Triple 8 attempts to break away from the usual trappings and notions associated with an Oriental restaurant. It serves a mélange of Orient and Japanese fare, and with chef Vivek Rana at the helm our expectations were high. After all, he has worked under stalwarts like chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent, and hence we were expecting a certain level of finesse and innovation and were glad when this place checked all those boxes.
Ambience & food
Seated in burgundy loungers, we soaked in the plush yet muted interiors, and started off our meal with the Minced corn soup served with caramelised onions in a crispy cup. A complimentary palate cleanser served in the beginning of the meal, it was comfort food to say the least. The warmth of the broth was matched the crunch of the cup made with semolina. This was followed by dim sums. From composition, to taste to presentation, it was clear that the dish was a winner. Unlike steamer baskets, Triple 8 used clay pots as the vessel of choice for their next dishes. The Edamame and Himalayan Morels, Black bean chilli (Rs 345), and Corn Asparagus and Pine Nuts, Thai red curry (Rs 345).
Both of them impressed in terms of texture and taste. Rana uses wheat starch and potato starch instead of refined flour, thus making a delicate outer layer. He is also a firm believer of promoting indigenous products, which reflects in his pick of guchchhi. “I replaced truffles with morels, brought in asparagus rather that going for some foreign exotic ingredient. Our Kashmiri guchchhi is world famous. We should promote more of it,” he said. The dense and meaty flavour of the morels combined with the kick of the black bean chilli. The Thai red curry too was a pleasant accompaniment with the mildness of asparagus.
Next in line was the Five Spiced Goat Brain Tempura (Rs 425), served with a spicy mayonnaise. The melt-in-your-mouth preparation saw us enjoying the dish, cooked with five-spice powder kept overnight to get the flavour, rolled into balls and deep fried with tempura batter. Accompanied by sweet and sour cabbage kimchi. It was a match made in heaven. Pork Belly Yaki-tori (Rs 525) with spiced miso glaze came in next. The meat was perfectly done. Dan Dan Noodles, another signature had steamed noodles in a spicy broth topped with meat, and seafood finished with roasted timur powder sourced from the Himalaya. We also tried the Chicken Bulgogi, Kimchi, Gochujang Potato Mash (Rs 525). It is corn fed chicken thigh marinated with Korean hot pepper and grilled. It was served with gochujang-flavoured potato mash. Competing for top honour was also Braised Lamb Shanks Malacca, and Fried Mantao Bread (Rs 1,250).
The shanks that were simmered in Malay curry for more than three hours, left us speechless. The curry was a match made in heaven as coconut milk only enhanced the meatiness of the lamb along with the subtle sweetness of the bun. Under the dessert section, we went with the sticky pudding caramelised banana (Rs 350) glazed with galangal flavoured toffee sauce served with caramelised banana and vanilla bean ice-cream won hands down. Not overly sweet, it had an unusual marriage of a fruit with galangal’s spiciness, and boy it worked. The Night Market Custard Bun (Rs 350) Chinese custard bun stuffed with sweet corn custard fried and served with yuzu flavoured cream needs to be savoured to be believed.