The Spice Route Restaurant is one of the many restaurants located in the historic Imperial Hotel of New Delhi. What makes it stand out from all the other restaurants for me is the ambience. It was designed by the celebrated cultural czar Rajew Sethi and the results are quite overwhelming and stunning. They told us it took seven years to complete this restaurant. It is divided into nine different areas and each one was painstakingly hand painted by artisans brought in. Each room showcases a different story or mythology. They brought in antiques and artifacts. The interior is quite gorgeous and dramatic. If you visit India when the weather is not quite so hot you can also choose to sit in the tranquil courtyard. They told us the Dali Lama likes to meditate there.
The menu follows the historic spice route across South East Asia. So you will see foods from Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, China and India.
We met the female chef Veena Arora who was very cool and well traveled. She is a lovely woman who has been handling the kitchen for 20 years. She is passionate about what she does and she has orchestrated the entire menu.
There were some culinary delights in the menu for us. We particularly enjoyed the Tom Yum soup flavoured with lemon grass and galangal and the Kaeng Kheow which was a green chicken curry with green peas and aubergines. I guess we are fans of Thai food. But I must say their Naan bread was one of our favorites during our 3 week trip. The wine list is quite extensive and they serve international and new world wines. We ordered a Riesling that works well with these spicier dishes.
We enjoyed it so much we ate here twice for lunch. The restaurant was voted one of the world’s top ten restaurants in Conde Naste. I wouldn’t totally agree with that. The decor and ambience are far better than the food. For some, the food may cater more to Western tastes. But, after touring all morning in boiling hot weather it was a nice relief to enjoy some fine dining in a sumptuous air conditioned setting.