Can get no satays-faction? Here are four new Asian takeaways in Chennai to try this weekend
You might need to postpone that trip to Bangkok because of the pandemic. But, entrepreneurs and chefs rolling out a spree of new Asian eateries promise plenty of novel and authentic flavours right here in Chennai. Apart from Thai curries and baos that are now commonplace, look out for Massaman curry, purple ube cake and Insta-worthy Vietnamese rolls.
Chef Mathangi Kumar is known for her prowess with South Asian cuisine. Just ask anyone who has tried her Mazemen — a brothless ramen at The Summer House Eatery. But it took a lockdown for her discover her love for noodles in particular. “One of the most comforting and soulful meals to me has always been some sort of a noodle dish. It can be a pasta, ramen or something as simple as my mum’s homemade sevai. My go-to meal after a long day at work or a bad day has always been a bowl of stringy food,” she shares. This is the inspiration behind Noodl Madras — a venture borne out of her home kitchen in Alwarpet, along with partner and friend David Aswathaman.
We tried her soft Sichuan Mala noodles tossed with spicy peanut-based chilli and black vinegar sauce. Top off with chopped scallions, Sichuan peppercorn spiced chilli oil and crisp soy meat (made with shiitake to give a meat-like texture) or salty chorizo for non-vegetarians. Also on the menu, look out for Bo Bun (a Vietnamese noodle salad) and Italian dishes like Lemon Spaghetti with mascarpone cream and crunchy hazelnuts.
A special mention must be made of the eco-friendly brown paper tubs these DIY assembly kits arrive in, complete with instructions encouraging you to plate a restaurant-style meal.
Delivery days are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, currently available only for dinner. Price: INR 300 to INR 450.
Ever since chef Ram Kumar’s visit to Bangkok last year, ideas have been brewing at Advantage Foods around how to make Thai street food more accessible. After restaurants like Benjarong and Vah Pho Asian Canteen catering to the high-end customer, head of operations Tarun Mahadevan tells us, “We wanted to shed light on Thai street food available in markets in both rural and urban parts of Thailand.” Enter their Grilled Chicken Satay and Tender Coconut Pudding with pandan sticky rice.
“As this food itself isn’t served in a fine dine setting, we thought it would be the best way to
formulate a delivery-only brand focusing on street eats from Thailand.” And hence the name Phuket Street. Started early this February, some of our favourites post tasting are the Pineapple Chicken Rice with a subtle sweetness laced through alongside chicken with cashew nuts and a Flat Noodles with Minced Beef in a delicious black bean sauce. As expected, one of the fastest movers on the menu is the Thai Grilled Chicken.
Starters between INR 170 and INR 190. Meal boxes at INR 250 odd. Swap out chicken for prawns and the price of your box will touch INR 300.
Cafe de Bangkok
Cafe de Bangkok, a new 110-seater restaurant in Nandanam has been in the pipeline since December. Owned by Ratchadaporn Putchong, who was raised in Thailand and introduces herself quite simply as ‘Cake’ — the space is being run with the help of her brother Bee. Cute names apart, this duo promise to roll out authentic flavours from home — ranging from bubble teas, Thai curries and dumplings to items on Korea’s popular K-pop diet. We, however, are most excited by the promise of an Ube cake (known for its vivid purple colour from the purple yam) which has been making waves on social media for a while now. Opens August 3. Currently deliveries only. Price: INR 250 to INR 500.
Thaj’s Summer Rolls
Art meets food with these Instagrammable Vietnamese rolls by Shimra Wajit. The 25-year-old Fine Arts graduate and her sister Sana and mother Javadha Wajith, who has a love for cooking, have teamed up for this niche culinary outfit with three variants of rolls: chicken, prawn and vegetarian. “We love these at home and a craving for them during the lockdown led me into starting this,” she tells us, adding that they also have glocalised Shrimp Glass Noodle salads.
When our order arrives, we can’t help but snap a speedy reel of pictures before we dig in. Wrapped in transparent rice paper, myriad colours and shapes from the filling peek through as clearly as a kaleidoscope of design. Expect to find pink cabbage, carrots, lettuce and glass noodles in the mix. As you can tell, there is quite a bit of chewing involved. And we realise that the rolls by themselves are quite delicately flavoured and rely heavily on the dip with accents of tamarind and lemon — for a tangy bite. Order one or two days prior. Takeaway or delivery. Box of six rolls: INR 400.