Inside Plum by Bent Chair | All The Deets
Kamala Mills recently made some space for Plum by Bent Chair, an innovative space that combines two experiences – eating, and shopping. Now, I’m not going to deny, I’m a sucker for both. Before visiting the restaurant, I hadn’t fully understood what the term ‘retail restaurant’ meant. I had read that they were the first ones to bring the concept to India, but other than that, I wasn’t sure what it was all about.
Upon visiting, I found out that the restaurant is a collaboration between the restaurant Plum, and the eclectic home decor brand Bent Chair, which means that while you dine on their food, you have the liberty to shop any of their home decor items on display, on the spot. That includes the beautiful art on the walls, quirky centerpieces, and even the spoon you’re using to eat. When put together, Plum looks like a gorgeous mess. The colour plum runs through the restaurant, and aligns all of its bizarre elements to give it a concentrated thought.
After taking a little more than a moment to wrap my head around the interiors of the restaurant, I sat with my companions by the large glass windows that poured sunlight onto our table while we went through the menu.
Plum is a dedicatedly Asian restaurant, and doesn’t mix its menu with other cuisines, which is something I’m so tired of seeing at restaurants. It’s not a vast menu, but is a very innovative one. I’ve set myself on a personal mission to explore Asian food to all of its lengths, so we decided to balance our order with some classics and some new and unfamiliar options.
We started with Fried Soft Tofu, Beijing Chicken, and Prawn Sesame on Toast. Out of them all, surprisingly, the Fried Soft Tofu was the winner for us from this group of starters. Fried tofu quenelles were immersed in an Asian gravy made with egg drop and braised broccoli. When put together, the softness of the tofu, the crunchiness of the broccoli, and the smoothness of the egg, really worked for me, having never tried something like that before.
The Beijing Chicken was strong and spicy, and generally packed a tight punch of flavour, but wasn’t exceptionally memorable. We were looking forward to the Prawn Sesame on Toast, but they were drenched in oil and remained untouched after the first bite.
At this point, the sushi was a saviour. Both the ones we ordered, the Prawn Tempura Uramaki and the Plum Blossom Uramaki, came in generous quantities, and were full of flavour. The balance of the sushi rice and the contents it envelopes was perfectly balanced, which is a make-or-break for me when it comes to sushi. Amidst the three of us, we wiped out the 16 pieces of sushi that were on our table, a testament to just how much we enjoyed it.
The next part of our meal involved Sweet Potato Dim Sum and Pan Seared Chicken Gyoza. The Sweet Potato Dim Sum were super soft, but on the dryer side, though they had the potential to be a yummy mouthful. The Chicken Gyoza was a very simple order. It wasn’t as exciting as some of the other things we had eaten so far, but it’s a go-to for anyone who wants to play it safe.
When it comes to casual Asian food, I prefer binging out on the starters and keeping the mains light. Between the three of us, we shared a portion of Soy Noodles with a Wild Mushroom Clay Pot gravy, and a Plum Bento Box with chicken.
The Mushroom Clay Pot gravy really brought out the strong essence of the different kinds of mushrooms in it. Accompanied by the wok tossed soy noodles, it was a very familiar and simple dish. The Plum Bento Box was made of sticky fried rice, Thai curry, pickled ginger, a side of Beijing Chicken, and a side of a fresh beetroot salad. It was a hearty quantity and great for a single person’s meal.
The desserts were very confusing to me. There were only two on the menu, so we decided to give them both a shot. The first one was a Nutella Sushi Uramaki, which was a very awkward mixture of sushi rice, jaggery, bananas and nutella. Despite it consisting of such prominent flavours, the rice overpowered all the sweetness, and the result was a dry and bland mouthful.
The very last dish of the day was a Plum Tropical Fruit Citrus Cheesecake. Lime Cheesecake sat atop cut pieces of fruits. It was surely an interesting texture and flavour, but was far from the indulgence we were craving.
Although there were a bunch of misses compared to the hits, the restaurant has managed to make an impact on me, and it’s not one I can easily forget. The portion sizes of all the dishes were generous, which was a huge plus for me. The highlight of my meal was the sushi and the main course, and I can see myself going back here for a brunch date with my mother after a bit of shopping in High Street Phoenix. I would love to pick up some beautiful decor pieces the next time I’m around. To round it up, I commend the team behind Plum by Bent Chair for introducing a concept that hasn’t really picked up in our city yet, and doing a notable job with it.