Going the Asian way through Spice Route, The Imperial
It took me just one peek into the lobby of The Imperial Hotel in Janpath, a few months ago to irrevocably fall in love with the place. Part of it because of the Chanel store right in their lobby but mostly it is because of the grand food that is hard to not like.
I was overly enthusiastic to be back there for a nice little bloggers’ meet and some good lunch which is obviously what I almost always leave home for. After the initial introductions and meeting some of the warmest people ever, our food started pouring in and between bites, popped in the very enigmatic Chef Veena who cures up the delicacies at Spice Route, their inhouse restaurant.
The special winter menu that we were tasting on that day has been built keeping in mind her growing years in Thailand and the restaurant’s specialty in serving some of the best dishes from South Eastern Asia. The food is quite healthy there and the menu consists of a ton of seafood that a die hard Bengali like me, can never get enough of because honestly we learn to know our fish before beginning to even like milk. Even though my former sentence might carry its fair bit of exaggeration, Spice Route, definitely doesn’t.
We started off by sipping the Meen Rasam, a seafood broth oozing out the loveliest aromas that can ever hit your senses. Moving slowly to appetizers, we tried the Thord Mun Pla which are crunchy Thai fish cakes with the pungency of kaffir lime, served to us with sweet chilli dip. We next got some steamed fish that is always a hit among those who love healthy food despite shamelessly sneaking in bites of the prawn crackers. To mar its effect, there I was sipping coconut water, balancing my whole act.
Prawn in a Sarong, Malaysian style por pia skin wrapped prawns, flavoured with lemongrass, chillies and fried crisp. Served with sweet chilli and plum sauce was also a perfectly done up dish that we loved but honestly, it was time for our main course where even Chef Veena joined us and it was lovely hearing stories of food from her and dipping ourselves a little more in the grandiosity of cuisine culture.
We tried some Yera Mellagu that is one of favorite dishes. I have always loved South Indian non vegetarian, the whole deal with coconut milk and curry leaves has always lead me to a nirvana that even the dishes from God’s own country carries. A Kerala tiger prawn stir fry with sticky rice, is always a comfort food!
The Phanaeng Pla that had crispy sole fillet in the flavourful phanaeng sauce was divine to have with the Khao Phad Thalay which is a stir fried rice with prawn and egg. Mee Heng, the thin vermicelli rice noodles with prawns and Thai Sriracha was also a great dish coming from someone who has never liked these noodles.
Soon it was time for my favorite part- desserts! We got some generous helpings of silky bean ice creams. The last time I tried ice cream in green tea flavour, I wanted to cry but this time I reached out for way too many spoonfuls, does that sound like trouble to anyone? The Cinnamon one was however my favorite and its a no brainer knowing this for all who read my blog and has read me mention my explicit love for the spice time and again. The coconut fell into a close second much loved position and we loved how smooth it was in terms of texture and taste.
Laughter, great food and some notes were exchanged on nutrition during our time at the Spice Route and after a very elaborate tour of the restaurant which has been designed to depict the whole duration of human life in a number of phases showing harmony, wealth, the beauty of relationships- the chamber in which only two people can sit since there is no place for the third in a relationship (a quote that touched my heart) and lastly the transcendental transition which also meant farewell for us not without the hopes of returning ofcourse.
Mohana Ganguly- well, you all know me by now.