Sangam Courtyard, Sector 9, RK Puram, New Delhi
T: (011) 3310 5180
Meal for two: Rs 1,800 plus taxes
My first introduction to Fatty Bao was through an overheard conversation in the metro between an irate former Mumbaikar fighting with her friend from Gurgaon about the merits of eating out in Mumbai versus Delhi. Irate Mumbaikar in question told off her friend about how Delhi couldn’t hold a candle to Mumbai when it came to rolls because there was no place that served a pork bun as flavoursome as Bandra’s Fatty Bao.
Whether her statement has merit is debatable, but there can be no debate about the fact that Fatty Bao’s Char Tsiu Bao, made with slow-cooked braised pork in pillowy soft buns called ‘bao’ were one of the most delicious things to satisy hunger pangs; in fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say the baos have potential to become your go-to comfort food in times of distress.
Fatty Bao is doing what many bistros across the world have been banking on — it’s distinctly Asian, but in a fun, non-traditional way. Its menu travels all across South East Asia, with long halts in Japan, and it’s decor has taken elements from touristy art deco items from all over Asia. Take for instance, the salt pepper shakers disguised as Japanese dolls on every table, and Japanese pop art fills up the walls in beautiful colour combinations. Situated in the hip Sangam Courtyard, a mall in RK puram that has popular restaurants from around the city, this outlet can seat triple the number of people in Mumbai’s tiny space in Bandra. The USP of the restaurant includes an open smoking area with long community tables that invite conversations.
Coming back to the main protagonist of the evening — the food we were served, Fatty Bao can easily be called one of the most innovative places that have opened up off late in the city. There sushi is of stellar quality, while being on the reasonable side, and their collections of dim sums are commendable for the variety as well as superior quality of all, in terms of texture and flavour. We recommend the wild mushrooms with truffle oil dim sums for both vegans and non-vegans, and the prawn dim sums for seafood lovers. Bao has a good collection of bar nibbles both for vegetarians and meat lovers, but that doesn’t mean the main course menu hasn’t been paid attention to.
Piece of advice: Let the pork chops be, while they are strictly all right, they pale in comparison to the Norwegian Teriyaki Glazed Salmon, or the Korean Gochujang Lamb Chops that melt off the bone. Beware of their astute mixologist — not only does he whip up super cocktails that knock you down gently, he will come up to you and quiz you about its contents when you’re nice and tipsy, and woe betide you if you mix your gin and vodka cocktails.
Save some space for their fine-dine sweets made to open complex layers of flavour in your mouth. The zen forest in particular, made with Yuzu parfait, green tea moss, black sesame sponge rocks, beetroot and black pepper sorbet , sesame nougatine, chocolate twigs and micro greens are a fitting repartee to delicious times spent here.