A2 at The Park Chennai just rolled out a new menu and we are in sushi heaven
Don’t teach a man to fish, teach him to pick the right fish on a complex sushi menu. A2’s new and eclectic roll out of choices, fortunately, has main man Ashutosh Nerlekar, executive chef of The Park Chennai, giving us the tasting tour. And, we are smitten — by the catch (on our plates of course) hopping from a Hamachi Sashimi to a Burrata chaat during a special degustation tasting of the new menu.
Komezu you are
Instead of soy sauce, our Hamachi arrives with a yellow mustard-komezu drizzle. Komezu for the uninitiated is rice vinegar, and the combination of the two serves up sharp hits of flavour that contrast like a rock ’n’ roll chorus post a delicate symphony. Now, add to that, a sprinkle of togarashi (a mix of red pepper, sesame seeds, nori and sugar) — and you are golden. Completely the opposite in terms of flavours, chef Ashutosh serves us an Everything Bagel-inspired nigiri (a hand-formed ball of rice with a slice of fish on top). Think smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and sesame — all in one creamy mouthful.
What follows, up next, is possibly our personal favourite on the list — a Negi Tempura Maki. The flecks of green in the rice roll make the core ingredient, spring onion, (negi) an easy guess. But plenty of intricate detailing goes into this ‘magic maki’ with a subtle crunch for texture.
The crunch, chef Ashutosh shares, comes from the spring onion which is fried in a tempura batter along with a spicy aioli, before it is rolled in. We then give the maki a generous dab of anegi tare (spring onion sauce) that has chopped spring onion, red chilli, salt and smoking hot olive oil — which has that spring onion really shine through.
Take a bao
Later, we dig into a moist Chicken Xiao Long Bao that arrives on a soup spoon, indicative of its soupy contents that we happily slurp up. Vegetarians can opt for the Mushroom melange and truffle baozi. Quick appetisers also include other cuisines with a twist like the Burrata chaat — a bajra crisp filled with green gram and caramelised figs and a hearty Mexican Bean Chilli Fondue with a side of nachos. Both wildly different in their flavour profiles, and a good break from sushi, although we certainly aren’t complaining!
From the ‘Big Eats’ section — we sample a plate of Chicken Teriyaki Donburi. A Donburi bowl (Japanese rice bowl) usually offers up a balanced meal of protein and vegetables and this one with steaming sticky rice paired with mildly sweet teriyaki glazed chicken, carrot tshuma and bright pops of green from the edamame — is warming and a good choice in this wet monsoon weather.
Crème you feel the love?
Just when we think we absolutely cannot manage dessert with bellies full, chef Ashutosh whips out a work of art. We crack open the Chocolate piñata (dome) to reveal creme anglais or pastry cream with stewed berries underneath... Vanilla creme brûlée on the side paired with a caramel sauce and almond chocolate snaps make us delight in each bite. And, the soft colour of lavender macarons pop right off the plate, sort of like our childlike glee at this point.
At A2, The Park Chennai. Meal for two INR 1,800 plus taxes.
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