Conde Nast proclaimed The Spice Route at the gorgeous Imperial Hotel in New Dehli one of the top ten restaurants in the world so it is a must stop for The Monster. And it is an intriguing concept, serving the food indigenous to the entirety of the famed spice route. From the Malabar Coast in Kerala through Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam, you can sample all of these cuisines in a setting that takes your breath away.
The restaurant took seven years to finish, it is completely handpainted and divided into nine sections (including a lovely courtyard) depicting the journey of life. Eating here is an experience like no other.
To start The Monster samples the Chemeen Thoren – Kerala style prawns stir-fried with coconut curry leaves and black tamarind flavored with mustard seed. This dish is absolutely bursting with flavor, a stunning culinary treat.
Kai Phrik Thai Dum is next up – stir fried crispy chicken with bell peppers flavored with fresh roasted pepper. It too is delicious though it pales when compared to the first course.
Tom Kha makes its way to the table – spicy Thai and coconut soup with lemon leaves, lemongrass and galangal with chicken. This is the first course that proves merely ordinary. You can get better versions (much better) served in many restaurants in Thai Town.
Pla Tom Som is the entrée selection – steamed fillet of sole in garlic and coriander. The fish is a paean to garlic. Just tremendously flavorful and it showcases the dexterity with which the kitchen works.
Mixing the cuisine of so many regions could prove an arduous and Sisyphean task but The Spice Route has accomplished it with admirable aplomb. Yes, it is too expensive and of course some dishes miss the mark, but a journey here is a gourmand’s fantasy.
Why go? India accounts for almost ninety percent of the world’s spices so there is no better place to sample them then in this glorious temple to their delights.
Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters
Imperial Hotel, Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India
91 11 2334 1234 / 4150 1234