Indonesian Malaysian

Nasi and Mee Asian Canteen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015Me! In words

I have been drowning under the weight of work these days. Add to that sick members of the family, exams for the little one and my desire to celebrate all festivals in our multi-religious home - I am close to being a robot, getting through things rather mechanically. The best way to hit pause and take a break is a with a good friend over lunch - this lunch date happened to be at the newly opened Nasi and Mee Asian Canteen in Koramangala. What better way to take in an invitation to try a sampler menu than with a friend is who more than well versed with the cuisine of the Asian worlds. 

Nasi and Mee is quite easy to spot - a little after Sapphire and just before the Maharaja Signal in Koramangala. If I, with my directionally challenged self can find easily, so can you. It does have valet parking and good amount of bike parking as well, so that puts that worry to rest. Step in and the interiors have that industrial feel to it with metal chairs with wooden backs, low hanging metallic lamps, dark wood furniture and strategically placed spot lighting. The large glass facade overlooking the congestion of Koramangala gives you the happy feeling of being safely ensconced while the world passes by - one honking vehicle after another. 

We decided to sit close to the glass wall, better light for the photos. All the meal portions you see here are tasting portions and not what will actually be plated when you order.
No alcohol here but then when has that been mandatory for every meal you have out. There are some really interesting drinks to be had here, like the two chosen for us - to the left is the Chendol Drink - Cold, thin coconut milk, sweetened with palm sugar into which is placed oodles of pandan flavored noodles. This is a heavy drink and one that lasted me through the meal. It is delicious, refreshing and makes for a perfect dessert to linger over, if you like the idea of doing something like that. The drink to the right is the Young Coconut Soda - Fresh out of the coconut shell young coconut placed in a sweetened lemon soda drink. Again, in sync with Asian offerings in general - light and refreshing and right on the button.

 These sauces come to the table right at the beginning - L to R Clockwise - a chilli sauce which packs a wallop, an surprisingly deep XO based sauce which we didn't dip into till almost at the end and regretted and of course pickled julienned ginger to accompany your meal. One thing we were going to see through the meal is the attention to accompanying sauces - each dish has a unique one - none of those pre-plated-grab-them-before-you-serve-the-dish-on-the-table types.

We began with a sample of Xiaochi or a small eat of Xiao Long Bao in Chicken. The staff brings to the table a bamboo steamer in which sits these pretty white dumplings - a thin pouch of wobbly stature that you are asked to place into your soup spoon, fork a bit and put small dollops of the accompanying sauce. As soon as you poke the dumpling out oozes hot soup - place in your mouth and enjoy the molten merger of goodness that happens.

Next up was the Prawn and Mushroom Tom Yum Soup - While the prawns and mushroom were sumptuous and generous in their presence, we felt the soup was heavy on the lemongrass (no complaints there) and ginger, without really bringing forth any stand-out flavors. Maybe a little more simmer time and few tweaks will bring this soup out in all its glory.

Nasi and Mee has an interesting range of dimsums and since we were on a tasting spree, we did single portions of two lovely ones - to the left is the Prawn Hargow - A juicy large prawn sits pretty in a thin, moist casing and is steamed. I can eat bamboo-steamers full of this and be done with my meal. We didn't use the XO sauce here, though I feel we should have - the combination would have been great. The next (to the right) was a little package of surprise for me - the Mushroom and Waterchestnut Dimsum brings together a mouthful that is soft and crunchy at the same time. The great thing about all the dimsums we tried were that they could stand on their own - no accompaniments needed at all.

We moved on to the Asian Grills Section - Up first was the Malaysian Chicken Satay with a peanut sauce accompaniment and diced onions and cucumbers in a vinegar base - This was a moist satay that could easily be teased off the skewer with a fork or eaten of the stick. 

 Before you say it, yes I should have turned the skewers a bit to get the right angle on these Sambal Prawns - I did do that in fact, and then shook when taking the picture. So you have to make do with this - Simple is the best way to go in cooking - some lemongrass, a strong hit of chilli, grilled and served with wedges of lime was this dish - succulent and delicious.

And another one I loved - Cilantro Hoisin Mushrooms - these juicy mushrooms are dunked in a cilantro-ginger-garlic mix, skewered, grilled and served with a heavenly hoisin sauce. The sweet stickiness of the sauce plays perfect harmony with the mushrooms.

Moving on to the mains - The Chicken and Prawn Phad Thai was up first with accompaniments of crushed dried chilli, peanuts and crystal sugar. The Phad Thai in itself was a mighty portion with sweet, sour, spicy and plain wholesome working its magic.

Next up was the Prawn Laksa - take a traditional soup and turn it into a fragrant coconut curry - adventurous yes, does it work? Oh Hell Yeah! The curry is redolent with mint and tamarind flavours. The gravy just thick enough to blend well with the Jasmine rice served on the side. With dishes like this, I tend to go heavy on the gravy, using it more as the main dish than an accompaniment to rice. It was worth every flavorful bite.

The Beef Rendang is chunky bites of beef slow cooked in coconut and range of spices till the meat absorbs all the flavors. It is then finished with some light stir frying. The spices and flavors were all balanced on this dish, but the meat was a bit tough - a better cut of meat and slightly smaller chunks may just do the trick with this one.

The only time I have had Okra with Prawns is in this heavenly coconut based gravy that mum makes at home. I have never sampled a Wok Fried Sambal Okra with Prawns before. The Okra retains quite a bit of its crunch - in a good way and the prawns are succulent. I would though have preferred all my okra to be tender. Some here were of the fibrous nature. No harm done - thoughts conveyed to chef and I am sure all is right in paradise now.

And finally the Bak Choy, Tofu and Shitake Stir-fry - There are some dishes that come to the table and everyone has a favorite element that they pick off - that is exactly what happened with this dish - I dug deep into the mushrooms, my friend into the tofu and we made an amicable split of the Bak Choy.

We rounded the meal off with two desserts - A Chocolate Dimsum - a soft steamed bundle filled with nutty chocolate. We were a bit worried about singeing our mouth with hot chocolate - but the chef has nailed the temperatures and you can pop the bundle right in and smile to reveal some child-like chocolatey happiness on your teeth. The second was the classic Rubies in Coconut Milk - Waterchestnuts in a crushed ice and coconut milk base. A beautiful way to end the meal.

 The Waterchestnuts in Coconut Milk

Nasi and Mee is a refreshing breath of air in the culinary landscape of Bangalore, especially when considering we have restaurants opening and closing quicker than we can say Jack Rabbit!. Do give it a try. A meal for two is in the Rs 1500

Address: #974, 4th Cross, ST Bed, 80ft Road, 4th Block, Koramangala
Phone: 080-41513456
Cuisine: Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Asian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Wallet factor: Rs 1500 for two on average 
Parking: Valet

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