Ideally one would give a restaurant a couple of days to settle down before you go and review it. Initial days are expected to have glitches and it takes a little time to fix the bugs. But when we heard that 'The Fatty Bao' was opening it’s Delhi doors on 17th August, we couldn’t resist making bookings for the first day first show (ok, first meal, but you get the idea).
With fabulous new restaurants coming up in the Sangam Complex in R.K.Puram, Delhi-ites now have yet another dining destination gearing up for them (if you wish to avoid the crowds at HKV and Khan Market). The first of these, The Fatty Bao, is nothing short of a labour of love from the stables of celebrated chef Manu Chandra, restauranteur AD Singh who creates magic in all his establishments, be it Olive or Guppi by ai, and hospitality operations expert Chetan Rampal. Pan-Asian restaurants are a dime-a-dozen in the city. Then what is it that sets The Fatty Bao apart? We decided to try it to find out for ourselves.
Literally the restaurant’s first customers, we walked into a space that was quirky yet warm and inviting. Graffiti that reminds one of the movie Kung-Fu Panda adorned the walls and the entire restaurant is done up in bright hues. The space was well partitioned into a variety of seating options - with a sprinkling of high tables, some sofa seating, tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows and a long bar with bar stools begging for a crowded Saturday night. The restaurant is spread over quite a large area with a lavish terrace, reminiscent of al fresco dining in Bengaluru, but unfortunately best enjoyed only post October in Delhi.
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They were not serving liquor on the first day due to some pending last minute clearances. However, we were assured that diners will be able to enjoy their legendary Whiskey Sour and other cocktails by the end of the week.
The food menu is well categorised with sections for sushi, dimsum, small plates, main course and dessert. Excited at the inclusion of oysters in a menu in Delhi, we kicked off our meal with The Fatty Oysters (Rs.445). The broiled oysters were fresh and hit the right notes with the addition of chorizo and ponzu sauce. From the vegetarian fare, we decided to give in to the Wild Mushroom and Truffle Oil Dimsum (Rs.300). The aroma of truffles hits you first, even before you can gape in wonder at the visual appeal of the beetroot-coloured dimsum topped with edamame beans. It was accompanied by an array of sauces, but we recommend that you try it by itself. The flavour of the mushrooms, highlighted with the truffle oil, is wholesome and addictive. The edamame beans seemed unnecessary and provided a distraction from the beauty of the dimsum and found themselves discarded to a corner of the plate.
The service was attentive (a little bit too much so, but that may be attributed to first-day jitters). But our request to change our reserved table (we had been ambitious and thought outdoor seating would be lovely in the rainy season) was met with a smile and promptly executed.
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To go to The Fatty Bao and not try the baos, is much of a travesty. We tried the Char Siu Bao (Rs.395) and the Roast Duck Bao (Rs.390). The former is, hands down, my favourite thing on the menu here. I fell in love with it when I tried it in their flagship Bengaluru branch last year and was hoping with crossed fingers that the Delhi outlet would not disappoint. Thankfully, it was all that I remembered of it, and more. The bao is silken soft and fluffy, the pork melts in the mouth and the green apple kimchi gives it the perfect crunch. The duck bao, unfortunately, could not live up to the same standards. It was unidimensional in its flavour profile (though the duck meat was succulent) and could have done with a little kick.
From the curries section, we decided to go for a Malaysian sojourn and ordered the Chicken Kapitan (Rs.425) with Jasmine Rice (Rs.150). The chicken in a thick coconut-based curry was creamy and came with condiments like fried onions, peanuts and a lip-smacking peanut sauce. We highly recommend this if comfort food is what you’re looking for.
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With no appetite left for dessert, an internal struggle between temptation and practicality ensued. Thankfully, temptation won. The Japanese Cheesecake is nothing like its Western counterpart. Airy and light, it was complimented with a berry drizzle, topped with chewy meringue rolls and served alongside raspberry sorbet. The tangy and sour sorbet lifted the dessert and saved it from being a run-of-the-mill cheesecake.
Which sums up the entire experience. There is nothing run-of-the-mill here. It is young, exciting and trendy. The décor, the menu and the food, all build up into the experience, offering you the perfect option for a dinner plan with friends. The Fatty Bao continues to please, wherever it goes, from Bengaluru to Mumbai and now Delhi. There is no question about it, this inviting, fun and chic space is here to stay.
Meal for 2: Rs.2,000
Location: 2nd Floor, Sangam Courtyard, RK Puram, New Delhi
Rating: 4 on 5
Must Have: Char Siu Bao, Pork Belly and The Fatty Oysters
Disclaimer: NDTV Food reviews anonymously and pays for meals.