Chef Veena Arora’s ‘Summer Collection menu’ ( Mango based South East Asian menu) at The Spice Route, The Imperial

Date: 15th May to 15th July 2015
Where: The Spice Route, The Imperial, Janpath road, New Delhi
Timings: Lunch 12:30pm to 2:45pm and Dinner: 7pm to 11:45pm

Meal for two: INR 8500 plus taxes (without alcohol)
For table reservations: Call 41116605 
Dress Code – Smart Casuals; kindly avoid Shorts and Slippers 

There are very few restaurants in India that are thematic. What does it mean? Well, a restaurant whose theme blends well with both the food and interior. When the server brings food and opens the kitchen door, on the left, is a big painting of Ma Annapurna.
After the server cleans the table and takes away the plates and the remaining food, one can see a huge painting of Lord Ganesha as the server carries the leftovers. The spiritual significance is Anna means food and grains and the meaning of purna is full, complete, and perfect. Annapurna is the Goddess of Nourishment and hence before partaking the food, we are blessed. Having Ganesha/s blessings on the food that we enjoyed, signifies – We must be able to accept and digest whatever experiences we go through – be they good or bad. Throughout our trials and tribulations we must be equal-minded and realise that all experiences are learning experiences and will bring us closer to God. The thoughts are spiritual and the essence too is spiritual. Behold, I am not taking you through my journey of Sattvik food.

Interestingly, the concepts of blessings of Maa Annapurna and Lord Ganesha is unique and let me take you through the ROUTE I,e Spice Route at The Imperial, New Delhi which is unique in every sense. It’s not only creation of culture of Far East but reflects the journey of life. Designed on the principles of Feng Shui, The Spice Route is a treasure trove of antiques and is divided into nine different sections, each depicting part of the journey of life. To know more about the décor and the rich cultural heritage and the ambience – sharing the following link:

Chef Veena Arora, Chef De Cuisine, Spice Route

After having almost a virtual tour of life it was time to meet with the lady behind this iconic restaurant Chef De Cuisine Veena Arora– who doesn’t need any introduction. Interestingly she is not a trained chef as per se but has excellent technical knowledge of the cuisine. Born and brought up in a small village of Thailand , she definetly knows thoroughly about the cuisine. She moved to India in 1980 and after working with “The Lalit” (where she opened Thai restaurant Silk Orchid), she joined The Imperial in 1996 as Culinary Consultant to The Imperial. She has played an instrumental role in opening The Spice Route. Almost 20 years ago when she opened The Spice Route (south east Asian restaurant), she would share about the cuisine with her guests and some of them were unaware of the delicacies and also had little or no knowledge about the cuisine. The cuisine which has trace of Malabar coasts from Kerela to Srilanka , Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand  and Vietnam. These are the places where she has picked her dishes from.

I was invited to review the summer collection at The Spice Route where Chef Veena was showcasing her culinary skills and theme was Mango.

I enjoyed the ambience and the rich, hearty, inspiring conversation with the Chef. Chef was extremely courteous and kind enough to invest time in explaining things in detail. For any review, it is important to sit, discuss, ask questions and enjoy the food to be able to get the rich experience.  I learnt couple of things during my discussion – Thai curry usually has thin consistency however I have had thick gravies in most of the places. Also, Thai curry is not just spicy, it is super spicy and eggplant curry was clear example of it.
However to my sheer disappointment, what could have been a great and perfect experience turned out to be average as the Director – PR was in a hurry and we wrapped up pretty early. Being invited for tasting and reviewing, it is equally important for PRs to know that this is not just about business of finishing a meal, but also about spending time on the finer details. Unfortunately, this was my first experience where PR being in hurry, we had to wrap up. Such experience ends up leaving a bad taste…..
My taste of goodness:
Yum mamuang pla krob the raw mango salad.
Vietnamese style stir fried chicken
Prawn kerela style stir fried.
PLA –E- SAAN -Crispy fillets of Sole served with spicy palm sugar sauce and garnished with shredded raw mango
IRACHI MANGHAI CURRY- Chef’s special Kerala style mutton curry cooked with raw mangoes
What I like the most was AAMBALAM KATRIKAI- Curried baby eggplant and water chestnuts flavoured with raw mango and coconut paste. The humble baby eggplant stole the entire show.
We finished our meal with Mango Sticky Rice. I must say that food was good; however the MANGO theme wasn’t anything exceptional or extraordinary. The summer collection menu is not very extensive. The service was good and quick.

Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.

Picture Courtsey  – Hotel Imperial 
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Everyone has a unique palate and my reviews are purely based on my likes and dislikes. This blog reveals my lust for food, pictures that I own, food that I love, cuisines that I tasted, imperfect culinary skills that I possess and to top it all this blog is my passion . Each experience calls out the history of how I ended up being at a particular place. Join Me in this culinary journey of comfort food, the rich and hearty meals, delectable platters, distinctive recipes and savoury Gourmet!

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