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Oct 7, 2011 10:13 AM

Spice Affaire - Stamford, Anyone Tried?

Just learned of its existence, embedded in the Hampton Inn.

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  1. We ate at Spice Affaire tonight, using a "one entree free" coupon to give the place a tryout. It was a major disappointment, easily the weakest Indian restaurant in the area. To start out, they have no idea how to present the place. There's no sign on the exterior of the building, and you have to enter the hotel's main restaurant, Shelleys, to get there. Once inside, you realize that the two eateries basically overlap--we sat at what appeared to be the Indian portion, but were given menus for both. Very off-putting.

    The ambiance is bland hotel-style, with no Indian influence other than the recorded music. Service was just adequate. The food was mediocre to poor. The paratha was entirely tasteless--I usually can't keep my hands off Indian breads, but only had a bite of this. H's chicken saag arrived as lamb saag. It had taken so long between appetizers and mains that we couldn't wait for a redo and he just ate the lamb--five tiny cubes. (The waiter offered a free dessert with his apology, but we had no desire to try any more of their cooking and declined.) My chicken biryani was dry and tasteless (I had to salt it--the first time I'd ever needed to use salt in an Indian restaurant--and douse it heavily with raita to make it palatable), and of the fruits and nuts that are basic to this dish, I was able to locate exactly 2 raisins and one half-cashew. In general, there was just no depth of flavor and inadequate use of spices in all the dishes (ironic in light of the place's name).

    There was hardly anyone in Spice Affaire at prime dining time (and during a week when all the hotels in town were filled with power outage refugees). Given their lackluster food, out-of-the-way location and poor marketing (most people in town don't even know it exists), I give the place another few months before they have to throw in the towel. There are several good Indian options in Stamford and surrounding towns--there's no reason to dine at Spice Affaire