Bessie gets a Wok Monk

At first glance, the red, white and black bowls stuck on the wall look like a random arrangement. Why would anyone hang bowls on a wall? Step back and look at it through your camera and then, there's no doubt you're at Wok Monk!

A branch of the restaurant has opened at Besantnagar. Which is a really good thing because that's what Besantnagar lacks - a pan-Asian restaurant. The kitchen is Chef Ilankumar's territory and it's quite a ladle that he wields here. Around 130 dishes on the menu - those are some mind-boggling numbers indeed! And they are vegetarian-friendly too!

Iced Milo Recovery Shake; Chendol Champion

Better than the Iced Milo Recovery Shake is the Chendol Champion. That drink is a champ indeed and closest in taste to chendol you get in the land of its birth!

In-house dips and sauces

Bhutanese soup with chicken

The Bhutanese chicken soup has sliced chicken, broccoli and bamboo shoots in a clear broth. Providing crunch are water chestnuts. Curry powder in my soup - no, not my preferred flavouring though my tablemates just slurped it up.

Prawn hargao; corn and water chestnut dumpling

Mixed veg dumpling; xiao long bao

Neat pleating

Wok Monk has quite an impressive list of dumplings. The prawn hargao and fish-shaped corn and water chestnut dumplings were the tastiest. Chennai restaurants have now caught onto the trend of making xiao long bao and for ease of handling,  the dumplings are steamed on spoons, which I think totally takes away from their charm.

Yakitori; satay gai

As for food on sticks, both chicken yakitori and satay gai were tasty. Slices of leek added texture to the yakitori while the satay had good char and flavour. The peanut sauce was spot on, a perfect balance of peanut paste, tang and spice.

Dry chilli basil chicken

WM chilli chicken

Dry chilli basil chicken could have done with more basil. The Wok Monk chilli chicken was the usual kind that is served in most pan Asian restaurants. Perhaps some smoked chilli oil might have given it more personality.

Teriyaki chicken pizza

The thin crust Teriyaki pizza is quite a dish. This one's just for those who don't mind a twist in the  Cheesy and slightly sweet from the teriyaki sauce-infused meat, it was an unusual pairing.

Fire cracker lotus stem

Pad thai

WM vegetables even have cloud ear fungus. Delish! 

WM rice with chicken and comes wrapped in a lotus leaf

Veg mie goreng with the works - grilled tofu, cucumber and keropok

Steamed rice and Thai green curry prawns

A pad thai is a beautiful balance of Thai flavours. Wok Monk's version was a little too heavy on the tamarind sauce and the noodle was just that little bit overdone. We tried Mie goreng and lotus leaf wrapped Wok Monk rice with chicken, both main courses were very ordinary. What was impressive though was the Thai green curry prawns served with steamed rice. Wok Monk makes its own green curry paste and it's a perfect blend of aromatics, spice and aroma. And those prawns are large and absolutely fresh.

Kawaling pinoy

Chocolate tsunami; fried ice cream

It's nice when a restaurant makes the effort to create a list of desserts suited to their menu instead of passing on uninspiring copycat versions. Kawaling pinoy is one such delight where sweetened sago and mango do a tango. Then there's the oft-served fried ice cream, tiny but well made. The one that took us by surprise was definitely the chocolate tsunami. It looks like just another dimsum till you bite into one and a flood of chocolate ganache fills your mouth. The hint of sesame oil adds a savoury touch and that's what makes it moreish.

All Wok Monk needs is a few minor tweaks to the recipes. But that menu is going to draw me back because I spotted some of my favouite Asian dishes on it. And Chef IIan says that he knows exactly which ones I'm talking about!

Wok Monk is at 15, 17, 5th Avenue,
Urur Kuppam, Besantnagar.
044 4212 3399

*This was an invited review 


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