Intrigued? So were we as we walked into Soy Soi, the casual dining restaurant at Kotturpuram, Chennai, that offers Asian street food with a touch of elegance. Popular for their Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Singaporean cuisine, the place pulls in crowds for their authentic food and flavours. Tastefully done decor that goes with the Asian theme comprises of lovely wicker lanterns and walls sporting earthy, oriental patterns. The star attraction for us, however, was the new quick lunch concept that they have introduced.
If you’ve ever found yourself at a restaurant, wondering what to order and trying to decipher the names of the dishes on the menu, you’re sure to find this new concept a boon. Soy Soi offers quick lunches from five of their most popular cuisines, where all you need to do is pick a cuisine/country and they will serve you a complete lunch meal with delicacies from that particular cuisine.
We were presented with boarding passes, one for each country, reflecting five stations – Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia/Indonesia – each with a cuisine-specific set of a four-course meal, comprising of an appetizer, a soup or a salad, a main course and a dessert. “Rather than asking ‘What do you want to eat?’ we ask ‘Where do you want to go today?’”, explains Chef Peter. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? It very much was! The quick lunches are served only during the weekdays and the components of every set keeps changing every two weeks, so there’s always something new to look forward to. We chose the Thai, Malaysian/Indonesian and Singaporean sets for our lunch, and to put it in short, we loved every bit of it.
The appetizer was the Gai Phad Phrik, a chicken wok-fry with loads of veggies and greens, made to perfection. The spice of the chilli gets our taste buds going for what’s to come.
The Tom Yum soup was a deliciously spicy broth with chicken and flavoured with lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal and chilli. The soup was as hearty as it could get.
The main course was the Ghai Phad Graphaw Rice set, that comprises of stir-fried minced chicken, rice and a fried egg. Though presented as separate components, we mix it all up as suggested and what we got was one tasty, wholesome dish.
For dessert, the Thai set has a Tab Tim Grob – jellied water chestnut rubies that come dunked in sala syrup-flavoured crushed ice along with jackfruit and tender coconut. This dessert was definitely a refreshing end to our Thai meal.
Lovers of satays will definitely fall for the appetizers in this set, an Indonesian Classic Sate Ayam Madura, a chicken satay made with a black marinade of kecap manis and dry-roasted spices. The juicy, flavourful chicken got us wanting for more.
The soup, Soto Madura, was a clear herbal chicken soup served with a boiled egg, shallots and herbs. The warmth of pepper and freshness of celery leaves blend in to make it one comforting bowl.
For the main course, there was a Jackfruit Rendang with Nasi Lemak. While the rendang was a spicy curry of raw jackfruit (the popular meat replacement thank to its texture) with coconutty flavours, the Nasi Lemak was a hearty dish of wok-tossed rice seasoned with coconut cream and coconut flakes. The mild sweetness of the rice goes beautifully with the jackfruit curry.
The Malaysian/Indonesian set had the Soy Soi special Fudge Brownie for dessert. The decadent brownie had a nutty crust and is served with vanilla ice cream and chia seeds. Bottom line – absolutely delicious!
If you’re wondering where are the dim sums, the Singaporean set has a Spicy Chicken Celery Dimsum, a minced chicken dumpling flavoured with celery and chilli that comes in a translucent skin. Served with two sauces, the dim sums made for the perfect starter.
The aroma of creamy coconuts hits us first as the Chicken Laksa arrives. Generous amounts of noodles and chicken, the creamy coconut milk-based broth and the subtle spices makes it an obvious hit.
The Hainanese Chicken Rice takes the crown in the Singaporean set. Rice cooked in chicken broth is served with spiced, sous vide chicken, chicken soup, three sauces – garlic, ginger and chilli – and a side of cucumber slices. The tender chicken is spiced just right and the soup brings together every component with a medley of Singaporean flavours.
Our dessert was a gorgeous Mango Cheesecake, that’s served with passion fruit and mango sauce, oats and honey crumble, and of course, mango ice cream. Fruity notes are always welcome in a dessert and the cheesecake won our hearts.
This quick lunch concept is definitely good news for those looking to have a complete meal, especially between work hours. Pick a destination and you get an authentic meal that can be finished in forty five minutes max. If you’re looking for a fun, innovative, hassle-free lunch from your favourite Asian cuisine that is as comprehensive as it can get, Soy Soi, Chennai is where you need to be.
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