The Spice Club – One Minute With

The Spice Club. Manchester’s first underground restaurant/secret supper club serving up authentic Indian food and good times. Now if only they’d do one in Nottingham! For now I will just have to make do with ‘One Minute’….

The Spice Club Logo
The Spice Club Logo

Coffee or Masala chai?

This is a tough one… My Mum makes the best Cardamom Masala Chai, but
my Dad makes an amazing Madras coffee.  If it came to the crunch, and
I had to choose… I think it would be the chai (shhh… don’t tell my
Dad though!).

Limca or Thumbs up?

I’ve got to go for Limca. Ever since I was a little kid and we started
going to India every year, my Nanaji always gave me Limca.  Even now
when we go, he stocks up the bottles in the fridge to make sure I’m
kept well-refreshed!  There’s something about drinking soda out of a
glass bottle which is so much nicer than drinking from a plastic
bottle or a can.

Priyanka Chopra or Katrina Kaif?

Sorry to all of the Katrina lovers out there (ie. the male readers)
but doesn’t really do it for me. I love Priyanka in Dostana Fashion,
and Kaminey… I can’t think of any movies that Katrina has been in
that I actually like.

What gave you the idea for The Spice Club?

I became really passionate about cooking whilst doing my
degree in hospitality management over in the USA.  At the time, I also
got the opportunity to manage a couple of restaurants which I really
enjoyed, and fuelled the initial spark which made me want to own a
restaurant.  When I moved back to the UK, I was itching to get started
on something in the restaurant industry.  Although I didn’t have the
capital to open a restaurant, I had heard of people in the US
launching social dining clubs aka “supper clubs”.  I was surprised that I
couldn’t find any in Manchester and thought it would be a great way to
bring people together, showcase authentic Indian cuisine, and give me
the chance to (for want of a better phrase) test the appetite in the

You were featured on the hairy bikers show; how did that feel?!

The actual experience of being filmed was quite bizarre.  We had a
full camera and sound crew following us around for two full days while
we prepped for a live supper club and had to act (in the main) like
they weren’t there.  This may not sound hard, but when you’re trying
to pick out fresh coriander in your local Asian supermarket with the
crew following your every move, the aunties and uncles doing their
weekly shop certainly get intrigued!   Before the show came on air, I
have to say I was nervous about how we would come out on screen.
After I watched it, however, I felt relieved that it was a really well
put together show… and was touched by the volume of positive
messages we received from viewers around the country who were wishing
us well and wanting to find out more!

Monica - The Spice Club
Monica - The Spice Club

What essential Indian spices should anyone have in their cupboard?

This is a tough one, there are so many to choose from… HOWEVER… If
you want to create a capsule-spice-wardrobe to give you the right
seasonings for any dish… here’s what I would suggest… Paprika,
Garam Masala, Turmeric and Fresh Coriander (Herb). Honestly? That will
give you the basic palette to create pretty much any Indian dish.  You
only really need a few key ingredients to make a wide variety of tasty

If there was anyone that could dine at The Spice Club who
would it be and why?

There are a lot of people I look up to in the world of food, and it would be such an honour to be able to serve them.  People like Atul Kocchar (Michelin Starred Indian Chef),
Sanjeev Kapoor (The King of Indian TV Cooking!) and even UK favourites
like Jamie Oliver (who has really shown people that good food doesn’t
have to be complicated) and Gordon Ramsay (who is a true perfectionist
with cuisine).  As with any industry, having the opinions of your
peers and the people you respect can be a great motivator.  Closer to
home… I would love to invite my family from India to come to a
supper club.  I miss them a lot when I’m not with them, and I would
love to show them what we’re doing here (I’m always keeping them
updated with what we’re up to on email!)

You have had various different evenings of cuisine from South Indian to Punjabi to Vegetarian; which has been your favourite and why?

I don’t think I have a favourite per-se. The reason why we theme some of our supper clubs is to give our guests the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of Indian cusine.India is such a vast country and I love the fact that every region ofIndia has it’s own culture and speciality dishes. Indian food is so much more than just a “curry” and I’m just trying to spread that message!

Any plans to expand?

We started off in September 2010 hosting one event every month with just 8 guests. We now do 2-3 supper clubs every month serving 24 guests at a time.  I still work full time in a “9-5 job” but if I could make The Spice Club my full time job that would be a dream come true. Let’s see what happens..!

And finally, what are The Spice Clubs plans for 2012?

We recently launched our Spice Club Pop-Up Restaurant tour where we took our concept out of our usual secret location and transformed a cool empty ex Restaurant unit in Spinningfields (Manchester City Centre) into The Spice Club’s new home for 2 weeks. We met some lovely guests and received some fantastic feedback so we’re definitely looking to continue with our tour in 2012. We’re also very excited about starting our Indian cookery classes this month!

I’d like to thank Monica from The Spice Club for taking part in One Minute With! It’s been great reading about her experiences and hearing her thoughts. I wish Monica and The Spice Club all the best in the future.

Follow The Spice Club on Twitter

Visit their website 

View the Hairy Bikers Video

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