Occasion: Simply Caribbean festival
Location: A2, The Park, Nungambakkam
Duration: 18th to 27th August 2017
It’s quite rare to find a well researched and articulated menu in a restaurant, especially when it’s for a festival that involves food from a cuisine that’s rarely seen in the city. No wonder I was a bit skeptical when I was invited for the Simply Caribbean festival at The Park’s A2 restaurant. Talking about the Caribbean, I was expecting a jerk chicken and a few more basic dishes but boy, was I wrong.
A2 is a world cuisine restaurant that focuses predominantly on Japanese delicacies such as Sushi. But they also do regular festivals and after successfully pulling off an Italian one, they’ve opted for the Caribbean cuisine. I’ve always been a fan of Caribbean food ever since I got to try is a decade back. I can’t forget those food trucks in Elephant and Castle that made some amazing chicken and beef curry which was very similar to our own style of cooking. African and Caribbean food was actually cheap, easily available and filling enough to make them a regular. No wonder I was the first to drop into Nando’s when they opened their branch in Chennai. I assume it’s the connection one can make with Indian food that makes it extra special.
Bermuda Fish Chowder
This soup, made from fish broth is more of a spicy ocean in a bowl. Dry fish powder too has been added to this soup which is apparent from the smell of it and I should say – it was extremely aromatic. The small shredded fish pieces disappeared the moment they were slurped in and the earthen bowl added a lovely touch to the soup.
Yup, that’s exactly what I had. Before you face reacts as if you’ve had a bite of imli, the one used in this drink is the sweeter version which was fun to have on its own (trust me, I had it). The juice was obviously tangy but it wasn’t strong enough to make it unappetizing. To top it off, it was served in a beautiful black mug.
I’ll be honest and confess the fact that I never knew a fruit named Soursop existed. I assume it’s from the same family of custard apple which I’ve always detested ever since I tried it once as a kid. So I wasn’t sure how this would taste until I tried it and a sip of it destroyed whatever preconceived notion I had. The taste can be described as a mocktail of berries and citrus and I loved it. Surprisingly, this fruit is easier to find in Chennai but isn’t easy to make it into a juice. Fascinating indeed.
Tamale was a dish I waited for as I haven’t had one in eons. They’re made with cornmeal that’s wrapped and steamed in corn husk or banana leaf. The one I had was wrapped with the latter and was served with a tomato condiment which was lip-smacking. The tamale was stuffed with chicken which was also cooked in a tomato base. It was a wholesome dish that I enjoyed till the last bite.
This is what dreams must be made of. Jambalaya is what you wish you get when you order for a mixed fried rice 😛 It’s a rice dish that’s filled with all kinds of meat and veggies. This includes chicken, lamb, beef and pork and if that wasn’t enough, there’s ham and sausages too. It was delicious and a meat that would satiate even the best of carnivores like me.
When chef Rahul got to know I was a fan of sushi, he made some for me. The Makizushi was made with salmon and fried shrimp. The preparation was in western style so there were dashes of teriyaki and spicy mayo too that were incorporated in the plating. And obviously, I loved it.
Overall, the whole experience was more like a peep into my college days where I literally lived on Afro-Caribbean, Chinese, and Japanese fast food. And that sheepish smile on my face which the tablecloth failed to wipe off was also because of the awesome food that was served. And oh, I also checked their regular menu and it blew me away thanks to the considerate pricing they have. A 10 piece sushi set was Rs 1000 which is actually on par with the stand alone ones and considering the taste, Sushi lovers should definitely give A2 a shot.
|Address:||A2 – The Park, Nungambakkam, 8th Floor, The Park, 601, Nungambakkam High Road|
|Telephone:||+91 44 42676000|
Lunch: 12:00 PM-3:00 PM
Dinner: 7:00 PM-12:00 PM