Pan Asian Strikes Back
Introductions are for people or a thing that you don’t know or haven’t met before but that isn’t the case for this famous thai restaurant. Authentic thai cuisine is something which is not found in many places here. There was a time when if you wanted to have authentic thai cuisine the only place that would come to your mind would be thai pavilion and a couple of more restaurants here there but things have changed since then and we have seen some new authentic thai restaurants coming to the city.
Story behind the Brand
This was the crux behind opening of Oh Cha as the management knew that there is a lot of potential in this cuisine which has not been tapped on and LP being the entertainment hub of Mumbai it was definitely the right place to open as it would cater to office goers and foodies alike. Oh Cha is a restaurant known for being one of the finest thai restaurants in the city. Many of its ingredients that are used for making food here is sourced directly from Thailand including the recipes. They invite people from the thai consulate for tasting their thai dishes to ensure that their thai food is as authentic as possible and to get feedback on how to make it taste as good as you would get it back in Thailand. This resulted in Oh Cha winning the Best Thai Dining restaurant in the prestigious Times food Awards. They were nominated for the same this year as well but couldn’t win the trophy.
The place is very spacious and has the capability to host a party of 80 people so if you’re looking for corporate drink and dine parties with a DJ feel free to have a word with the management here. It has a mezzanine section for private dining only with reservations. That’s something different. It has a well-stocked bar which pushes out some mean mock tails if you don’t land up on a dry day like I did :). The wooden furniture is classy and it goes well with the lighting which is kept a little on the dimmer side.
Thai cuisine is known for its fine balance of fundamental flavours spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter. Because of this Thai food is a cuisine which goes with a specific palette as it involves a lot of thai spices like Lemongrass, Galangal, Coconut milk etc. That limits the customer base for the brand. In time the management has realized that they have won many accolades in thai and it is time for them to increase the scope of their menu and visitor base which led them behind the idea of going into Pan Asian as well. This in my opinion is definitely a move in the right direction for this brand. I was here to taste the newly launched pan Asian menu.
3 Style Mushroom Dumpling
We started off with the 3 style mushroom dumpling. It consisted of shitake, Straw and button mushrooms with a skin made of potato starch. The skin was really soft and blended well with the mix of those mushrooms. It was a top notch veg dimsum. I had it with sweet chilli sauce and loved every bite.
Then came the Veg Gyoza. Steamed and Pan seared dumpling with carrot, waterchestnut, celery and Chinese cabbage. Good mix of veggies in it and were slightly pan fried. This one was not as good as the mushroom dumplings and I felt that the skin was too thick and could have been a bit softer. The veg mix inside was perfect though and went really well with the sauces on the table
The Chicken Siumai was up next and it was top notch stuff. Its skin was really thin and soft and was loaded with a good mix of meat. They were Melt in the mouth dimsums and I relished them with Sweet chilli sauce. It was the perfect way to start a good Chinese meal.
Grilled Chicken & Prawn Shanghai dumpling
The grilled Chicken & Prawn Shanghai dumpling is a dumpling made for the Indian palette. Big pan seared dumplings filled with a mix of chicken and prawns tossed in some Sichuan pepper sauce to add that spicy flavour. They were one of those dumplings which have a flavour of its own with moderate spice levels. If you like spicy food you should try these dumplings.
Sichuan Pepper Char Bao
Steamed bun filled with roughly chopped chicken, bell pepper and Sichuan pepper. The bun is a little thick but has a tinge of sweet flavour in it which is balanced with the spicy filling of chicken and Sichuan peppers to make it sweet and spicy. The only drawback for this one was the bun was a bit too thick for my liking which negated the flavours of the mix inside.
Stir fried black pepper turnip cake
I have a lot of good turnip cakes in many Chinese restos and this one is up there. The cakes were soft, crisp and had a good mix of those peppers and garlic to add flavour to each bite. They were not too oily too. These cakes have been relished by vegetarians and non-veggies alike.
Grilled prawn cakes on lemon grass skewers
The real star of today’s meal were the grilled prawn cakes on lemon grass skewers that were served with sweet chilli sauce. They were soft, succulent, and high on flavour and was made in form of a satay. The sweet chilli sauce went so well with the prawn cakes that they got wiped out in 2 seconds. A Must have dish when you visit the place.
Chicken Balls in Hakka style
Chicken Balls in Hakka style is another one of those must have dishes here. They were soft balls of minced chicken tossed with peppers, onions and sauces. These chicken balls made me go balls over them and I wiped it clean. The sauces and spices go so well with the chicken balls that there won’t be a single bite where you would feel any bland flavour. Also went well with the Orange & Kaffir Lime Caprioska. A mock tail made for us non alcoholics which consisted of Kaffir lime, orange chunks with canned orange juice.
Stir Fried Prawns In Black Pepper
Another star dish of the day. The prawns were fresh and were stir fried with veggies. The flavour of the prawns mixed with the veggies and black pepper did the talking here. This is now prawns should be served whereas some Chinese restaurants love to deep fry them and spoil their texture.
Gai Hor Bai Toey
These are grilled chicken pieces wrapped in Thai pandan leaves and served with sriracha lemon chilli sauce. One of the biggest turn offs for me in this dish was the need to open the leaves for having one piece of chicken. Its leaves the hands with too many stains. The chicken however was the star of this dish. The sriracha lemon chilli sauce was too sour for my liking and made the meat too sour. Would have loved to have such a starter without the leaves
Hoi yin yum prig
One of the major disappointments of the evening was the Hoi yin yum prig. These were crispy potatoes and okra tossed with black pepper corns and scallions. The veggies were crisp and had right amount of spice in it but it was a bit too oily and the okra had some threads which couldn’t be chewed and had to be left out after biting them. If the okra would have been fresh sans the threads it would have been an amazing dish
Chicken in Black Bean Sauce
With so many starters down it was difficult to go ahead and have tons of mains but we stuck to some chicken in black bean sauce with some Chicken nasi goreng. The black bean sauce was thick and in the right consistency. Very important to get the sauce right as too light makes it watery and too thick would have made it a starter. The Chicken pieces were soft and succulent and the bell peppers were the crunch factor. It was one of the good Chicken in black bean sauce I have had and was a great way to end the meal.
Chicken nasi Goreng
The nasi goreng on the other hand was one of the best nasi goreng I have had in this part of the city. From the crunchy prawn crackers to the rice mixed with equal amount of meat this was one goreng you can’t afford to miss.
The passion fruit pudding was the first dessert I hogged onto. The plating, the slightly sour and sweet taste and the texture all three of these things were just perfect and that’s what is required for having a great dessert. I was a bit hesitant about the fruit at first but the way it was all infused together was the success story of this dessert
Then we had the Asian Spice Panna cotta with orange marmalade & matcha tea dust. This dessert had a layer of orange marmalade on top of a layer of panna cotta with sprinkles of tea dust in some areas. This dessert was a rollercoaster of from sweetness of the marmalade to that slightly strong smoky flavours from the sea dust.
Oh Cha has made its entry onto the Pan Asian scene with a bang and has come up with some stellar dishes. It’s definitely a must visit place if you want some Thai and with the addition of pan Asian you can help yourself to some good Asian stuff as well. A meal for 2 will hold you back by Rs 2500 but the service and food will make that meal special.