What comes to your mind when we talk of tempura? Let us guess! Most likely it’ll be prawn or seafood tempura or vegetables such as courgettes, broccoli, lotus stem, sweet potato and so on. But when we tasted Chef Vivek Rana’s innovative dish at Delhi’s new Oriental restaurant, Triple 8, we couldn’t have guessed the contents—goat’s brain! When the crunchy bite gives way to a silken texture, you think…foie gras. Chef Rana has deliberately used an Indian sweetbread instead of the popular European option not only because the latter is banned in India, but also because he endeavours to use local ingredients as far as possible. Even in the dimsum, instead of the popular edamame-truffle combo, he has preferred to use Himalayan morels with edamame. This turns out to be a refreshing change in flavour as well as an environmentally conscious move.
There’s more to Triple 8. On the menu is possibly the finest sashimi that we have had at any standalone restaurant in Delhi. This is only possible because of Japanese Chef Hiroshi Isomura’s exceptional knife skills and 40 years of experience that helped in tracking the finest ingredients from Japan. Although getting the right quality of seafood is imperative, storing it optimally in the Delhi weather is equally important.
Our platter of sashimi with Scottish salmon, Bluefin tuna, yellowtail hamachi and scallops from Japan is excellent. The house-made soy sauce, with flavours of dashi, kombu and mirin, further enhances the taste of the fantastic fish. It is safe to say, that the sushi on offer will be equally good.
In a nutshell, Chef Vivek Rana has put together a menu that showcases his years of exemplary experience with Indian Accent coupled with his flare for Oriental food and understanding the characteristics of every ingredient that he puts on the plate. He has maintained the authenticity of the dishes—from Bangkok-style chicken skewers to Taiwanese mantao buns—while adding his own sensibilities to break away from monotony. You will thus find a shakshuka-style baked quail eggs, a real comfort-dish; Chilean pork ribs with Thai karpow flavours; a rich broccoli bake with miso and blue cheese that comes with wasabi mash; and asparagus, sweet corn and pine nut red curry dimsums, where the red curry is used in the dimsum wrap. The lambshank that comes with an extremely flavourful Malacca sauce will leave you licking your fingers, especially if you mop it up with the accompanying mantao bread.
The décor is as delish as the food. Especially at a time when muted colours and monochromatic themes have been done to death, the rich wine coloured walls with matching luxurious sofas is a welcome change. Split across two levels, the restaurant has multiple places to suit varying moods with a bar on one floor and an elegant dining area with a live sushi bar on another. There is also a private dining room in case you want to block it for a little party of your own. The music is on point, it’ll make you want to tap your feet, but is at a decibel that facilitates conversation with your companions. It also creates the right mood to sip on your favourite wine from a list curated by sommelier Magandeep Singh or any of the signature cocktails inspired by the region’s traditional spices and flavours such as miso, lemongrass, matcha and pandan. These flavours are also found in desserts. We recommend the matcha tart for its subtle flavour and custard buns with yuzu cream that’ll transport you to a night market in Taiwan.
Triple 8, B -103A, First Floor, Ansal Plaza, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi.
12 noon to 1 am
Ph: 011 33105609
Images: Triple 8, Delhi
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