The Ashvita group in Chennai is known for their great food, events, art and shopping. Located in heritage homes across the city, visiting any one their outlets is a charming experience.
Ashvita has been in the restaurant business since 2002, The Bistro at Alwarpet serving different types of food while Ashvita Nirvana at Besant Nagar serves purely vegetarian food.
Kavita Rajagopalan from the Ashvita team talked to us about how the idea for doing pop ups for different cuisines came about. They realized that a number of cuisines are not avidly available in Chennai and consequently decided to bring in chefs who specialize in different cuisines from all over India. A year into this idea has left no doubt in anyone’s minds that it is a hit. Some of the pop ups that were previously done include Bohri Cuisine, a Bengali wedding feast, Mangalorean cuisine as well as Vegan among others.
This time around it is Vietnamese food. Seeing that food from Vietnam is very light, fresh and delicate. It is a given that it’s the perfect fit for the Chennai summer.
Expand you Palate with Peckish
Chef Aparna Surte from Mumbai has brought her knowledge, skill and yummy Vietnamese recipes to this popup.
Aparna is the founder of Peckish, Mumbai. A venture that does Gourmet Catering, Food styling, Food walks, Cooking workshops. They occasionally bake fine Puppy cakes for our four legged friends too.
After graduating with a degree in Architecture and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from UT Austin, she worked with Jacobs Engineering, a multinational consulting firm for 10 years, first in the United States and then in India. Her job as a consultant took her to every corner of the US. She found herself cooking and recreating many dishes from all the amazing world cuisines she was able to taste on her travels.
Realizing that she was beginning to obsess more about the right percentage of acidity in her Nuoc Cham rather than her reports and excel spreadsheets, she decided at this point to quit her job and found Peckish in 2015.
As a matter of fact, we can happily confirm that her Nuoc Cham is perfectly and deliciously balanced.
The pop up serves a set menu for Lunch (12pm-4pm) and Dinner(7pm-10.30pm). There is a Vegetarian and a Non Vegetarian set to choose from. The set menu comes as a five course meal.They are offering ala carte option as well.
We chose the Non Veg menu for dinner and got started off with a drink. The Ca Phe Sua Da.
This is a traditional drink that is made using medium to coarse ground dark roast Vietnamese coffee. The filtered coffee is iced and then poured over of sweetened condensed milk in the glass. There is only one word to describe this drink. Fantastic!
Nem Cuon and Bahn Mi Lettuce wraps are the Non Veg appetizers.
The Nem Cuon is a spring roll consisting of rice noodles, fresh vegetables, herbs and in this case spiced shrimp wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng (commonly known as rice paper).
The Bahn Mi Lettuce wraps are are filled with delicious minced chicken in a chilli garlic sauce. It is topped with pickled vegetables, chilli-toasted sesame aioli and crushed peanuts.
Served with a dipping sauce, these appetizers do just what they set out to- tickle your taste buds and whet your appetite.
The next course is the Bun Thang. This Vietnamese noodle soup is traditionally prepared on the fourth day of the Lunar New year.
Clear Chicken broth poured over silky rice noodles and topped with perfectly cooked shredded chicken, delicate omelet strands, fried onions, a few sliced red chillies and fresh mint and coriander.
A bowl of this on a summer night with its fresh bursts from the herbs and the light comfort from the noodles and the broth is highly recommended.
Additional toppings of fresh bean sprouts, lime wedges and more herbs are provided with the suggestion to mix and match the flavours to your liking. We recommend adding a smidge of the Chef’s peppy chilli garlic sauce for another dimension of taste.
Chicken Bun Cha, the Main course is a Rice bowl which is served with grilled sweet and spicy chicken meatballs along with Salad leaves, pickled vegetables, herbs and crushed peanuts.
This is accompanied by the aforementioned impeccable Nuoc cham. Nuoc cham is a Vietnamese sauce that is pure flavour of sweet, sour, salty and savoury and a good nuoc cham particularly emphasis the skill of the chef.
The meal ends with Che Chuoi which is a caramelized banana, Coconut and Tapioca pudding. Tapioca pearls cooked in coconut milk and layered with the banana and finally topped with grated coconut , toasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts along with a slice of the burnished banana.
Not overly sweet, honestly this dessert is a complete win.
Go ahead, make a reservation, try these spectacular dishes and experience a slice of Vietnam this Summer
The Vietnamese Food Pop up
@ Ashvita Bistro
April 27th -30th
No.11 Bawa Road, Alwarpet, Chennai-18
Lunch – 12 noon to 4pm
Dinner -7pm to 11.30pm
Call : 044 4210 9990/ 9791088189 for bookings.