Thursday, 3 January 2019

The latest entrant in the Asian cuisine space in Chennai, is a restaurant from the stables of Mr. Mahadevan. However what makes this new restaurant unique is the fact that this is their first pure vegetarian restaurant. Although Chennai is not new to stand-alone vegetarian restaurants, a vegetarian restaurant focussing exclusively on Asian cuisine is a difficult find. I myself found it difficult to comprehend how could they pull it off as meat & egg is such an integral part of the cuisine they offer. However, I was amazed at the amount of research that was done by the Chefs engaged by them from Japan, China, Malaysia and of course our own Chef Ramkumar, the man behind Benjarong and Va Pho. Every dish spoke for itself and at the end of the meal, I never felt the lack of meat options as the flavours in the dishes served more than made up for it.

The evening begun with a selection of interesting beverages from their menu – Lemongrass Cooler, Mandarin and Basil Spritzer, Nutty Milo & Virgin Bailey. The first two were light on the palate providing a refreshing start to the evening while the latter two served as a runner throughout the evening. My favourite amongst them was the Nutty Milo, as it had the flavours of a peanut butter infused Milo milkshake. I can gladly gulp a few glasses down easily.
(Beverages)
The appetizers begun with a selection of ‘Kushi Yaki' and ‘Kushi Age’. ‘Kushi’ is Japanese means skewers while ‘Yaki’ means grilled and ‘Age’ means deep-fried. You can order the Kushi’s in a combination of 3/6/9 skewers with a selection of vegetables based on your preference. We had a combination of Button Mushrooms, Broccoli, Tofu, Cherry Tomato, Baby Corn, Potato and Bell Peppers. Seasoned with just salt, the Kushi Yaki were cooked to perfection and tasted excitingly fresh. The Kushi Age was equally lip-smacking with the batter being amazingly light on the palate. Both the platter were served with an assortment of dips including Miso Mayo, Wasabi Mayo & Kushi Yaki sauce for the Kushi Yaki while it was Ton katsu sauce, Yellow Mustard & Mayonnaise for the Kushi Age. On top of the assorted vegetables, we also ordered for two of their ‘House Special Kushi Yaki’. The first being a combination of bell pepper & corn kernels along with Tongarashi Mayo & Kushi Yaki sauce while the other was Iceberg lettuce and veg protein wrapped in Nori sheet.

(Kushi Yaki)
(House Special Kushi Yaki)
(House Special Kushi Yaki)
Next up was the ‘Crispy Corn Pie Tee’, which were cute little baskets filled with crispy corn kernels. This was followed by some ‘Spinach Dumpling’ with a lovely filling of spinach, veg protein, carrots and a spinach infused dumpling sheet. Next in line was the ‘BBQ Bun’, a bao filled with veg protein, shitake mushrooms, green pea in a BBQ sauce, a ‘Glutinous Rice Siew Mai’, simple dumpling filled with sticky rice, carrot, mushrooms and pea, and finally the ‘Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf’. With the steamed section done, we now moved on to the savour some of the other starters including the ‘Pandan Paneer’ which is a clone of the famous ‘Pandan Chicken’ from Benjarong. In addition to this, we also had ordered  a portion of ‘Eastern Wedge Water Chestnuts’, ‘Honey Chilly Lotus Stem’ and ‘Szechwan Shitake’ to indulge to our craving for the Indo-Chinese cuisines that strives within us.
(Spinach Dumpling)
(Glutinous Rice Siew Mai)
(BBQ Bun)
(Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf)
(Eastern Wedge Water Chestnuts)
(Pandan Paneer)
To beat down the starters, we went in for a ‘Ramen salad Hokkaido style with Roasted Sesame sauce’. The cold salad provided the perfect cleanse for the main course that was followed. We went for the Chef’s highly recommended ‘Chanko Nabe with a Miso Broth’. The dish was brought to our table and placed on a portable burner to ensure the broth was at the right temperature to be served. The Udon noodles and the vegetables in the broth made it a perfect one meal dish. Another main course that we ordered was on the other end of the spectrum in terms of complexity. The ‘Bamaa Curry Rice’ was a Northern style Thai red curry with coconut milk served along with a portion of steamed rice. It was a perfect finisher with good levels of spice. To bring closure to a sumptuous evening, we went ahead with just one portion of ‘Sesame Balls’ for dessert. Recovering from a cold, I resisted the urge to savour the dessert as the sesame balls were deep-fried and served with a portion of vanilla ice-cream. 
(Ramen salad  - Hokkaido style with Roasted Sesame sauce)
(Chanko Nabe with a Miso Broth)
(Bamaa Curry Rice)
With a great price point, Eastern Wedge is a must visit for vegetarians looking to get a taste of authentic Asian cuisine. Located at Poes Garden on 2nd Street, Kasturi Rangan Road, a meal for two would cost about ₹1200.

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