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Oriental treats


BORED OF TV dinners at home? Want to try something different or exotic? Then rush to Shiok, the far eastern cuisine restaurant that is celebrating its first anniversary with a seven-course chef's tasting menu, which concludes tomorrow. The menu is a foodie's dream as it includes the best of the Thai, Malay, Chinese and Indonesian food the restaurant offers.

It is divided into three, the chicken course, the seafood course, and the vegetarian course. Each menu includes a healthy mix of all the various Oriental cuisines mentioned above and the quantity served is enough to make you hit the sack straight after eating.

The offerings range from the likes of fish ball soup to the bong bong chicken salad and the absolutely delicious vegetable pot-sticker dumplings. But the must-try in this restaurant is the seafood. Amazingly, the fish here is soft even after cooking. So, what is the secret behind this?

"Trade secret," laughs Chef Madhu Menon. "Indians tend to fry the living crap out of everything. Fish, when it is overcooked tends to become hard, so I ensure that it is cooked for no more than to to three minutes so that it's just right."

Even the vegetable dumplings are special because they have a crisp bottom and a tender top. Another must has to be the mixed vegetable satay, which consists of tofu, mushroom cauliflower and pineapple chunks marinated in satay marinade and grilled.



Madhu Menon: `Indians tend to fry the living crap out of everything. Fish, when it is overcooked, tends to become hard, so I ensure that it is cooked for no more than two to three minutes so that it's just right.'

This year's festival is the definitely highpoint in the culinary career of Madhu who was an IT professional before he became a chef.

"I was in the IT sector before. I was frustrated with crowded, noisy restaurants where people had to rub elbows with the other tables and listen to 10 other conversations. I have been cooking since I was 13, so this is just natural," he says.

And true to his word, a lot of work has gone into providing the right ambience in the restaurant. The interiors are dark but well lit in the right places and one doesn't have to holler to be heard. The seating is comfortable and the restaurant can accommodate 56-60 people while the cocktail lounge can seat 25-30 people. The cocktail lounge is small by any standards but serves more than 30 cocktails and stocks premium alcohol brands like Chivas Regal, Glenmorangie, J&B and Jack Daniels.

The restaurant encourages reservations, especially for groups of more than four, and on weekends. The reservations are held for 15 minutes after the booked time. The cocktail lounge can also be booked for small parties. For reservations, call Satish Kumar on 51161800.

ANAND SANKAR

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