By Lê Hương
Among the dozens of Indian restaurants in Hà Nội, Rasm Modern Indian Cuisine Restaurant, which has been open for three months now, offers a fresh style of Indian cooking.
With a great view of West Lake, the restaurant serves up some seriously good food.
Chef Chandra Prakash intends to take customers on a culinary journey, exploring new places, cultures and flavours. Courtesy Photo of Rasm Restaurant
“My principle is freshness,” Chef Chandra Prakash said. “I was born in Khaluni Village, Uttrakhand State, where my parents and grandparents picked fresh vegetables from the garden every morning to cook, so I've liked fresh food since my childhood.”
“So all the ingredients I use here are fresh,” he said.
Chef Chandra Prakash at work. VNS Photos Trương Vị
Chef Prakash said the restaurant imports Halal meat from New Zealand and Australia, and uses Indian spices and vegetables from Việt Nam.
Highlights at the restaurant include Butter Chicken, Lamp Chop Tandoori, Quinoa Avocado Chaat and Cheese Naan Biryani.
Lamp Chop Tandoori
Cheese Naan is chef Prakash's innovation dish, which is baked on charcoal.
The chef said he follows ancient royal recipes dating back 200 years for his dishes while applying modern cooking styles.
“As you may know, Indian spices are good for digestion and health,” he said. “We keep all the positive effect of the spices but try to prepare in a modern way rather than sticking too strictly to the traditional style to suit local tastes.”
The chef said he has listened to feedback to perfect his style to satisfy customers.
His passion for food led him to Hà Nội, which is home to friendly people, beautiful landscapes and authentic culinary arts.
He said he made his very first dish of khichdi (boiled rice and lentils) at 12 years old when he was living far from his family.
The joy in cooking has gradually grown up with him since then.
"My philosophy in my cooking is my passion," he said.
From working as a Master Chef at five-star hotels to consulting for pre-openings, he has become the head chef and a culinary designer in the restaurant.
“I consider cooking my passions and hold expertise in preparing various types of recipes from almost all Indian cuisines.
“I intend to take customers on a culinary journey, exploring new places, cultures and flavours,” he said.
Before opening the restaurant, he was invited to Việt Nam to prepare and cook Indian delicacies for Indian Vice President Shri Venkiah Naidu and his delegation during their visit to the country.
He has worked at various prestigious hotels including The Grand Hyatt Mumbai, The Imperial Hotel New Dehli, Jaypee Group of Hotels and Trident Oberoi, and has travelled across the world to host culinary events.
“Most of the Indian spices used in my recipes are medicinal and have Ayurvedic properties, so adding them in the food not only makes the food delicious and fragrant but also prevents some diseases as well,” he said.
He said his first focus is on taste and authenticity.
“Keeping in tune with that vision and philosophy, some aspects of modern cuisine have been used to enhance the experience of the dishes in terms of not just the flavour and visual appeal but also to introduce an element of surprise into the fray,” he added.
A customer with the nickname Birangat04 from Mumbai commented on tripadvisor: "I have been to this restaurant many times and have liked the food every time.”
“Good and soothing music and atmosphere and comfortable chairs,” he wrote.
Customer Lê Thanh from Hà Nội said she loved both the location and the food at the restaurant.
“Everything is fresh, fragrant and authentic Indian style but not too strong with spices like other Indian restaurants here,” she said. “I will return to try other dishes on the menu.”
"I like sitting at the front yard, which is surrounded with a metal curtain, which helps provide a little more privacy for the guests but still offers a close approach with surrounding nature," she added.
An Indian oasis
From the outside, the restaurant could be mistaken for a spa, with a huge light metal curtain hanging at the entrance.
The entrance to the restaurant with a light metal curtain with patterns like those found on Indian wedding dresses.
The curtain is handmade and features decorative patterns like those found on Indian wedding dresses.
“We bought it here from India, together with all the paintings and bamboo lights,” Prakash said. "Popular architect Deepak Googari from Pune Maharashtra helped us design the space."
The rooms are decorated in a royal style with various paintings of Indian rulers, and can host up to 130 guests.
The upstairs room also features many mirrors.
“They reflect the light like in the old royal palaces of India,” he said.
A VIP room walled with sandalwood from India offers a more sedate atmosphere.
“When we bring hot dishes into the room, the smell of the natural wood mixes with the smell of the spices and food to create an unforgettable fragrance,” he said.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner between 11am and 10.30pm at 126 Từ Hoa Street, Tây Hồ District, Hà Nội. VNS