#KlaRestaurantWeek: Nawab Asian Bistro
At the top of Acacia Mall is the new home of The Restaurant Formerly Known As Nawab, now going by Nawab Bistro. What is the difference? Whereas Nawab- Nawab specialised in Indian cuisine, Nawab Bistro expanded its menu to include a fusion of Asian dishes with influences from China to Japan. With a menu designed specifically for Restaurant Week, we sampled a few select items to give you an idea of what they have in store from the 1st to the 11th of June.
One of the more interesting starters on this menu has to be the Crackling Spinach with Chilli Paneer. Crackling? How? It isn’t the sizzling Chinese style platter that comes sputtering, hissing and smoking; but a heap of finely shredded dark green spinach dotted with the red and white speckles of chopped red peppers alongside glistening, orange chunks of cottage cheese. As soon as your fork makes contact with the spinach, you can literally hear the brittle flakes of spinach hiss with static energy and when you taste it, there is an explosion of hot, spicy, nutty and even a slightly sweet after-taste.
Whereas spinach is locally boiled to a soggy pulp, this extremely crispy rendition tastes like a whole other vegetable. It is served with paneer (cottage cheese) stir fried with a spicy, thick, reddish-orange exterior that retains a creamy white shade inside. The crispy spinach and slightly chewy cottage cheese are great combination, warming up your taste buds for the rest of the Nawab experience.
The crispy beef and chilli plum sauce is an example of the Chinese influence in the Bistro’s fusion formula. While beef based dishes are anywhere from limited to non-existent in most strictly Indian restaurants (for religious reasons), Nawab goes beyond borders to bring you a staple of Chinese restaurant menus, albeit with a little twist. The chunks of reddish-brown meat are served with colourful bell peppers, spring onions and a drizzle of sesame seeds. The plum sauce used to give this dish a little moisture and sweetness is reduced to a sticky finish, coating the beef is as crispy as can be given the heavy marinade sinking into the succulent flesh to give it a hot, savoury and sweet relish.
You would be forgiven for assuming this was some sort of shrimp from a distance. The pink flesh coloured chicken fingers are coated in flour based batter cut into long, thin threads deep fried to golden brown perfection, making them look like tentacles. This is a little different from regular deep fried chicken fingers because the “tentacles” give the breading a more flakey, complex texture. Did we mention how delicious it is? The coating is a little hot, which enhances the chicken’s saltiness and alongside some sweet dip is a delightful finger snack.
Dessert: Deep Fried Icecream
If you have never had deep fried ice cream, the very concept sounds like walking on water. If you order it at Nawab, you will be presented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream coated with a nutty outer layer and deep fried to a crisp and garnished with a sprinkling of sim sim and chocolate sauce; served on a green banana leaf. While a number of dry ingredients can be used for the ice cream’s outer layer, crushed nuts complement the sweet vanilla flavour and it all eventually crumbles into a decadent mess of milk, chocolate and nuts. For what is likely to have been a very hot eating experience (unless one requests otherwise), this is the perfect way to cool down and wrap it up.
Photography: Julius Caesar Kasujja