My 500th blog post couldn’t have been written for a better place than this! Wok Monk in Anna Nagar, wonderful Pan-Asian food I’ve had in recent times. They’re opening doors to public today! I was there yesterday with family to try some of their dishes during the soft-launch, as recommended by some close friends in food circles.
The restaurant is located in 3rd Avenue in Anna Nagar, in the second floor of the building where Shree Gupta Bhavan and Spiritz Pub are located. It is easy to spot, and seemed to have valet parking though I didn’t opt for it. The interiors looked nice and vibrant.
Chef Ilan Kumaran is the brain behind all the magic they create in the kitchen. After a pleasant introduction, we were seated in a nicely-lit place so the food clicks look good. There was no menu as yet, and the chef was going to send the dishes to the table one by one, so we could sample a lot of them. We couldn’t be happier!
First to arrive to the table was Cendol, frankly didn’t know about it earlier, but made an impression right away, it was super tasty. Basically an iced sweet dessert with rice flour jelly bits, coconut milk and palm jaggery. Liked the concept of starting with an iced dessert, a clear winner. Later during a chat with the chef, I was told that palm jaggery was replaced with coconut jaggery as it makes it less cloying. A variety of dim sums followed next with distinctly different and tasty fillings – Spicy Celery Chicken, Veggies, Corn and Chestnut, Egg, Spinach and Broccoli, and finally a chicken soup dumpling! The dim sums looked awesome and tasted as good. The craftsmanship in making these delicate beauties clearly showed. Each one was wonderful with intricate details, especially the veggie dim sum, they looked like a small mini pouches. Soup dumpling was tasty with the red chilli bits soaked in soy sauce, reminded me of the youtube videos I saw when I was so curious to know how did they get soup into a dumpling 🙂 The accompaniments to the dumplings were wonderful. Meanwhile a small portion of clear soup was served. I didn’t get the name rite, but it had thin glass noodles, basic veggies, mushroom, broccoli, and two balls of boiled chicken meat (I think) which tasted yummy. Ayam Goreng was one of the eye-catchy dishes to come to the table. Looked like a deep fried chicken leg piece, topped with generous amounts of fried red chillies. It had a nice flavor, and there were two chutneys served along with it which tasted very good. The one made with green chillies was super yumm. Yakitori Chicken Skewers was the next to arrive. I understand this has its roots from Japan, this had a different but nice flavor. Then came a more familiar Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, again very differently presented, in a nice way. Since we specifically mentioned our preference as chicken, that was primarily focused. We were quite stuffed by now as it was a non-stop line of dishes. We got a small glass of Milo 🙂 It was thick, and it had chocolate and vanilla, and tasted yummy!
By now, we were not in a position to go for the main-course. Politely conveyed to the chef that we were quite stuffed and would like to finish with just one dessert. Since he was already ready with Teriyaki Chicken Pizza, he wanted us to taste that and we gladly obliged. Yumm! We were in a dilemma of sorts, yummy food on one side, too stuffed to eat, on the other. During the chat with the chef, he mentioned about the Asian twist they gave to the pizza. Quite interesting to hear; Thai Green Curry Pizza, Indonesian Redang Curry Pizza, an instant noodle on a pizza, I immediately made up my mind to come another time to taste all of these. 🙂
Finally, the desserts! The chef recommended that we taste a little of many desserts and he would send small portions, we were ready hoping it wasn’t too much! I should say we were thoroughly enjoying the food and the attentive service by the waiters. We got three flavors of ice creams – Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, and Green Tea. I have never tasted these flavors as ice creams. We loved it. We’re so used to experiencing these flavors in Thai cooking, but in ice creams, they were very new for me. Lemongrass Milo Panna Cotta, this came in a cute little jar and it was superb. Mango Sago was the next to arrive, more in the consistency of a thick pulp with little sago balls in it, tasted good. Grilled Banana with sticky rice pudding, this dessert has its roots from Vietnam and in a way, it was quite familiar because I have been to a couple of Vietnamese food festivals in Benjarong. Fried ice cream was the final dessert, and this had butterscotch ice cream instead of vanilla as in most places, topped with caramel sauce instead of honey.
We loved everything that we ate, and in fact ate so much more than what we usually do! There was no menu, so no clue of the price points, though I was told by the chef that it will be easy on the pocket. As a rough ball-park figure, I paid 2K for the four of us. I really wasn’t sure if it was rite for such a good experience, but since there was no way to gauge that, decided to go with what I had in mind. I certainly would go back again to try more stuff from the menu.
I personally think that this will be one of the nice pan-Asian restaurants in the city to watch out in the coming days!
p.s Please be informed that this was a soft launch with tasting portions, and the actual portion sizes could vary when they have the regular menu in place.