I am in a happy mood today, so I shall tell you a story.
Once upon a time, two people decided they were super-duper hungry and had to find a good place to eat. They looked far and wide but for some reason, the universe was conspiring against them that day. Wherever they went, they were faced with one predicament or another; either they could not find parking or they could not come to terms with eating Chinese or worse, some places were shut ‘coz u know – hip places open in the evening. And some perfectly fine places they came across, they just could not agree with each other.
Defeated, they wandered in the bylanes of Juhu. It seemed that they would have to go hungry that day. When all hope seemed lost and they were ready to give up and have roadside dosa….. they came across a tiny board a little ahead that said “The Spare Kitchen” and pointed north. With renewed energy, they made their way towards the ray of hope. Hastily they made their way inside, took in the surroundings and smiled to themselves. And then they ate till to their heart’s content. The End!
Now let me tell you a secret – I am one of the protagonists in the story. Awesome, I know!! And no, I am not going to give any explanations as to why I was behaving like I live in medieval times and could not use the internet to locate a place to eat.
Anyway, let’s get talking about ‘The Spare Kitchen’ now. If I had to describe the place in a few words, I would say cozy, spacious and inviting. And when I say spacious, I mean very spacious. The place is huge with multiple dining sections, each having a unique appearance. There is a wide-spread dining area (like any other fine dine restaurant), a bar area, an outside seating area perfect for chilling with a group of friends over a match and two lounge areas – one in the interior complete with blue lights, et. al and one in the exterior with TVs for individual sofas. Yup, it’s that huge.
The menu also has a good spread with many options of what they call ‘Progressive Indian Food’ and elaborate explanations. They also have a ‘Ninza’ section which is ‘Pizza on a Naan base’ where they let you decide the toppings. This is in addition to the ‘Make your own Pizza’ option. We were not in the mood for pizza, maybe next time we will get a Ninza! If you are not in the mood for North Indian food, you have options like pasta, risotto and burgers to choose from. But I have a feeling that if you choose to sit in the dining area…. north Indian options are going to tempt you.
I decided to begin with the dessert. That is another thing I do, I tend to order dessert first even though the servers give me curious looks when I ask for the dessert menu first. Chances are, if they get the desserts right, they will most probably get the food right!
So we decided to order the Thandai Panna Cotta with Benarasi Paan Macaroons. I know what you are thinking. I ordered it for the same intriguing name and description too. The panna cotta was creamy and melted in the mouth without any trace of lumps. Made to perfection. The top red layer added to the charm of this wobbly and delicate dessert. The macaroons were tenderly crispy, but really tiny and had a distinct paan flavour. All in all, it was amazing.
The next we ordered Wok tossed Chilli Garlic Paneer. The paneer aka cottage cheese was soft and supple but the dish had a little too much oil. It was the right amount of spicy and was served beautifully. A little less oil and I would say 5/5.
We ordered the Assorted Papad Platter which came with four types of papads (three pieces of each). My favourite was the topi masala papad served in small glasses. They also give a papad, sauce and pickle platter over and above this. That means we had way too many papads to finish. Not that I am complaining. I am a Marwari, papad for me is what fries are for burgers. A meal like this is not complete without them. Though I would have appreciated if the server had informed us about this.
From the ‘Progressive Mains’ we ordered the Kadhai Velvet Seekh Masala to go with Chilli Garlic Naan. The dish blew my mind away. It really made me forget that the appetizer had almost disappointed me. The quantity is amazing. We had to over stuff ourselves and yet we could not finish it. The gravy was amazing; tangy and spicy. I can easily place it in my list of top ten best north Indian vegetables I have had if I had a list like that.
We were almost exploding. But you have to have dessert after a meal, irrespective of the fact that you began with it! So we ordered something very basic – Icecream. Two small scoops, one vanilla and one chocolate served with chocolate sauce.
The Battle: Leaving the place. It has a great ambience and you will want to spend a little more time here. Also, trying to finish the kadhai vegetable was a challenge. Even after two helpings each, we had to get it parcelled!!
PS: Do not worry about parking, they have ample space and have valet facility too.