Saturday, January 21, 2023

Getting My Own

“I got the booking on my own!” is probably not something people would brag about but it’s my first time being able to secure a table in this ultra-popular restaurant CHAAT inside Rosewood through their website instead of tagging along someone’s booking or got invited to one of their dinner tastings as I did previously. People who tried to make a reservation there would understand the sense of achievement. 

So happened it became our first Michelin-starred restaurant visit of 2023, and I did pull some strings and ask Chef Manav to show us some new or off-menu dishes. As much as we adored their signature Raj Kachori or the baked samosa on their regular menu, I wanted something that I haven’t tried before. Our booking is for the late seating, so we took our time travelling across harbor after work. 

A few small bites of munchies arrived as soon as we were seated in the already-packed dining room. Can't go wrong with their usual papadum with chutney and the baked samosa with yogurt sauce, and I love those cute little Raj Kachori, the mini version with all the salivating flavor in a one-bite size. 

I was glad that Chef Manav sent us the Chingri Malai Seafood Soup as our next course, because otherwise I wouldn't have thought about ordering a soup in an Indian restaurant. This Bengali dish took heavy influence from Malay cuisine with turmeric, curry leaf, coconut and ginger going into the soup base with plenty of seafood inside. Similar to Laksa with the similar hearty, fragrant flavor but probably with slightly more heat. 

Have seen a few of this Tandoori Octopus dish on social media and it was as good as the pictures looked. Thick and super tender tentacles, rubbed in spices and finished in the tandoori oven for the nice smokey flavor, and on the side was the roasted tomato chutney with the hint of sweetness. 

Prawn Balchao was another new dish we had, with the piece of prawn smothered with spices and served like a "burrito" with herbs and onions on top of a piece of roti canai. We had the chicken tikka before, but this time it's the dry version with intense flavor balanced with the beetroot chutney served on the side. 

We continued with a few more main dishes served with naan. The classic Palak Maneer was the milder one in terms of spiciness with nice creamy texture from the cubes of paneer and rich spinach flavor. Malabar Fish Curry was another dish with strong coconut flavor, done with the firm and fatty sea bass fillet being put in. Another dish was brought to our table in a rustic casserole, and the staff carefully put a red-hot charcoal into the casserole and kept the lid closed to “smoke” what’s inside the container. Not so sure whether people at the adjacent tables were going to love the smoke spilling from the casserole and going their way, but the dish was fabulous, with the Champaran lamb curry intensely rich with a strong hint of gaminess. Perfect with the hot naan bread. Lastly it was the slightly sweet Boondi Raita, served almost like a palate cleanser to tone down the heat with its creaminess and sweetness in this yogurt-like course topped with crispy flour pearls (boondi)

We finished with two desserts, first the Khubani Ka Meetha with the apricot dessert with the texture resembling the traditional British toffee pudding, then the “seasonal” Kulfi with chocolate and rose – inspired by Christmas, we were told. Of course, the impressive showcase of the traditional Chai Masala, sweet and warming. We could certainly say the same about the service and the dining experience we had this evening too. 

Yes, I will keep trying and see when we could get another table to come next time. 

More photos:

When? January 5 2023
Where? CHAAT, Level 5 Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui
Menu Highlights? Tandoori Octopus

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