Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Spice Kitchen.. A bland dim sum festival!

Spice Kitchen at JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat road, happens to be one of my favorite buffets in town. It has a classy charm that truly pleases the senses. 

There was a dim sum festival on (from February 15, 2016 to February 29, 2016) hence my bestie and I headed there on Saturday evening. The buffet at Marriott is well laid out but drinks, or drink packages, aren’t included (except, maybe, for the Sunday brunch) which make the whole experience a pricy affair. The past few days because they had a dim sum festival on, the buffet was even more expensive. It was priced at 1350 rupees, plus drinks, plus taxes which is why we ended up paying a steep 2000 per person. Paying the amount we pay when visiting a five star is not a problem at all. The problem arises when the food is not up to the mark.

The price of the buffet was hiked because of the festival and not one dim sum ticked the right palate box. The dim sums brought to the table were cold. They forgot to serve us the fried variety along with the steamed ones, and when they did serve them later (after being reminded), they were also cold. We sent them back requesting they bring us hot ones. The dim sums were absolutely nothing to write home about. The dim sum wrappers were thin enough but the fillings were bland and extremely dense. The prawn dim sum was a tad better than the rest. As for the fried lamb sesame ball, the coating was so thick and tough that we could not cut into it with a knife. Truly, the dim sums served were very, very, very disappointing!

The rest of the buffet was laid out as usual except that I did not see any smoked salmon or Brie or Camembert at the buffet counters. These days Marriott is getting stingy in regard to putting up pricy stuff at the buffet which is extremely unbecoming of an establishment like them. Usually when smoked salmon and our favorite cheeses are not served at the buffet, they make it available to us when requested. (Marriott hospitality at it’s best!) I guess they also extend this courtesy to us because we are regulars at the Spice Kitchen. It is indeed very sweet and kind of them to do so! That evening though, they did not have Brie or Camembert (sad face) and we had to just make do with the smoked salmon. 

We did not try too much from the Indian main course counter but the chicken starter (some kind of tikka) was delicious. We tried a bowl of steaming chicken coriander soup. It was perfectly balanced and was one of the best things we had that evening. We also tried the soy noodles and some chicken and fish dishes from the Chinese counter, all of which were very nice. We later polished off a thin crust pizza with loads and loads of stringy cheese. (Happy puppy face)

As the dim sum festival was on, the restaurant was quite crowded. The servers (usually extremely attentive) were often running around like headless chickens which lead to poor service quality. The guy at the waffle counter took our order and we waited nearly 15-20 minutes for him to serve us. He made waffles for tables around us but for some reason forgot our table existed. We were just too tired of repeating orders to the servers and hence decided to chuck the waffle and call for the check. We had to repeat our request for the cheque too. 

There is something for everyone at each counter at Spice Kitchen and we (my bestie and I) will definitely continue visiting them because of the food they serve and also, mainly, because of the way in which they treat us. But, will I go to Spice Kitchen when they have a special festival on; when servers are over-hassled and the buffet price hiked? I don’t think so! All in all, Spice Kitchen has enough food laid out to please most palates, both, at their regular buffet and at their Sunday brunch buffet. You won’t come away disappointed so do walk in and give it a try. 

Ambiance: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5 (the waffle guy and for making us repeat our requests – usually I would give them a 4/5)
Food – Dim sums: 1/5 (I’m being polite)
Food (Regular Buffet): 3.5/5 (based on Saturday evening’s buffet – sometimes the food at their buffet and Sunday brunch is so good that I would easily give them a 4/5)

Address: Senapati Bapat Road, Pune.
Tel no: 020 66832345 / 020 66833333

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