Mumbai is privy to some kick-ass dining experiences thanks to his gastronomic expertise, and now with the recently launched One Street Over, he’s working his magic on its citizens, one finger-licking dish at a time.
Fine Dine Love caught up with Chef Cheung to share five of his fave bar snacks at OSO, and let us in on the memories that inspired them:
1. Congee Topped With a Sunny Side Up, Peanuts, House Made Chili Oil and Scallions
Some of us reach for khichdi when we want a hit of soul-soothing fare while others find refuge at the bottom of a bowl of mom’s coconut milk laden chicken stew. Chef Cheung? His go-to comfort food is this congee, which his mother used to prepare for Sunday brunch.
Foodgasm Factor: The soft-mealiness of the starchy, gloopy rice is nicely contrasted with the freshness of sharp scallions and the nutty crunch of roughly bashed peanuts. And as if that texture mash-up isn’t enough, wait for the pleasantly satisfying thrill you get when your palate is hit by an oozing golden yolk from the sunny-side up egg, infused with the zesty house-made chili oil. Hello, food coma.
2. Kung Pao Broccoli
Inspired by memories from his days working at his father’s restaurant (where he started at the age of 12, rising from humble dishwasher to being the one running the business), this one can be found on OSO’s list of ‘littles’ and is reportedly quite the crowd-pleaser.
Foodgasm Factor: Show me someone who can resist the power of Kung Pao, and I’ll show you a flavor philistine. One of the most successful sauce-marriages in modern gastronomic history, we love this for its easy to love complexity with flavours that are salty, sweet, sour, and spicy – coming together in perfect harmony. The broccoli, whole and crushed peanuts, and dried roasted red chilies each challenge and reward your mouth.
3. Smoked Pork Noodles topped with Chili Oil
As a bar snack, this one is a clear winner with alcohol-swilling adults. Yet, its origins stem from Chef Cheung’s memories of his favorite after school snack. It’s easy to seem all grown up until you dig into a bowl of this simple yet simply divine dish.
Foodgasm Factor: Hitting the bottle with pals is fun most times, but a few carbs can certainly come handy. They play a crucial role in lining your stomach and protecting you from the onslaught of that nasty hangover lurking patiently in the wings. High-protein pork redolent with its smoky umami flavor goes down smoothly with the flat noodles, and both will ensure your system doesn’t absorb the alcohol too fast. The kimchi broth works silently in the background, strong and efficient at ensuring the pork and noodles seem like a composite whole. You may not notice because you’re distracted by how awesome this dish is, but that’s really ok. It doesn’t mind.
4. Chicken N Waffles
We love us some brunch and when it comes down to waffles, it’s hard to say anything other than a resounding, “Yes, please!”. Chef Cheung reflects on how it’s the perfect dish to feature on a brunch menu; the ideal marriage of sweet, spicy and salty goodness on a plate.
Foodgasm Factor: C’mon, waffles, with fried chicken. Need we say more? But we will, anyway. Despite being ever so slightly glazed, both the waffles and fried chicken retain their high degree of chompability. The chip-like fragments of caramelized garlic-onion lend just the right hint of fragrant bite and make it look pretty as well.
5. Shrimp “Gumbo”
So he’s got the cool tattoos, the trendy haircut and of course, that chic sneer; taste that rebellious ‘bad boy’ attitude in a serving of this gumbo. It’s a big plate of tribute to the days when Chef Cheung would skip school to sneak into the VIP snooker room and feast on this shrimp and lobster sauce dish.
Foodgasm Factor: It’s definitely a good tip for anxious folks, sip a drink and succumb to the magic of seafood. While your taste buds go into overdrive, try not to let your eyes roll back as you enter a state of fishy-fugueness. Lesser mortals have almost blacked out from the lethal combo of silken textures and strong flavors. Focus dear, focus. Then reach for another spoon and enjoy the trance as you go under again.
So that’s the lowdown on what bar snacks to grab while you’re sipping on your drinks at One Street Over. But if you really want to step into Chef’s Cheung’s cool kicks, ask the bartender for a Pic Kel Back. That’s his go to drink, which basically involves a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of his homemade pickle juice.
Knock this baby back, and feel the warmth spread in your chest while the pickle juice makes your mouth pucker up delightfully. Then order another.