Lotus at The Park Chennai relaunches with an all-new Pan Asian menu
Expect cuisines that range from Indonesian and Vietnamese to Sri Lankan, Sichuan and more
Lotus at The Park Chennai just reopened after two years. And regulars will be surprised to note, it is no longer an exclusively Thai destination. Hoping to cater to a wider clientele with their relaunch, the culinary team led by executive chef Ashutosh Nerlekar have expanded its offerings by working on an all-new Pan Asian menu over the last several months. Look out for everything from a wholesome Indonesian-style Soto Ayam (a coconut milk broth with rice noodles, turmeric and bean sprouts) to Sliced Lamb with oyster chilli sauce, bok choy and snow peas.
Peas & pods
“The snow peas are on their way,” chef Ashutosh informs us, from their list of exotic imported ingredients. But other options woven into our degustation lunch tasting — like Sichuan peppercorns that lend flavour to a stir fried beef or a rather unique ‘black garlic’ from Nasik, Maharastra that we are told is incorporated in a platter of Wok-tossed vegetables with a coriander sauce for an element of ‘sweetness’. The latter is not on our tasting menu, but now that our curiosity has been piqued — we’re more drawn to the garlic than the vegetables. ‘How does the garlic taste by itself?’ we wonder out loud.
Chef Ashutosh whispers a quick word to the server on hand and we are soon treated to a generous number of ‘aged’ pods — that apparently you can pop into your mouth as easily as a grape! We do, after a quick sniff for good measure. Savoury and slightly sweet, the black garlic clove we are tasting is dried at the edges but its centre is gelatinous and almost chewy, much like a prune. The garlic might be black, but at the moment we‘re tickled pink!
Red hot chilli pepper
We move on to a Chilli Passion Martini with passion fruit pulp for a quick, refreshing sip. The cocktail is bright as sunshine, contrasted by two perfect dots of chilli oil atop and a striking red bird’s eye chilli on the rim to garnish. Other high points of our meal include the Sticky Hoisin Pork Ribs (fat and succulent, oozing flavour with every bite) and the Black Sticky Rice with lychee for dessert, a much-loved classic retained from signatures off the old menu. We also recommend you try what chef Ashutosh calls “the new kid on the block” — a Three Milk Green Tea Cake with an almond genoise and matcha cream. Moist with the goodness of condensed milk, we taste sweet bliss.
Meal for two at INR 3,000, excluding beverages.
Pics: Ashwin Prasath