Mumbai food: Try Southeast Asian flavours at this new eatery in Andheri
With its close-to-authentic flavours, a new eatery in Andheri East gives city foodies a whiff of the unknown Peranakan cuisine of Southeast Asia
Lamb massaman curry with jasmine rice
The Peranakans of Southeast Asia — especially from Malaysia and Singapore — are a unique community thanks to their confluence of cultures, and most importantly, cuisines. The result of the intermarriage of Chinese merchants and local Malay women centuries ago, Peranakan men are known as babas, while the women are referred to as nonyas. Legendary for their prowess in the kitchen, it is these nonyas who are responsible for the complex, highly flavoured dishes that see influences from Chinese, Malay, Thai and even Indian cookery styles and ingredients.
The recently opened Nonya attempts to distil this cocktail of cultures in a Peranakan-inspired menu. Done up in bright, cheery accents and upholstery, with a whimsical bubble chandelier hanging overhead, the first-floor space was virtually empty the afternoon we visited. Thus, affording us the luxury of the staff's undivided attention, which they lavished upon us rather enthusiastically.
Malaysian curried laksa
When our first choice of the orange pekoe bubble tea (R195) was discovered to be unavailable on that day, our server immediately suggested, nay, insisted that we try the lavender lemonade (R145). With a subtle hint of lavender, imparting to it a pink-purple tint, and balancing perfectly with the fresh lime juice, the fizzy drink was just what we needed to counter the blazing heat we had just escaped.
Twice cooked duck burger
Thick and luscious with all the requisite condiments like lime wedges, fresh sprouts, soy sauce and crushed peanuts in place, our seafood Malaysian curried laksa (R275) was fiendishly good. Though the presence of the de rigueur sliced boiled egg, which was missing in this iteration, would have elevated it even higher, we enjoyed the toothsome appeal of the egg noodles, fresh mussels, clams and prawns in the Peranakan classic.
The twice cooked duck burger (R325) that we called for next made for messy satisfaction with its chili plum sauce-coated BBQ duck slices and the cool-yet-spicy hit of the wasabi coleslaw, all ensconced in a soft, pliant sesame bun. Though a tad overpriced, the robustly spiced massaman curry (R675) with tender bits of lamb served with fragrant jasmine rice, reminded us of the ones we'd recently eaten on a trip to Penang. Our other main, the all-vegetarian Buddha bowl (R395) — which had ginger-soy dressed broccoli, baby corn and snow peas sitting atop garlic fried flat rice noodles — was light and flavourful with suitably al dente noodles.
Sadly, our choice of dessert — the Malay favourite of iced kachang (R195) — was a total abomination and fell flat. Substituting the expected coconut milk with cloyingly sweet condensed milk, drizzled atop shaved ice, jazzed up with luridly coloured synthetic syrups and overcooked, stewed fruit bits, Nonya's version was as far from a kachang as Kurla is from Kuala Lumpur! Barring that niggling dessert fiasco, our meal here was almost perfect. But then again, is there ever something such as "the perfect meal"?
Time 11 am to 1 am
At 1st floor, Hotel Ginger, Teli Galli, opposite Hubtown Solaris, Andheri East.