The team behind Bobby’s Bistro invites you to a buffet of Chinese, Thai and other flavours from The East
All the pizzerias, pasta bars and burger joints put together cannot satiate an Indian craving a plate of Szechwan rice. And the team behind Bobby’s Bistro understands and acknowledges this. But in a city where you can choose between Peking duck at Golden Dragon, delicate dimsums at China XO, fiery beef at Rangis and humongous portions at Wangs Kitchen, what does this team hope will be the selling point at The East, their second restaurant located just below Bobby’s Bistro in T Nagar? I accept an invitation to one of their pre-launch tastings to find out.
The right start
To begin with, this is not a Chinese restaurant. It is Asian, featuring a mix of various cuisines from the East (think Vietnam, Malaysia and a sudden hot favourite in the city, Thai). When I say mix, I mean a buffet where green curry and pad Thai share space with Szechuan mushroom and Manchurian dumplings. Thankfully, the starters are not piled up and left at the mercy of 10-year-olds wielding serving tongs. They arrive at the table, warm and intact, carried around by smartly-clad staff. So my meal begins with chicken thukpa, loaded with noodles, spinach and other broth staples. Then there’s starters of chicken wings, baby corn and basa, all coated with a thin layer of batter, spiced mildly and tossed in a wok. The juicy pla tod kiewan (the Thai equivalent of a turmeric-fried basa), cleverly mixed with fresh, crunchy beans, has me asking for seconds, thirds and more.
The tricky part while laying out an Asian buffet is knowing what can endure a bunch of diners prodding the dish before they serve. And the two chefs at The East—both with experience at hotels like the Radisson group—seem to have made the right choices. There’s Singapore chicken rice, manchurian veg dumplings, Burmese crab and curries featuring seafood, lamb and beef. While they all make a case for themselves, again, it’s the basa in peanut sauce that has me getting back in line. The dessert counter has date pudding, walnut brownies and rapidly vanishing fresh-cut fruits—from pineapple to dragon fruit. At Rs 600 plus tax on weekdays (vegetarian at Rs 550 plus tax), this is value for money. But the buffet will be open only for lunch. So I’ll wait to try the signatures on their dinner menu (it launches tomorrow night) before I pass judgement on The East.
— Ryan Peppin