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Critic's Review

Updated about 8hrs ago

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The common misconception about “curry” is that it is a single spice that is extremely hot and colourful. But, we Indians know better, it is so much more than a single element and usually myriad in colour, flavors and tastes for that matter! Thanks to the cultural and commercial links in ancient history, a curry culture could actually embrace a whole range of dishes, each distinctly different, from different regions or countries, playing an important role in food history. The Asian Café & Restaurant from New Delhi, Ahoy! Asia tries to give a glimpse of this “all curried in” version of cuisine.

Decor:

We walk straight in on a weekday night, to an unfilled space except two engrossed couples. The interiors are an impressive transformation from classic Asian influences to moody contemporary style. A world away from cheesy Chinese red and gold, paper lanterns and salmon-coloured napkins. Rather, a colourful experience with literally all colours of the rainbow creating an unmistakable younger feel. Green, yellow, red walls, buttoned with Chinese motifs, a flashy bar counter, light wood furniture and multi-coloured crockery – all add to a bewildering concoction. The foreword in the menu actually warns us, also raising expectations: “We are a bunch of crazies with a feverish obsession for good food!”

Food:

There’s plenty to keep us occupied in the extensive menu. Although as we set out to “be adventurous”, disappointment hits us big. The most attractive part of the month old restaurant menu has already wound up – the Uyghur cuisine from North-West China is totally unavailable. Apart from the café bit of beverages and sandwiches, we decide to dabble in almost every other section of the dishes available. Tangiao soup (Rs.155), Wild Mushroom Salad (Rs.255), Prawn Pot Stickers (Rs.275), Shrimps Okonomiyaki (Rs.375), Soy Ginger steamed Basa (Rs.575), Stir Fried Garden Greens with Burnt Garlic (Rs.375), Prawn Paad Thai (Rs.395). Our fave Salmon Philadephia Sushi (Rs.575) is also not available.

Plus & Minus:

The lamb dumpling Uyghur soup from the Xinjiang region of China, is watery without much substance, herbs or spice representing the region. The wild mushrooms salad combines some exotic fungi with an excessively sweet homemade creamy coconut milky dressing with bites of burnt garlic. The ordinary Prawn Dimsum brings in the odd savoury note, we so desperately need. The cabbage based Osaka-style pancake, Okonomiyaki fails to impress with its muddled mix. It is actually the juicy succulence of the subtly seasoned steamed Basa with Jasmine rice that lifts the meal finally. Even the Paad Thai is a bit too glazed with sauce and the garden greens with crispy garlic, crumbled and dry. At the end, the smooth Mango Sago (Rs.175) creates sufficient oomph.

Critic reviews are anonymous and all bills are paid by TimesCity.

Updated about 8hrs ago

  • Food
  • 50% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 60% Complete (success)

When I look at the cragged coastline map of eastern India, I don't see states - but often see ingredients like feisty king prawns, brackish crabs, sweetwater Beckti, glistening Pomfrets, sublime spices, fiery chillies and much more. It is actually a good idea to put together all these ingredients into a single menu. So, when the brand new Ocean Grill is mentioned, we make a hasty visit within a few weeks of its opening.

Décor :The restaurant sits alongside the gastronomic hub of Sector V on RDB Boulevard. The first floor stone textured entrance, leads into a largish hall. Don't expect an elaborate water tank with live crustaceans ready for catch - like many seafood grill restaurants all over south Asia - instead the sprawling space with staid interiors in minimalistic white faux leather, cane, steel and wood greet us. The centerpiece, an artistic replica of a Kerala Kettuvallam, serves as a buffet counter.

Food :The menu stuffs in pointless clutter with a totally unnecessary Indian selection of curries and biryani, in addition to the seafood mix. The chef brags about the buffet spread for lunch and dinner. This caters to the groups of IT office goers in the vicinity. The buffet menu can be a bit intimidating with nine unlimited vegetarian and non vegetarian starters, followed by a full fledged main course and assorted desserts. All this at Rs. 605 all inclusive per person. Our interest however, waivers, and moves on to the a la carte grilled continental seafood. The mainstay being a limited assortment of lobsters, crabs, prawns, Sole, Pomfret, Beckti and no more. We choose the spicy Prawn Chowder (Rs.225), a pleasantly light Sea Prawn Salad (Rs.375), Grilled fish with hot spicy sauce (Rs.350), Grilled crab with honey lemon spice sauce (Rs.365) and a Shepherd's Pie (Rs.425).

Plus & Minus:We start with the chowder a hot, spicy broth with prawn shredding and parsley, next the prawn salad, a small dish with poached prawns, lettuce and boiled eggs swinging between salty and sweet with an ordinary cocktail sauce. The plump slices of fresh beckti come perfectly grilled with skin, however the smeared barbecue sauce with light dressing of soya on the side did not do justice in awakening our tastebuds and is opposite of the Oriental description of lemon grass, soya, chilli-garlic lime dressing in the menu. The emphasis of the meal comes with the Grilled crabs, a worthy investment rewarded with juicy whole crabs fantastically gnarled, crunchy and pepper spiced inside, in contrast with the nubile honey sweet sauce as topping. The Shepherd's pie has an interesting underdone potato crust, fluid than normal mince cake, but manages to pack in plenty of kick. We manage to find room for dessert, opting for the classic Caramel Custard (Rs.125) prettily plated around the silky smoothness of the custard.

Must Try: Lobster Thermidor, Grilled Crab with honey lemon spicy sauce, Mixed grill seafood platter.

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