EAT­ING OUT

Au­then­tic cui­sine that dares to be dif­fer­ent

Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - LET’S PARTY - By Scott Beg­bie

Va­ri­ety is the Spice Dabba of life

at restau­rant

VA­RI­ETY is the spice of life – it’s a fine old say­ing and one which I take as a per­sonal chal­lenge to try as many dif­fer­ent curry places as pos­si­ble. So when Mrs B and I had a rare kid-free night I was de­lighted when my sug­ges­tion of Spice Dabba was met with: “Mmm, yes please”. Sitting above a record shop, the en­trance to this place looks more like the stairs up to a suite of Dick­en­sian of­fices. But the-easy-tomiss door leads into a warm, wel­com­ing space full of wooden chairs and ta­bles. Keep go­ing, (along a cor­ri­dor adorned with fam­ily pho­to­graphs) and the body of the kirk of­fers a big­ger, brighter and more vi­brant air. Mind you, where you sit is hardly the is­sue. Spice Dabba is about the food, not the decor. It prides it­self on serv­ing au­then­tic South In­dian fare that gives a true flavour of home-made food as en­joyed by In­dian fam­i­lies (which is why those fam­ily pho­tos are there). The menu is full of ex­otic dishes, such as uthap­pam and dosa (both styles of rice and lentil crepes) a world away from ko­r­mas and jal­frezis. We de­cided to share a kaima cut­let to get us go­ing and munched on popadoms while we waited for the dish to ar­rive. That’s when we dis­cov­ered the sweet chilli dip is in­sanely strong, but mad­den­ingly more-ish. The cut­lets them­selves were de­li­cious. Golf-ball sized bites of spiced lamb that were meaty and packed with more flavour than should be al­lowed. Think hag­gis frit­ters taken to a dif­fer­ent taste di­men­sion, es­pe­cially when dipped in the chilli sauce. That treat set us up nicely for our mains. We had de­cided to share a chicken masala dosa, chicken biriyani and spinach dhal. The dosa ar­rived with its huge crepe, lolling off the side of the plate, wrapped around a fair-sized dol­lop of chicken masala. The pan­cake was crispy at the ends, but spongier and tastier in the mid­dle. As per the ad­vice on the menu, we tore chunks off to scoop up the rich stew at its heart that was full of the ten­der chicken in a mouth-tin­gling sauce. Yummy. We al­ter­nated at­tacks on the dosa while get­ting stuck in about the biriyani, which lived up to its menu billing as a magnificent

culi­nary cre­ation. Who would have thought chicken and rice could taste like this? Shot through with spices, in­clud­ing the cin­na­mon-like cas­sia bark, it was a riot of flavours, all set off by the yo­ghurt raita and spicy peanut sauce that we scooped over the top. I got all ad­ven­tur­ous and started adding the spinach dhal into the mix too. But not be­fore I had tasted this mod­est lit­tle dish on its own first. It was creamy from the per­fectly cooked lentils, with the spinach bring­ing a re­fresh­ing fresh­ness to the party. Scented with cumin it also car­ried a fiercer kick than I ex­pected. I was eat­ing it by the spoon­ful. As I re­sisted the urge to lick the bowls clean, I was a happy bunny. I had been look­ing for fresh, au­then­tic, dif­fer­ent and won­der­ful. Spice Dabba had de­liv­ered.

I went to TGI Fri­days at the Queen’s Links and had their Jack Daniels cheese­burger. It was great value. Norna Duthie, 42, nurse, Fraserburgh The Red House in Cru­den Bay does amaz­ing black pud­ding pako­ras. They’re crispy and re­ally hit the spot. Donna Craw­ford, 40, hair­dresser, Peter­head I had a meal at the Hil­ton Tree­tops ho­tel. The melon and sor­bet starter was great. Con­nor McPher­son, 17, Bridge of Don Academy pupil, Balme­die

AD­DRESS:

North Dee­side Road, Peter­cul­ter OUR mixed starter (£11) was per­fect es­pe­cially the lovely spring rolls, which were packed to the brim. My Chengdu chicken (£8) was just amaz­ing, with the pi­quant sauce a real high­light, while The Boss’ Szechuan mixed veg­eta­bles (£5.50) went down a treat. The bill was £22.65.

STARTER Kaima cut­let

£4.99

MAIN Chicken Biriyani

£7.99 Chicken masala dosa

£6.99 Spinach dhal

£4.99

TO­TAL

With drinks, £34.14

SPICE DABBA AD­DRESS: 15 Bel­mont Street, Aberdeen. OPEN­ING TIMES:

Noon to 2pm, 5pm to 10pm, seven days.

FOOD:

Fresh and au­then­tic South In­dian fare that of­fers a dif­fer­ent taste of curry cui­sine.

Swift, at­ten­tive and very help­ful, es­pe­cially if you’re not fa­mil­iar with the menu.

Light and airy room with a cheer­ful buzz.

SER­VICE:

AT­MOS­PHERE:

WEL­COME: Lu­cie Baruirova and Kaima Cut­let.

TUCK­ING IN: Pat and Colin Har­ris en­joy a meal at Spice Dabba.

ALL SMILES: Lu­cie Baruirova, Zita Riedlova and Dave Cruick­shank.

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