October 1, 2021

When snacking turns to stuffing

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Chaat has been in business for some time now, and has always been one of the more difficult reservations in town since opening. While I have been curious about the food that everyone seems to be raving about, the hassle of making a booking - on top of having to cross the harbor, not to mention my initial but unfounded fear of the fake vanilla scent - put me off from making a visit.

But then Ro Ro decided that she would like to check out the place, so reluctantly, I turned to PR8 and asked for a table. I dislike asking for favors, especially when the favor is for me. And I also know that PR8 would likely get the chef to lay on some extra pampering, which isn't something I need at the moment...

Like its sibling on the other side of the floor, this dining room is also very dimly lit. Well, at least I could kinda read the menu here, but I had to bring the table lamp next to the dishes to get enough light for photos. Of course, the restaurant isn't very concerned about my requirements for photography, and nor should it be.

Baked samosa: jackfruit meat - this was pretty good.

Sweet potato chaat: pomegranate, tamarind, coriander - the first of the dishes coming with compliments of Chef Manav Tuli. The chunks of sweet potato had a crunchy exterior, having been sautéed with tamarind chutney. This gave it a level of heat that was rather strong, but still within my tolerance. Chopped onions and pomegranate seeds were added to the mix, and we were asked to consume this with pieces of the deep-fried nest made of rice.

Black truffle and chilli cheese naan - another item courtesy of Chef Manav. Unfortunately this was the least interesting dish on the menu, at least to the four of us with very jaded palates. Adding truffle paste to naan doesn't make it more tasty. We preferred the plain ones instead. However, we understand why the restaurant felt they needed to offer this to customers, and probably 90% of their customers would be happy ordering this.

Chaat tandoori - this was quite some platter! No wonder the menu says that it serves 2-3 persons... There were 4 different items here:

Tandoori beef cheek: hung yoghurt, Kashmiri chilli, cinnamon - this was very, very tasty. The beef cheek had plenty of collagen.

Black pepper chicken tikka - the spices were interesting and fragrant, and there was very little heat here.

Malai grouper tikka: ginger, garlic, dill - also very nice with the mint chutney.

Lamb chop: pistachio, mint chutney - the spices were nice, and the glaze kind nice, fruity flavors.

Tandoori char siu - Chef Manav's take on the Cantonese barbecued pork. The item is off-menu and he very kindly delivered us a rather large serving. I've seen numerous posts on this in the past, and finally have a chance to taste it for myself.

Obviously this wasn't gonna be just like the classic Cantonese version, but I thought this was tasty nonetheless... with some heat. Lots of fat to make it very tender.

Old Delhi butter chicken: spiced tomato sauce, fenugreek - this was really, really tasty. Very rich sauce, very tasty.

Palak paneer: spinach, fresh paneer cheese, garlic - very nice. Love, love the combination of spinach with garlic.

Lamb dum biryani: aged basmati rice, saffron - this, I did not expect... This is a biryani?! But it came with a paratha crust with lots of spices and melon seeds.

The rice was actually cooked with some lemon juice, which explained the citrus flavors and he acidity. There was dried mint as well as onions along with chunks of lamb. Very, very tasty... and the paratha crust on top was really interesting.

Bone marrow kulcha - I wanted to try these out, and damn! This was tasty.

We were already stuffed beyond belief, but Chef Manav insisted on sending us not one, not two, but three desserts!

Chocolate praline naan - I forced myself to have a slice of this very, very rich dessert. I would have appreciated this much more had I not have so much food already...

Fig kulfi: rabdi falooda - pretty interesting to try rabdi falooda for the first time.

Nimbu lemon tart: saffron and lemon ice cream - actually this was my favorite dessert tonight, because there was at least some acidity to help sooth my overstuffed stomach.

Nobody wanted to have any wine, so I ordered a single glass from the wine list.

2016 Josmeyer Gewurztraminer Folastries - very fragrant nose with lychee, very floral. Palate was a little flat with a slight hint of bitterness.

A very tasty dinner, but I wish we didn't have so much food. Many thanks to Chef Manav for his generosity. Would love to come and try some of the other dishes, but take it easy in the future...

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