Curry On Casey! Dinner at Spice Affair

  • Great service
  • Fancy poppadums
  • Family friendly

For our first dinner out in 2020, the family and I decided to try Spice Affair in Casey. We invited my brother and sister in law and their toddler for an early dinner last Sunday.

Michael and I arrived with Milly and Baby Bel a little after 5pm and we were approached by a staff member. Despite not having a booking, the staff rustled up a table to fit all four adults and the three children, including a high chair. Although the place was empty when we arrived, the tables soon filled up, mostly with families and young children, and by 5.30pm, the place was half full.

Spice Affair is a shop front restaurant at Casey Marketplace. You enter from the outside, where there are a few tables for outdoor sitting, into a large square room. One side is all window, looking out onto the road and carpark, and on the left-hand side there is a large red and gold mural of the Taj Mahal and an elephant. The space is clean and simple, as you’d expect from a casual dining restaurant.

 

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Spice Affair in Casey

Once we were seated we were given a bowl of ‘fancy’ poppadums to nibble while we waited for the rest of our party and browsed the menu. The poppadums had been flavoured with caraway – it was lovely and delicate, and they were crisp and moorish.

Of course, before I started nibbling the poppadums, I asked the staff if they were gluten free and told them I was coeliac. The staff immediately confirmed they were gluten free and didn’t need any more information from me about my coeliac requirements. He was also very friendly, and patient with us, considering the chaos that accompanies eating out with children!

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Inside the restaurant

The menu is quite extensive, with plenty of options, including a banquet which was explained to us by the staff when he bought over the menus. They included a paragraph on the bottom page about dietary requirements stating they had gluten, halal, dairy and nut free options and to notify the chef. Everything was well labelled throughout, and there were plenty of gluten free options – as you’d expect from an Indian restaurant.

We decided to order a curry for each adult – lamb rogan josh, butter chicken and malai kofta with mild spiciness, and a medium spice beef madras – plus two large basmati rice, a peshawari naan and two garlic cheese naan for the gluten-abled eaters. We also ordered mango lassis for the adults and a rose lassi for Milly!

Our drinks came out promptly. The mango lassis were sweet and had a good texture – they were not super thick or yoghurty. I can’t say I‘m a huge fan of rose lassi’s because they’re too floral and perfumed but I did try a tiny sample of Milly’s drink and it was ok. Milly liked it at least!

Our food was quick to follow the drinks and came out after roughly 10 minutes. Once we had our dishes, the parents all launched into a flurry of activity feeding children! It was pretty intense trying to coax food into the kids, hold a conversation, eat myself and get snaps of the food!

Once I had finished feeding Baby Bel, I was able to test the curries out. The lamb in the rogan josh was very tender and falling apart. There was a tiny hint of spice in it but it was very mild, and the tomato sauce was well balanced – neither too tart or too sweet.

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Left to right: Lamb rojan josh and butter chicken

Butter chicken is a staple of any Indian restaurant and a favourite of mine. Our butter chicken had nice big chunks of chicken in it, and heaps of the sweet, creamy, vibrantly red sauce. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering but you couldn’t really taste much else beyond the sweetness.

The malai kofta was a vegetarian dish of potato and paneer dumplings in a korma sauce. This was the first time I’d tried malai kofta and I can’t say I’m a big fan. The dumplings were very dense and slightly sweet without much other flavour. The sauce wasn’t very flavourful either, other than being creamy. Either the sauce or the dumpling needed seasoning more too provide something a little less dull.

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Malai kofta

Our medium spice curry was a beef madras. I expected it to be a little spicier than it was but it was a tasty curry. The sauce had a sweet onion flavour and a mix of spices. The beef was nice and tender however, in my last mouthful, I found a bit of gristle and there’s no worse way to end a meal!

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Beef madras

For the gluten-abled, the naan bread was good – Michael said the cheese and garlic naan were a good combination and it was soft all over. It wasn’t as fancy as the poppadums and a touch undercooked but you’d only notice this if your wife was badgering you to review it for her blog!

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A view of the table

The Tripadviser reviews for Spice Affair are glowing so I had quite high expectations of the place. Overall, I was happy with our experience although I don’t know if it warranted the amazing reviews on this occasion.  It did what it said on the tin though – providing casual, family friendly Indian food. The service was very good, and they had a good knowledge of coeliac requirements so I didn’t feel uncomfortable at any point which is always a winner.

The food itself was good, despite some of it being a little dull and “gristlegate” but the price was a bit steep with the curries averaging about $20 each. All together the total cost was $126.60. We’ll return to Spice Affair for the friendly and efficient service!

 

Casey Market Town
8/15 Kingsland Parade Casey 2913
02 6170 3468
http://www.spiceaffaircanberra.com.au

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