Nasi and Mee opens their fourth restaurant in India at Kochi
Let’s get this out of the way. Nasi and Mee means rice and noodles and is drawn from various South-East Asian languages. When I first heard the name of this new diner, located right opposite Fashion Street near M G Road, I perceived it to be English and googled it.
A project of Singapore-based entrepreneur Ravi Nahappan, Nasi and Mee Asian Canteen has had their presence in India for three years with outlets in Bengaluru and Chennai and has won multiple-award from various media platforms.
The hassle-free spacious car parking area in front of the outlet on the second floor is just one of the reasons that would attract foodies. The cosy 80-cover dining area sports warm lighting and is casually furnished with prudence to accommodate small and big groups of diners.
“The idea is to bring the comfort food that I grew up eating to this city. South-East Asian fare perfectly reflects the migration of people as it has incorporated influences from other cuisines including Indian,” says Ravi, picking out the young coconut soda and lychee lime spritzer for me to try out.
You know a restaurant chain is serious about their craft when the welcome drink has prominent natural flavours as opposed to being a syrupy/sugary concoction.
Although their dim sums are famous in places like Bengaluru, I start off with some greens in a classic bok choy, tofu, and shiitake stir-fry. Distinct with crunchy and mushy textures, the dish is mild yet has umami characteristics.
“Even Kerala has a lot of people who were once living in Malaysia or Singapore, so we’re looking forward to customers who understand the flavour profile of the fare,” says the foodpreneur. There’s no skipping seafood being a Kochiite and the fiery grilled sambal prawn, I feel, will capture the attention of spice-loving Malayalis.
Executive chef Aravind Raja informs me that the mix of chillies also sports some Indian variants from Andhra. “We import 75 per cent of our ingredients for the most authentic experience, right from soya sauce to kaffir lime leaves,” explains the chef, who has been in the industry for two decades including stints with the Taj Group.
South Asians share their love for rice and here it comes in multiple avatars including phad krapao (stir-fried chicken seasoned with basil served with rice). I opt for a coconut-infused buttery lemak rice and pair it with Indonesian-origin chicken rendang and black pepper tenderloin.
The peppery beef preparation is my pick over the rendang’s overbearing lemongrass infusion. “We’re currently in the works on expanding to Mumbai in the next two months,” says the owner, but, I’m hardly listening, too preoccupied with a mouthful of fried ice cream coated with bread crumbs and grated coconut.
Open from 12-3 pm
and 7-10.30 pm.