Food

Punchy flavours and quirky flourishes

Miss T sheds her South East Asian garb and transforms into Mei13

The shiny red door is new, but slide it open and you step into the familiar light-filled interiors of Miss T. The upholstery remains shades of blue but the tables have been rearranged a bit and there’s a new terrazzo wall. Upstairs, a few black and white sketches of Mandarin women have been added.

When Miss T shut down a few months ago, the city lost an interesting mix of Vietnamese, Burmese, and Thai offerings, but the space has been resurrected as a Cantonese diner that opened over this past weekend. “We had to close post monsoon last year to take care of some maintenance issues. Miss T was not commercially at the place we expected 15 months after opening, so we decided to supplement the menu with some classic Chinese dishes for which we brought Chef Lee (Kent Lee, former Executive Chef at Hakkasan Mumbai) on board. When we did the first tasting of his food, we felt that his food deserved a larger platform of its own so we took the difficult decision to rebrand Miss T and revamp the menu entirely,” says Gauri Devidayal, co-owner of Mei 13 (,The Table and Magazine Street Kitchen). Joining Lee in the kitchen is dim sum master Chef Michael Pien and Xavier Tan overseeing the wok. Between the three of them, Mei 13 offers a large menu of beautifully presented Cantonese dishes with punchy flavours and quirky flourishes.

Dim sums galore

After trying the multi-cuisine route in its previous avatar, Mei 13 solely focuses on Mainland China for its inspiration. So there’s no sushi, ramen, and other staples often seen on pan-Asian menus around the city. Instead, you have dim sums (both steamed and fried), a range of appetisers, claypots, noodles, etc. The drinks menu is unchanged, so if you had a favourite at Miss T you can still find it at Mei 13. We began with the Mei 13 Duck Cigar, which is a signature offering of braised duck in a crunchy pastry roll served with sweet hoisin dipping sauce. In keeping with the Cantonese influence, the menu is slightly seafood heavy. The Prawn with Chia Seeds has a pleasing wasabi kick to it while the Kataifi Prawn Roll (from the fried dim sum menu) is deliciously crunchy. The dish is a play on the Greek kataifi or shredded phyllo pastry wrapped prawns, albeit with Asian flavours. Speaking of dim sums, the Red Chilli Poached Peking Dumplings were stellar, plump parcels of prawn in spicy chilli oil dressing. We also tried the moreish Crispy Prawn Dragon Balls, which were crunchy pastry stuffed with nori-wrapped prawns. From the vegetarian selection, the off-the-menu Chives Dumplings was competent enough but the Winter Mushroom Spring Roll was surprisingly insipid.

Comfort food

The mains menu is quite extensive and demands repeat visits. The vegetarian section has a couple of mock meat dishes like Mock Duck in Pepper Sauce and Jiang Bao Mock Chicken, as well as a generous vegetables menu with stir-fries and claypots – think Wok Tossed French Beans with Olives, Sautéed Snow Peas with Truffle Oil, and Stir Fried Broccoli Buds. Seafood lovers, go for the Deep Sea Butter Lobster while the Lamb Rack with Okra should satisfy the meat-eaters. The Egg Fried Race was comfort in a bowl, especially drizzled with one of the housemade sauces on the table. The dessert menu reprises Miss T favourites (like the Yuzu Tart with Black Sesame Ice Cream) with a couple of Cantonese additions such as Mango Pudding with Cream and Pandan Pannacotta with Passion Fruit.

Miss T will be missed, but Mei 13’s Cantonese menu has a soothing familiarity that will have you coming back for more.

Mei 13, 4 Mandlik Road, Apollo Bunder, Colaba; currently open only for dinner from 7 p.m. onwards.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 2:07:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/punchy-flavours-and-quirky-flourishes/article31042830.ece

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