The moveable feast : Food and fun ready at Reddy’s

Dubby Bhagat


Up there alongside Darwin, The Big Bang and Adam and Eve is the complex, philosophical evolution of the Hamburger. In 1275, the Tartars introduced the shredded meet patty to their German trading partners in the port of Hamburg where the locals spiced it and fried it. Fast forward 700 years and one Fletch Davis is selling Hamburg steak at the St Louis World Fair between two slices of bread in 1903. In 1940, two brothers Dick and Maurice open a small hamburger restaurant in Los Angeles. Their surname is McDonald. The other day I ate an Epicurean Gourmet Burger at The Fun Café in The Radisson Hotel. It was a finely ground patty flavored with oregano and thyme with crunchy bits of olive pimentos and green peppers, held together with a hint of mango mayonnaise. It was a great leap forward in taste, one that hamburgers ancestors silently applauded from hamburger heaven. “Coffee Shops are about being casual and about a one world cuisine so you have all the edible continents on the menu and you try for pre-plated great looking presentations. It’s about speed and taste combined,” said Chef Reddy being his articulate self. Jagannath whose served us provided the speed and the food had our taste buds tangoing. For starters we had The Baby Corn Salt and Pepper, which when its perfect is crisp and soft and combines the peppery taste of green peppers and black pepper. The temperature of the cooking oil has to be right and Chef Reddy carries a thermometer on his sleeve and exhorts his cook to count from 1 to 10 fast and then from 10 to 1. Serve at once and you got the bliss that the Roman gourmet Apicius found in AD 35 when he urged everyone to sprinkle everything including desserts with pepper.

At The Fun Café you tend to forget the traditional image of fried rice as you eat the Ginger Kimchi Fried Rice that combines China and Korea in a spiced risotto that has chilli garlic paste, bits of cabbage spiced and just a tiny bit of tomato sauce for those who don’t like it hot.

You eat it with the Chicken in Oyster Sauce which is sparked by whole red chilies and spring onions. Or you can go for the Sichuan chicken and black bean sauce which at The Fun Café is thinner but has a capsicum kicker. “Ideally Coffee Shops should be about one-dish meals. People come in and want something light. Then they look through the menu go through the Sandwiches and choose the heaviest Club Sandwich,’’ said Chef Reddy. What he didn’t add was that while eating that small mountain they felt virtuous. We skipped the sandwiches and went straight to the dessert which was a rich fantasy called Chocolate Pyramid which was a smooth chocolate pate with bananas cutting down a too-sweetness that could have crept in. It was a chocoholic’s dream comes true. Instead of wandering away we lingered in The Fun Café taking in that bright colours that combine Matisse and Norman Rockwell. The two artists are as different from each other as can be and it is only in The Fun Café where Chef Reddy presides over a single global cuisine that they and where unlikely and unexpected food combinations come artistically together. You have to be madly finicky not to like one of the nearly seventy items on the menu and that one dish you like is what Coffee Shops are about.