Ibis, India has the right idea.
As one of the most well-known brands in the world, when it comes to hotels, especially “business hotels”, Ibis already has a lot going on for them.
But, when it comes to food and primarily their restaurants, there’s no denying that a non-resident of the hotel would normally not think about going into a business hotel, any business hotel, for a casual lunch or dinner.
It is this very perception that Ibis is trying to change, by making the average local customer, us, re-think our choice about not visiting restaurants in establishments like theirs out of fear of maybe it being too expensive or too formal even.
Ibis, as a result, has taken the step of re-doing their in-house restaurants in a way so that they cater to not just to the guests staying with them but in turn also attract the public from “outside”.
Spice It is a positive step in that direction as it comes across as a hip, modern, and casual place where you can go with family or friends for a nice meal at any time of the day, and it is chic enough that if you want to hold a business lunch, the space still works. The interiors of the restaurant are done in a light yet fashionable décor with dashes of colour in all directions, but at the same time remains just on the right side of being quirky. It has an almost cafe-like atmosphere which makes eating here a more relaxed experience and that is something that goes well with the type of food being served.
Buffets with weekend brunches and what-not are the latest craze in the food service industry and to a certain extent an economical one, so Spice It takes care of that with a unique presentation that changes a few times throughout the week – a huge positive for the local guests who might eat regularly at the restaurant during their stay. Besides this, the restaurant has also come up with an a-la-carte menu that truly is “different” in the sense that it showcases the local food in a more modern and stylized fashion giving flavours maximum importance.
Spice It also keeps a tight leash over the food, limiting it to only a few cuisines, but still providing enough variations within these boundaries to satisfy all needs.
I had the opportunity to try their buffet along with a few items off the main menu when they invited me for a tasting to showcase this change in their restaurant business structure.
The food is a hearty mixture of classics like Dal Makhni, Kadhi with Chawal, Indian Sweets along with South East Asian dishes such as Burmese Khao Suey and Nasi Goreng. However, worldwide classics such as Risotto, Spaghetti, Burgers and Tacos make cameo appearances across the menu.
However, two of my absolute favourites are the Kottu – minced chicken and egg eaten with roti – and the Mutton Pepper Fry which comes with Malabari Parantha in a very street-food kind of look.
Lastly, for that perfect after meal drink, Spice It gives homage to their location, India, by celebrating its most famous offering, Chai, in a very desi avatar, in addition to which there is also filter coffee available, which for me tops the list.
All-in-all I was pleasantly surprised with most of what Spice It had to offer, their serving sizes, the taste and flavours, and of course the professionalism with which the service was conducted.
Spice It makes for a wonderful option to have a meal in a deluxe environment, within the hustle of the city, and yet, come out of it without having to spend beyond your means. It’s the ease of the surroundings and the quality of the food that shines and makes it stand out among the rest.
Note: I was invited by Spice It for a tasting of their new menu. I was not required to publish a review and this unbiased post is on my own accord.