In a line: Pan-Asian food pop up by Chef Kuan Lai at Tamra, Shangri-La.
Price for two: Rs. 4000(approx)
Dates: Till 31st December (during lunch hours)
Location: Tamra, Shangri-La
Must haves: Tofu satay, crab rice paper roll, smoked mozzarella spring roll, laksa, nasi lemak.
Vibrancy in colours, flavours and textures, Asian food is an amalgamation of ingredients, which if combined in the right proportions, can get transformed into dishes that might appear petite, but can speak volumes.
Sweet, spicy, tangy, salty and sour, striking the right balance of flavours is the key in preparing the best of Pan-Asian delicacies, something that Chef Kuan Lai is well versed with. Bringing a piece of his culinary heritage to the capital, the ever smiling and witty Chef Kuan along with Sous Chef Whangeen is running a Pan-Asian pop up at Tamra, the award-winning multi-cuisine restaurant at Shangri-La, till the end of the year.
Bringing dishes from his native country of Malaysia, Chef has also included dishes from Vietnam, Thailand et al. To ensure that no palate goes unsatisfied, the spread has a variety of options, for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike. Hence, the notion of Pan-Asian cuisine being more pro-non-vegetarians can take a back seat at this pop up, as vegetarians enjoy options galore!
With plenty of options to explore at the beautiful spread at disposal, a few dishes clearly stood out from the rest, making them a personal favourite. After demolishing some chicken sui mai and vegetable dim sums, I hopped in to try the charcoal-grilled satays, that were paired with the quintessential sweet and chunky peanut dip. The chicken and lamb were perfectly done, but oddly enough, I thoroughly enjoyed fried tofu one, which resembled our humble paneer.
Post the Malay appetisers, I swiftly paved the way for Vietnamese rolls. Prepared with rice paper, the vegetarian Vietnamese roll would be healthier counterpart of the deep fried Crab rice paper roll that was generously filled with sweet crab meat. Speaking of deep fried, the spring rolls aren’t something that can be overlooked. Whether you’d like chicken or paneer, they’ll have it for you. I’d recommend you to try the smoked mozzarella and paneer spring rolls with sweet chilli dip. Unusual and yet, totally delicious.
Laksa, a beautiful bowl of noodles in a flavourful coconut milk-based broth, replete with spices and topped with shrimps, chicken and tofu, this hearty bowl is the dish that’ll be perfect for winters and would define comfort food for me. Even though noodles play an important role in Asian food, so does rice, and that was clearly the highlighted by the Chef in the mains. The simple Hainanese chicken comprised of chicken with skin that was steamed and served with jasmine rice which were cooked with chicken stock. The skin on the chicken helped keep the juices intact and hence, the result was moist and juicy morsels of chicken. The piece de resistance of the meal had to be the impeccable nasi lemak. A balanced meal in itself, the nasi lemak comprised of a bowl of jasmine rice, cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves, along with peanuts, boiled eggs, sambal, chicken rendang and Malaysian pickle, atchar. The crispy spu fried anchovies on top of the rice added the crunchy element in the dish, making it a texturally balanced dish, as well.
The ideology behind serving a dessert for every palate and every person was a noble move to make. For vegetarians and non-vegetarians, people who are okay with gluten and who’re not, people who are lactose intolerant and who’re not, people who can eat sugar and those who cannot, everyone can relish the beautiful chilled almond curd dessert by Chef Kuan. Almond curd set with agar agar topped with ginko nut and goji berries, with sweetness coming from the lychee blossom honey, this is one dessert that everyone should look forward to.
Overall, the Pan-Asian Pop Up at Tamra, Shangri-La is an experience that every Asian food lover should pay a visit to. Chef Kuan will leave everyone spoiled for choices, so much so, that you wouldn’t be able to look at the remaining buffet spread. With the year coming to an end, a meal at Tamra with the ongoing festival would mark the stamp of success to the conclusion of the year 2017!