Guess there's a lot of food blogger's karma going around off late. Ashim sent us tantalising Tunde's kebabs last Sunday. This lovely lunch treat by Sassy Fork. Hot Cross buns, out of the blue, from 'Apple and the Gostana' team. A fantastic hand made chocolate liqueur from Lenny a couple of days back. Thanks guys. It's indeed been a Happy Easter.
“So let’s see if Tasty Tangles lives up to your standards in Asian food” said our International Mystery Woman of Food, Sassy Fork. Good friend, great soul and food blogger who prefers to write from the shrouds of anonymity. She covers the length and breadth of the city with unflagging enthusiasm writing about food from all over. This Sunday K and I were her guests at Tasty Tangles, the new restaurant above Sancho’s at Khar. They belong to the same owner.
|Sassy Fork, International Mystery Woman of Food|
Tasty Tangle’s promises ‘Asian street court cuisine’ if I remember the board outside the restaurant properly. The trick is to set your expectations right. A premium air conditioned restaurant at the posh suburb of Bandra. Oh well, Khar actually. Part of a chain of restaurants from Dubai. Staff as Indian as they get. Yes, don’t expect to land at Singapore’s Lau Pa Sat, the carts outside the Warawat Market at Chiang Mai, the PJ Sector 17 food court outside KL or the Georgetown eats, the pier at Bangkok, and you will do good. Sit back, take in the sense of space, the large windows and the trees outside, remind yourself that you are in a make belief synthetic world. You will give the food a fair chance.
I did that.
The menu has a sprinkling of eats from across various Far Eastern countries barring Japan. A couple of famous dishes per region. ‘Pan’ Asian, so don’t expect to discover the cuisine of a particular country here. No chicken rice, char siu, siew yoke, khow sue or pho here. Don't scratch below the surface and you will be good.
The service very warm and efficient. Right from the waiter who took our order who was able to answer our questions right to the effect. Helped us figure out that their version of black pepper Singapore crabs consisted of batter fried crab portions and not the original Singaporean version. Not what we wanted. Which in my book is fine. Reminded me of Omkar, our waiter at Bungalow 9, whose description of the dish made us realise that we didn’t want the toasted brie on beet. I would rather know what a dish consists off and not order it than end up ordering wrong, like we did at Olive once, thanks to inept waiters.
The manager, Nixon (if I remember the name right), later came and asked how the food was. At our request hen showed us around the open kitchen and explained the various kitchen gizmos to us. He politely answered some of Sassy’s questions on mushrooms and mine on the meats they serve. This left us with a good feel. As did the food.
The wasabi prawns had a nice touch of spring to them. The prawns fresh, the wasabi sharp without being mind numbing in intensity. They paired this with a chopped raw onion and raw mango salad which worked pretty well with the prawns. Good stuff. Not street court.
We shared a curry laksa whose colour, fragrance and watery consistency brought back very very fond memories of Kafe 78 at Georgetown. Yes, the curry mee was quite authentic at Tasty Tangles...right down to the plump prawns, the spongy tofu, the plump noodles or mee. Where it lacked in was in pork offal – liver, heart, kidney – but hey this was Mumbai so I am willing to cut them some slack. The intent was good within the given constraints. The coconut flavour in the curry a touch overpowering. They could tone this down a bit.
Then there was roast duck with Hoisin sauce and Chinese rolls. The quality and consistency of the duck and the deep sweetish taste of the Hoisin sauce took me back to two spectacular sit down dinners that I had at Australia recently. One was at the very posh Flower Drum at Melbourne. The other at the fancy Chinese restaurant at the Burswood complex at Perth. The roast duck at Tasty Tangles was truly spectacular. Nixon later showed us the steamer for the ducks. This piece of modern technology gave us a pretty juicy duck with crackling skin. The rolls were a bit stickier than normal.
We went for a Kampung (meaning 'small village' in Malay) Nasi Goreng too. There was a chicken satay but no eggs to go with this. The rice in its broken texture and incredibly full flavoured yet rustic taste, took me back to the fried rices of KL and my many happy memories around them.
We skipped the crabs as fried crab cakes wasn’t the real deal. Went for a seafood with XO sauce instead. This was a bummer. The dish too salty to be enjoyed. Nixon said it was possibly the excessive use of soy. A pity since the prawns, squid and prawns seemed to be of very good quality. The dish even had shitake mushrooms which we have seen a number of 'fancy' places at Mumbai skip in favour of cheaper button mushrooms.The seafood with XO sauce, my choice, was the only black spot in an otherwise great meal.
It is true that nothing can take the place of my beloved street food carts of the Orient in my heart. If you keep that aside then Tasty Tangles did turn out to be a very nice experience for me. K, normally not the biggest fan of Oriental, loved the food and couldn’t stop raving about the laksa in particular too. Reminder her of the laksa Sassy made for recently.
Can’t give credit just to the food though. A big hearted host is just what you need to fire the wok up.