Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

There’s noth­ing like a good curry to blast the pal­lette with a dose of spice, to warm you up and add a bit of cheer to a crisp night. On a cool Oc­to­ber night we de­cided that was just what we were in need of and tried to guess which Queen­stown curry pur­vey­ors would be up to the task. Cu­ri­ously, for a town built on pleas­ing tourists of ev­ery ilk, and plenty of cold days and nights, there doesn’t seem to be a ‘‘go to’’ place that im­me­di­ately springs to mind when you think ‘I need curry’. We went down­town and headed for the first In­dian restau­rant we came across – The Spice Room.


We ar­rived early on a week­day night, so at the first stage of din­ing were the only cus­tomers there. That meant we got lots of at­ten­tion from the waiter, who ex­plained some of the fine points of the spices con­tained within the var­i­ous dishes on our hit list, and guided us through our fi­nal selec­tions very nicely. We kicked off with Samosa and Onion Bhaji (both $9.90). Th­ese were great, and the dip­ping sauces re­ally set them off. Tak­ing the waiter’s guid­ance into ac­count we went for the Chicken Biryani and Fish Mal­bari (both $23.90). With the fish dish I didn’t want to be one of those pun­ters that asks ‘‘Is the fish fresh?’’. Ask­ing this ques­tion in Queen­stown, which is land­locked and a few hours from the clos­est hint of an ocean breeze is pretty much re­dun­dant un­less you’re sit­ting at a ta­ble in one of the spe­cial­ist seafood or fine din­ing restau­rants. How­ever our waiter, with­out prompt­ing, told us the fish had been frozen and there­fore could not be spec­i­fied as fresh. Top points for dis­clo­sure. When they came, the mains were up to ex­pec­ta­tion. We both or­dered medium on the hot­ness scale – the spice was bal­anced out nicely in terms of the other flavours in the dishes and the naans we or­dered were straight out of the tan­door oven. As were we eat­ing an Aus­tralian fam­ily was seated and or­dered. The also re­ceived lots of at­ten­tion and ex­pla­na­tion of all the pos­si­ble selec­tions. Aussie dad men­tioned that he’d checked Trip Ad­vi­sor for cur­ries in Queen­stown, and Spice Room had come out with top points. As men­tioned, the ser­vice was ex­cep­tional. If you can learn a bit through the act of nar­row­ing down your selec­tions based on the ex­per­tise of­fered through your waiter, then that is a good sign and will add to your gen­eral din­ing prow­ess. Now I can im­press din­ing bud­dies with my newly gained insight into the world of In­dian spices, some of their prop­er­ties and ef­fects on the pal­lette. So top score here.


The Spice Room isn’t par­tic­u­larly lav­ish, or doesn’t even ap­pear to have had too much thought put into the decor, or at­mos­phere. Th­ese guys seem to be about curry, ex­pertly done with lots of ef­fort put into cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tion dur­ing the or­der­ing process, so is pretty much a blank can­vas on at­mos­phere. This is not to say it couldn’t be im­proved upon. A quick makeover and a bit of thought into at­mos­phere could re­ally ce­ment th­ese guys as the ‘go to’ place in Queen­stown for curry.


Go get your curry from The Spice Room. It’ll warm you up and give you a good dose of spice - all the things a good curry’s sup­posed to do.

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