It's 'Raining Ramen' at Fatty Bao

My very first experience of authentic ramen goes back to 2013 when I made my first trip to Hong Kong. Now, before you go “machaan… Ramen is Japanese da. What food blogger you are?”, the origins of ramen aren’t quite clear with historical records stating that it was the Chinese who created the noodle ( known as lamian) and the dish perfected by the Japanese in the early 20th century; among other theories, none of which are relevant to my love for this wonderful dish.

While we witness the end of summer, and all the mango inspired food festivals and beers, Fatty Bao welcomes the monsoon with their ramen festival. Aptly title ‘Raining Ramen’, the festival showcases soulful ramen bowls from across south East Asia. I was invited to experience what the team had to offer. That afternoon, I didn’t have any reinforcements who could order different bowls and I could get a taste of almost everything on the menu. Requesting for smaller portions so that I could try more than just one bowl, I started off with the Spicy Crab Gyoza & Miso Butter Ramen. This bowl of ramen was so wonderfully balanced with flavours of the smoked tomato shining through without overpowering the otherwise delicate flavour of the crab and the sinful miso butter. The team had done a fabulous job of having delicate and robust flavours in one dish. This particular bowl of ramen makes it to the list of ‘food that hits your soul’. The ramen was accompanied by a pleasing Thai-inspired mocktail called Bora Bora, a mixture of passion fruit, coconut water and green apple. Put together, these two were ideal companions for a cloudy monsoon afternoon of reading and ‘me time’.

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The second ramen bowl I ordered was intense and in-your-face. The Braised Lamb Tantamen Ramen offered a very meaty slow-cooked lamb bone broth that would bring joy to the heart of only a staunch non-vegetarian. Served with curly noodles, peanuts and chilli, this bowl was Trooper by Iron Maiden compared to last bowl which was a Nocturne by Chopin. While there was nothing wrong with any of the flavours, this one is recommended only to the hard core non veg lover… you know the kind that enjoys bone marrow… definitely not the ‘leg piece chicken biryani’ eater. This bowl was paired with a far more sober mocktail of watermelon, basil and chamomile tea called the Melon Sipper.

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Dessert was another delightful affair. Not a part of the ramen food festival menu, I ordered the Lemon Tart. This was a very pretty dish comprising of lemon mousse, pistachio crumble, mint meringue, raspberry sorbet and an almond sable. Perfectly balanced out without being too citrusy or too sweet, the dessert was just what the doctor ordered (or the waiter recommended) to mute the very intense flavours of the lamb broth from earlier.

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The festival offers a range of ramen bowls from pork to duck breast to even green tea. The festival runs till the 20th of July, across all Fatty Bao restaurants in India. The price starts at INR 395++ for the vegetarian options and INR 425++ for the non-vegetarian options.

PS – I made the mistake of writing this post late at night, and am craving for some ramen right now. I’ll have to make do with fruit ( Bah!)

 

The Night Market Festival at The Fatty Bao

The night markets of South East Asia hold a certain charm and vibe that is quite unique. Blending traditional art, food and music in a contemporary setting, the night markets are an essential experience for any traveler in the region. These are the kind of places where you can sip on local beer or cocktail while nibbling on skewers of crocodile and listen to a local do their best Bob Marley impression while playing the guitar. Looking to recreate that vibe is the team at Fatty Bao with their recent Night Market festival.

Chef Prashanth and his team have done a commendable job of taking all the local flavours from food served at such night markets, tweaking it just enough to bring it to the level of the kind of soulful food one expects at Fatty Bao. Without complicating things, the menu sticks to sushi, skewers and other easy to eat dishes, the sort you pick up and walk around a market. Our meal that evening kicked off with the vegetarian temari sushi platter and the tuna oshzushi, simple sushi with wasabi to get ones taste buds going. The vegetarian fare scored far higher in my books as opposed to the non-vegetarian in terms of the flavours it offered.


Any good evening dinner deserves a good beverage to go along with it. And what better occasion than that evening, for Fatty Bao to introduce their new ‘Root to Fruit’ cocktail menu. Keeping some of their classics like the Fatty Sour, the Bora Bora and Mandalay bay on the new menu, the team has introduced new concoctions that deserve a thumbs up. Drinks like the Popcorn Sour bring together popcorn-infused whisky with chamomile syrup, lime and earl grey bitters with egg white for a delightful flavour and is served with some actual popcorn. The Yoko Oh No is a perfect summer cocktail that blends vodka with cucumber, lime, basil and tonic. My choice for the evening (photo unavailable) was the perfectly balanced Mi-so-Happy. I’m not much of a cocktail person, but this combination of vodka with miso mustard, ginger lime and soda hit all the right spots in terms of sticking to classic South East Asian flavours. 

Anyone who has been to the night markets will know of the variety of dishes made from quail eggs, Fatty Bao have kept that flavour intact with the Grilled Quail Eggs with Sambal Oelek. The hero of the appetizers for me was the Firecracker Chicken Wings. If you rolled your eyes over at the prospect of yet another plate of chicken wings, the kitchen has pushed the envelope in terms of offering larger portions, stuffed with basil jasmine rice and scrumptious Asian style sauce that coats the outside making each bite an absolute joy. I’d go back to devour an entire plate of wings myself.

Kudos to the team behind the grill for the Mu Ping (pork tenderloin skewers) that was perfectly grilled and complemented by a papaya salad. The texture of meat was absolutely soft; one could have almost mistaken it for tofu. The beef skewers again were excellently grilled and were flavourful and tender. While we didn’t have much space for any more food, we were served the seafood platter. The platter again offers skewers of fish, prawn, squid and oysters. I’m not the biggest fan of oysters, but what was served was lip-smacking. Well grilled fish and squid tied up this delightful meal.

The team had saved the best for last. Staying true to the flavours of Asian markets, the Tokyo Banana dessert put together banana custard with caramelised banana ice cream and a sponge cake. A single bite instantly transported me back to when I was on vacation. All that was missing for me was some durian fruit to seal the deal. The best part of the entire meal was the dessert that followed. Not strictly street food, the Lokot Lokot had a jaggery custard encased in a crispy rice net. Served with mini macaroons and a crumble, the dish had crunchy elements that gave way to a smooth custard filling that goad you to make happy grunting noises, well I did at least. 

The team at Fatty Bao have definitely outdone themselves in terms of not only presenting great food that remains true to the theme of the food festival, but going the extra mile to create an environment that is reminiscent of an upmarket café somewhere in the night markets of Asia. A meal for two with alcohol would cost around INR 2500++. The festival began a couple of days ago and is on till the end of the year. I’d recommend going at night to enjoy the vibe of the festival a lot better.

Fatty Bao Turns 2

Fatty Bao  turns 2, and to celebrate the occasion, the team has put together a special menu - the Fatty Travel Tales menu, that brings together some of the stand-out flavours from ten countries across South East and East Asia.

Chilli Eggplant and Tofu

Kimchi Fries

Carbon Tiger Prawn Tempura

Covering countries from Cambodia, to Japan, to Singapore to Indonesia, the festival offers an array of dishes, each with their own distinct flavours. Accompanying the dishes are six cocktails. The stand out dish from the menu, my favourite was the Sakura Winter dessert.

Cheng Fung

Marina Bay

Silk Route

Bicol Express

Raindrop Cake

Sakura Winter

Sakura Winter

The festival is on till the 28th of August. You could also win some tickets, courtesy Tigerair to allow you to head to Singapore to try out some of the fabulous food the city has to offer. A meal for two should work out to around INR 2500.