In a small lane in Nathupur village is a foodie oasis –a whole building housing two restaurants and a food mart. We have been invited to Wokamama here to sample their seafood festival. As we enter the restaurant, I like the open air setting and the cheerful, woody, open interiors. Reflecting this cheerfulness, the owners Sameer Puri and MP Singh welcome us to their lair.
So what is going to be different about this festival? “First, the food is flown in fresh from Cochin. Second, the food is going to be innovative, and yet authentic” says MP Singh. On this happy note, we start the tasting session. The menu consisting of twelve savoury dishes and two desserts looks like the start of a great adventure.
The first starter to arrive is chilly wasabi prawn tempura where wasabi paste has been applied to the prawns and batter fried tempura style. The dish is technically perfect. The batter is what you will get in Japan, and the fresh prawns do not curl up. The heat does add to the taste, but the frying does kill the punchy pungency of wasabi. On the whole, a must-try dish.
The king fish fillet with holy basil is tasty but not remarkable. The sea eel Thai satay is a difficult to cook dish, due to the soft fragile nature of the eel. The chefs do manage to serve it intact, but the dish probably would do better if it were to be cooked in the teriyaki style – after all what the Japanese don’t know about eel is not worth knowing! Cooked satay style, it fails to deliver on texture.
The next revelation is quick fried squid rings with chilly and scallion. This dish again showcases the technical competency of the kitchen. Squid is flash fried just right so that it retains its creamy taste, and does not go leathery. The restaurant needs to be commended for not batter frying it and ruining it. The grilled whole jumbo prawns with Thai chilly indulge all senses. Plump, juicy and moist, this is the taste to savour.
It is time to taste the soups now. I try the leek and celery prawn soup. The combination of fresh prawns, leek and celery does lift the soup from the ordinary. The soup is comforting, but somewhat one-dimensional in its taste profile.
We start the entrees with whole sea bass with krachai (a Thai ginger, a bit like the cross between our own adrak and Thai galangal) and bird eye chilly. The combination of the herbs and spices give the dish an exciting taste and flavour, complemented perfectly with the steamed sticky rice. The five spiced mud crabs are a trifle underdone, falling short of the good crab moments I was hoping to enjoy. The river sole sapo is a good dish, but then, sole fish being the paneer among fishes (and hence very popular in Delhi) does not add much to the tasty gravy.
I end on a high with the baby lobster with home made chilly teriyaki sauce. This dish is yummy primarily due to the fresh lobster. There is only one word that can describe the delicious taste of the lobster – it is succulent. In fact it is so good, that I decide to skip the desserts so that I can retain and cherish this taste.
The seafood festival at Wokamama promises to deliver some memorable dishes. The festival is on right now till Feb 12th 2012.
Meal for Two: Rs 2000 (Without Alcohol) | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes|
Address: DLF Phase-III, Village Nathupur (Above Italiano restaurant), Gurgaon| Phone: 0124-4969191
To Know more about Wokamama’s Regular fare, Click
– Aalok Wadhwa