At the ongoing Vietnamese Food Festival – Version 2.0, at Tamari, Vivanta by Taj, chef Sherap from Taj West End Bengaluru, brings in experience and passion for food art at the speciality Vietnamese restaurant, Blue Ginger. It’s your chance to explore the finer nuances of Vietnamese cuisine- savouring an extensive spread of traditional delights
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
I now know why Vietnamese food is quite popular, and for those who think that South East Asian or Oriental food is the same, you are highly mistaken. The freshness of herbs in every preparation stands out, adding zing to it. At the same time, the cuisine boasts of a range of flavours- hot and fiery, tangy and sweet.
After being a hit last year, this year the Vietnamese Food Festival at Tamari, Vivanta by Taj is much bigger- the menu has expanded with several more addition is soups, BBQ preparations and in curries. Available as a la carte, the festival offers you a plethora of traditional Vietnamese specialities like Pho (rice noodle soup), the raw papaya salad, grilled lamb chop with sesame BBQ sauce and Vietnamese desserts.
On the recommendation of chef Sherpa, I decided to have the prawn and lemongrass soup. Had chef asked me to choose I would have skipped the soup, and I’m so glad I went his recommendation, the light and mildly spiced soup with ginger and made aromatic with lemongrass was an absolute delight. Pho is to Vietnam, what fish-curry-rice is to Goa, and thus it carries the weight.
The appetisers that afternoon included the uber light, subtle flavoured smoked salmon and fish roe rolls served along with peanut sauce. Initially, I thought it was a bit too much, and even requested chef to reduce the quantity as we were just two, the photographer and I. But he knew I would go wrong on this one. Trust me the Formaline fish scare didn’t even come to my head at that time and after all, the smoked salmon and fish roe was definitely not bought off the markets that bring in fish from other states.
The grilled lamb chop served with sesame BBQ sauce was divine. Chef Sherpa told me that there was no use of any meat tenderiser besides being pounded and marinated for a few hours. The flavours were well balanced retaining the right amount of moisture despite being barbequed. If you have a fetish for some tinge, you shouldn’t skip the grilled chicken flavoured with lime leaf. Served on skewers the succulent chicken with the freshness of lime over it is overwhelming. The Siracha sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt complements the tangy chicken really well.
If you’re a fan of spice and all things nice, the fried prawns and sesame on stick served with a mix of sesame and chilli flakes should be on your list. Although it had me gasping for breath as I am unable to handle extreme spice, it was still so nice that I couldn’t stop binging on the mix after getting done with the prawns.
If you love your sticky jasmine rice, you will enjoy your meal with the curries they offer- red and yellow in vegetarian and non vegetarian variants. Trust me, there’s so much variety on the menu that I think visiting the festival more than once would do justice to your food sojourn.
For sure, keep place for some dessert too. The traditional Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Pudding – Chè Chuối was refreshing served in a wine flute. The vanilla and coconut sorbet, Kem Nuoc Cot Dua was again light and yum! Both were winners here.
After spending close to three good hours at Tamari, I had to head back to work, but there was no problem as the food is just what you want- light and wholesome.
(The festival is on till July 29.)