Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2019

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10 wholelifetimes.com Spice Affair Beverly Hills offers delicious food in a romantic, elegant, high-end setting. The Indian cuisine is presented in an opulent dining room lush with a gold and brown palette and glowing water sculptures. The cocktail lounge, with its glittery, lit-from-beneath bar sets the stage for perfect, old- school service in a spacious room. But as delightful and richly throw-back as the setting may be, that wouldn't mean much without terrific, aromatic cuisine. The restaurant lives up to its name with what's-not-to-love fare that features both expected and unexpected dishes that include a wide range of vegan and vegetarian options from start to finish. We began the meal with two beautifully prepared craft cocktails: the Lavender Basil Gimlet was smooth and cool without being sweet, a great play off the spicier dishes. My partner opted to dive right into the realm of spicy with a concoction of mango and habanero-infused vodka, cilantro, pineapple juice, and infused bitters called Habanero Infusion. We nibbled on naan bread which was airy and warm – the restaurant serves the bread in a variety of flavors including butter; olive and thyme; and garlic and chives. Kulcha is another bread option. Hearty potato and peas, onions and gorgonzola, or wild mushroom kulcha options make for a fine starter if you want to eschew an appetizer or simply want to linger over your cocktails. The restaurant also has a full and attractive wine list. Honestly, the drinks and the bread would have been enough to make me praise the restaurant, but vegans can't live by delicious drinks and bread alone – and Spice Affair has plenty of selections that delight veg-centered diners. We started with the Coco-Li Flower, a sweet but not cloying cauliflower appetizer coated in a tangy coconut sauce. Potato and peas samosa was surprisingly light, and another good, crisp starter. Love at first bite – that was how we felt about the Nadru Kofta, described on the menu as magical. The dish combines lotus root and walnut dumplings in a rich sauce; it's entirely unique, and like many of the dishes here, fragrant in aroma and taste. Also unique: the Chilgoza Cauliflower Broccoli Porial a rich mix of broccoli and cauliflower with pine nuts, coconut, mustard seed, and cumin ginger. The Panch Ratan Dal is a mix of five yellow lentils with cumin, ginger, and herbaceous asafoetida, from the parsley family. From tangy chickpeas to baby eggplants with nigella seed, the vegan menu offers a wide variety of different flavors; many vegetarian dishes also abound, from creamed spinach to black lentils, and a twist on the classic paneer with tomato and cream sauce. While delightful fruit is also available for dessert, we veered from the vegan to the vegetarian in tasting the house specialty, Gulabo, a rose petal-flavored homemade ice cream that danced with light, creamy flavor. The Mango Mango mousse was also highly recommended. So, just in time for Valentine's Day and spring flings, Spice Affair is at the ready to inspire love from vegans throughout LA. Spice Affair, 50 N. La Cienega, Beverly Hills. 310.400.6800. The restaurant has just added a second, smaller location in Century City. For more information on both spots, visit spice-affair.com. Seasoned for Vegan and Vegetarian Delights SPICE AFFAIR eat here now By Genie Davis Photos: Courtesy of Spice Affair

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