Premium lounge bar Wykiki offers authentic South East Asian flavours
WHAT have the gourmands of Kolkata always wanted? A street food mecca, offering a bevy of fast food specialities from all over South East Asia, which looks straight out of Instagram. That is not too much to ask for, and the brand new terrace lounge, Wykiki, is proof of this sentiment. The Pan Asian street food lounge is attempting to give you a taste of the exceptional local flavours across the continent, ranging from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market to the Hanoi alleys filled with Phohawkers. Located on the sixth floor of the City Centre 2, the 3,500 square feet space is the plushest culinary and lounging experience you can have in the city. As we walked up the wood-paneled floor leading up to fantastically designed glass cabanas, we noticed the entire area was lined with beautiful lily ponds, giving you a feel of the canal-side dining experience, so popular in the fine dining milieu. The semi-alfres-co-style setting is equipped with a live kitchen, a live bar and a seriously expansive open-air lounge, where you can literally dance the night away, with some Japanese Whiskey Sour.
The contemporary tropicality of Wykiki’s indoor dining area is the perfect accessory for its unassuming and stylish décor. An oversised potted plant is the first thing we spot as we enter one of the swanky cabanas, and pick up a menu. We should actually say menus, as there are three of them. The most happening one is definitely the small bites menu, replete with authentic Asian art; it actually tells you the specific origins of your order, the ingredients used, and even has informational boxes about making small talk in the local tongue. The executive chef of Wykiki, Ashis Rout has worked extensively across South Eastern Asia, and has explored a diverse range of artisanal culinary expertise before curating the menu. “You know how Delhi has Khaugalli, and every city has particular regions, famed for its native street food; we wanted to capture the same bona fide spirit for Wykiki by featuring the most authentic Asian street food dishes. We discovered a lot of specialities during our research, and have tried to re-create them for our menu,” he tells us. We were soon greeted by an Asian Daiquiri with rum and orange marmalade, and a whiskey sour, the latter being a constant for our entire lunch; we found a very non-pretentiously plated pork spare ribs waiting for us as we sat down. The pork, was a masterful preparation, pleasantly seasoned with sesame and paprika and an ever-so-slightly crunchy texture. We loved how it wasn’t overbearingly slathered with sauce, allowing us to savour the meat’s own taste. The basket of Gold Dusted Dark & Handsome Chicken Dim Sum however, was the show-stealer of our table; we were quite taken aback when we removed the wicker lid to discover coal black dumplings! Chef Rout revealed that the base was actually made with dehydrated beetroots and wheat starch, and the dim sums were garnished with 24K gold dust. If you’re loyal to clear-wrapped, light dumplings this number may not be your thing; it’s much more indulgent with its taste and is quite intense on the pepper.
Next on our menu was an exotic and spicy Whistling Chicken, tossed with a summery mélange of veggies and Thai spices; it made for an an explosion of Oriental flavours in our mouths. We would have stuck with the chicken if the staff hadn’t put down a piping hot bowl of Laksa in front of us, accompanie with a basket of Crackling Prawns. Laksa is a popular Peranakan noodle soup, traditionally consisting of protein and veggies, and is a raging bestseller in the streets of Malaysia and Singapore. Wykiki’s Laksa is a rather sophisticated entrée dish, simmered to perfection, and wonderfully garnished with a gigantic prawn, shredded chicken, chunks of egg and noodles. The soup was generously seasoned with all the essential Malay condiments, like galangal, kaffir lime, turmeric and chillies. We had decided to save the best for the last, so we finally helped ourselves to some mojito and the gorgeous plate of Jimbaran style tiger prawns, which is a grilled prawn dish you find on the beaches of Bali; Wykiki’s rendition had a scrumptious summer salsa relish, which gave the prawns a saucier twist.