Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

Slice of Spice – 2 Soups, A Burger, A Biriyani, A Tikka and A Breast

It has not been long since the Slice of Spice franchise opened up an outlet in Kazhakuttom, quite near to where I live… So, having liked the food from their outlet in the Trivandrum City, this new place has become a regular place for me and my parents… So, I thought of giving an account of some of the dishes that I tried from here, some of which I hadn’t tried before even from the City outlet…

So, the place in Kazhakuttom is exactly at where the restaurant called Shalimaar used to be and they seem to have moved in to the property after Shalimaar closed down… This is a much bigger restaurant with seating across two floors and a bigger kitchen as well… Unlike the other branch, this one has a tie up with the Fun Stick franchise, which I guess they inherited from the management of Shalimaar… To be frank, I have never been to Shalimaar restaurant and so can’t comment of what has changed since SoS has moved in… However, just like the other branch, the place is absolutely spotless and shiny… The main change in the decor I could notice is the complete absence of the post-it notes on the walls and instead of the metal chair and white table, there are wooden furniture here… The menu card even though has the same content, they have given a different color to it, I guess to make the distinction… They are still in the early phase and so, many of the items listed in the menu are not available yet… The owner assures me however, that they all will become available very soon…

So, these are some of the items, more like favourites of mine and my dad’s… The two soups are what they call Mushroom Chicken Soup and their Smoked Chicken Ball Soup… Then there is the Al Ashrouf Burger, their Malabari Chicken Dum Biriyani, Ashrouf Tikka and ofcourse the Al Ashrouf Original Juicy Chicken Breast… These are basically what both me and my dad would recommend anyone who visits the place to try atleast once…

First, lets talk about the Mushroom Chicken Soup… This is by far one of my favourite soups and I end up having it every time I visit SoS… Basically its a soup made of Chicken and Mushrooms in a very flavourful broth made again with Chicken Stock and Mushrooms and along with it a generous topping of Egg White drop as can be seen in the pics below…

This soup appears to have equal parts of Chicken and Mushrooms making it taste incredibly rich with the flavours of both… The Egg ofcourse adds richness on it own to the broth… Now, I have had this soup before from the other branch of SoS but this one is very different to it, because in the other version there were a lot of pieces of vegetables in the soup, but here only chicken and mushroom are there… But the broth appears to have flavours of some vegetables as well, I guess used when preparing the chicken stock like Carrots, Scallions, Coriander Leaves, etc but here those flavours are vague because of the strong presence of the mushrooms… So, unless you like the taste of mushrooms like I do, you may not like this soup…

If you don’t like mushrooms but want a nice Chicken Soup, this next one is what I would recommend from the menu at this place… This one is called the Smoked Chicken Balls Soup… According to the waiter, this is a rich and thick Chicken soup made with Chicken meat balls that are cooked by smoking… As can be seen from the pics below, this one has a very generous topping of Egg White drop…

First of all the Chicken Broth in this soup is one of the most flavourful Chicken Broths I have ever had with an incredibly strong presence of the taste of Chicken and the seasonings… It came with two Chicken Meat Balls, both cooked well and as mentioned above and can be seen in the pics, quite a lot of Egg white in it along with Coriander Leaves as well… This is a favourite soup of my Dad and I too end up having it sometimes as a change from the Mushroom Chicken Soup…

Next up is a burger that I noticed in the menu here and the waiter informed me that theย  is a signature burger of SoS called the Al Ashrouf Burger… They have a few other burger options too but since the waiter recommended, I thought of giving it a try… So, this burger is basically a burger made using their signature Al Ashrouf Chicken… This burger does not have a patty as one would expect… But rather has pieces of Chicken that appeared to have been fried with their signature Al Ashrouf spice mix… Along with the chicken, there is Lettuce, Fried Egg, Cheese and Mayo in it… It is served as shown, with a couple of pieces of pickled veggies and a small cup of Tomato Ketchup…

First of, this is indeed a incredibly spicy burger with extra doses of the Al Ashrouf spice mix compared to usual… So, flavours are quite intense… Ofcourse you have the lettuce and fried egg which sort of mellows out the intensity, but still the burger is much more intense when compared to burgers at other places… What surprised me more than anything when having this burger is how well the Al Ashrouf flavours work with the Tomato Ketchup… I guess its because, the ketchup brings in some sweet and sour components which further help in balancing the spiciness of the Al Ashrouf chicken in the burger…

Even though my dad loved this burger to the core, I have three complaints regarding the one that I got… The first one is about the bun, which felt dry and disintegrated at the slightest touch… For me, a bun used in a burger has to be freshly baked and should be firm enough to hold the fillings together and also should be thin so that we won’t be overwhelmed by the bun when eating the burger… The second complaint is the use of Mayo in the burger… Instead, if this had been Cole Slaw, the flavours would’ve been better balanced but I guess the intensity of the spices coming thru is intended… I do miss the crunchiness of the fresh veggies in this burger… The third and last complaint is regarding the way the chicken has been cooked… Since its been clearly fried, as you can see from some of the pics, the bottom of the burger appears quite greasy… This is something I mentioned to the owner as well that instead of doing like this, a better idea would’ve been to make a patty with the Al Ashrouf spices or at the very least use a boneless breast piece grilled with the spices instead of it… Anyways the burger is indeed quite unique in terms of flavour profile and is a must try…

Next up is the Malabari Dum Biriyani… My experience with the Biriyani from the other branch of SoS hadn’t gone well and so I had been staying away from the Biriyani here as well, until one day, I saw it being served in my neighbouring table and it seemed to look good enough for me to want to try it… So, during the next visit, I decided to try and so, went for the same… They have both Chicken and Vegetarian versions of the Biriyani and I went for the Chicken version… It was served as shown in the pics below in a pot that clearly designed to mimic the earthen pots and along with it came a cup of Vegetable Raita and a piece of Pickled Lime…

It was abundantly clear that the biriyani was indeed a Dum Biriyani as the rice itself had the flavours of the Chicken and the masala, which tasted like the quintessential version of the garam masala thats typically used in a Malabari Biriyani, with the taste of the Ginger-Garlic paste coming thru along with the flavours of the Green Chillies, Cinnamon, Clove, Star Anise and Nutmeg over others… Then of-course, a very subtle fragrance of the Ghee used and of-course the Caramelised onions and the incredible fragrance of the small grain rice used which seemed to cut thru everything else… There were two pieces of Chicken in the Biriyani, one of which was cooked perfectly while the other appeared to have been overdone and was tough to cut into… Overall, this biriyani did remind me of the one that used be served at this place in Kazhakuttom called Dhariya which was famous for their Malabari style Biriyanis… Anyways, if you are a fan of Biriyanis then this should be one of the good options to have…

Along with the Biriyani, I had the Ashrouf Tikka as a side dish and I found it to be really good combination to have the two together… The Ashrouf Tikka is otherwise available as a starter in the menu… Essentially this is Chicken Tikka but made using a milder version of the Al Ashrouf spice mix instead of the classic Tikka masala… It is served with the spicy Mayo dip as shown in the pics below… When having with the Biriyani like I did, I would recommend that the Mayo be discarded as that doesn’t quite work with the Biriyani ๐Ÿ™‚

As can be seen from the pics above, a portion consists of 5 bite sized pieces… The Chicken was indeed cooked well and moist with the Al Ashrouf Spices and for some reason, I felt like the charred parts don’t taste good and so, I ended up cutting off those charred parts and the rest tasted really good for me… The Spicy Mayo and the Tandoori Salad works great with the Tikka Pieces but like I said before, if you having this as a side dish to the Biriyani, then its best to discard the Mayo… Altogether an incredibly flavourful lip-smackingly good Chicken Tikka that one must definitely try having when visiting SoS ๐Ÿ™‚

Last but not the least is the item that SoS is most famous for and that is the Al Ashrouf Chicken… For the most part, I had been staying away from Breast pieces simply because the leg pieces have much more flavourful meat in them and also the Chicken Breast is incredibly easy to overcook and the result can be quite unpleasant… However, this time, from here, instead of the leg piece, I thought of taking the risk and ordered for the Original Juicy Breast option… I was quite surprised at the result which can be seen in the pics below…

First of all, I was surprised at the size of this thing cause, unlike my previous experiences with Chicken Breast, this one turned out to be the biggest piece of Chicken Breast I have ever seen… To give you an idea, that piece’s thickness is very close to 1 inch… The piece was served with a small cup each of the Garlic Mayo and Spicy Mayo and some Tandoori Salad… There is an option of having Rice or any of the Breads with this, but I chose to have none of it… Regarding this taste, ofcourse the Al Ashrouf spices need no introduction… This “Original” version is the mildest option where you get a Sweet and Spicy taste, but its still not as mild as the Ashrouf Tikka that we saw above… The Chicken piece itself was cooked really well and it was indeed moist enough to be juicy like the name suggests… The combination of it with the garlic and spicy mayo worked well and so does the combination with the Tandoori Salad… Like I said before this is the item that SoS is famous for as their signature item… So, anybody who is visiting SoS for the first time, has to definitely try this…

On the overall, it is my personal observation that things that are available in this new branch of SoS actually tastes better than the other older branch in the city area… So, I guess once the full menu gets implemented, this new branch of SoS is all set to dominate the food scene in Kazhakuttom where there is a huge demand for the kind of food SoS is serving… Anyways, hoping for the best ๐Ÿ™‚

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