Herbs and Spice

Herbs and Spice has come a long way, baby. Maybe not in terms of distance – it’s still in Indiranagar, a few “mains” and “crosses” closer to the (old) airport road flyover. Certainly in terms of space, style, and substance though. You no longer have to navigate through cramped little by-lanes to get there and then argue with hirsute taxi drivers in white safari suits who appropriate all the parking space on the road for themselves. Nor are you forced to walk from your table to stand and stare at the blackboard menu, thereby revealing your myopia – and perhaps your age – to the entire restaurant.

Recently the restaurant shifted to a terrace at the junction of 12th Main and 80ft. Road in Indiranagar, above the Planet M store. Grouse #1: the reason you no longer have to argue with hirsute cab drivers about parking is that there isn’t any to be had. None. Nada. Three choices: you can a) park on 12th Main, if you’re lucky; b) turn right at the bottom of 12th Main, drive past the restaurant, look for a construction site shielded by tin sheeting on your right, make a deft U-turn against oncoming traffic, force your car up the 4″ sidewalk and park adjacent to the aforementioned tin sheeting (this is what the restaurant management recommends); or c) take an autorickshaw (this is what I recommend).

A Spacious New Look

A Spacious, Al Fresco Look

The restaurant is soothing. It’s an open courtyard fringed by wooden tables, cushioned benches and chairs. Sitting in the shade of the tiled roof, you can see the sky, feel the breeze. The open center features a young ficus as a centerpiece and creepers that will cool the restaurant in summer. Hurrah #1: the earlier, “a-garage-is-all-I-can-afford-and-I-make-no-apologies-for-that” theme has been replaced by a simple and refreshing, yet somehow more sophisticated look. Oversized olive lampshades overhang each table. You could almost imagine yourself somewhere in the Mediterranean (if it weren’t for grouse #2, the music, a confusing medley of U2, Abba, and other assorted artistes from the 60s, 70s and 80s).


Herbs and Spice's Bread Basket

Herbs and Spice has dispensed with the blackboard in favor of a printed menu in a very classy brown folio. Hurrah #2 and #3: they still change the menu frequently and it’s available online each day (the prawn ravioli my son liked so much last time we were here had been replaced today by a three-mushroom ravioli that a guy at the next table summed up in three words: “Yummy. Yummy. Yummmmmmy.”) They also still serve a delish bread basket with olive oil, or, should you prefer it, pats of herb butter.

We began our meal today with a salad of Serrano Ham and Melon, something neither The Spouse nor I can resist. It was good – even if the ham wasn’t anywhere near as good other Serranos I’ve tasted, even if the ratio of ham to melon wasn’t nearly enough (when is it ever? Sigh), and even though I want to go back to Spain every time I eat Jamon Serrano anywhere else, I’d give this a 7 on 10.

Four Cheese Pizza

Four Cheese Pizza

I then chose a Four-Cheese Pizza, and The Spouse went (forgive me my pun) whole hog, ordering a Chargrilled Gammon Steak. I’ve always liked the Herbs and Spice pizzas, and today was no exception. My pizza came topped with Bleu, goat, Comte, and Mozzarella cheeses, a delicious, full-bodied tomato sauce, and several strategically placed basil leaves. The crust was thin and what I call “rustic” – not perfectly shaped, not perfectly even. The cheese was generous, but not so loaded that you ended up feeling sick.

Chargrilled Gammon Steak

Chargrilled Gammon Steak

Which brings me to The Spouse. He pigged out (I’m sorry, someone tickled my punny bone today) on his gammon, declaring it at first “done to perfection” and then lamenting over some “overdone bits” (um, that’d be the “char” in “chargrilled”, my love.) Give me charred gammon over underdone any day… while I like my steak rare, gammon is meant to be cooked. The mashed potatoes were ordinary, no magic there, but the barbecue sauce livened it up considerably, and The Spouse licked the plate clean. A good thing too, when you consider the price of veggies today – I’d have hated to see Manjit, the restaurant owner, being reduced to a quivering, weeping mess if he had been forced to scrape leftover potatoes into the trash.

Desserts, as always were scrumptious. Oh, by the way, you can now get Herbs and Spice desserts, quiches, and breads at Opus, and you can now hear Opus music here. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty cool for restaurateurs to collaborate instead of bitchin’ and gripin’ about each other, and for a live music venue to go online instead of bitchin’ and gripin’ about archaic laws and greedy cops. Way to go guys!

Herbs and Spice
39, 80 Feet Road,

Ph: 25290399

Closed on Mondays

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10 thoughts on “Herbs and Spice

  1. this makes me a bit nostalgic you know… if i remember right… you introduced me to Herbs… or was it the other way round? i also remember reading ajit saldhana’s review in the early days. i still remember this one time we went there and you asked that gorgeous mallu guy (Pankaj?) where he gets the zucchinis from in bangalore… and i think he said namdhari or something. anyway, i find the new furniture a bit tacky. (grey steel frames for the tables and chairs?!). but i love the place all the same. yeah yeah. excuse me for living. even boring old vegetarian me. the hubby is crazy about it too. i miss the blackboard menu though. even if it was mostly unchanged. 🙂

  2. EXcellent.
    Did you have to publish the photographs though, Suman? Severe salivation ensued . I now have to trek the long trip there, guided only by my sense of smell and righeousness of purpose. I will have to call ahead to Manjeet for the pork spare ribs though – they have it on request . I have fond memories of our last meal there – we tasted almost everything there was .

    Oh Happy days

  3. Hema: I dragged you to Herbs and Spice… Miss those looong conversations about life the universe and everything. I think that’s a big part of eating out – the conversation and the company!

    Priya: I know all too well how visual stimulation gets the tastebuds going… If there was some way to incorporate a “scratch and sniff” card, I would! I want people to eat their way to bliss and get off this whole “I’m too healthy to eat” trip.

  4. well then, let’s go to herbs and try doing one of those long lunch + rambling convo number sometime soon. you know, i am going to turn 30 this year. that’s as good a reason as any, considering i last met you when i was… hmmm… 24 i think!!

  5. I always thought it was “Spices”.

    Personally I liked the old location better; was nice and cosy.
    The blackboard menu was really cool and we’ve parked everything from Enfields to Esteems there with no trouble.

    Now, it’s like any other restaurant and more expensive.
    And zero parking as you mentioned.

    Btw, any idea how Spiga compares to Sunnys?
    For a connoisseur? 🙂
    I’ve already heard plenty from the yuppies.

  6. Shaurya: Herbs and SpiceS is a place in Whitefield. It confuses a lot of ppl. Spiga and Sunny’s = apples and oranges. Two different kettles of fish. I like both, on different occasions and for different reasons. Fodder for another post

  7. So it might be worth a shot.
    Will check it out.

    And I guess they’ve changed the name now to settle the dispute.

    I know of the other one.
    I think the names used to be the same.
    Manjeet, the proprietor of this one, had mentioned once years back that they were having a dispute with the other one over the name.

    Anyway, it’s apples to oranges here too.
    I can’t imagine anyone mixing the two up once they’ve been to both places 😀

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