Review: Soy, Khan Market

So it has been a while since I have written one of these and even though I argued with my sister that I should be paid for writing these (if you are good at something, never do it for free), I surely am glad I got the chance to revisit this now adopted “hobby” of mine. So this time I visited Soy, at Khan Market and establishment that opened up sometime last year.

Soy, Khan Market, www.stylecity.in

Soy, Khan Market, www.stylecity.in

Soy is a Chinese restaurant nestled in Khan Market’s now infamous middle lane. People who grew up in Delhi and studied here would know that Khan Market’s middle lane has gone through all sorts of changes in the past 10 years or so. I remember back in 2003 there was only a Khan Chacha (near where the big chill is nowadays) and a Chonas in the middle lane with a few other apparel boutiques scattered around the lane. So though over-all the market is very different with way more people and places cropping up, but visiting Khan Market after a couple of years it is good to see the Middle Lane resembles what is used to be 10 years ago, apart from the fact that now they have more restaurants. Although opened about 8 months back, Soy, one of the new Chinese cuisine restaurants that have come at Khan has gone a little under the radar, which is surprising for the good quality of food it serves and most would only recognize the brand from their food court franchise Soy Express.

Soy, Khan Market, www.stylecity.in

When we walked in we were immediately impressed by Soy’s ambience and décor. Going up those stairs we seemed to have been transported to another portal where away from the tiny, messy middle lane of khan market we found ourselves in a beautiful restaurant containing interiors with a clear Asian influence;clean straight lines, with wood work and oriental motif on fabric, along with origami birds hanging above one section, leading to a beautifully manicured terrace. The kind of décor which spells fine-dining without it being too in your face and make you uncomfortable and under-dressed. Before I get to the menu I should point that I was very impressed on seeing the Wok section. During my time as a student recently a lot of my meals came by visiting Wok restaurants and ordering a comfort food bowl of rice, meat, a spicy sambal sauce – great for those weekend hangovers. Unfortunately my excitement was watered down by the manager of Soy who, quite rightly, suggested we order some a la carte and not ruin our appetite with a bowl of wok.

They offered us gracious servings of salad, soup and appetisers that included a Tangy Chicken Salad, I not being a big fan of salad was genuinely impressed by the flavours and lightness of this dish. After that we had some good old chicken hot & sour soup and portions of Wasabi Prawns, Prawn firecrackers and an assortment of dimsum. Both the prawns and dimsum were absolutely magnificent.Then the waiter brought us a prawn speciality called Sauteed Jumbo Prawns in Thai Sweet Chilli sauce and I have to admit that it was the best portion of Jumbo Prawns I have ever eaten in Delhi. One usually avoids ordering Jumbo Prawns due to the risk of they remaining undercooked but at Soy this was never a concern. A greatly balanced dish that had prawns cooked perfectly, not too raw just right.For the main course we had some Fish with Scallion and Oyster Mushroom, Fiery Chicken Hunan Sauce along with some rice and noodles. The portions were huge and the food provided great flavour. With the freshest ingredients, Soy made sure we had a thoroughly wholesome experience. If I have one criticism – although it was hard to muster one, it would be that the food was not as spicy as we would have wanted. But all in all a great experience and if Soy Express is as good as this restaurant then I would definitely stop by the food courts in DLF Mall Saket and Vasant Kunj for some dimsum. I do look forward to returning to Soy in Khan Market and making my own tossed Wok (Meat, Prawns, Spicy BBQ sauce and rice) to really test the variety of food offered at this establishment. Maybe my sister allows me another chance to review this place and cover the rest of their delectable menu. I hope after reading this you give Soy and Khan market a fair chance.

Price: Meal for two- Rs.2500 with alcohol. A Wok however is only about Rs. 600 (a meal in itself)
Rating: Butter Chicken
Rating Scale: Tinda – 0, Idli – 1, Salad – 2, Butter Chicken – 3, Kakori Kebabs – 4, Grandmother’s cooking – 5

Review: Cafe Ludus, New Delhi

The latest entrant in the restaurant scene is Cafe Ludus at MGF Metropolitan mall, Saket. Ludus literally means school and that is the ambience they have treid to create as I learnt from one of the five owners, Gaurav Gupta. The areas in the cafe’ have been divided into various aspects of school like the laboratory, a Library, a cafeteria and amphitheatre and just as names suggest the areas depict exactly that, for instance-the library is named such cause it has been designed with books and board games stacked on the wall, so one can come in and read if tired of shopping in the mall or even play board games with friends. The amphitheatre is where they plan to hold various events like sundowners, body painting and more such. The laboratory will be the bar, but they are very clear the emphasis is not the drinks, they don’t want it to turn into another lounge or bar but be a cafe with emphasis on food and even catching up with friends. Hence the emphasis on the board games and the interactive events.

Ludus - Bar 1. www.stylecity.in

Cafe Ludus, www.stylecity.in

In terms of interiors again they have kept in quite sync with the school theme and mostly it is minimal wood and steel with some areas of exposed brick. The rest of the spaces like the restrooms have graffiti and other graphic designs on the walls. The furniture is mostly wooden benches and chairs with table tops having blackboards with scribbled menus. Its only the outdoors which breaks the school cafe scheme and seems a bit of a lounge with stone benches and cabana’s with wicker furniture and white sheer curtains, which is a slight disappointment from the rest of the decor. But here too they have tried to incorporate the theme with alphabet cushions and some mismatched furniture.

cafe Ludus, www.stylecity.in

In terms of food, Café Ludus has flavors from around the world and a vast variety. Starting with breakfast, where you can select from pancakes to eggs. During the rest of the day you have a handpicked selection of soups, salads, mains, house burgers, deserts and shakes. All prepared with finesse and served with an exquisite Sauce. They have over 70 different sauces to go with the various meals and they are out of the world. In terms of dishes, we tried a whole bunch of them and were super impresses. We started with the Jalapeno croquettes followed by Drunk sole; which is beer battered fish served with Tartar sauce and Chicken Souvlaki which is grilled chicken served with Turkish aioli dip as bar snacks along with our mocktails (that time they had not got their liquor license). They are obviously very influenced by Greek mythology, as most of the names on the menu have Greek reference, and as tempting as Poseidon Panini and Maximum Tenderloin burger looked we decided to skip them so we could have a greater variety from the menu. This included the Chicken Roulade which was Spinach stuffed chicken served with wasabi mashed and sitaki mushroom juice, fish especially Basa has become a favourite of mine so Cambodian Basa which was grilled to perfection was also on the list. Finally we decided to get a Marco Polo pizza just so we could try it out, again it was delicious. But as much as I loved the food and over all concept, the desserts were a disappointment, but the owners and chef assured me they are working on it so will be amazing by the time I visit next. I sincerely hope that has happened as I am looking to go there this week! You should do the same.

PANKO JALAPENO CROUQUETES

CUISINE: SPANISH Cafe Ludus - Panko Jalapeno Croquette. www.stylecity.in
CATEGORY: STARTER
SERVINGS:  5 PIECES

Ingredients
1 FLOUR 125gm
2 MILK 600ML
3 CHEEDAR CHEESE 125GM
4 BUTTER 70GM
5 OIL 30ML
6 JALAPENO 100GM
7 SALT  to taste
8 PANKO CRUMB 100GM
9 BLACK PEPPER to taste

Method
1 “Heat butter and oil in a sauce pan on slow flame and add flour. Make roux out of the mixture. After making the roux add milk , cheese and make a dough.”
2 After making the mixture add salt to taste. Add chopped jalapenos.
3 “Make a batter of flour,water,salt and pepper.”
4 Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
5 “Make round balls of mixture and dip in batter. After dipping, coat with panko crumbs.”
6 Deep fry in the oil.
7 Serve hot with cocktail dip.

DRUNK SOLE

CUISINE: CONTINENTALCafe Ludus - Drunk Sole. www.stylecity.in
CATEGORY: ENTRE

Ingredient
1 SOLE FISH 250gm
2 BEER 50ml
3 TARTARE 30ml
4 FLOUR 100gm
5 OIL 10ml
6 DIJON MUSTARD 30gm
7 SALT  to taste
8 LEMON JUICE to taste
9 PEPPER to taste
10 SAGO 50gm
11 EGG 2
12 PAPRIKA 10gm

Method
1 Slice Sole into fine finger sized slices
2 “Prepare a batter by carefully making a thick batter of the flour,egg,paprika powder,salt,lemon juice,beer ”
3 Marinate the fish in the batter for about two hours
4 Thereafter coat the battered fish with bread crumb and sago crumb
5 Deep fry till deliciously golden brown
6 Serve with slices of lemon and tartar sauce/dijon mustard

Review: China Doll

Just as I had gone raving about the amazing food and nightlife scene that has come up in Delhi since I moved back with food being up to international standards, no more Indianization of meal, giving Mumbai stiff competition etc etc I got an invitation to visit a new Chinese Restaurant called China Doll. In Delhi, Chinese is almost always Indianized; with too much garlic and red sauce and for someone like me that is an absolute nightmare. In fact, there is a huge difference even if the same branch exists in Delhi and Mumbai, so I took my own sweet time before setting up a visit, I wanted to hold on to the remanent of the good meals I had the last few weeks, plus the PR person had sent me an email which said it was owned by the same people who own Moti Mahal in South Ex which is one of the oldest and best Indian food restaurants. Thus, in my head I was expecting a completely Indianized Chinese meal. Well. I am happy to report my fears were unfounded and the food is definitely one of the best Chinese meals I have had in a long time.

Situated very conveniently in the main South extension market the decor of the place is very Chic.The restaurant area flaunts of elegantly carved wooden furniture, richly upholstered in hues of imperial gold, surrounded by water bodies. There is copious amounts of natural light that spills into the space through the glass walls and the retractable ceiling which is usually left open during the night. The bar near the entrance of the restaurant stretches towards a generously appointed ‘step-out’, edged with an end-to end water fountain and complete with a sit out. The Terrace Lounge is a new addition to the city’s night life. It showcases a circular laser lit feature bar, complemented by a L-shaped seating arrangement, consisting of comfortably sized wooden couches. The break between each seat-setting is provided by uniformly proportioned water bodies that are up-lit. The Terrace Lounge integrates chic contemporary stylized elements with an exhaustive array of beverages.

In terms of food- it was delish and I ended up over-eating. It is the first Hunan style chinese restaurant to open in the capital and they have shown a lot of restraint from making it too Indianized which is all thanks to Chef Zhu Can’s penchant for quality. We started our meal with a Chicken Manchow soup and then moved on to Vodka based cocktails, crispy spinach and Chicken Dry Red Chilli. The chicken was out of this world, and being one of my favourite dishes I was really worried they will get it wrong. The menu is vast and you really need to spend time devouring each bit. We then moved on to the main course where we had normal steamed rice with Kung Pao chicken, Fish water boiled which is supposed to be their speciality, steamed lamb with black bean sauce and steamed pork Hunan style. The food was really amazing but my favourite was surprisingly the pork as I am not much of a pork eater. The fish was a little bland for me, that is the style but doesn’t work on me I guess. We ended the meal with lychee and Ice-cream mostly cause we could not take another bite. I completely recommend this to all Chinese food lovers, unless you like the Indianized Chinese, then I feel sorry for you!

Recipes

Crispy Fish garlic sauce 
Fried river sole fish tossed with red, green & yellow capsicum in garlic sauce. Garnished with finely chopped spring onion

Ingredients
River sole – 200 Gms
Red, green and yellow capsicum – 15gms each
Fish stock- 50ml
Seasoning (salt and pepper) – to taste
Chopped garlic – 5-8 Gms
Chopped ginger – 2 Gms

Method
Dust corn flour on the sole & fry the sliced river sole
Blanch the capsicum
Add veg oil – allow the oil to heat up, add  diced onion, chopped spring onion, ginger and garlic  add the capsicum
Add fish stock, corn flour to thicken the dish
Add seasoning to taste
Serve in dish and for garnish, add chopped coriander and chopped spring onion leaves

Baby corn, broccoli and black mushroom in oyster sauce
Stir fried Baby corn, broccoli and black mushroom cooked with chopped garlic in oyster sauce. Garnished with chopped spring onions.

Ingredients
Baby corn 80 gms
Broccoli 100 gms
Black mushroom 40 gms
Seasoning (salt ) – to taste
Chopped garlic – 5-8 Gms
Oyster sauce – 1/ 4 th (bottle) to cook

Method
Blanch all the vegetables
Take vegetable oil in the wok , add chopped garlic and chopped onions
Add the blanched vegetables, add mushroom oyster sauce
Add seasoning to taste
Dish out in serving platter and is ready to serve.