Good things come in small packages; South Mumbai’s latest eatery is small but packed with plenty of surprises. A stone’s throw away from Girgaon Chowpatty, Asian Street Kitchen serves uponly vegetarian Pan-Asian food. A project by Hungry Table Hospitality(HTH) and owned by the mother-son duo Sanjog and Arjun Dhinsa of Cream Centre and New Yorker fame, the space was earlier leased to Café Coffee Day.
The all-day, sixty-seater restaurant has an Asian theme décor with an outdoor seating area. The walls of Asian Street Kitchen depict scene that have come straight from a typical busy Asian street with hawkers serving street food. Celebrating all things vegetarian, even the restaurant furniture and walls sport plenty of green. However, the wooden chair seating isn’t the most comfortable and could use better cushioning.There are plenty of strict vegetarians who aren’t comfortable with kitchens that dole out both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. That’s what inspired this concept restaurant to come up with a strictly vegetarian menu, while on request, about 40 per cent of the menu items could be altered to fit Jain and vegan preferences.
Far from the conventional non-vegetarian Asian fare, the menu is an assorted mix of dishes from the streets of South East Asia, Sri-Lanka, China. We started our lunch with the Tom kha soup (Rs 150) and a Tofu tossed salad (Rs 235). The creamy coconut milk and red curry paste soup sported sprigs of coriander, bits of carrot, mushroom and bean sprouts and was well balanced in terms of flavoured. The tofu tossed salad had fried tofu, lettuce, sprouts, fried wanton strips, bell peppers, and sweet corn with a ginger, lemon, and honey dressing. Though the watery dressing made the nicely fried tofu and wanton strips soggy. Our next appetizer- the Sizzling cottage cheese(Rs 280) is something you don’t usually see around the city. We loved the whiff of fresh garlic that wafts past as the dish is served. This generous portion of spicy cottage cheese was wok-tossed in green garlic sauce was served on a medium sizzler plate over a bed of lettuce.
The limited drink options made our choice of the Green tea sparkler (Rs 150) quick. Recommended by the staff, this blend of green tea with ginger, honey and mint was sweet and refreshing.We also tried Indonesian bandung(Rs 150) - a concoction of strawberries, condensed milk and soda. Sugary sweet with a hit of fizz, we thought children would find plenty to love in this one.
For mains we ordered the Exotic tempura (Rs 350) – batter fried carrot, spinach, mushroom is served with bell pepper sauce atop a mixed vegetable pilaf. The dish was a tad dry and would do better if they serve a sauce on the side. Another special, the Sri Lankan Curry (Rs 320) - a blend of cashewnuts, green chilli, onion paste and coconut milk, this mildly spiced,thick, green curry has plenty of chunky baby corn and zucchini and was garnished with fried spring onions. The Minced soy and silken tofu curry (Rs 290) had tofu with spicy dark brown thick gravy-like minced soya. Both the curries went well with a portion of Jasmine rice (Rs 180). Each of the main course servings was generous enough to be shared by two people.
The perfect end to a pure vegetarian meal are their eggless desserts - the Mandarin red velvet cake (Rs 240) –layers of red velvet and cream, topped with a thick layer of orange mandarin sauce made up the three layer cake, which was garnished with white chocolate strips. The soft, moist cake was so fresh; it was polished off, before you could say Mandarin red velvet cake.
Asian Street Kitchen is definitely an innovative attempt in giving the vegetarians the taste and experience of Asian food and we can’t wait for the home-delivery and take away is soon on the cards too.
Must Try: Sizzling cottage cheese, Minced soy and silken tofu curry, Green tea sparkle
Meal for two: Rs 1200+ taxes (without alcohol)