Dining with a bit of fun :

Posted by-Kalki Team

Fine dining is fine and dandy, but an exciting restaurant atmosphere that breaks a few norms is a welcome change. Fun dining is a trend that is fast catching up in the country, particularly with young diners who want to chew on more than just food.

It is to cater to this new sensibility that the Oriental Cuisines group has brought to the city, perhaps its first fun-dining restaurant, Va Pho – Asian Canteen. We dropped by this new space recently and we werent disappointed.

As we entered this eatery located on Cathedral Road, and that takes its name from Vietnams best known soup – the Pho (pronounced foe and not po), the first thing that caught our fancy was the décor. Vibrant and quirky, with an explosion of bold pop art, the décor has been meticulously crafted to reflect the taste of the contemporary food connoisseur. Making our way towards our table, we saw on one side, a group of friends laughing over a pile of jenga blocks that had just come crashing down. On the other, a couple was oblivious to the surrounding lost in a serious game of chess. Closer to our table, we could see playful altercations between a family of four, with two teenagers trying to trade territories in a game of monopoly. There was also a colourful auto that doubles up as a photo booth for the selfie-crazy crowd. This is what fun dining is all about – sitting down in a comfortable environment and enjoying food while also indulging in games.

Spearheaded by corporate chef of Oriental Cuisines, Chef Aji Joseph, Va Phos menu has been conceptualised by the combined efforts of chefs Ram Kumar, Vimal and other experts from the group to create a unique Pan-Asian experience. The menu is as colourful as the décor with popular dishes from Vietnamese, Indonesian, Filipino, Korean, Burmese, Malaysian, Singaporean, and obviously the most popular of them of all, Chinese and Thai cuisines.

We started our meal with the spicy, aromatic and flavourful Balinese chicken satay served with peanut sauce. We also tried the Va Pho prawns cooked in spicy sambal sauce. The sweetness of the crisp and fresh prawns blended seamlessly with the heat from the sambal sauce. Chef Ram Kumar insisted that we have the lemon grass chicken wings. Deep fried and served with sriracha sauce, the tender chicken with Vietnamese lemongrass marinade had the right amount of spice and tanginess. To break the monotony of an overdose of spicy treats, we sipped on a refreshing glass of Bangkok mojito with crushed Thai sweet basil and ginger. We also managed to play a game of Chinese checkers before the next dish. Next in line was the har gow — steamed shrimp dumplings. These wonderful translucent shrimp dumplings were a real treat and a must try for seafood lovers. Before we hit the main course, we also devoured fried fish bao. We finished the crispy chunks of fish sandwiched between a toasted loaf, dressed with coleslaw and creamy tarter sauce in no time.

From the big plates section, we tasted the Indonesian red meat rendang curry with coconut rice. Because of the generous use of numerous spices, the rendang had a complex and unique taste. Meanwhile, the Burmese curried noodles with fresh greens and boiled egg was a little too delicately flavoured. The flavours didnt quite come across.

For dessert, we were treated to sweetened sticky rice with peaches (replacing the mango) stewed in orange syrup. The satisfying dessert was sweet, silky, creamy and slightly tangy. We finished the meal with Burmese falooda , a favourite from the streets of Myanmar. The dish which had a felicitous coupling of silky vermicelli noodles with ice cream, slithery black basil seeds, steeped in a colourful bath of rose syrup, with nuts sprinkled over, was the perfect finale.

Food Trail :

Restaurant: Va Pho

Address: 73, Cathedral Road (Opposite of Hotel Maris)

Cuisine: Asian

Must have: Balinese chicken satay, shrimp hargow and Indonesian rendang curry

source - dt next

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