So while invigilating this morning on a stomach that had last seen or heard of food some 14 hours ago, I did the dumbest thing. I thought about the food I had had last week at Republic of Noodles. Put simply, Republic of noodles is the best restaurant in the history of the world. On a bad day, I think of the food I had there and make myself more miserable. I can now only make vague attempts at recalling the taste and try to produce it in writing, thereby scarring forever, my memory of the food that I had there.
So I went there on a warmish Tuesday afternoon. I had only just had a pleasant day but I am convinced that if I had had a terrible day and was waiting to die, the food at republic of noodles would have saved the day and me.
I am bad at ordering. I want all the things on the menu, even though my appetite sucks. I can’t choose what I want because if I order one, I keep dreaming about the other. Over the last few months I have been thinking about the tedious process that is ordering; having said that, it also requires practiced skill to be able to order like a champ. It seems like ordering food off the menu is just as serious business as eating. All of this could very well be pompous bullshit coming from some Victorian person’s ass but it makes sense to me now because I have only just begun to enjoy eating.
I started with the Roast Duck soup with pickled lime. Funny thing about restaurants like these is the suffix- like thingies that are added after the main item. Roast Duck soup with pickled lime. I mean all the while I was waiting for the food to arrive I had only imagined the roast duck; I hadn’t quite registered the pickled lime yet. I mean who thinks about lime in that way?
So the soup arrives in this ceramic black bowl and I can smell the meat struggling to waft through the thickness that I assumed was the soup. The soup was not thick though. It was thin and watery. Although I have my doubts about thin and watery soups, my first sip permanently changed my conception about the thick and thin nonsense. It was meaty and just that. While the meat itself was very soft, the soup was consistently getting sharper in taste. I think it was because I was beginning to taste the tiny strips of pickled lime. I got conned. I thought the pickled lime was just some flavour that may not even be physically present in the soup. I was so wrong. Just as I was finishing the soup, the lime bits became more and more playful. They were doing something to the texture of the soup.
Soon after I emerged from the duck soup, I saw a bunch of banana leaves being escorted to the table. The waiter put one on my plate and vanished. I looked at it with mild interest for sometime before unfolding the ‘Grilled fish in Banana leaves’. There were 5 pieces, each squarely cut.
I undressed my fish and looked. It promised me meat and because a faint trace of coconut was travelling around the vicinity, I took the promise very seriously. Turns out it was the best thing I had ever put in my mouth. The fish was perfectly cooked; the masala and the oil were sharp and allowed me many moments of oohing and aahing. I think I maybe partial to the fish because of its coconut friend. Even the orphaned slice of the sad looking tomato cheered me up because the coconut had befriended it too. I was only recovering from my food death when some interesting looking bamboo container was placed next to me. It had Jasmine rice in it to accompany my fish in coconut and tamarind gravy.
The Jasmine rice smelled great enough to fill my already bursting stomach and the curry looked inviting. At my first bite I died many times. I feel terrible about dying so many times and so badly at that but the curry simply felt like coconut goodness. I have never understood the expression food melting in the mouth until now. I think my mouth was favouring the coconut and the fish so much that it may have overshadowed the tamarind, bits of which I could only taste after I was full.
All of these earth-shattering orgasms were washed down with coconut milk and chestnut jelly for dessert, which I should write about at some point.
I have been to the republic of noodles twice now. The fish in banana leaves and in the coconut curry are taking too many liberties with my dreams even now. I am waiting to go there again and this time I am going to take lots of pictures and write again.