How the East eats in the South
A new Asian restaurant from Bengaluru hits the right spot with authentic Indonesian and Malaysian fare, prompt service and chic decor
The city is swarming with Asian eateries, which may be why when we hear that a Bengaluru-based one has opened shop here, we are not too intrigued, till we flip through their menu and find a wide range of Malay and Vitenamese offerings. We head there for dinner on a Thursday, and find it occupied by a family celebrating a birthday, and at least three couples on dates. The ambience is conducive for both groups, with green walls, a pop of colourful art that looks like it's straight out of a comic book, and pop music and RnB tunes from the '90s and early 2000s play on loop.
Szechuan chilli dumpling
We start with the szechuan chilli dumpling (Rs 350) as I'm always on the lookout for flavourful versions of this dish in Mumbai, having been disappointed multiple times before. With no alcohol on offer yet, we pick N&M ice-blended Milo (Rs 235) out of curiosity and nostalgia. The starter and drink are served within the 10 minutes it takes to zero in on the salmon cream cheese roll ('390 for four pieces) and California roll (Rs 450 for four pieces) from the sushi section.
We take a sip and am instantly transported back to annual summer vacations to the hills where Milo, a chocolate drink, was the favoured choice of beverage to cut the heat of the sauce served with momos. The chilli oil drizzle on the dumplings does not disappoint and the light garnish of celery shavings, which we would have normally frowned upon, works. There is an explosion of flavours from the first bite, and the only regret is that the dumplings could have been a tiny bit juicier.
California roll (left) and salmon cream cheese roll
As soon as that's done, the sushi is served and we start with the salmon cream cheese ones, which involve creamy, big bites with huge chunks of Norwegian salmon, garnished with capers. It's fresh, not too filling and the avocado and capers blend beautifully. We love that it's cold on the outside, but offers a warm centre. The California roll is crunchy thanks to the cucumber, while the avocado does more to add to the texture, though the hero, as always, is the crab stick. But make sure you don't dunk the entire piece into the bowl of vinegar as it's a bit too tart. A few drops per piece suffice.
For the mains, we can't refrain from opting for Nasi and Mee curry noodles (Rs 460), a signature dish recommended by our server, and the spicy tenderloin rendang (Rs 635) that tastes best with steamed rice. The curry noodles is a smooth blend of the two preparations — thin yellow egg noodles (the mee aspect of it) and a curry (nasi) made with coconut milk and pickled vegetables. While it tastes a tad like khao suey thanks to the coconut milk-heavy curry, each bite is slurpily scrumptious. The veggies aren't overpowering, the Thai herbs give it a different tangent and top marks for the fact that the noodles are authentic and not the usual pseudo-Maggi rip off.
Panda baos. Pics/Karishma Kuenzang
The rendang, too, reminds us of another dish — the Kerala beef fry. The Indonesian spicy red-meat dish, put on the culinary map by the Minangkabau people of the country, offers a masaledaar chunk of meat in each bite with just the right amount of spices. It's not a fried dish but a semi-curry as it is slow-cooked in coconut milk, which means it's not as heavy, and that works for me as I can't stop tucking into it with rice.
We order the panda baos (Rs 270) for dessert, which seems apt as we feel like pandas after the amount of food we've eaten. Three dark chocolate-stuffed baos are served in 15 minutes. After a bunch of pictures, we dive in. Now, if you don't like your non-baked fermented breads sweet, then avoid this. Because it looks incredibly cute, but consists of proper baos and pairing the outer layer with liquid chocolate may not be up your alley, as is the case with my dining partner. We will definitely be back to explore the Indonesian and Malay gems or maybe, drop in for a sushi-cocktail night if we are in a hurry.
At Nasi and Mee, Unit F 6, first floor, The Orb, Marol, Andheri East.
Timing 12 pm to 11.30 pm
4/4 Exceptional, 3/4 Excellent, 2/4 very Good, 1/4 Good, 0.5/4.
Nasi and Mee didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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