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Getting it right and how

With its new menu, Vintage Asia, in JW Marriott, brings food that will transport you to the streets of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Abhinay Lakshman |

Whenever I have eaten South-East Asian food outside of the region, I have been disappointed. More often than not, the dishes are misconstrued and made into something that is quite removed from the authentic ones. Hence, before entering Vintage Asia, JW Marriott’s Asian speciality restaurant, I was not that hopeful.

Chef Tan Kwang Aik
Chef Tan Kwang Aik


However, I was pleasantly proven wrong by Chef Tan and his team, who for the first time in my experience served authentic South-East Asian cuisine outside of the region. The new menu designed by Chef Tan has some incredible new dishes right from the heart of South-East Asia, especially Thailand.

The meal started off with a very light lemon refresher. The sweet and slightly tangy combination of Kaffir lemon and herbs in ice was an amazing way to start the meal. Following that was warm, clear, Chinese Jasmine tea, served from the traditional tea pot. It is an extremely light palette cleanser for between courses.

Some of the best things in the menu include a range of perfectly made dim-sums with accompanying sauces, the star anise chicken ball soup, lemongrass chicken roll, spicy basil fried rice, and the showstopper — Chiang Mai prawn curry.

Chiang Mai Prawn Curry


The dim-sums were served with four complementing sauces — Mountain dry chilli sauce with burnt garlic and chilli oil; Tomato and chilli sauce with garlic and coriander; Red chilli and vinegar sauce; and green chilli and coriander sauce. The sauces are as authentic as it gets. It might even have been taken straight from the dim sum stalls in Hong Kong where people queue up from 5 am!

The Ying Yang Yam Bean (vegetarian) goes best with the mountain dry chilli sauce and tomato and chilli sauce. The Pumpkin Prawn dumplings, on the other hand, go well with the green chilli and coriander sauce.

Lemon Grass chicken roll, burnt garlic


The sweet aftertaste from the dumplings smoothly merges into the spiciness of the green chilli, making it taste all the more better. The dim-sum favourite was, however, the Chicken Spicy Coriander dumpling, best with the sweet and sour taste of the tomato and chilli sauce.

The lemongrass chicken roll with burnt garlic also makes for a wonderful appetiser. It is a play on the traditional Thai rolls, but deep fried in tempura flour. Extremely spicy, this starter will have you reaching for that glass of Jasmine tea so that you are prepared for the next course.

Slow Cook Hot Pot Duck, Ginger, Spring Onion
Slow Cook Hot Pot Duck, Ginger, Spring Onion.


For the main course, the Spicy Basil fried rice is a welcome addition to the menu. Taking inspiration from the Thai Basil Chicken rice, Chef Tan has created this vegetarian rice dish that perfectly brings pleasing Thai flavours to your taste buds.

This can be paired very nicely with the Chicken lemongrass with Thai red chilli or the slow cook hot pot duck with ginger and spring onions. Both these sides add depth to the flavours and bring out the best in each other.

Coming to the star of the new menu and what I believe people in Kolkata will die for — the Chiang Mai prawn curry. Carefully cooked prawns swim in a reddish coconut and tomato-based gravy, as it arrives at the table.

Spicy Chicken Coriander dumpling


Seasoned with fresh basil, it is absolutely stunning. It goes best with the Spicy Basil fried rice. The prawns are cooked to perfection and the gravy is just something that will drop you into a food coma. Imagine Chingri Macher Malai Curry but in spicy red gravy and you’ll get an idea of what the side dish is like!

Other dishes of note include the Wok-Tossed Young Corn with Honey Pepper, which is served on a bed of what seemed like deep fried glass noodles; the Stir Fried Lotus Root with Snow Peas and Black Fungus; and the Steamed Bhetki Fillet with Vinaigrette Fresh Chilli and Black Bean.

Steamed Bekti Fillet, Vinaigrette fresh chili, Black bean
Steamed Bekti Fillet, Vinaigrette fresh chili, Black bean.


Lastly, the one dish that was a pleasant surprise was the dessert. Well, it was dessert drink! Tub Tim Krob — chilled jellied water-chestnut with sweetened coconut cream and in it were floating small pieces of red cherries. It was the perfect ending to the meal. The drink even had a strip of pandan leaf, giving it that South-East Asian touch.

Vintage Asia in located on the first floor of JW Marriott, and a meal for two would approximately cost Rs. 3,000 (with alcohol). The restaurant runs a dinner service everyday from 7 pm onwards and is open for lunch and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays respectively.