New Delhi, July 3 : Quite contrary to its name, The Imperial Spice restaurant in the heart of Delhi, fails to impress your taste buds with its not-so-extraordinary drinks and bland food.
When you enter the place in Rajiv Chowk's M block, it feels like a dream.
A bar counter in the front with classic whiskeys and wines; a black mirror with golden flowers hanging from the roof, creating an illusion of infinity; red, plush sofas which allow you to comfortably sit and enjoy your dinner, and soft music playing in the background.
As soon as you sit, you are warmly greeted with their customary masala papad filled with ingredients similar to what you eat in bhel puri.
It quickly opens up your senses to enjoy the evening.
With the soup, the dream ends and you realise it is a disaster shadowed by a beautiful ambience.
The gari-infused manchow soup was absolutely ungenuine and lacked creativity. Quite frankly, one could find a better manchow soup at a local food truck at half the price and in much better quantity.
What I disliked most were the starters, also the most crucial element for any restaurant to make its mark in the industry.
Despite having a quirky name, the fried eggplant served in pepper sauce was just out of proportion. It was simply too spicy and too similar in taste to the chilli potato available on the streets and, secondly, it was not a good combination.
The Moroccan prawns, Creole fish fingers, tawa lamb chops, and chimichuri chicken lollypops were a nightmare for non-vegetarians.
Whether its the chicken, prawn, fish or the lamb, there was just no taste in them; you could only feel the slight flavour of the spices used.
The only palatable dishes in the whole starters section were the paan paneer tikka Quinoa broccoli shami.
Coming to the drinks, the mocktails -- Italian smooch and orange blossam -- being common and simple, were refreshing, with bursting flavours.
But what disappointed me the most were their cocktails -- absolutely essential for any restaurant to mark its niche.
First and foremost, a restaurant should never call its offering a "signature drink" without proper market research.
The Imperial Spice did exactly that and changed only the name. The Jack and Jill (Jack Daniel, peanut butter, vanilla and coffee powder) and aampapad caprioska (vodka with aampapad) hit hard, instead of sliding down the throat.
Because the alcohol was so out of proportion, the flavour of the cocktail (whether coffee or aampapad) was missing.
Apart from the food and the drinks, the restaurant lacks basic etiquette.
I can let go of the missing coaster from the table. But a restaurant in Rajiv Chowk, which charges a bomb for a single dish should have at least a knife (to go with the rest of the cutlery) and salt and pepper cellar on the table.
Also, it took the staff approximately an-hour-and-a half to serve the main course, which, by the way, was the same as some of the other dishes there -- bland and disappointing.
Thankfully, they had decent desserts in chocolate rabri decker and lahsun ki kheer.
What: The Imperial Spice
Where: M-block, Rajiv Chowk
Timings: 12 p.m.
- 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. - 11.30 p.m.
Meal for two (without alcohol): Rs 2,200 (approximately)
(Shreya Das visited The Imperial Spice at its invitation.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )