Sensational seafood at Stix, HRC

While Chennai restaurants do serve seafood, it's surprising that for a coastal city, there are only a couple of exclusive seafood restaurants. When the chef from Stix, Hyatt Regency Chennai decided to go fishing, he ended up combining the bounties of the sea with some spicy Sichuan ingredients that resulted in a promotion called "Seafood Sensation with Chef Sun."

Chef Sun has been enjoying the past few mornings at the Marina Beach, picking up fish, crabs, squid and prawns. I had an invite to the promotion and I was curious to see how local seafood varieties would taste, not with the usual South Indian masalas but with typical Sichuan ingredients like chillies, peppercorns, scallions and maybe even doubanjiang or spicy bean sauce.

Mackerel with black bean sauce

Stix serves some delicious Sichuan food but this cuisine is not necessarily spicy. In fact, it's a harmony of spice and salt, smoky and sweet. The mackerel on the menu that evening was tossed through a black bean sauce. Take my word - it's delicious.

Seafood hargow

Crispy prawn in scallion sauce

Crispy prawns in scallion sauce were served in the shell. It lived up to its name - no need to shell them and crisp enough to be eaten whole.

Wok-tossed ladyfish with Sichuan peppers. The combination of fresh fish and piquant sauce is fabulous

Grouper with mushroom soy sauce

Pomfret with pickled chilli sauce

Chinese sauces go so well with the delicate flesh of pomfret. The pickled chilli sauce it was coated with had bits of heat and tang and the fresh, firm-fleshed fish was the perfect way to taste them all together.

Crab in pepper sauce; squid in oyster sauce

With seafood this fresh, light marinades and sauces bring out the sweetness of the meat, as the crab in pepper sauce did. The meat was so succulent; just dig in with your hands as that's the only way to enjoy crab.

Some of the ingredients in Chef Sun's culinary arsenal. Nah, not that spicy!

Chef Sun cooks everything in a wok. As he works, his wok and the ladle become extensions of his arms and it's therapeutic to watch him toss ingredients and catch them all back in the wok. For a man who knows no English and communicates with the help of a translation app on his phone, he knows exactly what his customers want.

The menu depends on the day's catch and there's usually 2 ways that it's prepared. The regular Stix menu is also offered but I think the seafood goes best with steamed rice.

Fried ice cream

Our dessert was fried ice cream with chocolate sauce. This must be one of the best I've had, loved the crisp coating of batter with the faint aroma of coconut. Perfect execution too!

Seafood Sensation with Chef Sun is on till July 2nd. An a la carte meal for 2 would be about 3000/++. 


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