The Spice Club is a restaurant serving Indian cuisine. My dining companion and I had been here when the restaurant first opened about eighteen months ago. It was managed by a different owner, and the food was incredible, unlike any I had had at most Indian restaurants. Unfortunately that owner’s expertise was in IT, and the restaurant didn’t last long. It was taken over by one of the owners of India’s Grill in Fort Myers, Dilip Bare. He comes from a family with about 15 years of restaurant experience in Florida, operating six restaurants statewide.
Having had a very favorable personal opinion on India’s Grill online last year, the owners invited my dining companion and I to try out their latest restaurant. The generosity of the present owners is noteworthy as our food was given to us gratis.
The interior of the restaurant is commodious and can accommodate many diners if need be. We came here about 7PM on a Saturday night in July.
The first thing ordered were the papadum (a thin, crisp, disc-shaped food), which can be described as Indian potato chips. They are a very thin disk made often from ground lentil flour, dried, and fried until puffed up.
The papadum were served (counter clockwise) with onion chutney, tamarind and mint sauces. This was an excellent Amuse-bouche and I must say, a triumvirate of deliciousness. Most highly recommended.
After a thorough study of their Menu, here is what we sampled that day. I thought a vegetarian and non-vegetarian starter appropriate for a review. We tried the vegetable somosas, which are actually vegan. One complaint from vegan diners locally is a modicum of choices featuring vegan cuisine. I think Spice Club is most accommodating to vegan dietary considerations, an oasis of vegan dining in a desert of local choices.
Somosas are fried dough shells filled, at the restaurant, with potatoes, green peas and spices that include cumin, cilantro and that blended Indian spice, garam masala. They were very good.
Even better was the non-vegetarian lamb pepper fry. This was excellent, with very tenderized lamb coated in garam masala, coriander, chili, cardamom, curry leaves and other spices then cooked in coconut oil. Curry leaves are interesting Botanically, and part of their flavor comes from the compound that gives cinnamon it’s unique taste. It was really good, the sweetness of the lamb melding perfectly with the slight bitterness of the seasonings used here. Again, most highly recommended.
Our served suggested a bread to go with our entrees. We opted for the chicken tikka nan.
Chicken tikka is basically boneless chicken cooked in a tandoori (clay) oven brushed with clarified butter (ghee). This is incorporated into the nan dough and the bread cooked in a clay oven. It was good and a great accompaniment to our mains.
The first thing brought to the table was the mango shrimp. This was incredible, unlike any Indian dish I had ordered before. Shrimp are sauteed, and combined into a sauce of mango pulp, onion, garlic paste, ginger, mustard seeds, coconut milk in addition to other spices. The sweetness of the mangoes and coconut milk melded perfectly with the seafood here. Another most highly recommended dish.
The next dish was the goat shahi korma. Another most highly recommended dish.
Shahi means regal in Indian, and this dish truly is. Korma is a dish that in this case, incorporates almond and cashew paste, heavy cream, and vegetables. This was another incredible entree. Please order this if you go to Spice Club. It, as the mango shrimp, will not disappoint.
To round out our meal we tried another vegan item, the yellow dal fry. This is basically a lentil curry soup to be plated over rice. It can have garlic, ginger, chilies, tomatoes, onions, coriander, cumin and turmeric. It was good, to be sure, but if ordered again I think I would get a bit more heat. After all these delicious meat dishes I think the dal fry needed to be buttressed by a bit of heat.
I do not have a sweet tooth but my dining companion does. As such, we sampled two of the dessert offerings.
The first was that classical Indian dessert, gulab jamun. Here milk is condensed, mixed with flour and fried. The typical presentations are fried spheres. These are served with a simple syrup flavored with cardamon and rose water. Slivered almonds sealed the deal. Again, most highly recommended.
The last dessert was gajar halwa, or sweetened ground carrots. Shredded carrots are cooked and combined with milk, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, saffron, cardamom and raisins. It was very different; unlike any western dessert but very good.
The food at Spice Club is excellent. Much thought has been put into quality ingredients and ample care into the restaurant’s preparation of food. I think there is something here for everybody, vegan, vegetarian or carnivore.
I hope readers will dine here, Spice Club will not disappoint. Should you just want a toe hold on all this deliciousness, a lunch buffet is served daily from 1130 AM to 3 PM. If I were you, I would just dive in and go for dinner. This is one of the better restaurants in our area.
It’s a wrap for another post on Forks.
18011 S. Tamiami Tr.
Fort Myers, FL 33967
Lunch buffet daily: 1130AM to 3PM; Dinner daily: 5-930PM; All major credit cards accepted.