It goes like this – I like Asian food. So its difficult for me to resist going to a new Asian place or attending a pop-up. At Waterside Cafe, Hyatt Regency Kolkata, Chef Bikram Das has curated a menu which started on the 22nd September, and I was naturally curious about the menu, given the fact that the man has worked his way through several kitchens, including a Vietnamese one. The promise of a good bowl of soup and sweet and sour meat was far too powerful for me to resist, and I found myself sitting down for a rather elaborate meal.
The menu will keep on changing every day, and will have something different to accommodate all sort of dishes from Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand. We began with a bowl of minced chicken soup, redolent with generous helpings of minced chicken and cooked peas, and egg whites dropped into the bubbling liquid to add to the flavour and texture of the soup.
Dim Sums are pretty much inevitable in Asian cuisine, and the Chef talked about the different sets of appetizers on offer – we found one stuffed with broccoli while another one contained chicken. There were bowls of sauces – I particularly liked the hot sauce with chillies and garlic, as well as the one that contained chives chopped and added to hot oil to wilt them slightly but still retain their bright texture.
A tangy dish of prawns cooked with coconut milk and Thai bird’s eye chillies was a hit on the table, while Em, sitting on the other side of me, enjoyed her share of the basa fish which was peppery and pleasant. We did gorge on a great deal of steamed fish as well, which wasn’t my favourite, but the other people on the table seemed to like the poached fish well enough.
I was particularly looking out to the Barbecue lamb, and it didn’t disappoint. Sweet, smoky and tangy, the barbecue sauce coated the thin slices of lamb, the meat cut against the grain to ensure that cooking time was minimum. I loved the slightly chewy texture – it enhanced the flavours somehow, and desperately desired a bowl of rice to magically appear in front of me. Alas! The combination of basic laziness and lack of stomach space ultimately made me stop hankering after rice and concentrate on my plate.
And who can leave a plate which contains beef? I specifically loved the Saigon Beef because the slices of beef was braised together with thick slices of lotus stems, which added a beautiful note of textural contrast to the dish. The fresh chives were crunchy and the sauce, despite its fiery appearance, was rather mild.
I have never been able to resist desserts, and at Hyatt, I have mostly headed for the ice cream bar. I generally tend to make my own sundae, and you can see why – it is like everything denied to me as a child on the plate. The Pan Asian food festival at Hyatt Regency will continue till 2nd October, 2016, and meals are priced at 1650/- plus tax for the buffet.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at Hyatt as a guest of the management.