Long gone are the days when a visit to an Indian restaurant meant having to eat the customary vegetarian thali, or the boring dhal and roti. A couple of progressive Indian restaurants are transforming the food landscape, giving familiar tastes an exciting new twist with clever molecular fusions, and Instagram-worthy presentation styles. Effortlessly marrying local flavours with international techniques, restaurants like SpiceKlub, TresInd, Jodhpur, and Farzi Cafe have made “Progressive Indian” become the culinary trend du jour in Dubai.
If you are a connoisseur of Molecular Gastronomy, chances are that you’ve already eaten at, or at least heard of Quattro – the highly-acclaimed Mexican-Italian restaurant in the Bur Dubai side of town. SpiceKlub is its equally competent Indian Sibling located right next door that is taking contemporary Indian fusion cuisine to new heights. Though SpiceKlub in Dubai is only a year old – the brand has been successfully running its operations across several metro cities in India for sometime now.
The SpiceKlub concept is simple, experimental and playful, yet full of familiar tastes and memories – taking inspiration from India’s diverse regional cuisines and popular street food. By executing progressive concept with unparalleled finesse, SpiceKlub is capturing the hearts of Indian food lovers across Dubai. It does all this while maintaining a complete value for money pricing making it one of Dubai’s most affordable Indian Molecular Gastronomy restaurants.
The Welcome Drinks
We were welcomed by the restaurant manager Wantson Pulle – a friendly young man from the Indian Subcontinent. To start off, we were served with some of their signature welcome drinks.
Coconut Water with Assorted Caviar
A magical creation that lands between a delicious dessert and a satisfying cocktail the Coconut Water Caviar was an interesting cross that literally had to be eaten. I would have loved if it had a more stronger feel of Nariyal Pani (tender coconut water) as the coconut essence was pretty subtle. Nevertheless, it was distinct and scored some points for its innovation.
Mango on the Rocks
SpiceKlub has added a molecular twist to normal Mango juice and the result is a winner drink totally appealing to the eyes and feasting to the palates. Using molecular techniques they freeze the mango pulp into bite sized bits making it a ‘chew-able’ drink. Mango on the rocks was very refreshing to say the least, and it exuded the fresh taste and aroma of the luscious Alphonso Mango.
The popular Indian street food reconstructed in Molecular style
Make your own pani puri and have fun in the process – seemed to be the mantra. The crispy puris were served separately in a bowl along with tangy tamarind chutney in a syringe and chilled pani water in test tubes. The jar containing the test tubes were frothing with liquid nitrogen, which sort of added to the drama. And, as the froth settled, we crafted our own puris taking cues from the waiter. It was an absolutely playful and fun exercise and deliciously rewarding, as well.
Pav Bhaji Fondue
Another innovative take on the classic streetside favourite from Mumbai, Spice Klub’s Pav Bhaji Fondue redefines how this popular dish can be enjoyed. Known to be soft and buttery, the traditional Pav is much loved usually for its fluffiness. However Spice Klub has taken a more unconventional route by making their Pav small and crispy. The bite sized pav was roasted to the right level enabling it to be ‘fork-lifted’ to the mouth after a dip in the flavour-packed bhaji.
Palak Cheese Cigar
We couldn’t stop clicking the tiny sauce container as it was so instagram-worthy. The crispy outer layer preserved all the cheesy goodness inside and was a delight in every single bite.
For the main course we went for
- Vegetable Dum Biryani
- Dal Makhani
- Paneer Tikka Masala
- Garlic Butter Naan
- Sundried Tomato Naan
- Romali Roti
The Veg Dum Biryani came steaming hot, packed inside a traditional style handi. It oozed aroma all over as the waiter removed the outer layer covering the handi. Cooked with Basmati rice, saffron, butter and a whole lot of Indian spices, it smelt lovely and tempted the olfactory senses while totally satiating the gustatory senses.
The subtle flavours of the garam masala, onion and spices were infused in each and every single grain of rice making it taste heavenly. It is perhaps one of the best Veg Dum Biryanis we’d ever tasted in Dubai.
The Biryani was sided with delicious Anardana black salt raita which had pomegranate seeds floating on a salty yoghurt mix. Crispy Roasted Papad added to the overall pleasure of eating Biryani.
The breads were fresh, soft and easy to tear and with the Dal Makhani and Paneer Tikka Masala – it tasted awesome.
Dal Makhani This Punjabi-style lentil curry came packed with lots of butter and it tasted stellar. if you love authentic punjabi food then you are going to love this Dal makhani even more.
Paneer Tikka Masala – The gravy was rich in flavour and thick in consistency. The paneer cubes were large in size and totally luscious. It melted in the mouth with every bite and made for a great side with the Naan and Roti.
In Desserts we had the special Chocolate Volcano and Bubbling Kulfi
SpiceKlub’s bubbling Kulfi was in a league of its own. The Frozen Kulfi cubes were served over a bed of dry ice which resulted in a smoky dessert that keeps fuming for a while. But once the smoke settled and toppings were poured on it – the dessert dissolved into a sweet concoction that tasted out-of-this-world. The Kulfi came with an assortment of toppings including caramel sauce, rabdi , chocolate sauce, blueberry and rose caviar. Thanks to these multiple flavor options, we were able to mix and mash the toppings and enjoy different flavors – all in the same dish. It was sheer B.L.I.S.S.
A small mountain shaped chocolate mousse, surrounded with small pearls of Peru jelly that frothed and fumed and finally ended in a volcanic eruption of sweetness right in front of our eyes. If you’re a true-blue chocolate lover, you’ll love the Chocolate Volcano at the SpiceKlub.
Spacious and aesthetically well-appointed interiors with industrial style lighting, communal tables and quirky décor including two swings, filament bulbs hanging from cycle tires, colourful ropes that extend through the walls from end to end – intertwined with each other, wall paintings, wall art, and THE works!.
The funky cushions and patterned walls accents with visible Indian motifs add a perfect backdrop to savor “progressive” Indian cuisine – or Indian culinary art on plate.
The service was remarkable. The waiters had complete knowledge of the dishes they served. Service was quick despite the place being full-house. The servers (Especially Kinet pictured below) were very helpful and served with a smile all through our visit.
This progressive Indian restaurant with its pronounced Indian flair and innovative spread is sure to etch a special place for itself in the Indian molecular gastronomy scene in Dubai. Plated with molecular magic, its innovative dishes are simple yet fun and hits all the right notes. With a really-down-to-earth pricing SpiceKlub is certainly the top option in Dubai for those who want to try molecular gastronomy without paying a bomb. It is undoubtedly Dubai’s “most affordable” Indian Molecular Gastronomy restaurant.
If you're going
Need to know
Cuisine: Progressive Indian
Where: Opposite Aster Hospital, Near Sharaf DG, Kuwait Street, Mankhool, Dubai
Hours: 12Noon to 3:30PM, 6:30PM to 11:30PM all week.
Atmosphere: Gorgeous interiors with peppy decor, beautiful paintings and industrial type lighting
Parking: Paid Public Parking
Prices: AED 150 for two people (approx.)
Credit cards: Cash, Cards and Meal Coupons accepted
Sound level: Moderate
Wheelchair access: Yes
Service: Very good
Recommended: Palak Cigar, Pani Puri, Mango on the rocks, Bubbling Kulfi, Volcano
Additional Info: Vegan and Gluten free options available ; Home delivery Available
Reservations: 04 4489590
Facebook: SpiceKlub FB
Disclaimer / Voluntary Disclosure
This review was sponsored by eSBe. Though the meal was complimentary, all photos, views and opinions are my own, as always. The restaurant had no influence on the content of this article, there is no form of cooperation between us, I was not obliged to publish anything, and I have not received any monetary payment in lieu of this review. All images used are courtesy of Blogliterati.com, unless stated otherwise. The images may not be reproduced without explicit permission/consent from the site owner.