Ansal Plaza has seen a resurgence in recent years. As a relatively new resident of New Delhi, I'd heard tales how lively the place used to be. After all, it was the city's first major shopping mall in the late 1990s. With relatively cheap rents and massive spaces available, new restaurants are now opening up in the heart of south Delhi. Triple8 is the latest restaurant to open its doors (in April 2018) in Ansal Plaza. The brainchild of entrepreneurs Jaideep and Mandeep Anand, and headed by chef Vivek Rana, its a pan-Asian restaurant and its philosophy rests on the auspicious number '8'. Considered lucky in Chinese philosophy, Triple8 has taken it to heart with eight signature cocktails, mains and wines on the menu. Don't worry, that's just the signature dishes, the menu offers plenty more!
Triple8 is located at Ansal Plaza in the heart of south Delhi. On Khel Gaon Marg, the place is easily accessible via Ring Road if coming by road transport. The nearest metro station would be Moolchand or Lajpat Nagar on the violet line. The restaurant is located on the first floor of B Block in the mall.
I was pleasantly surprised as I walked in. The restaurant has an elegant and understated approach. The mute tones of burgundy and black on the walls with dim lights, gives a customer a soothing feeling immediately. The accent wall is covered with black and white food shots while the bar behind lights up to give a warm effect. There is also a DJ who plays music keeping the mood of the night in mind. As each course progressed, the music too increased as more people had come in by then. (I'm notoriously early for dinners as I prefer an early meal!). The restaurant is spread of over two floors, but I chose to sit downstairs. The seating is comfortable and larger groups can lounge on couches.
Despite opening in April, Triple8 received its alcohol license in June. The menu is well curated with pan-Asian foods from across the region. There are influences from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and the list can keep growing. Full disclosure: I love Asian food. Be it Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, or Cambodian, I adore the balance of flavours found in the region and can be found munching on such cuisines when I need comfort food. The highlight here is wines. Though, technically, not on the menu, there are eight special wines curated by the owners. They aren't paired with courses I'm told but are sourced from the travels of the owners. The cocktail menu is also very interesting because they use typically Asian ingredients like pandan, miso and nori with the usual suspects like whiskey and vodka.
Another disclosure once again: I was given a special curated menu which drew influences from around Asia. Starting from Japan, I went on a journey to Thailand, Tibet, Malaysia and Cambodia. I would definitely recommend the sashimi and nigiri. I tasted hamachi, salmon and tuna in both dishes. The fish is sourced from Japan and the freshness is retained in the first bite. Not the mention the pretty presentation in a bowl works like a charm.
The Thai slow-cooked pork ribs is another must-have. The ribs are braised for about eight hours (see the theme continuing? I kid of course!) and they simply fall of the bone when eaten. The meat melts in your mouth and the balance of spices with a hint of chilly as an after taste, leaves you wanting more. The chicken wings I tasted was probably the softest I've had that I can recall. With ginger and pineapple, sweet and sour at the same time, the taste was sublime.
The baked quail eggs with sambal and puffed rice was a miss. The textures of the eggs and puffed rice didn't really hit the spot.
Among dimsums (I share a love affair with the food), I will recommend the edamame and morels with dehydrated mushroom dust served with a black bean chilli over the pork and leek ones served with salsa and the corn and asparagus served with red Thai curry foam. The taste and texture was just right and the black bean chilli pairs well as a dipping sauce.
I enjoyed the grilled snapper in banana leaves. The chilli was subtle and the fish juicy because all the juices were locked in during the cooking process. It reminded me of something similar I'd tasted in Siem Reap, in a small eatery, next to my hostel years ago. Proust was right when he conjured the theory after his famous Madeleine moment.
Among the mains, do try the braised lamb shank Malacca with mantao and the prawns with rice congee. Both very different but equally delightful. Use the bread to mop up the sauce with the lamb while alternate between the congee and bites of prawn. The Dan Dan noodles were alright, comforting but not spectacular.
Rs 3,000 exclusive of taxes and alcohol