Tuk Tuk Asia re-opens after two years with new additions, but good ol’ flavours
Going by the number of Oriental menus available in the city, today if there is one cuisine that Chennaiites cannot get enough of – it is Pan Asian. And Arasu Dennis the man behind seven resto-bars in town has honed in on the trend. “I have been meaning to venture into the food business for the longest time – and I felt with the new-found popularity of Asian menus, it was the right time to invest in one,” says Arasu who has forayed into proprietorship with Tuk Tuk Asia that opens its doors to diners today after being closed for two years.
Partnering with Kavita Chesetty who is known for her Cupcakes Amore and as one of the founders of Tuk Tuk Asia, Arasu has revamped the original space of 1,500 square feet in Alwarpet to fit in 25 seats, a Cupcakes Amore dessert counter, a Bain-Marie and of course, the kitchen. “I have been getting so many enquiries about Tuk Tuk Asia – so reviving it was expected,” says Kavita, adding that they were attempting to recreate the authentic street food flavours of Malaysia and Singapore here.
Through the fragrance of freshly made furniture and newly painted walls – we manage to lose ourselves in the piquant Tom Yum soup that warms us up with the heat of fresh galangal. As we fish out the plump prawns and broccoli florets, Kavita tells us that all their spices and condiments are fresh and the curry bases are made from scratch.
The starters are finger-licking good, literally – especially the soya glazed meats like the Beef Bulgogi and the Kung Pao Chicken that are sweet, sticky and spicy. The Prawn Toast, a new addition, is an instant hit, with prawn paste on narrow fingers of toast, crusted with sesame. The Chicken Satay surprises with a coarsely minced, just-made peanut dip – bringing in the typical textures and flavours of Malaysian street food. The deep fried Tuk Tuk Prawns smothered in crunchy noodles has us engaged till the Balinese fish arrives. Batter fried and nailing a 10 on the umami score sheet, this one floors us with the freshly chopped garnish of lemongrass.
The Thai Red Curry is delicate and flavoursome and we begin to understand what Kavita meant by her “authentic take on Pan Asian dishes”! The Char Kway Teow is an irresistible tangle of flat and yellow noodles, and had us scraping the last morsel off the plate. Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat another bite – the peanut butter cupcake jumped us with a gooey berry centre and the fudgy brownie was the grand finale from Cupcakes Amore. Kavita lets on that she has created two new desserts especially for the Asian menu – the Tapioca in coconut milk with fresh seasonal fruits and for the less adventurous, there is her lemon and ginger creme brulee – available from today. Obviously we will be back soon – now that we are privy to that information!
Bain-Marie lunch at Rs 275 onwards, meanwhile a meal for two at about Rs 700.