2017 arrived and made us reminiscent of a recent Thai trip where we stuffed ourselves with gorgeous food. We had heard about Malaka Spice and wanted to try their varied menu of not only Thai but Burmese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malay cuisine – truly Pan Asian cuisine. What attracted was the fact that they serve a range of meats from Chicken, Mutton, Buff to Quail and Duck. Though we didn’t try too many items, but mostly liked the ones that helped us usher this year with a good hearty lunch.
Address: 1st Floor, Atria Building, Baner Road, Baner, Pune – 411045
Contact: 020 30162339
USP – Pan Asian cuisine, good starters, nice ambience
Malaka Spice is located a bit obscurely above an ATM and a few vacant stores. The entrance is quite sparsely lit but the corridor is lined with a few wonderful paintings and framed celebrity visits. It leads to a large hall, partially open aired with a well designed wrought iron divider.
I loved one of the walls with earthy red paint and a well-maintained terrarium which is rare in the city. It is quite cool and gives a calming feel on a hot summer afternoon. Since the area has no air-conditioning, I wouldn’t plan to visit on sweltering Pune afternoons, though.
Malaka Spice is filled with all kinds of people. We were there on a holiday, Sunday and witnessed customers ranging from college students to families and couples. It has a warm, vibrant ambience with smiling and well briefed waiters.
Here comes the interesting part, the only reason why we chose Malaka Spice to begin 2017 with. Reminiscent of a Thai trip last year, we were craving some hearty Tom Yum Kung (Prawn) soup. That’s the first item we jumped upon and ordered at Malaka Spice. We were definitely not happy with the portions but the soup kind of made up for it. The ingredients of Tom Yum soup are juicy prawns, galangal, kafir lime leaves and lemongrass, imparting an amazingly refreshing taste and flavour. I felt it was milder than the original Tom Yum Kung I had in Bangkok and wished for a better taste.
Choosing a starter was quite a challenge as the menu is varied with a lot of options in Chicken/Mutton/Quail/Buff. We had mutton Top Hats, a signature dish of the restaurant by Chef Cheeru. Top Hats are fried cups with a filling of mutton mince and garnished with bean sprouts microgreens. I think it was the highlight of our meal. Perfectly crisp on the outer side with a juicy filling and crunchy bean sprouts with a peanut sauce and a spicy sambal. Surely recommended when you visit Malaka Spice.
Moving on to main course and stir fry, we chose Curry Leaf Mutton, an unusual item to be included in the menu. The mutton was succulent and quite flavourful. But again, the portion was minimal and there wasn’t any side to accompany the item. We’d normally expect a little side of steamed rice or noodles with a stir fry but were disappointed this time.
Since we keep trying Phad Thai at different restaurants, it was high time choosing another flavourful item – Burmese Curry Noodles. It’s a paradigm shift from the usual dry noodles and was very filling, the portion just about right for the two of us. The noodles already arrived slathered in the curry, but there was a generous extra helping of curry with condiments like fried garlic, fried onions, lime, shallots and green chillies. I fell in love with this one and would surely go back for this.
What I didn’t like –
The portions were smallish for a couple
There was no side accompanying the stir fry
The lack of air conditioning, which might backfire in summer
A few items appeared a little overpriced
The waiters are friendly, know their craft and there’s not much slack in serving the food. Overall, satisfactory, I’d say.
My Rating: 3.5/5
Have you ever been here? Let me know how you liked it.
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