Spice Indian Grill

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Spice exterior

I would think that Spice Indian Grill would be quite popular with grad students. First, there’s its proximity to the UCF main campus. And second, the food is quite affordable, especially the lunch buffet. Thinking back to my days as a starving grad student, I might have “splurged” once a week on a feast like the one served at Spice and felt full and stated for several days after. I probably wouldn’t have been hungry enough the next day to eat the Pop Tart that had become a daily regimen.

And that the food at Spice is good is all the more reason to recommend it, and not just for students on a food budget.

The restaurant is in a strip mall across Alafaya Trail from the campus. It’s a neat and tidy two-room space that at lunch times featured the requisite buffet, which hear is set up in the back of the main dining room.

Spice buffet

Several chafing dishes of hammered antiqued metal are arrayed on a granite counter. You’ll find Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Kheema Mutter, Chicken Biriyani as well as some unchickend dishes, such as Mutter Paneer, Yellow Dal Fry, Cabbage Potatoes, Vegetable Biriyani, Basmati Rice and Butter Naan. The station is kept kempt and well stocked and all items are identified.

Spice plate

My favorite was the Mutter Paneer, also known as mattar paneer, a Northern India vegetarian dish that features cubes of paneer cheese with peas in a tomatoey sauce. The seasonings were even but forward. I should mention that nothing I tasted on the buffet came even close to being spicy-hot, not even the onion chutney that was served next to the salad. (No papadum was offered.)

Spice kheema

The Chicken Kheema Mutter, a Mughal dish, has the meat finely minced.

The Tikka Masala was also good, but I found myself enjoying the vegetarian options, such as the spiced chickpea salad, more. But the assorted vegetable pakoras were limp and uninteresting.

Spice golab

For dessert there was a tureen of Gulab Jamun balls floating in syrup.

I would have liked to see some meat options other than chicken – lamb would have been nice – but that might have affected the $9.95 cost. And you know how we students prefer a bargain.

Spice Indian Grill is at 4498 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 321-732-3110.