Uncommon Vietnamese flavours at food festival hosted by Vintage Asia, JW Marriott Kolkata
The heady aroma of Cong Sa aka lemongrass pervaded JW Marriott's Asian fine diner, Vintage Asia on the day we went for a taste of their upcoming Vietnamese Food Festival. Cong Sa, we learnt, is abundantly used in Vietnamese cuisine. The nine-day long festival that started from December 7 has some lesser-known dishes from the country that's known for its beaches, rivers and Buddhist pagodas.
The welcome drink was therapeutic with its Jasmine tea and lavender concoction, served with a dressing of lavender flower. A bowl of a scrumptious salad comprising banana blossom, roasted duck, fresh herbs, peanuts with a dash of sweet chilli dressing and fish sauce, led to an explosion one our taste buds. It was followed by a healthy bowl of Black Moss Prawn Soup. Black moss is known for its medicinal properties, and is a must in Vietnamese soups.
The Braised Fish with ginger, chilli and caramel sauce was served with heaps of finely chopped ginger. The bhetki had a sweet and sour taste and before we could polish it off, the Stir Fried Vegetables and Braised Chicken with a liberal dose of lemon grass was served at the table.
Rice in Vietnam is a much experimented staple, and the Crispy Sticky Rice with mushroom and peanut sauce was just proof of that. Served like a mini burger with a layer of veggies between the rice cakes, it's best had with a nutty condiment.
Chef Ly, the visiting chef from Vietnam, played around with the tofu and rustled up three distinct dishes with it – Deep Fried Vegetable Wanton, Stuffed Wild Mushroom in Tofu with Tomato Sauce, and Stir Fried Noodles with Green Vegetables and Tofu. The tofu added a creamy texture to the veg wantons, while the noodles were crisp, with slices of tofu mixed in them.
We ended the lunch with Coconut Agar Agar, a fabulously crafted dessert with a hint of mint. The subtle taste of coconut between the layers of the pink dessert makes you ponder about time passing by on its own pleasant course.
At Vintage Asia, JW Marriott. December 7-16, dinner: 7 pm to 11.45 pm; lunch on Saturday: 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm; brunch on Sunday (set menu): 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. `3,000 + tax per person.