Chennai, June 29 (IANS) Restaurant chefs do not suffer from the Monday blues that other employees suffer from every week. In fact, they actually look forward to Mondays, said a chef at the Chap Chay restaurant at The Raintree on St. Mary’s Road, a star hotel here, while showcasing its new menu.
“It has been quite some time since the menu was changed. With the modernisation of the property we decided to launch a new menu at Chap Chay,” chef de cuisine Tenzin Namkha told IANS.
Namkha, who has his roots in Tibet and whose parents are settled in Mysuru, joined the 60-cover Asian stir fry restaurant, the city’s first, last April. He was earlier with the Hyatt in Ahmedabad.
“Here the owners have given me the freedom to design the new menu. We changed 30-45 percent of the dishes and have retained our fast-moving and signature dishes,” he said.
“We have added more items under the vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections. We have also added lobster to the menu based on demand,” Sumit Ghosh, the hotel’s food and beverage manager, told IANS.
Chap Chay predominantly serves Chinese and Thai cuisine.
“Most of the chefs like Mondays. People would like to be at home at the beginning of the week after eating out/partying during the weekend. Restaurants are not crowded on Mondays and chefs get some free time,” Namkha pointed out.
“That doesn’t mean that chefs would like to have idle griddles and ladles. We would like to have guests so that we do not spend our time looking at the stove or the roof,” executive chef Hushmoin K. Patell said, serving small portions of Sichuan vegetable dimsum and a pan fried vegetable bun.
The bun was really different, giving out the taste of a bun with vegetables stuffed inside. The dimsum platter was excellent, but I was restrained from going for a second round as the menu had other interesting items.
The next item, radish cake (pan fried radish and mushroom cake) was very soft and mild on the taste buds.
The crispy Thai lotus root (tossed in sweet chilli sauce and scallion) is one item that should not be missed.
The kids would gobble up the Sichuan three mushroom and the crispy corn niblets served in tiny golden-coloured cups.
The non-vegans can surely bet on chicken prawn bun (pan fried chicken, prawn and water chestnut) and scallop prawn roll.
Seafood lovers can go for the jumbo prawn tossed in butter and garlic.
The restaurant has promoted the Isaan Chicken Saatay (garlic and coriander marinated chicken skewer, a North Thailand street food) from the Sunday brunch to the regular menu – based on popular demand.
Soup lovers can go for Chap Chay’s mushroom soup where you will get tiny, cute looking mushrooms. For those wanting a spicy soup, the usual tom yum soup with galangal – Thai ginger – is a safe bet.
“While some of the menu card items are common to all Thai restaurants, we have introduced many dishes that are quite exclusive”, Patell remarked.
To ensure the authentic taste, he said that some vegetables are imported from Thailand.
After some spicy tom yum soup, it was time for the main course. The stomach stirred in anticipation at the thought of new item on the menu – rock lobster with a choice of flavours.
The lobster did not disappoint. The not-very-spicy dish tasted good with plain steamed rice, leaving the flavour lingering in the mouth for a long time.
The yellow curry with chicken is also recommended; it is worth the money.
The vegetarians can go for Thai massamam curry (with cashewnut, straw mushroom) which is not spicy and goes well with steamed or fried rice.
The usual Thai curries – red, green and yellow – are also there. Speaking about the trend in Chinese restaurants Patell said apart from guests preferring authenticity, they are also willing to try out newer dishes.
“Earlier people used to order the hot and spicy Sichuan dishes. Now guests are going in for milder hakka noodles and others,” Patell said.
Stressing on the restaurant’s USP, which is stir fry (here, guests pick up the veg/non-veg toppings, and the type of noodles and get it cooked with their preferred sauce) Patell said there were plans to bring in expert chefs from outside and to regularly hold festivals.
For the dessert, the giant-sized fried ice cream or the lemongrass and kaffir lime kulfi is recommended.
Chap Chay is at The Raintree, St. Mary’s Road, Alwarpet.
A meal for two would cost around Rs.2,000, excluding taxes (without alcohol).
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)