The Imperfect Post

Pan Asian Food Festival @ The Gourmet House

Recently, I heard about the Pan Asian Food Festival that’s currently going on at The Gourmet House restaurant, at Pattom, Trivandrum… And very soon, got an invitation from the restaurant to check it out… The highlight of the festival, at least to me was the fact that they claimed to bring in Sushi options for the first time… To be frank, this had me feeling skeptical as Trivandrum is not known to have pretty much anything these days that can be eaten safely and so imagine eating raw fish, get it??? I even contacted the restaurant expressing this concern of mine and they assured me that they are procuring ingredients from Mumbai and is 100% safe… Having heard about the multiple Sushi places in Mumbai, I thought of giving it a try, especially after a couple of friends of mine tried the same on the first day of the fest and informed me that they are safe… 😛

So, here I was, at The Gourmet House checking out the menu… I met the owner who introduced me to their consultant Chef who flew in from Mumbai for this, who apparently is a guy who used to work for Raymond Blanc… He is the one who designed the menu for this fest… This menu consists of a couple of soups, A few starter options of Dimsums and Sushi and a few main course options and a dessert…

Obviously its not humanly possible for me to have all of it, even though I wish there was such an option where they could serve a tasting courses consisting of little bit of all… So, from the soups, I went for what they called the Pan Asian Nectar, Then as starters, I was basically there to try the Sushi options and so went with two kinds, ie, an Uramaki made of Prawn Tempura and Wasabi Mayo, and a Nigiri made with Tuna with a spicy chilli sauce… For main, I was in the mood for seafood and so went for the Asian Herb Crusted Fish with Walnuts and Baby Boy Choy and finally also went for the dessert which was the Tub Tim Krob…

So, the first item to arrive was the soup which for me was the Pan Asian Nectar… As per the menu, this is a soup made of Spinach and Edamame… For those who may not be aware, Edamame is pretty much the tender / premature soy beans and its used mostly in Asian cuisines by cooking them while they are in the pods… There were two variants to the soup ie, Veg and Non-Veg with the Non-Veg being a Chicken option… So, that’s what I went for and it came as shown in the pics below…

I must say, this is one of the most flavourful soups I have ever had… The flavours of the Spinach and Edamame was simply awesome for me, especially along with that strong presence of garlic that seems to balance both of them… I felt that the Chicken was just a secondary component of this soup as that balance of Spinach, Edamame and Garlic seemed to be the star here… The noodles was nice… It was present at just the right amount, unlike most places here who tends to flood the bowl with it… I loved this soup so much that I couldn’t resist making a request to the owner to make this soup, a part of their regular menu so that it stays available even after this festival is over… 🙂

As I was done with the Soup, the first Sushi dish arrived which was the Uramaki make with Prawn Tempura and Wasabi Mayo… Uramaki is the reverse version of the Maki where the rice is outside with the Nori ie, Seaweed sheet inside… It came as shown below served with Wasabi, Pickled Daikon Radish and dip which felt like mix of Soy with Vinegar…

Well, like with most Sushi, what you see is exactly what you get to taste… The Prawn was perfectly cooked, being the tempura and the batter was incredibly crispy… The rice was indeed sticky with a slight sweet and sour component and the taste of Wasabi Mayo was very subtle here… Applying a little bit of that Wasabi paste and a little bit of the dip ends up opening up the flavours a bit more… The pickled radish was tasting sweet with a very subtle hint of pungency which acts as the perfect balance to the Spicy and Sourness of the Sushi… This is definitely what I would recommend for anyone who is trying Sushi for the first time… I am definitely looking forward to trying this again…

Next up, its the Nigari sushi made with Tuna and Spicy chilly sauce… This is made by rolling the rice and then topping it with a thin slice of raw Fish… In this case, they have used Tuna and then topped it off with a spicy Chilli sauce and vegetables as can be seen in the pics below… Again, the Wasabi and pickled Sweet Radish is present at the corner…

Raw fish is definitely an acquired taste especially for those who is used to eating everything well done… So, I must confess that my first bite of Sushi that I had was indeed a difficult one… But if you can get past that mental block of “raw”, I can assure you that you will be able to discover flavours that you never knew existed… ie, open up area of your palette that you never knew existed… Now, coming back to this Nigiri, the Chilli Sauce almost tends mask the flavour of raw tuna, but I felt that the flavour combination worked well… The flavour of the Chilli was rich and I personally felt that it elevated the flavour of the tuna along with the rice… Once again the Wasabi and Radish along with the vinegar dip takes it to another level… So, since this has raw Tuna, I would advice those who haven’t tried anything like this to go for it with an open mind… Personally, I loved it…

After I was done with the Sushi, they brought in the main course that I chose, which was the Asian Herb Crusted Fish with Walnut & Baby Pok Choy… According to the menu, the crust consists of a blend of Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Thai Basil & Coriander and is served with Pok Choy… It came as shown below served on top of Rice and a gravy…

First of all, from the taste, the crust mentioned above, seemed to have been blended together with Walnut itself and then coated on to the fish… The fish was cooked well and rice was a fragrant fried rice made with vegetables, walnut and herbs mentioned above… The gravy tasted like the quintessential indo-chinese Manchurian gravy to me… Altogether I felt this tasted nice… The combination seemed to work well for me… I think this is something anyone used to the Indo-Chinese cuisine would love…

Last but not the least is the dessert… The dessert that was available for the day was Tub Tim Krob, which is a very famous Thai dessert, which is also known as Red Rubies… Basically it is cubes of Water Chestnuts in syrup, colored with red food coloring… Here, they have frozen them and have served with some refreshing Sweetened thick Coconut milk, as shown in the pics below inside a Coconut itself…

First of all, this was almost freezing cold, even the Coconut in which they served this in… The Coconut Milk was indeed thick and refreshing, felt as if I was drinking the best Coconut Milk Shake ever… And the Red Rubies brought in a fruity flavour component… Altogether this would be an amazing drink to have on a hot summer day… However, for my taste, the milk tasted a bit too sweet… But otherwise, loved every bit of it…

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So, thats it for now…. Had a wonderful time tasting these dishes at The Gourmet House… Although this is a special menu designed for the festival, I am hoping that they include atleast some of them, especially that soup and the dessert as part of their regular menu… I have indeed requested to the owner to do the same… So, I do hope that I get to see them again soon…

2 thoughts on “Pan Asian Food Festival @ The Gourmet House

  1. Dear Anoop

    Thank you so much for the wonderful review of the Pan Asian Fest. It is patrons like you that make us want to push our boundaries and try something new in Trivandrum.

    We look forward to making you have some new delicacies real soon.

    Regards
    Team TGH

    1. Thank you for being a provider of good food in Trivandrum… Glad that you did this fest pushing the boundaries of the “safe zone”, which most restauranteurs don’t have the courage to even touch… I hope you keep doing this and best wishes for the same…

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