It’s funny that I eat more Indian food in San Diego than I do in Orange County. Last year, I had a fabulous Divali meal in the Gaslamp and now, another delicious Indian spot in the Pacific Beach (PB) area of San Diego.
Spice Lounge is a small cozy place with very alluring decor. The red hued theme is paired with modern Indian-style knick-knacks and you can sit in the lounge-y area or at the tables depending on whether you’re here for drinks and appetizers, or a full-on meal.
The menu offers a wide range of items which appealed to me, as well as some dishes I’ve never tasted before, such as Bhel Puri ($5.95). Generally eaten as a snack, this street food comprises puffed rice, tiny bits of potatoes, onions, wafers and crisp noodles mixed with chutney, cilantro and red onions. My son couldn’t stop eating it. The flavors were tart and refreshing, basically, a great way to whet your appetite.
I’ve always loved pakoras so Chicken Pakora ($4.95) was in order. White chicken is marinated and battered in a chickpea coating and fried. Light and tender, these are the best type of “chicken tenders” ever. The accompanying tamarind chutney was beautifully sweet and sour and made in-house.
I am a huge fan of chicken wings and Spice Wings ($4.95) are kind of tandoori wings if you will, marinated in yogurt and spices then roasted in the tandoori clay oven and served with mint chutney. I could have eaten another order of these luscious and tender wings packed with flavor.
Lamb Naan ($6.95) was a different take on the regular naan I’m accustomed to and makes for a great appetizer to share. Ground lamb, finely chopped onions and cilantro are stuffed into a homemade naan and baked in the tandoori oven. The meat is seasoned well and very savory. The mango chutney it is served with is absolutely delicious and would go well with so many things — I’m thinking on a cheese plate!
I convinced them to let me take a photo of the tandoori oven, shown here with a naan being cooked, which we ate right after it was ready — incredible!
I’ve always ordered Vindaloo because of its spicy nature. This time we ordered chicken ($11.95) but it’s not too hot or too tart. A zesty curry sauce cooked with tomatoes, onions, potatoes and infused with paprika, lime juice and tamarind chutney, it is light and unlike any vindaloo curries I’ve had before. My son couldn’t get enough of it!
The same goes for the Lamb Kebab ($13.95) which my son ate some of and then devoured the leftovers the next day. Lean ground lamb marinated in mint, onion, green chili and herbs are cooked in the tandoori oven. The meat is seasoned to perfection and very succulent.
My favorite, however, was the Dal Makhni ($7.95), an ideal vegetarian dish of mixed lentils simmered slowly with tomatoes, ginger, onions and spices.
I ate everything with a little bit of Achaar ($1.95) mixed Indian pickles made in house. I’d cut off a small piece of the pungent vegetables and eat it with a mouthful of whatever I was eating. SO GOOD! I wish they jarred it so I could buy it and take it home.
The Indian fare here is not heavy and did not leave me feeling like I needed a nap after. Everything is fresh and light both on the stomach and on the palate. I highly recommend going with friends and sharing everything!
859 Hornblend Avenue
San Diego, CA 92109
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