I’M NOT particularly fond of this time of year. The leaves turn brown, the nights draw in and there’s a definite nip in the air.
I was in need of a pick-me-up to shake me out of my autumn blues. And The Spice Mill, in Aberdeen’s Grandholm Village, provided just that, offering a cosy dining experience despite the converted mill’s stunning, cavernous interior and modern decor.
The large menu was just as impressive – offering all the usual favourites and a huge selection of chef’s specials.
I started with the spiced lamb balls – nuggets of minced lamb, which were crunchy on the outside, but tender within.
Delicious, and with a definite chilli kick, I felt the heat of the dish perhaps overpowered the more subtle ginger and mint flavours.
It was a feast for the eyes too, accompanied by drizzles of vibrant red chilli and green mint sauces.
My mate started with the chicken chat, and was impressed by the diced chicken in a citrus and coriander sauce, served in a chapati.
I have to admit, I love Indian food but when it comes down to it I can be a bit of a wimp.
Whereas my mates will often go for the hottest options possible, I’m quite happy to sit back and plump for a milder option.
My thinking is, that I’ll taste the subtle spices of the dish better.
So for my main course I went for the mango murgh – tender chunks of chicken in a thick, fruity sauce – with keema pilau rice.
The sweet, rich mango sauce was perfectly balanced by a more acidic tomato flavour, and the melt-in-the-mouth mango slices made the dish shine.
Arriving on the table in separate parts – a sizzling dish with the meat and vegetables, a bowl of sauce and the main plate with its neat mound of pilau rice – my mate’s choice of lamb tikka certainly made an impact.
The small strips of lamb were cooked perfectly, lightly spiced, and came in an ample portion.
With plates emptied and hunger sated, we faced the biggest decision of all – dessert.
And what better way of cooling off after all that spice than ordering a kulfi, with my mate going for pistachio and me, well, again going for the mango option.
Delightfully cooling, the mango kulfi balanced creaminess and fruity sweetness in equal measure, and the pistachio had an almost praline flavour.
So, thoroughly spoiled by the fantastic food and colourful setting, we left the restaurant into the pleasant surroundings of Grandholm, and that autumn chill in the air seemed to have lost its bite. The Spice Mill ... there’s nothing run of the mill about it.