Citibank Restaurant Week India Preview : Republic of Noodles (Lemon Tree, Ulsoor)
In the festivals that run, RWI is one of the oldest and in my opinion one of the most organised one too. Reservations for this year's RWI opened for Citibank's customers yesterday and open for general public on 18th i.e tomorrow. I was invited for a preview dinner for the same sometime ago and when I saw the list I so wanted Alto Vino which was predictably grabbed by Ruth, the most prompt and organised among us but never mind I picked up Republic of Noodles which I haven't been to in a long long time.
RON is a not so big cozy but gorgeous place, the bust of red and orange with the lovely pictures and paintings on the wall most of which are Buddhism inspired bring a nice peaceful feel though I agree that Buddha and South Asian food are not done to death but something become a comforting factor and I think this is one of them.
We started our evening with a pretty looking amuse-bouche and palate cleanser and the flavour notes were in perfect balance there, a little crunch too with the peanuts.
We ordered a "Tom Yum Veg Soup" and it was a really hearty soup, full of flavours and perfect for my cold and cough that I was nursing when I went for the review though to be honest I was dreaming of some chicken pieces in the soup to magically appear from somewhere.
The green mango salad is one of my favorite asian style salads and I love the way it was presented too.
A little appreciating note here for the service, I usually don't judge service when I am on previews and invites. I know they are extra nice that day and the service will be good but when you gotta appreciate something you gotta do it, The server saw me coughing and struggling with the cold and asked me if I would want warm water and when I said yes kept refelling with glass with warm water at the perfect temperature. It's a small thing but I think something that I will remember for a while. These small service gestures go a long way when it comes to building relationships.
After the soups we moved on to the appetizers, to start with I ordered "Duck Stick with Hot Plum Sauce" and it was just not a gorgeous looking dish, it was one that tasted fabulous too. Perfectly cooked duck wrapped in a thin and nice pastry and fried to perfection, I ate more than I should have and if that was not enough the plum sauce was so F*king; out of the world. Even when the appetizer plates were cleared we kept the sauce with us and ate it with just about everything and even with spoon just like that to finish it off and yes we did ask for another serving.
The chef also brought for us "Spicy Chicken Long Green Chilly Peppers" again a dish that looked beautiful this one somehow didn't do much for me in terms of taste, I found the chicken which was stuffed a bit too dry.
The friend I went with for the tasting was a vegetarian and in a way I am glad because otherwise I wouldn't have probably tasted the vegetarian appetizers and it would have been such a pity because what came to our table was great. There was "Steamed Tofu with Lemon Chilly Dressing". The concept of steaming tofu was a bit new to me and was a very pleasant surprise. I am not a big tofu fan and generally run away from it inspite of knowing how healthy it is but now steamed was a different ball game all together. This is something I could have and happily too and again a note for the careful and neat presentation, an almond sliver neatly placed on each tofu slice, sauce drizzled nicely it was a dish that made both me and my vegetarian friend happy. The "Grilled Oyster Mushrooms With Burnt Chilly and Tamarind" was a dish made for my taste buds, I am sucker for burnt chilly, I am sucker for tamarind and I am love Oyster Mushrooms. So this was a dish that I loved
And with this we moved on to the main course, we ordered a "Phad Thai Noodles", "Fiery Sri Lankan Curry Fish with Cherry Tomato", "Massaman Curry Vegetables with Potato, Cashew Nut and Spinach" and some "Jasmine Rice" to go with it.
The Padh Thai was near perfect, why near you ask because I wanted some prawns in it but because I was dining with a vegetarian I stuck to the veg version of it (BTW I don't think I checked whether the chicken or prawns is a part of RWI menu) but even vegetarian one was good, pretty good.
The Fish curry was a very mixed experience for me. The curry was fabulous, rightly spiced not too heavy in cornstarch and food balance it was the use of (yes you know what is coming) Basa that disappointed me. I have said it before and I say it again. I have nothing against Basa it's just that I get mighty pissed by the use of Basa EVERYWHERE in EVERYTHING. Anyways if you don't mind Basa its was a great dish and tasted very good with the jasmine rice which was served beautifully in a bamboo pot. Unfortunately I don't seem to be having a picture of the Massaman Curry but my vegetarian friend seemed to be pretty happy with it. I was really stuffed at this point so unfortunately didn't taste it.
And as we moved to desserts my expectations very really low, I am yet to encounter a South East Asian restaurant which does good desserts and I am known and self confessed dessert snob. So very hesitantly we ordered a "Lemongrass Jelly with Lychee Sorbet" and "Lemon Tart with White Passion Mousse" The lemon tart and the white passion mousse was exceptional, the lemon tart just as it should be, flaky and short crust with a great tart lemon filling and not those over the top sweet sugary lemon curds. The white passion mousse was great too, white chocolate and passion fruit combined beautifully in this light mousse. The other dessert though in its individual components was great, apart from may be the lemongrass jelly could have had a little more lemongrass, it didn't somehow tie well together. Not very complimentary flavours I thought and the chef seem to agree. He said he will may be do a lemon sorbet with it and I can so see it rocking with that.
All in all a great meal and at Rs 750/- + taxes (that's what are all RWI meals priced at) it was a great bargain too.
The reservations opened for Citibank card holders yesterday and for others they open tomorrow, all meals in bangalore are priced at Rs 750/- + taxes and you can make a reservation at www.restaurantweekindia.com, I am surely reserving Alto Vino, Marriott, Bangalore and may be some more andThe event will run simultaneously across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai for 10 days from September 23, Monday through October 2.