I have never had dietary restrictions til dealing with expensive fertility treatments, so eating out has not been easy. It has allowed me to see what the typical health conscious Angeleno feels like when they dine out. No caffeine, no dairy (seriously, nothing tastes good without cheese), no alcohol, no coffee, no sushi, no acidic foods aka unpasteurized juices, you get the picture, my choices are limited. For the discerning Angeleno, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes can be found at pretty much most restaurants in LA, even with Indian food at Spice Affair.
A few weeks ago I tested out my new “LA-style eating” that I am not familiar with nor happy about on restaurant row in Beverly Hills. Spice Affair is a high-end Indian concept where you can splurge on yogurt marinated lobster tails grilled in the tandoor, Tandoori Artichoke Hearts, and Butter Chicken. The last time I devoured impressive Indian food was at a hip restaurant in Oslo, Norway called Der Peppern Gror and although I don’t dine on Indian food regularly in LA, I devoured Naan bread with chicken curries often when I lived in England because “having a curry” in England is just as common as having tea five times a day. Due the mass ‘Asian’ migration (Brits call people from India ‘Asians’), England flourished with the best Indian curry houses.
Thrilled to be back at this posh Indian affair on La Cienega, I had to sadly tell my favorite mango lassi drink to move over and my favorite chicken tiki masala, til next time! This dinner was about ordering unusual and new items for me. My first new dish called the Coco-li-flower was my favorite – crisp cauliflower in a creamy concoction of mustard seed and curry leaf scented coconut sauce. It was hard to believe this dish did not have cream or milk in it, but the sauce made the cauliflower almost taste like candy.
If you like spicy, the Curry Leaf Chicken is the dish for you – finished on a griddle with curry leaves and spices. Since my creamy milky options were limited, my garden affair turned to veggies and cooling my mouth off after the spicy chicken dish. The Sesame Eggplant, a sort of baby eggplant mush with caramelized onion, almonds, sesame, peanuts tamarind, and tomato was the next best move – served with rice and easily scooped up with the Laccha Paratha (a soft, flaky multilayered mint flatbread). The Chettinad Connection was another mouth-watering chicken dish that made my mouth drool and long for a Mango Lassi to calm down the Chettinad spice mix with a hint of coconut.
Spice Affair offers a non-traditional mixture of spices in traditional Indian dishes, as well as contemporary interpretations of California cuisine using traditional Indian spices. Packed with dinner guests, families, and large parties on a Wednesday evening, I may have been one of the only non-Indian customers around which is another reason you know this place is legit.
Come for Happy Hour, dinner, or champagne brunch on the weekends. A weekday lunch buffet is also available. Just remember to have a Mango Lassi on hand.
Spice Affair Indian Restaurant
50 N La Cienega Blvd #120
Beverly Hills, CA 90211