As I was on my way to discover a new pizza place, I was suddenly arrested by the sight of my favoruite restaurant that had suddenly disappeared more than a year ago. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was it really back? I had eaten there only twice before its disappearance and had cursed the food gods for having allowed me a limited experience of such divine food.
So there it was. Lemon Grass, with the most beautiful oriental food on the entire island of Mumbai. I heaved and sighed and smiled and cried so much, that half way to the pizza place, my friend Javed realised we weren’t going to have pizza for dinner after all. After a round at the pizza place, which was also very beautiful and I would love to try it, we walked our way back to Lemon Grass. I felt like I was being united with my lover after years of separation. I reiterated my “spiritual experience” of more than a year ago when I had had this amazingly simple and yet enchanting dish there. I prayed the chef would still be the same, and the food would taste the same. After all this hype, I didn’t want to disappoint Javed, who had never eaten there. But infinitely more important, I didn’t want to disappoint myself and therefore ruin any good memories of that place.
So we went. I was a little early for dinner, but now that we were there, we knew were going to give it our 100% stomach space.
I have to tell you, the restaurant never looked so beautiful. It had expanded to swallow another continental restaurant that used to be there before (no sympathies from me) and now had this warm, airy, charming feel about it. The walls were bamboo green and the yellow lights made them look like wasabi paste. It was perfect.
We opened the menu, and my first reaction was to look for that very same dish that had made me float above my seat a year ago. I didn’t remember the name and so i started reading the descriptions. I knew it was a curry with thin rice noodles. After about 4 pages, I came to a section called Curries, Laksa and Something something. There was a dish there named Burmese Khowsuey, and under it was written something like: rice noodles with gravy, available in Veg-Chi-Fish. I immediately called the waiter.
“What is this Khowsuey?”
”It’s good madam”
“No, but, what is it?”
“Its a…it’s like a…”
“Is it a yellow curry with pieces of vegetables and chicken, with thin rice noodles accompanied by a whole plate of garnish?”
“Yes ma’am, that’s what it is!”
“One Burmese Khowsuey with Chicken, please!”
My happiness knew no bounds! Finally, after all this while, I was about to get lifted off again! The thing that really made this dish stand out for me was its simplicity, its subtlety. It’s way of standing apart from the crowd by just being itself. The garnish that was served on the side was like a extra happiness on top. Groundnuts, boiled egg, fresh sprouts, crispy fried onion slivers, a slice of lemon, some chopped spring onion and a few other things, made the dish taste slightly different and yet the same, like a person changing clothes.
Javed ordered Korean Pan roasted Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms, or something like that with rice. It was oh-so-DELISH!!!! I just can’t get over luscious the chicken looked covered in caramel coloured soy sauce. It was teasing me, tantalizing and tormenting me. When I took a bite, I was so thankful to God for giving me a good palate, and for ensuring that the chicken had soaked in the gravy so well.
It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. In all, this is what we ordered-
Cucumber, Mint n Lemon grass cooler
Kiwi Green Mango slush
Shanghai style Chili chicken with peanuts (starter)
Burmese Khowsuey with Chicken
Korean Pan roasted Chicken
If you happen to go there, try what we did, but don’t feel shy to experiment. I’m sure everything on the menu is really good. Special mention for the Kiwi Green Mango Slush. A sip of it will so blow your mind!
If you want to try and make some Khowsuey at home, here are some links. I haven’t tried these recipes myself, so can’t really say how they’ll turn out:
Pictures courtesy: Javed Iqbal