The wrapper is an Indian bread called phulka, and the filling is chicken tikka masala. It's lounge food at the new Indian restaurant Spice Affair on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
Replacing Tanzore, with new owners and management, Spice Affair tweaks Indian food with contemporary and California touches. A wine list and innovative cocktails carry out its brand, "an Indian indulgence."
To the left of the taco is sev puri, stuffed with white peas and sprinkled with fine strands of sev, a fried Indian snack made from chickpea flour.
Then on to dinner in an elegant, quiet, dark room decorated in soft, earthy tones drawn from the subtle colors of Indian spices. Quiet means no sitar music, and no incense or Ganesh figures.
Start with tandoor-grilled marinated artichoke hearts (left). At the right you can barely see a mixture of duck meat and dates on a bit of Indian bread that is as seductive an appetizer as you can find. In the center is a plate decoration, not something to eat.
There's everyday Indian vegetarian food too, like okra seasoned with garlic, onion, tomatoes, amchur (mango powder), cumin and red chili. And eggplant with caramelized onions and almonds.
The eggplant and okra are at the back of this plate. At the right are shrimp and scallops cooked Kerala style with coconut milk and curry leaves. At the bottom are South Indian black pepper shrimp. A spoonful of chicken biryani is at the left.
The menu--click here to see it-- was created by Anupam Bhatia, who also oversees the cocktail list, and chef Nimish Bhatia. The owners are Sonia Batra and Puneet Chandak, who have another Indian restaurant, Broadway Masala, in Redwood City. The menu there was also designed by Anupam Bhatia.