Wowed in Wanaka

Butter ChickenWhat makes a meal rank as one of the best you’ve had?

Such that it forms your everlasting memory of a place, ahead of its spectacular scenery. You salivate every time you think about it. You dream about your next visit to that restaurant (even though it happens to be located halfway around the world). You recommend it to all your friends and family members.  And get excited when you come across someone, who has been there too, and shares your opinion about the food.

The taste? The ambience? The service? The company? The occasion?

At The Spice Room in Wanaka, New Zealand, it was a combination of all of the above. But the most important ingredient was that it was totally, completely, utterly unexpected.

One of the things we’ve learned across our travels… if you are ever looking for a meal at a time or on a day when most restaurants in small towns in many countries of the world are closed… you can depend on the trusty Chinese and Indian joints. Gourmet cuisine can’t be guaranteed… but you can find something to satisfy those hunger pangs.

So it was, that after having spent a day hiking around the gorgeous Lake Wanaka (there wasn’t anything else one could do in town that day), the best A and I could hope for was a decent dinner. At a restaurant which, our friendly hostess at Lake Wanaka Lodge informed us, had called to say that they be open on Christmas.

Imagine our delight then, on being treated to a charming ambience, warm and friendly service… and what I would rate as one of the best north Indian meals I have ever had. EVER. Anywhere in the world (Delhi included!).

So, if you ever happen to be in Wanaka, do check it out. The element of surprise may be missing… but the butter chicken, the bhuna ghosht and the handi biryani will surely wow you and leave you wanting more 🙂

P.S. Sadly, I don’t have photos of that meal. This one’s from Wikimedia Commons.