than this new restaurant located on Lavelle Road. Aptly named Spice Bazaar, the quiet, unassuming spot is located on the terrace of Southern Star Hotel, which also houses the iconic Rice Bowl. The buffet-only restaurant boasts a menu that includes a fine mix of Northern and Southern Indian dishes, from Malabar Fish Curry to Rada Gosht and every-thing in between.
With Mughal paintings, wooden jali and solid dark wood furniture, you’d be forgiven if you mistook it for the interiors of a heritage hotel in Jaipur. However, this is the heart of Bengaluru, on the same road as the popular Smoke House Deli, the crowded Sodabottleopenerwala and the legendary Sunny’s.
Our tasting starts with the Kasturi Malai Kebab — perfectly cooked chicken tossed in fenugreek and cream. This one hits the spot but we’re more excited about the next dish — Cheese Kurkure. The deep-fried mozzarella sticks, lightly spiced, are exactly the sort of finger snack one appreciates on a cold and windy afternoon. The Paneer Tikka here is marinated with cream and minimal spices, making for an unusual version of the classic favourite. The paneer is soft and the mild spices allow the creamy notes to come through beautifully. The Hariyali Chicken Tikka is smoky and tangy at the same time. The coriander and mint masala the meat is marinated in is fresh and zesty. Another highlight is the Tandoori Pineapple — an addictive pairing of hot, sweet and smoky notes.
The mains include a spread with dishes such as Butter Chicken, Malabar Fish Curry, Sabzi Meloni, Makai Kumbh Palak, Rada Gosht and Paneer Butter Masala. The chicken and fish curry are again mild and easy on the palate, without compromising on authenticity. We thoroughly enjoy the fish, cooked in rich coconut milk and traditional Kerala spices. The vegetarian dishes (Sabzi Meloni and Makai Kumbh Palak) are a little on the piquant side. Of the two dishes, our pick is the latter, as we love the contrast of textures — the crunchy baby corn and succulent mushroom blending seamlessly with the thick and smooth spinach and cream base. A lot more hearty and decadent, the Chicken Dum Biryani is fragrant and well rounded.
If you have a weakness for Indian sweets, do not ignore their dessert section. The grainy-textured Wheat Halwa, is a simple dish that can be whipped up in no time but here, it is astonishingly delicious. The Milk Cake, topped with almond and pistachio flakes, too is a winner.
The restaurant is ideal for those looking for comforting and straightforward Indian food.
Rs.499 upwards. At Lavelle Road.