by June 29, 2018 0 comments

THE ASIAN BALANCEThe quality of ingredients elevates the dining experience at Triple8, discovers Saimi Sattar

Rouge walls mounted with black and white photos of food make for a striking contrast, primarily because the delicious platters show up pure and simple without the obfuscating palette of colours. My gaze then wanders to the sofas that match the wall and bring together an effect of understated luxury and minimalism that far-Oriental designs are known for. The Triple8 Restaurant and Bar, a pan-Asian restaurant at Ansal Plaza, which has come up as an eating hangout, is split over two levels — the lower one being ideal for those looking for a quick drink with friends and the first floor with a more plush and comfortable set-up being just right for family get-togethers.

But there is more that makes the restaurant well worth a visit. Chef Vivek Rana, corporate executive chef at the restaurant, who has worked across the globe with brands such as Tamarai London, Indian Accent, New York and the Oberoi, informs us that there is a lot of emphasis on using the right ingredients, which may not necessarily be exotic. “We do not believe in importing everything, rather the quality is the key. Of course, we do get some ingredients from abroad but in case there is something better available here, we switch to that. Gucchi mushrooms from Kashmir are fresh and have a great taste, so we prefer to use those. Similarly instead of using Szechuan pepper, there is one which is locally available which gives a punch and a great flavour, so I include that in my Chinese dishes.”

Having heard him at length, we decided to dive straight into the dishes. The amuse bouche changes everyday and on the night that we dine here, it is Mince corn soup with caramelised onion and nuts. The soup is of a smooth consistency and makes for a good opening. The taste of the corn is balanced well and does not overpower the palate.

This is followed by Five spice goat brain, which has a crunchy covering on the outside for it has been batter-fried. Though I am no fan of brain as it makes me feel queasy, this bite-sized offering is a good place to begin with, a complex and robust bouquet couched in a luscious, soft core.

The Herb tofu roll with green apple relish that follows gets the flavours just right. Moist on the inside, crisp on the outside, its flavour profile gets enhanced by a sweet relish with its refreshing kick.

Next on the line are dimsums, both vegetarian and non- vegetarian.  While the Chicken dimsum in black bean chilli was average, it was the vegetarian option, the Edamame and Himalayan morels dimsum, which was a revelation and seconded the chef’s claim of using ingredients on the basis of quality. The flavours, though complex, are clean at the same time and one can taste each of them distinctly.

Next up is another starter, a Cheese and corn spring roll. The combination of cheese and corn, though classic, has seldom been compacted in a spring roll, redefining morsel snacks that can be had over conversations. I am quite full even though I have yet to sample the main course which consisted of Shredded chicken long beans, black bean chilli which is to be eaten with Pad Thai noodles with vegetables and Lamb shank Malacca paired with Fried Mantao bun. While I like noodles, my choice of meat is always mutton rather than chicken. But here, I have to admit, the shredded chicken is the winner, followed closely on the heels by the lamb. What makes the chicken stand out is the perfect balance of flavours where the shreds are done just right, the beans giving a herby fullness and the black bean chilli making for a perfect base.

Since I was born with a sweet tooth, I decide to indulge in two desserts. The Palm jaggery ice cream reminds me of Nolen gur sondesh, a winter Bengali speciality that is a favourite. But it is the more nuanced Night Market custard bun with yuzu cream and condensed milk drizzle which is certainly the highlight of the evening and I can go back to the restaurant just for that. The flavour of the yuzu lemons in the cream is a perfect foil for the sweetness of the condensed milk. And combined with the soft and fluffy buns, it leaves the perfect aftertaste.

Writer: Saimi Sattar

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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