A restaurant centrally located in Egmore, Spice Trail proved to be one of those unexpectedly delicious places that should make it to the list of must-visit places in Chennai. Unknown to many, this restaurant adjoins Olive & Basil at Egmore. It’s done up with simple and subtle decor and furniture that makes the place look classy. Spacious, airy and very comfortable, the seating and air conditioning are perfect. High chairs and large tables, the seating is perfectly spaced for people who like their space while dining. This spot is brilliant for quiet and soulful South Indian lunches and dinners and with the large clientele of office goers in the area, this place is divine.
We’d been there for a lunch with a large group recently and the menu for lunch consisted of a few yummilicious South Indian starters, Meals and Biryani. Mostly an Andhra style meal, Spice Trail’s concept of serving food was slightly different. The “meals” plate is served initially and the starters are more like side dishes (to the meal) than starters as such. Honestly, one of the MOST homely meals we’ve had in a long time. They have few different types of meals, the base being the vegetarian meal consisting of Sambar, Rasam, Poriyal, Kara Kuzhambu, Spiced Dal, Chutney/Thogayal of the Day, Paruppu Podi with Ghee, Curd, Pickle and Mor Molaga. Depending on what you choose (Chicken or Fish) as your meal, the additional gravy would be provided along with this basic meal. We had both the Chicken and the Fish Meals and boy, the gravies were stunning! Fish Kuzhambu won literally everybody’s hearts (and appetites), everybody going for numerous helpings of the same till the bowl was wiped clean. It was so fresh, with perfect levels of sour and spice and tender chunks of Vanjaram. Just YUM. Chicken Curry was equally good, for those who prefer chicken over fish, not too spicy, mild in flavour, the meat being the hero. From the rest of the meals, all of the sides were extremely homely without being too overbearingly heavy. Rasam, the Coriander Thogayal (of the day) and the Paruppu Podi were the best. Everything else tastes well; perfect in taste, hearty and soulful.
The starters came as sides for the meals and we tried the Mutton Fry, Coriander Chicken and Nethili Fry. The Mutton and Nethili were instant hits and both went so very well with the Rasam Rice. Mutton, especially, was BRILLIANT (a must try dish). The Chicken side dish was slightly mediocre in comparison to rest and personally, I felt it didn’t match up to the type of food that was already on our plates. The Kara Kuzhambu and Dal were also really good with the rice and we were totally filled with the scrumptious ‘Andhra’ (mostly) meal that afternoon. Next came the Chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani. As flavorful as was the rice, it was not the usual type that I’m used to. The meat was tender and succulent but I felt the spice levels were quite low for it be to be a great biryani. We had some delicious Pal Kova for dessert then, quite heavy, rich and delicious to the very last spoon.
Beverages were where they faltered. The Virgin Mojito we had was not even close to what was expected and it did not aid our meal. The staff did take this feedback constructively.
Hope to see it reflect on our next visit that it is guaranteed by the delicious home-style meals we experienced. This meal cost about Rs.150 – 200 per plate which is very reasonable considering the quantity and taste. The service was also prompt while refilling the rice on our plates and serving dishes promptly. We did not get to try their Tiffin varieties (which are served only in the evenings). Overall, this is a must visit restaurant, just for their Andhra Meals if not anything else.
WTF METER FOR SPICE TRAIL, EGMORE:
Ambience – 7/10
Service – 7/10
Quantity – 10/10
Taste – 9/10
Beverages – 6/10
VFM – 9/10
Overall – 8/10