Indian Mall Food Is Kinda Delicious
Found in the food court of Liberty Place, the smells from Cafe Spice Express practically waft down the elevators. I decided to break my usual rules by checking out this (gasp!) mall food court that is part of a (gasp!!) chain. After my meal at Bumblefish earlier this week, maybe I am a chain lover now?
There are several combo specials, the chicken entree and veggie entree plus naan and rice seemed perfect ($7.15). There are also combos with just veggie entrees and a 3 entree option. The entrees are laid out in a steam table for you to examine before you choose.
The board listed some South Indian specials: chaat, uttapan, and 2 types of dosas on the special menu, and I most assuredly would have ordered all of them, but they didn’t have them available. The very sweet staff explained there isn’t a big demand for those items. But they did have some fried appetizers that I really couldn’t resist.
The lentil fritters, medhu wada, came as a duo for $2.95. They were light but a little greasy and came with a coconut chutney and a mildly spicy veggie sambal that was itself good enough to eat by the forkful.
Even spicier and less greasy were the potato patties, aloo tikki, that came a tangy plum dipping sauce and a soothing yogurt sauce. I can handle a bit of grease now and then; I think I preferred the lentil fritters.
The chicken tikka came in a buttery, medium spicy tikka sauce that definitely deserved to be served on something other than Styrofoam. The chicken pieces were a little dry, but it didn’t ruin it.
The vegetable vindaloo looked like a hot mess, but the chunks of peas, cauliflower, and green beans melted into -dare I say fragrant about mall food?- yes, the fragrant sauce they came in. The basamati rice and naan soaked up both sauces nicely.
A mango lassi for only $2.50? Sure, why not. It wasn’t too sweet, and it served to cut the heat a bit.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Quick, good tasting Indian food with some heat
- The combos are a good deal
- Snacky things available if you want to add some more to your lunch
- Helpful staff
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Not quite authentic Indian fare over here
- Mall food courts turn me off
- Don’t tease me with the possibility of dosas!
- Some appetizers are a little greasy
Cafe Spice Express, Liberty Place 1625 Chestnut (btw 16th and 17th St), 215 496 9580