From American sitcoms to Indian dining scenes, the Orient has never been more du jour, if you’ll pardon our French. Always striving to remain au courant we wash up on the shores of Chi Asian Cookhouse, which encapsulates the variegated cuisines in a singular space in Janpath.
The restaurant has all the pop colours of an anime feature film, brightly lit and perched like a recumbent dragon on the first floor. The menu happily clambers around Asia, without playing favourites to a particular region. The focus is quasi-casual so there are a lot of skewers, dimsums and pancake rolls. No, we don’t mean
We begin with Guay Cuan Chay, rice paper rolls which look minimalist until you bite in, a rather immersive experience, your mouth bursting with noodles, fresh basil and a peanut relish.
We start our sojourn at Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh Chicken Satay and Cha Ca Thang (Vietnamese fish seasoned with turmeric and dill). Without getting political, or even partisan, we can safely give both skewers our vote, with the fish winning our hearts with its melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Next up are the dimsums, a roll call including Fish in Thai Curry Paste, Soupy Pork Dumplings, Prawn Cheung Fun and Sticky Rice and Minced Chicken wrapped in banana leaves. The fish comes first again, tying with the pork. Served in a shot glass, the fish is full bodied with flavour yet as tender as a Nicholas Spark’s novel while the dumplings we eat whole, a gloriously messy supernova of tender pork. The cheung fun could have been a tad more flavoursome but by this point we’re beyond complaining.
Stuffed as we are, we still have to eat our mains (or no dessert, we can almost hear our mum saying). This involves the Cheating Chili Prawns, tossed in a tangy red sauce, and the Kimchi Rice. Cheating has never felt better.
Dessert is a Coconut Pancake served with vanilla ice cream. The pancake comes stuffed with a sublime jaggery and coconut confection. This little piggy went to the Orient and said Chi. And stayed put.
Meal for two: Rs 1,800 (including taxes, excluding alcohol)
Address: 68/1, Janpath; 45123244