Since its inception, Bur Dubai has been teeming with Indian restaurants. Whatever you're craving – whether it's a pani puri platter at lunchtime or a pot of chicken biryani at midnight – there's always that's someplace serving it. Spice Klub takes your favorite Indian classics and serves it up with an exciting twist. Its culinary experience teleports you out of a restaurant and into a science lab.
Spice Klub shares a telephone line with a neighboring Italian restaurant – Quattro Ristorante. Once you specify where you'd like to dine, placing an order is fairly simple. Despite massive throngs of diners hitting Spice Klub for its unique experience, landing a table isn't a challenge. If you're looking to score a table at dinner time, it's recommended to book a few days in advance.
The restaurant doesn't offer onsite parking, but paid parking can be found right around the corner. Allow yourself three hours to properly immerse in the Spice Klub experience.
Greeting and seating
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the restaurant's maitre d' and guided to our table. The concept was briefly explained to us by a waiter and we were left to peruse a menu. Each course takes 25 minutes to prepare, given its intricate nature, so we ordered moments after sitting down. There was a gradual trickle of diners into the restaurant – everyone from a band of businessmen to a table of women catching up over lunch. The clientele was a pretty interesting mixture.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
While some of the waiters hastily rushed through the description of our dishes, our personal waiter was a borderline expert in molecular gastronomy. He was kind enough to walk us through the elaborate process of flash freezing, emulsification, and spherification. Every single dish came with its own little description, which was marvelously executed. Not only did he advise us on the dishes we ordered, he also enhanced our experience by recommending his personal favorites. While we initially settled on a ras malai cheesecake, he suggested switching to the bubbling kulfi. He then justified it by saying it would simply make for a better picture. How right he was!
To get started, we kicked off with a serving of deconstructed vada pav and dhokla. For the next round, we tucked into a plateful of palak adraki kebab topped with splashes of beetroot chutney. We wrapped up our belly-busting meal with an assortment of fun-sized golas and bubbling kulfi.
To spark our appetite, a chai tray of exotic chutneys were served up. Let's start off with the Jain options that comprised green chutney accented with coriander and mint, Amritsari tamarind sauce, and a viscous raw mango chutney called chunda. Next up – panch ranga chutney, a jam of red chili with olive, a savory compote of radish with walnut and mayonnaise, and peppery yogurt.Our eyes were bulging and jaws were dropping by the time the appetizers arrived. Spice Klub doesn't believe in saving the best for last, and whipped out its star dishes in the first round. On the table sat deconstructed vada pav and dhokla. The potato patty that usually sits inside an indulgently warm bun was emulsified into a light paste instead of deep fried. It was accompanied by a traditional pav, chopped up into bite-sized portions. It also came with the classic green and red chutney and boondis (deep-fried gems made from chickpea flour). What took the dish to the next level was the garlic and chili powder neatly poured into plastic packets. Upon closer inspection, these packets turned out to be edible – having been crafted from potato starch. Win!
If you're stuffed just from reading this, make room for the next course – deconstructed dhokla. This savory cousin of your average sponge cake is unique to Gujarat. It comprises a fermented batter derived from rice and split chickpeas. Well, that's probably how the head chef's grandma makes it. He, on the other hand, has definitely taken the hipster route. Take a plate – crush sumptuously soft dhokla onto it, accent it with rolls of glazed khandvi ( constructed from gram flour and yogurt), jazz the dish up with a sprinkling of cracked mustard seeds and finish it off with the crown jewel – a fluffy cloud of coriander foam. There you have it – dhokla of the 21st century. Serve with a daring side of flash frozen coconut chutney at -196 degrees celsius, and serve!
Our main course featured a heaping helping of palak adraki kebab. Translated, these are kebabs in which spinach and ginger play the leading roles. Crowned with coriander foam, they were a balance of sweet and savory. The texture was out of this world!
Finally, to end things on a sweet note, dessert was a threesome of mini golas, bubbling kulfi and chocolate volcano. Mini golas are a classic Bombay streetfood – crushed ice molded into popsicles and served with a syrup of your choice. Popular choices are orange, kala khatta (tangy blackberry syrup + lemon juice + black salt), and rose. Ours came with the additional option of blue curacao.The bubbling kulfi went through the same procedure the coconut chutney did. It hit the freezer at -200 degrees celsius and came out dazzling. Combined with little flavor pots, the kulfi was enhanced by lashings of chocolate, salted caramel, rose caviar, malai, and blueberry compote.
Courtesy extended during the meal
Towards the end of the meal, the restaurant's manager dropped by at our table. After ensuring we were enjoying our lunch, he further stuffed our already bursting stomachs with dessert. What soon arrived after he left was yet another dessert – a chocolate volcano accented with guava jelly and Turkish delight. It looked pretty modest when it landed on our table, and it was only after being injected with a saffron dressing, that the volcano began spurting and erupting smoke. We're glad we didn't walk out the front door without tucking into this imaginative masterpiece.
The restaurant's décor slaps you in the face with its bursts of gushing vibrance. Two of the eatery's walls feature dramatic displays of art – both of which has been designed by the director's wife. One wall alone took the artist three weeks to painstakingly complete. The ceiling is studded with unusual accessories – ranging from a bicycle wheel with bulbs hanging from it to iridescent kites. Spice Klub's ambiance was the perfect balance between stimulating and relaxing. Credit for this goes to the explosions of bright colors complemented by instrumental sitar music.
Nothing can beat Bombay's ridiculously cheap street food prices. Throw molecular gastronomy into the mix and you're looking at a handsome bill. Spice Klub's rates are pocket money in comparison to its competitors - Tresind and Carnival in Downtown Dubai. The two of us went from being peckish at midday to standing at the entrance of fullsville for just 211 dirhams!
Overall, would you return?
Absolutely! Whether it's date night or your birthday, Spice Klub should be on your list. Its pocket-friendly molecular gastronomy menu lets you make priceless memories at a tempting price. Located in the heart of Bur Dubai, the buzzing traffic outside and serene ambiance inside make it a lovely recluse during lunchtime rush hour. It sure does stands out from its Indian competitors.
Jamun punch, Spice Klub's signature pani puri, and rabdi pannacotta. For a dose of Bombay-flavored nostalgia, order a heaping helping of the deconstructed vada pav and old school lollies. The latter is where old meets new – Bournvita and chocolate lollies crafted right at your table.