May 18, 2024

Dreams of East India

Pin It

Foursheets and I are so happy. Our friend the Bombay East Indian Girl had decided to fulfill her dream of opening a restaurant. We've had the pleasure of trying out her cuisine at two pop-up events during the pandemic years, and also had the privilege of having her cook "Chindian"/Indo-Chinese dishes for us at home. She's been building up a following for herself with her catering business, but now she's finally got a fixed spot of her own.

Nine One opened its doors this week, having taken over a reasonably big space on the ground floor of Tsim Sha Tsui Centre. I don't normally patronize restaurants when they first open, but we made an exception because we've already tasted and liked a few of the dishes on the menu before. We also wanted to support our friend, and it's important to do that in the early stages.

Having just opened its doors in its current form a mere 4 nights earlier, it was understandable that the restaurant was quiet when we arrived. We were initially seated in the very back - presumably to provide us with more privacy - but we asked to be moved to a brighter table by the window near the entrance. This way, we would be able to watch the pedestrian traffic while dining.

Now that there were many more dishes on offer, we asked our friend for recommendations - wanting to taste a couple of dishes again while trying new things. We also asked for "not too much food", knowing the chef would want us to try as many dishes as possible...

Khakra, chundo - the khakra (ખાખરા) were very thin and presented in a pretty fashion.

The chundo (छुन्दो) was pretty nice and there was definitely some heat here. I do love mango so this was up my alley.

Corn chips and kachumber - since kachumber (कचुम्बर) is, in many ways, similar to salsa, I guess it made sense to have them with tortilla-like corn chips. The flavors were on the mild side so this was more refreshing. I'm normally not a fan of unripe mangoes but I think it works well here.

From Chef Samaira's family farm, kokum: tuna bhel - the chunks and shredded tuna gets mixed together with kokum (कोकम), and we've got crunchy boondi (बूंदी), pomegranate seeds, and some gold on top.

Khekda (केकड़ा) - a nice one with delicious lump crab meat. Also with pomegranate seeds and some very nice spices. Very tasty.

But most important? Gotta have that gold on top!

Eat a rainbow: bhel-puri - bhelpuri (भेलपूरी) is a chaat (चाट) which included tamarind, green chutney, red garlic, tomatoes, puri (पूरी), sev (સેવ), fried chickpeas, cucumbers, potatoes, peanuts, red onions...

We mixed everything together and the result was a tasty bite that came with some serious heat, at least for my wimpy palate. Thankfully the diced mango - which the chef had served on the side knowing Foursheets' allergies - helped me tame that fire.

East Indian lamb potato chop, green pea chutney, kachumber - a dish I loved from my friend's first pop-up dinner, and I was looking forward to tasting it again.

This time, though, I thought the mashed potato coating was a little wet and should have been fried a little longer for additional browning and crunch. Otherwise I was really glad to have enjoyed this a second time, especially with that delicious lamb filling. Loved how the green pea chutney worked so well with this.

Koli-wada: prawns, pickled onions, herb tamarind chutney - the heat has been dialed up for this dish, but thankfully this remained within my tolerance. Very tasty.

My version: East Indian chicken khuddi - this was a fantastic dish when I tasted it for the first time a few years ago, but tonight it looked rather different as this serving came drowned in the khuddi sauce. This time around the cardamom flavors were strong in the sauce, which also included crispy curry leaves for their beautiful flavors.

I had asked for dosa instead of rice to go with the chicken, which was why I got tons of sauce to mop up.

Not curry: East Indian lamb stew - to my uneducated palate, there wasn't a lot that was "Indian" about this stew... but damn if this wasn't the most delicious lamb stew I've had in a while! The lamb was just so tender! And we loved the peas that came along.

The fugias came with the stew, and kinda taste like denser hush puppies but more plain.

My version: aamrakhand - I'm really happy to taste this mango yogurt again, as I'm a fan of just about any mango dessert. Of course, it's even better with Alphonso mangoes... and any Indian dessert is instantly a classic when it's topped with some GOLD!

Bonnet-Ponson Cuvée Perpétuelle Extra Brut - flinty notes on the nose. Palate was more on the lean side with hither acidity.

I was so happy to see this on the wine list, so I asked for a bottle.

1998 Musar Rouge - the nose was very fragrant and definitely very savory like tapenade, also medicinal. After 25 years this was now very smooth and silky on the palate, and great for offsetting the tongue burning a little from spices.

I'm so happy for my friend, and glad to have come to support her in our small way. There are definitely other dishes on the menu I'd like to try, so I look forward to my next visit very soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Peter & Gigi. Your love & support means a lot. See you again soon ❤️


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map