Food Review: Gastronomy with 'Sultans of Spice'
By Sahar Adil | Published: May 06 2010
Sultans of Spice is a new restaurant specialising in a flavourful, rich and vast menu of delectable cuisine from Delhi, Amritsar and Kabul. Located in Koramangala at the Blu Petal Hotel.
Sultans of Swing in Koramangala
Sultans of Spice is located in Koramangala, in the same lane as the Jyoti Nivas college at the Blu Petal Hotel. You step in through an imposing antique door that may have once belonged to erstwhile nawabi. The décor of the restaurant is elegant with traditional old Indian accents of Mughal style paintings, contemporized with its well lit space with light turquoise blue chairs set against dark wood finishing in its tables and panelling; a dramatic touch is added to the restaurants ambience with the centre serving bay that has a startling amber onyx surface that is lit form within, clearly the Pièce de résistance. The music is also ambient fusion of traditional folk, instrumental, ghazals and old hindi songs, very in tune with the feel of the space.
The cuisine is rooted in the rich heritage of food of India & Afghanistan. It is a combination of subtle tastes where the flavours are as varied and exotic as traditionally these regions have been, steeped in centuries old culture. Fragrant, pungent and warm spices are masterfully blended to create the dishes with care.
Chef Rahul Kapoor, takes us through the menu, featured food from great gastronomic cultures of India and Afghanistan. His description is apt, “historical cuisine of Delhi, the rustic flavours of Punjab and the rich and robust flavours of Kabul”.
Keshav Dhaba Bharwan Aloo
For starters we have the Keshav Dhaba Bharwan Aloo, potatoes that are marinated in a garlic seasoning masala, the centre is scooped out and stuffed with a mix of onion seeds, cottage cheese and fermented yogurt and then grilled in the tandoor. Well seasoned and will work well if you are having drinks with your starters. Matiya road Bharwan Tange, juicy legs of chicken marinated in a traditional “bhuna masala” a powedered coriander, cumin, chilli, curry leaves and cinnamon mix, that is slathered on the chicken as a marinade; this is then stuffed with a delicious methi kheema, finished off in the tandoor. This was followed with an all-time favourite mutton Sheek-e-gosht-Qati, the classic minced sheek which originated in the Panjshir valley near Kabul.
I was sipping on a Pudina Shinkanji, Indian style lemonade, with refreshing crushed mint leaves, it also serves the classic Punjabi lassi. Sultans of Spice also has a dedicated bar with and extensive alcoholic beverage menu and a creative line-up of cocktails and with a wine selection on offer as well.
Gosht ki Nalli Nehari
For the main course we had the Murgh ka Bharta, shredded chicken in a thick base made with cream and grated boiled eggs. This is traditional Punjabi dhaba food, that one ideally enjoys at the road side dhabas while travelling in the north with hot fresh rotis from the tandoor slapped on with thick home-made white butter. The enjoyment of eating on the road, where you really build up an appetite, is difficult to replicate, but the dish lived upto its legacy.
Then came the Rum waali Masaledaar Chaape, or mutton chops soaked in Classic old monk rum. The effervescence while cooking reduces the rumand leaves the delicious shanks moist, with a light sweetness that goes well with the flavours of the golden onions and traditional garam masalas, which normally consistis of roasted whole spices of cinnamon (dalchini), cardamom(elaichi), black pepper (kaali mirch), long (clove) and sometimes star anise.
Chickoo Kulfi and crisp Jalebis
It was then time for the Gosht Ki Nalli Nehari, which is an extremely rich dish and deeply embedded in traditional Muslim cooking. This dish is a delicacy enjoyed at the time off festivals and celebrations and is cooked over night and back in the day was normally enjoyed as a rich breakfast celebration meal. The broth, or the gravy is made with rich yoghurt and friend onions. Again this is seasoned with whole spices and the particular garam masalas. The richness of the stew comes with long and slow cooking time. This dish wasn't as traditonal as expected, as the nalli nehari came with a thick curry, but it's possible this was a concious service decision
The main course ended with Chef Rahul’s delicious Afghani Dum Biryani, served in a dum pukht style vessel, for an individual serving; this is encased with an air tight flour dough which keeps the biryani from drying and retains the flavours and fragrance that is essential to this dish.
If you can, after a meal like this be persuaded to try some dessert, then the Chikoo Kulfi and Jalebis are a nice end to the meal. The chikoo kulfi is light and fruity while not too sweet; the jalebis are crisp as they come and very old school “dilli” in their taste.
Sultans of Spice is great stop over for a family meal, and office party or just somewhere to enjoy a nice rich meal with friends.