Chennai’s new Molecular gastronomy restaurant has quite a few surprises under its hat. It’s vegetarian for starters
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The Mumbaiya Vada Pav arrives at my table. Except there’s no vada. There’s a liquified version of the vada that I’m instructed to spread inside the pav and try the bite sized spice pouches packed in faux plastic. It passed the blind flavour test. It was my third course. That’s the thing with Spice Klub (Yes that’s club with a ‘K’), the surprises never stop. Your comfort zones are constantly tested.
Spice Klub is one of the first restaurants in Chennai that aims to bring vegetarian molecular gastronomy dishes to a wider audience. It’s part of a multi-restaurant chain that began its journey in Mumbai over a decade ago. Molecular gastronomy can be a tricky proposition in India. Most diners don’t feel they’ve got their money’s worth unless they loosen their belts after a big Sunday lunch. There’s the surprise element that ultimately wears off like those mystery spinners who ultimately get sorted out by batsmen around the world.
Spice Klub addresses those two pitfalls. The portions are large and designed for sharing. This is just the kind of place where a large group of friends or a family is likely to have a blast. Their kulfi version (bubbling kulfi) with completely unexpected textures is served with five flavour pots including a rose caviar. It’s a portion good enough for a family of four. The restaurant has constantly refreshed its menu. Their spin on a thair (curd) or dahi vada is one such addition that the host informs me won recognition at a culinary contest.
The cuisine is predominantly Indian, almost every dish features flavours our taste buds are accustomed to. It’s the play on textures and presentation that sets this restaurant apart. It also means that the restaurant waitstaff have their task cut out. They need to walk diners through each of the dishes even when the restaurant is packed. They enjoyed walking me through their signature ‘mocktail’ – Mango on the rocks. It’s one of their most popular drinks – you’ll discover that its not so much a drink here. It’s also that point when most diners whip out their phones and start flooding their Instagram timeline. It’s something that Spice Klub is betting on. Of course they’ll need to keep innovating to bring those diners and compulsive ‘Instagrammers’ back.
SpiceKlub is at H M Centre No.29, Uttamar Gandhi (Nungambakkam High) Road. (Next to Taj Coromandel). For reservations call: (044) 28262620. Meal for 2: Rs 1,800/-