What you should be ordering at I Fake in Egattur, if mock meat is your thing
Why WOULD a hard core lover of livestock, poultry and seafood, travel half way to Mahabalipuram, for a meal of vegan non vegetarian fare? We say, why not! It’s not every day that someone opens a restaurant offering mock meats. Three-month-old I Fake, located along the OMR highway in Egattur Village, has a menu dominated by South Indian fare, with a smattering of kebabs, Indian breads and popular Indian Chinese dishes (like the evergreen chicken fried rice) also finding pride of place. But the question we have for first time restaurateur Mohanaraj Sathiaseelan is, why pick this distant spot on the OMR? “Well, I live right here,” he points to the towering Hiranandani apartments on the other side of the highway. “And secondly, there’s no other restaurant like this in the vicinity,” he adds, explaining that the large groups that show up from the IT companies are always looking for variety.
Open to experiment
Despite the large groups, not everyone is open to experimenting with mock meat. “Some non vegetarians have given us positive feedback, others question the whole idea of eating fake meat and very few vegetarians agree to try it out,” Sathiaseelan says, adding that most people are not aware of what mock meat is. And since the only form of mock meat widely available in our market is plain soya chunks, it’s understandable that customers are not gung ho about experimenting. Those that do, soon discover that there’s more to soya than meets the eye. We are soon presented with their best mock meat offerings—mock chicken, mutton and prawn. The deep fried strips of mock chicken are somehow not convincing—they’ve got the colour and density right, but have failed to replicate the stringy meat of the bird. The mock mutton pepper fry does a much better job, and comes quite close in taste. But the jhinga tikka, though looking a bit edgy for prawns, give a very realistic feel when cut (the white mock meat is springy and juicy), while also tasting very close to the original.
So is all this mock meat made in house, we enquire. “We source the mock meats from a supplier whose products will soon be available in our supermarkets here in Chennai,” is all Sathiaseelan is willing to reveal for now. As we make short work of our banana split sundae, we nod in agreement that Sathiaseelan’s mock meat offerings are perfect for a vegetarian who is curious to know what eating meats feels like. As for us coming back for a meal of mock meats – again, why not? After all, there’s no exploring the world of food if you don’t sport a curious palate (and on some occasions, an empty stomach).
Meal for two at approximately `600. Details: 9677000666, ifake.in