MadrAsian, Chennai's latest Asian restaurant has sustainable interiors and food we cannot stop gushing about
With favourites ranging from laksa and bibimbap to classic chicken satay, MadrAsian serves up Asia on a plate
The search for Asian cuisine in a casual dining space led us to Besant Nagar, where we discovered a quaint 38-cover restaurant, MadrAsian, located right above Amadora. Predictably, the owners Satish Rajasingam and Nikitha Selvakumar are huge fans of the city and Asian cuisine, which is reflected in their name. But what makes MadrAsian different from just another Asian joint, is not only that it is one of the few casual diners in the area specialising in their cuisine, but it is also one of the very few joints in the city that has a stringent sustainable policy — not just in terms of their décor, but when it comes to their food too. Where else would you find restaurants encouraging diners to bring their own boxes to take home leftovers?
The décor of the restaurant is reflective of the duo’s vision. “We initially got a decorator in place to do the interiors, but they dropped out in the last minute. So my partner Nikita and I hired carpenters, bamboo weavers, wall painters and other local vendors ourselves and decided to go green with our interiors,” says Satish, who was previously in the food business, having been an F&B manager and one of the key people behind the launch of the South Indian restaurant, Savya Rasa, in Pune. Sure enough, the bamboo cane chairs, wooden tables, cutlery from Auroville, the bamboo lights and even the wooden pots (shaped like pineapples) look hand-crafted, lending it a unique touch. Colours are added to the largely brownish interiors courtesy the painted walls, throw cushions and showpieces that adorn the separator shelves.
The menu, thankfully, has familiar Asian dishes — a conscious choice Satish informs us, simply because the recall value and popularity of these dishes are high. We begin with an aromatic Vietnamese pho soup (available in veg and chicken) — room temperature with slightly overpowering flavours. Disappointed, we hope the starters fare better. The Crispy Corn sprinkled with Oriental seasoning is great, but the Crispy Lotus Stem Honey Chilli is what packs a punch, in terms of both flavour and crunch. Ramen Salad tossed with their signature dressing is overloaded with three kinds of peppers, carrots and assorted veggies, but the flavours work well. Our eyes, however, are set on the Chicken Satay, which doesn’t disappoint thanks to their peanut sauce that complements the perfectly grilled chicken.
For the entrées, we opt for the Thai Green Curry with Sticky Rice that ticks all our boxes — the curry is aromatic, and the coconut cream gravy adds a layer of richness to the dish. Next up, we try the Chicken Laksa, Satish’s personal favourite, and ours too we go on to admit. The Peranakan noodles — dunked in a bowl of spicy coconutty soup and served with a boiled egg, smells as good as it looks. The Korean Bibimbap is a happy mix of rice and veggies (chicken is available) topped with gochujang and egg served sunny side up, which when cut, blends as a sauce for the entire dish. Another favourite was the Malaysian-inspired Roti Jala — pancake-like lacy sweet rotis served with a potato gravy, much reminiscent of our desi kurma. The one-and-a-half-month-old restaurant does not serve beverages or dessert yet, so we grabbed scoops of Amadora’s salted caramel ice cream on our way out, for the cab ride home.
Meal for two Rs 800 plus taxes.