The wild mushroom and truffle oil dim sum at The Fatty Bao is a thing of a beauty. Pungent, earthy aromas of truffles smack you the moment you open the lid of the Chinese steamer. Inside sit six boat-shaped dim sums with beetroot-purple stained wrappings, topped with edamame beans. The dim sums, filled with a mix of chopped mushrooms and, for a bit of crunch, chopped snow fungus, will appeal to both the vegetarian and the carnivore.
With a fun space and a menu that crackles, it’s not surprising that Fatty Bao, by serial restaurateurs AD Singh, Manu Chandra and Chetan Rampal, has been packed from the day it opened. We had to call a week in advance just to get a mid-week booking.
In a kind of Alibaba moment, an unassuming red gate opens into a tiny passage, which leads to a brightly lit area. Outside, in the al-fresco patio, one bright blue wall is painted with an Oriental-style food story map. Beyond the patio is the main dining area that has Chinese tangram-inspired floor tiles. On the tables sit salt and pepper shakers that have superimposed Japanese Kokeshi doll designs on them.
We are seated inside, in an alcove across from the bar. We order one each of the deep maroon, raspberry-flavoured whisky sours and the orange-hued Mandalay Bay that are flying off the bar counter. Both signature cocktails are good, but we found the berry-tanginess of the whisky sour more interesting than the citrus-y Mandalay.
We begin with the char sui bao; a plump fluffy white bao with a filling of meltingly soft pork, draped in a sweet, sticky, hoisin sauce. Next up is the brie tempura wedges topped with the Japanese spice mix shichimi togarashi — an exotic, Oriental version of cheese pakoras.
Moving on to mains, we order a bowl of somewhat disappointing cho su ramen. The broth and noodles are fine, but the pork belly and bacon lack richness and we leave it mostly untouched. Thick, sour and spicy, the chicken kapitan curry — full of kafir lime and basil flavours — is so good you can slurp it just by itself.
And while the lemon sable was missing from our green tea chiffon cake, the lemony freshness of the yuzu parfait and the yuzu sorbet more than made up for it.
Fatty Bao is so enjoyable because it serves very serious food without making you think too much about what you’re eating, in a really casual, laid-back space.
Published Hindustan Times Aug 01, 2015