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



  • Mall Chicken 65 <-Insert interrobang here

    I can't think of anything I'd rather eat before hitting up Hot Topic. Kinda interesting if you're shopping for Indian food trivia:

  • Am I crazy or is there one of those in Grand Central?

  • @steve I was wondering where you picked up your pre-ripped fishnets!

    @Zach, you are quite correct. There is an Express there. I wonder how it compares. I am not that surprised that you were never tempted to try it out. Could be worth it though.

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    They are indeed pretty good, but I do have one complaint. They used to have signs all over advertising a “Happy Hour” where if you bought your lunch before noon they would give you a discount. I tried TWICE to get said discount, both times well before the appointed cutoff time, and was not given it. All of a sudden they couldn’t speak enough English to tell me why not…

  • I like the idea of an early lunch happy hour, too bad!

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    My friend Scott and I both tried the chicken tikka masala on your recommendation. SO delicious. My chicken wasn’t at all dry, and the sauce was great with the naan. I also got the chicken samosas which were underwhelming.

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    Back when I worked in Liberty Place, I used to go there frequently, often enough that the friendly man working there knew to get 2 samosas, 2 containers of chutney and a mango lassi ready when he saw me.

  • I remember trying this place out years ago when they had newly opened up. Good to see they’re still there (high turnover in Liberty Place) and that the food is still good.

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