The food industry has suddenly become an increasingly popular industry to get into. Everyone wants to open a restaurant or a the next hip new pub, or then they dabble with catering services or food pop ups and exhibitions. Someone is making cookies and jams from home and others selling organic products. There is a lot going in this space and out of all the various innovative startups I find Gourmet It Up to be the most interesting.
While I appreciate good food and I am willing to pay the price for it on occasion, I do also strongly believe in value for money. Most of the times restaurants are seriously over hyped and it costs and arm and a leg to enjoy a night out. This is where Gourmet It Up makes life simple. They offer various culinary experiences ( Set Menus ) at different restaurants across the city (s) and you can actually enjoy a three to four sometimes maybe more course meal at a much more affordable price than if you just went to the restaurant and ordered a la carte.
I think as a concept it’s brilliant and I’ve tied up with them to experience not one but three very different meal experiences through the month of January. They’re calling it #followthefoodie and this particular foodie is thrilled ! Tonight was my first experience at a lovely Thai restaurant called Oh:Cha in Lower Parel.
My personal favourite is South East Asian food so this works perfectly to kick off the #followthefoodie trail. I took my dad with me to try the Gourmet It Up Menu and for a family that can tuck in a lot of food, I think we met our match.
The menu boasts of six different course plus a drink of you choice ( either a cocktail from the menu or then a glass of sparkling wine). Since we were two people we each chose one dish from each course which means we ended up with TWELVE different things to eat!
A vegetable and mushroom coconut soup which is delicious, a tab bit heavy with the coconut milk but so different from the usual.
A clear soup with Chinese cabbage and meatballs. It’s like a wonton soup but no wontons instead just some wholesome meatballs in a clear soup with Chinese cabbage.
The Beef salad isn’t really a traditional salald and what I mean by that is that there is no lettuce or tomato or anything. It’s beef stripped dusted with paprika and slivers of onions. It’s a dry dish and it’s yum.
The Thai spicy salad with mince chicken is literally as the name describes it. Spicy chicken mince. I wasn’t overly impressed with this one but my dad seemed to polish it off.
I wanted to order a beef appetizer but since I had a been salad and a beef main I opted for the fried Turnip Cakes. I think turnip is delicious specially make Asian style and this one has a crispy fried outer covering and is soft and smooth inside. It’s topped with brunt garlic which isn’t black in colour, infact it’s burnt just right.
You can’t really go wrong with Prawn Dumpling. A basket of these will change your mood. I do hope Oh:cha bites the bullet and soon comes out with an exclusive dimsum menu. I’ll be the first in line.
The Chicken Penang curry is not too spicy and is more robust than the typical thai curry. Again it’s not my favourite I’m more partial to a typical red or green Thai curry but it’s tasty and works well with the rice or noodle dishes.
Out of everything we had I think our favourite was the Stir fry beef with oyster sauce and ginger. In fact I liked it so much I’m going to try and replicate this at home. The beef is flavourful, tender and served with some steamed pakchoy and it’s delicious.
There is a choice between a Vegetarian/ Non Vegetarian fried rice and the same with the Pad Thai noodles. We picked a veg rice and a chicken noodle. The rice works well if you pick a curry like we did otherwise the noodles are more fun.
Dessert is an interesting choice of Water chestnut dumplings in fresh coconut syrup, Lemon grass Creme Brule and a Gooey Chocolate Cake. It’s no surprise that we skipped the chocolate cake and went with the more traditional or Thai inspired dessert. The Creme Brule had just a hint of lemon grass, nothing too over powering and a lovely crackling on top.
The Water Chestnut dessert was a bit odd when you think about it and looked like flavoured chilled milk with red berries floating about but it actually is the best way to end the meal because its so cooling and light it doesn’t make you feel heavy like a cake or pudding does.
My job was to sample the Gourmet It Up menu but with so many choices in each course I wanted to try it all. The restaurant was sweet enough to let us sample two dishes that are hot favourites.Their Prawn Green Curry – no complaints what so ever and their Grilled Fish with Herbs and Lemon Grass wrapped in a Banana Leaf. While the green curry is not on the fixed menu the fish is and it was perfect. It’s also extremely healthy and bursting with flavour. In hindsight I would have switched a curry for the fish with my mains but thankfully I got to try both !
While I posted a lot of pictures from this meal I got people telling me that when they visited, the restaurant served incredibly over spiced food. Each and every dish was like fire in your mouth. Sanat Patel, who owns Oh:Cha and is a delight to talk to ( if you meet him, hit him up for some great food recos, he knows his stuff) happened to mention that they went through a phase where customers were complaining and his chef refused to listen so he’s actually brought on a new chef. So the genius behind my meal is Chef Satit Chaimano who is adorable and was sweet enough to pose with Tiny 🙂
I can safely say that my #FollowTheFoodie venture with Gourmet It Up has kicked off on a delicious start. I look forward to the next one !