I haven’t been a huge fan of Indian diners in Sydney and was a bit hesitant to try the newly opened The Spice Room at Circular Quay, but to my surprise I was blown away by the venue, the service & most of all the food… The combination of Indian street food and upmarket dining is what sets The Spice Room apart from other Indian restaurants in Sydney. Situated in the heart of Circular Quay, opposite Wharf 2 in The Quay Building, 2 Phillip Street, the exotic colours and heady aromas of spices are combined to create a sublime banquet for all patrons.
The Food was well-balanced, clean and packed with flavours that left you wanting more, we attempted to try a few select choices from the menu and by the end of the evening we felt like we’d being on an Indian odyssey. Some of my favourites of the night were the – Aloo Tikki Chaat, Onion Bhaji Bites With Mint Dipping Sauce, and the Lamb Chops Mustard Masala. From the mains Railway Canteen Goat Curry, and the Spiced Coconut Seafood Treasure, with a side of Pappadum With Dip & Basmati Steamed Rice & for dessert you have to get the Date and Walnut Samosa with their own specially made coconut & mango ice-cream which is A MUST HAVE!!! With a surprisingly well picked Wine list, some delicious Cocktails on offer, and Mocktails and Lassi’s for those abstaining from alcohol everyone is catered for and if you’re daring try an Indian beer or an Indian speciality whiskey which will certainly surprise you in the best of ways of course. From the moment you walk in you’re transported to another world, an ancient world melded with a colonial aesthetic. My eyes weren’t sure where to look so many beautiful artefacts dotted around the room, and one of the most delightful bathrooms I’ve ever experienced but as I usually say don’t just take my word for it try it for yourself.
The Spice Room has a passionate team of chefs who believe in absolute perfection and are offering a true feast for all the five senses with a range of signature dishes. From street foods in Old Delhi such as Jhal Muri and Mumbai Padpi Chat to Royal Banquets and Tandoori delicacies such as Chicken Tikka Hyderabadi and Paneer Sizzler Skewer Ajwaini, The Spice Room has a taste for everyone. The menu is extensive and offers delicious cuisines from the rich royal heritage of India recreating the magic of spices by using ingredients fit for royalty. The Spice Room prides itself on house specialities that burst with flavour such as the King Prawn Gulmohar – tender king prawns in a special Tandoori Masala flavoured with rose petals, hung yoghurt, cream cheese and mustard oil cooked in a clay oven. For a spicier flavour the Chicken Khurchan is something to behold consisting of spiced chicken tandoori strips slow cooked with capsicum, onion, tomato and red chillies with hints of ghee and garam masala. The Spice Room also offers a creative lunch menu which recreates for patrons the tiffin boxes which are lunch boxes that Dabbawallas (delivery boys) deliver to white collared workers across the city in India. The meals are served in 2 tier or 3 tier tiffin boxes during lunch time and contain a collection of exotic curries, rices and naan breads. With chefs that originate from India itself, the authenticity of the meals is no surprise. Head Chef Darbyan Singh has over 20 years experience as a curry and tandoori cook, having worked in Indian 5 star hotels such as the ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton and the Oberoi. Singh specialises in Peshawari style cuisine of North India bringing mouth-watering flavours from the sub-continent including succulent kebabs and glorious curries. Working alongside Singh is Chef Ratan, who has close to 20 years experience in various 5 star hotels in India including the Intercontinental Hotel in Mumbai. Ratan is skillful in Tandoori style cooking in which meats (or vegetables for vegetarian dishes) are marinated in yoghurt, spices and smoke roasted in a clay oven to keep the meats tender and succulent. The blending and preparation of spices is a century old craft and is indispensable to Indian cuisine and critical to achieving perfection of flavour.
To match the exquisite high level of mouth-watering, cultural cuisine is the beautiful, unique interior design of the restaurant. Indra Matta, owner of The Spice Room says that the interior design is based on an old story of a home in the Indian town of Chittor Aquila. “The residents of this Grand Kothi no longer live here, but the home is full of memories, beautiful heirlooms, family photographs and treasured possessions which contain more than a whiff of royal lives gone by. In the Interior Courtyard, amongst the antiques and faded grandeur, The Spice Room serves authentic Indian food,” says Indra. The interior designer, Jill Hoffenberg who has extensive work in interior design and mural painting, says that in designing The Spice Room they wanted diners to be transported to the days gone by and to the period of opulence and grandeur, royal and princely kingdoms, stately homes and lavish lifestyles. The Spice Room can be hired out for corporate functions, product launches and birthday celebrations, among others. It is open for lunch and dinner from 11am until 11pm, seven days a week and accepts bookings.