Eating out Sian, The Gateway Hotel’s spanking new pan-Asian restaurant, will serve Chinese, Japanese and Thai food
Entering Sian, the recently-opened pan-Asian restaurant at The Gateway Hotel, the first thing that catches the eye is a tastefully done Teppanyaki counter. High chairs have been arranged in a neat row. The counter boasts a fashionable array of slender ceramic bottles in various colours. Among them is a thick, pale-green glass of flowering tea (a Chinese speciality tea which involves a blooming flower inside a tall glass of translucent tea).
Sian is named after a city in China, which means God’s grace, informs K. Natarajan, Corporate Chef-Gateway Hotels. “It is short and sweet and easy to pronounce,” he says, flaunting the place. While the cuisine covers Chinese, Japanese and Thai, the décor seems to be mostly Japanese. The walls and furniture are in warm tones of brown and beige.
The menu is rather flamboyant—with the authentic flavours from the three Asian countries. “However, we have tried to keep it practical. We need to offer something that will go down well with diners here. For instance, in the Chinese section, we have included a lot of schezwan style food, which is spicy, and dim sums and sea food that are popular in Kochi,” says Natarajan, who has been with the Taj group of hotels for 31 years. For something as refined as Japanese cuisine, one cannot compromise on ingredients, he says. So right from the authentic smoked eel to galangal, Japanese rice, Mirin (rice wine used for cooking) to the tempura flour, all essential items are imported, as they are not easily available in India. The Japanese portion of the menu is complete “with sushi, tempura and the works,” says Natarajan. The sushi will be mostly made of salmon and flying fish roe. The dish, though relatively new to Kochi, has now found a growing fan base here. Sushi enjoys international appeal because of its health benefits, Natarajan points out. “It is minimalist, but fresh and natural,” he says. The all-time favourite sake (Japanese rice wine) will be served. The Teppanyaki counter is interactive and guests can see their dish being prepared. Vegetarian options too will be available.
Chopsticks will be provided on each table, along with the usual cutlery. Each person on a table can have a menu folded into a roll and tied with a white ribbon. The restaurant, which will be open from 6.30 p.m. to midnight offers great variety in terms of Thai food, too. The best of Thai fish, noodles and the green and red curry will be a hit with people here as Thai cuisine is the closest to Kerala cuisine.
An interesting fare awaits at the dessert section. Apart from traditional dishes, exotic fusion features such as crème brulee with jasmine tea and chocolate mousse with coconut jelly and a dash of Malibu. Eggless ice cream, date pancakes, banana toffee apple are also available. The menu will not be the same after three months. New dishes will be introduced. Guests can customise the menu, too.
The bar, adjacent to Sian, has been aptly titled Swirl. Overlooking the Bubble café, the bar will whip some up of the choicest cocktails, mocktails and martinis in addition to the staples. Live music is a regular feature. One can choose a quiet corner with a comforting drink or take to the dance floor. Some of the specials at Sian—dimsums, satay, sushi and tempura—will be served as snacks in the bar.