Spice Affair is a new Indian restaurant opened in Donald in the space that was filled for several years by Dhoom Indian restaurant. Dhoom was one of my earlier reviews, but I had heard that it had gone down in quality in subsequent years, and a change in ownership hadn’t reversed that. My one visit after the change of ownership seemed to bear that out.
So, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled over the last few months for the opening of Spice Affair.
Spice Affair Buffet Lunch
My first visit to Spice Affair came at lunchtime. The first thing I noticed on walking in was that some of the interior walls had been removed and there was one larger open space as opposed to two or more smaller spaces. The second thing that caught my eye was that lunch was buffet only. I enjoy a good all-you-can eat buffet, so that didn’t really faze me.
The Spice Affair buffet is small than the one previously offered by Dhoom, but not by a lot. There may be one fewer meat item and one or two fewer vegetarian items, but there are still several to choose from.
On the whole, the buffet is nothing spectacular. The lamb curry was the one item I tried that really stood out. It had a good spice to it and the lamb was plenty tender. Both the butter chicken and the tandoori chicken were on the dry side. None of the vegetable dishes were particularly remarkable.
For dessert I tried some Gulab Jamman. They were swimming in a very thin syrup, and I found that the syrup had so penetrated the pastry that it was mushy and rather unenjoyable.
I paid my second visit around supper time. I was the only person there when I arrived, but several people came in as I was eating. I was just leaving when a birthday party of about 20 arrived.
I ordered the Aloo Tikki appetizer to start with. Following it up with the Lamb Vindaloo. The Aloo Tikki comes with a small dish of Chana Masala, along with Tamarind sauce, Mint Chutney, and a carrot salad. The Aloo Tikki were good and crispy on the outside, with a good mixture of potatoes and vegetables in the middle. The sauces were all good, and the Malasa was quite excellent.
This put me into a mood of expectancy for the Vindaloo which is advertised as spicy on the menu. This was a disappointment. The lamb was tender, and there was plenty of it. However, Spice Affair appears to be the kind of restaurant where, when you order a spicy dish, you have to tell your server you want it spicy. Otherwise, as I did, you wind up with a dish that isn’t a whole lot beyond insipid as far as spiciness goes.
The Chai tea I ordered came in a small pot, not particularly worth the price.
Beyond that, the service is friendly and efficient. My water was refilled regularly and my dishes arrived at a pleasant place. All being said and done however, there are other Indian restaurants downtown that I would choose before Spice Affair.