You know the saying, “Opposites attract”? I never believed it and could not understand how two people who are completely different could live together. That was all until I met S. If you know one of us, it is so very easy to know the other one without ever meeting them. You just have to remember that if I like something, S won’t and vice versa. Let me try to explain this better with an example.
I never enjoyed Asian food. I don’t think I would even go out with my friends if they decided to go for Chinese food. The only time I remember joining them was when I was 16 and had just entered Junior College or High School. A friend’s older sister kept raving about this teeny place in one of the lanes of Koregaon Park called Malaka Spice. The restaurant served South Asian food, which was not such a popular concept a few years ago, that made it a ‘must-try’ place. Koregaon Park was the most happening place to be and we decided to go and try this restaurant out. None of us really knew that much about Vietnamese food or Thai Food of Malay food at that time. We ended up ordering a bunch of things that did not really go well together and hated it! For the longest time I kept thinking that the restaurant served bad food, not once thinking that maybe we did not know what to order. I didn’t go to Malaka Spice for almost 6 years! Then I met S……..
S loves Asian food! He can polish off anything remotely Asian, sometimes even after eating dinner. His mom once told me that she would hide the bottle of soy sauce because he would love to pour it on everything. Back to 2 years ago, S was coming to Pune and I knew that I had to find a good Asian food restaurant otherwise he would think that the only restaurant I knew in Pune was Dario’s! After doing a lot of research online and talking to a bunch of people, I was convinced that the food at Malaka Spice was good and it was just us who couldn’t pair the food correctly.
We went to the new Malaka Spice, which had opened in place of a very popular nightclub ‘Lush’, in Lane 3. The atmosphere was wonderful! Lots of red paper lanterns, wrought iron furniture, very green and oh-so-cool. They do have an indoor seating as well but I have always enjoyed outdoor more. We took a table in a quiet spot and I decided to let S order. This time around, the food went together perfectly. I enjoyed all the flavors and I decided to bring it back from the “Never-go-again” list to the “Go-To” list for Asian food.
We went back many times again but we went last with my mom when we were in Pune. By now, we each have our favorites. We always start with the Vegetable DimSums, follow it with Pad Thai or any flat noodles, order some curry – either Red Curry or Penang Curry with herbed rice to end a super satisfactory meal. I have never had any space for dessert after eating all the yummy food and honestly, have never missed it.
The food tastes fresh, flavorful and is always served on time. The servers are well-trained and know how to pair food with alcohol. The vibe at the restaurant is very relaxed and it makes for a great place to meet with a large group of friends and enjoy a few drinks together. There is plenty of seating and the restaurant gets noisy only if you go for dinners over the weekends. I have had some hiccups here- once the rice was not cooked through and once they served us very foamy draught beers but both times, they made up for their mistakes. They could be more gracious and accepting of their mistakes but they have never been overly rude and have corrected the mistake without much arguing.
To sum it all up, this is a great place to try some authentic and very delicious South Asian food in Pune. I keep going back here and when I am in Pune, the first place I have to take my mom is here! For a wonderful ambience combined with good food, I give Malaka Spice a 4 on 5!
Restaurant Timings: 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Restaurant Contact: +91 8956938147