Every Indian kitchen has a spice box brimming with seeds, stalks, barks, stems, and leaves. But really, what's in the box depends on the chefs and their background. In Spice India's case, the fragrant case is rife with the garlic, coriander, and ginger for hearty lamb and goat curries cooked in a tandoori oven. Surrounded by canary-yellow walls and colorful portraits, biryani dishes descend, layered with dried fruits, nuts, and essence of saffron. As the murmur of conversation swells, a full lunch and dinner buffet brims with masala and hearty seafood vindaloo and draws nervous glances from belts on their last day before retirement. To the pulse of live jazz music on select evenings, guests are encouraged to take advantage of Spice India's BYOB policy and bring their own libation of choice.
Spice India's chefs follow Punjabi traditions as they cook up authentic northern Indian cuisine to fill hearty lunch buffets with saucy fish curries, lamb vindaloo, and vegetarian paneers. While meaty kabobs cook in tandoori ovens, cooks knead more than 15 specialty breads, including garlic naan, unleavened paneer kulcha filled with homemade cottage cheese, and their house bread stuffed with marinated chicken. Guests can request a preferred level of spiciness to stop dishes from overwhelming their taste buds or setting the tablecloth on fire when spilled. Some nights, a live jazz band plays as guests sip the beer and wine they've brought to this BYOB eatery.
Aashirwad Palace & Martini Lounge’s gastronomic alchemists transmute the recipes and ingredients of subcontinental cooking to timelessly flavorful Indian dishes. Culinary adventures begin with bites from one of more than 20 appetizers such as the the chicken pakora’s spicy garlic-laced fritters or the Paneer Tika Sizzler’s homemade cheese-and-tandoori masala marinade. Entrees run the gamut of mealtime matter, ranging from vegetarian chana masala to spinach-packed lamb saag. A mild yogurt sauce and fresh coriander envelop the boneless-chicken korma, while the shrimp baigan's baked eggplant sizzles in a blend of herbs, spices, and fire-breathing shellfish. A dried-fruit garnish tops the navaratan korma, buttressed by mixed vegetables in a rich sauce made from members of the leafiest food groups. Grapes get tipsy in two glasses of wine, which quench throats and ably complements dishes.
Striving to highlight the diversity of India’s regional cuisine, the cooks at Mehek Restaurant have mastered vegetarian, seafood, lamb, chicken, and rice dishes from across the subcontinent. The eatery’s name, which means “aroma,” serves as a playful tribute to the way each creation from the expansive menu sates several senses at once. Kebabs, vindaloos, masalas, and biryanis can all be ordered with various proteins, and glasses of mango lassi cool off spicy bites. Mehek also offers a buffet rich with options for vegetarians, meat-eaters, and those on strict naan diets.
As the major riverine port of a nation that's home to more than a billion people, Calcutta hardly lacks for culture. The city's cuisine—a multicultural mishmash of Indian, British, Jewish, Chinese, and other culinary traditions—is but one example of its stunning diversity. A Calcutta Affair's menu captures this diversity in dishes such as the fish fry and the Calcutta Chow, the latter a mixture of noodles, veggies, and meat that's reminiscent of stir-fry.
Despite the competing influences, Indian traditions still hold the greatest weight in the Calcuttan kitchen. This explains why many of A Calcutta Affair's dishes are prepared with Bengali flavors such as five-spice (a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and mustard seed) and freshly ground mustard paste. The tandoori dishes are billed as the restaurant's specialties, and one taste of the chicken marinated in sour cream and spices will tell you why. An exotic selection of beverages includes mango lassi and litchi juice with rosewater, though guests can also bring their own beers, wines, and nonalcoholic bathtub gin.