Saturday, August 21, 2010
Asia 7 at Palladium, Phoenix Mills
The first thing I notice is the noisiness of the place. We have a table for two, but it's sandwiched between family-seaters, and there's nothing absorbing the sound. I ask for a glass of Spanish red wine, Jabeen a sake cocktail. Sorry, we don't have sake. OK, a mojito then, and a plate of sushi. There's little difference in price between the platter we order and the vegetarian version. I can't imagine anybody paying handsomely for vegetarian sushi, but evidently there are plenty of such people around.
The mojito's oversweet, the wine's watery. Sushi's not bad: some way from Wasabi, obviously, but a notch above the stuff at Global Fusion. We decide on Beijing lamb chops and sticky rice for the main course. Sorry, we don't have lamb chops. OK, the beef Bulgogi, then. Asia 7 is so named because the cuisine covers seven Asian nations: Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan. Indonesia must feel left out. Can't get no sataysfaction. OK, that's not true, Chicken Satay is listed, as Malaysian. The restaurant missed an opportunity to be Asia 8.
The beef is extraordinarily tender, by far the best part of our meal. It's not as flavourful as the Bulgogi one used to get at Busaba, cooked as you watched. Busaba, unfortunately, discontinued the tableside performance, saying customers objected to beef being grilled so publicly. The Bulgogi never tasted as good brought ready from the kitchen.
What went into the sticky rice? We use only pure basmati sir. I knew it, but might as well confirm. Basmati's a thing of joy in biryanis and pulaos. It is out of place in joints like Asia 7. I mean, if they charge 250 rupees for a plate of rice, surely they can get the right type. The sushi, I have to say, didn't appear to use basmati. We skip dessert, which is the usual boring Chinese restaurant list, date pancakes, honey tossed noodles and that kind of thing.
Not a bad dinner overall, but I doubt I'll go back to Asia 7 for a while.