Look beyond Indian and Chinese to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand for a culinary journey that tingles the taste-buds
“A well-made sauce will make even elephant or a grandfather palatable,” proclaimed Grimod de la Reynière, a lawyer and one of world’s first food reviewers. He’s not wrong at all — a well-made sauce indeed pulls up a sadly cooked dish into a gastronomical marvel.
This quote also makes for a great comment or a remark on the various delicacies which come with different kind of sauces at Soy Soi, a casual dining restaurant offering food curated from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and rest of the South Asian continent.
It’s about 8:30 pm when we enter the restaurant. A server guides us to our table, and after admiring the decor, we choose to sit at the high tables. These are designed in such a way that each table seems distant from the one beside it. A wooden structure in a form of tapestry forms a partition between you and the guests on the other side, generously giving you your perfect personal dining space.
During Patriot’s visit, the bar was not serving drinks and cocktails.Since the menu travels through these different South Asian countries, we were not surprised when the manager appeared with a menu in his hands.
The task seemed doable, until it was not. The manager kindly introduced us to the various dishes which will colonise our table in some time. We were ready for the great Asian food experience.
First to come was the Soto Ayam Madura, an Indonesian hearty peppery chicken soup, as the menu shows. As you take the plunge, the freshness of celery leaves overwhelms your taste buds but after the third or fourth sip, the fragrance of the leaves vanishes into thin air and all that is left for you is a bowl of broth filled with chicken, a boiled egg, fresh turmeric and some herbs.
We actually considered this soup-drinking experience quite therapeutic. The herbs work their magic in your stomach, leaving you calm and ready for the next dish.
Next comes a round of dumplings. First in line is the chef’s recommendation: Truffled Edamame Dumpling. Two very carefully crafted dumplings of a thin layer, filled with creamed edamame and some truffle essence, water chestnut, topped with Japanese 7-spice mix called Shichimi.
At face value, these dumplings look great. At taste value, they please you so much, you crave for nothing but more of these mini cushions. Following them is Crispy Prawn Cheungfun — fresh rice noodle rolls with crisp fried prawn, scallion oil, black vinegar and soya sauce.
This too comes with the chef’s endorsement, perfectly amalgamated into crunchy as well as soft dim sums. Right after taking a bite, a festival of different flavours bursts one after the other in your mouth. The sauce served with these dim sums quite won our hearts, the tanginess complementing the spicy quotient.
Then came two beautifully wrapped Char Sui Pork Belly Bao. These baos are a perfect duo coming straight from the kitchen. Though one had perfectly cooked pork, we felt the pork in the second bao was little overcooked, with the sides a little hard to chew.
If it’s a Pan-Asian place and does not serve great sushi, is it even a Pan-Asian place? The restaurant serves us two plates of sushi — vegetarian and non-vegetarian — to give a hint of great variety. Not great fans of vegetarian food, we are a little biased, and would recommend the New Age Salmon Nigri sushi. The salmon is cooked to perfection, and even non-sushi lovers would love to have a bite, all for the salmon.
In between, we were served two mocktails — one mango based and the other blueberry, on personal request. Both these drinks are abundantly fresh. The coconut mocktail comes in a coconut-shaped glass, which takes you on a short tropical ride.
Yam Som O Scallop, a Thai pomelo salad with toasted coconut, peanut and brown onions is a great start before the main course, and it comes in a scallop-shaped bowl too. It’s fresh, the onions are crunchy.
Our table became a sort of platform where plates came and went like trains. First up in line was Burmese Chickpea Tofu, a vegetarian dish.
This wok-fried chicken pea flour tofu turned out to be a great surprise to our pallate. It looks like tofu, and as you have your first bite, the combination of crunchiness and softness leaves you amazed.
The Jasmine Prawns we tried at the restaurant is one starter you should definitely try out. Tossed with Sichuan peppercorn, crispy jasmine tea leaf and fried garlic, these prawns are quite soft too, and on a side note, they are not baby prawns. It’s quite a complaint from prawn lovers in general.
As if our stomachs were not already filled by these amazingly cooked starters, it was not time to bid adieu but to savour the delicacies from the main course.
The Jackfruit Rendang, a vegetarian dish, is a delicacy having a home-made rendang spice paste. Rendang is an Indonesian spicy red meat dish but the restaurant has given the same touches for the benefit of vegetarians.
Alongside this came Fish in Black Bean sauce, the sharpness of black bean sauce made the dish quite savoury.
Khao Kati rice, on the other hand, is in harmony with these curry dishes. The rice has its own flavour, with hints of coconut here and there.
Phad Phak Fai Daeng was an interesting combination of yellow bean paste, chilli and garlic. This reviewer is not a big fan of flat rice noodles but to be fair, the Malaysian dish Char Kuay Teow was not bad at all. However, we felt it could be a little more spicy.
About to close the gates to our stomach, we had Pandan Chocolate and Kaya (Egg). This dessert is inspired by Singapore Kaya Toast. This delicacy is a treat in itself. Some chocolate mousse, some jam, berries and coffee ice-cream make for a great combo, and quite a heavy one too.
Time for our last plate, Tab Tim Krob, a Thai style jellied water delicacy. It had Sala syrup, quite loved in Thailand, lots of crushed ice and coconut silvers. We’ll warn you that it’s quite cloying, so if you want to have something which is light on the sweetness, go with the Pandan Chocolate and Kaya.
Bidding adieu to Soy Soi, we were pretty excited about paying another visit — for the prawns, dim sums and the amazing Indonesian clear soup.
Address: Ardee Mall, Gurugram
Cost for two: Rs 2,000/- plus liquor bill
Visit on invitation