18 - 19 Glasthule Road
Over The Eagle House Pub at Glasthule crossroads. Glasthule is on main road between Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey. Glasthule/Sandycove DART Station is 2 mins away.
WHERE I'D EAT MY LAST MEAL - The menu at Rasam gives an introduction to the food and way of life of people in India that is one of the best I have seen. “India is a culture seated in paradox, where people live side-by-side with all the extremes of life in a chaos that is difficult for other cultures to understand. And at the heart of it all is food, an oas of calm deeply rooted in every occasion. From Rajasthan to Assam, landscapes transform from arid Thar desert to milkd and moist tea-bearing hills. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from small villages on the side of ice capped moutains to temples and oxen on temperate coastal beaches. From region to region and home to home, a recipe is something that every cook tweaks with their own balance of spices.” I couldn’t have said it better myself but then Nisheeth Tak of Rasam Restaurant is a master of many arts. He is the man who had made such an impact on this country’s Indian food scene by introducing Irish palates to the regional tastes of India produced in a subtle light and modern form. Nisheeth Tak has cut a swathe through the old-style curry house concept and consigned it to history -for foodies anyway.
Since opening in 2003 Nisheeth and his chefs have returned to India every year in search of new recipes from their own home states and behond. They travel to Temples, street bazaars and restaurants researching new concepts and ideas. Rasam is in the food-friendly village of Glasthule, just over the Eagle House Pub. Once through Rasam’s doorway you are transported into a world of gleaming glass, silver elephants and big silver-plated doors — all replicas from an Indian Palace. You follow the ankle-high candles into a smart lounge area complete with bar, brown leather sofas and lovely beaten silver tables – where you can also dine. In the 80-seater dining area,the whole effect is subtle and smart. There is a cocoon-like feel of being away from it all encouraged by the superbly courteous service from Manager Prateek and his staff.
People often say to a Restaurant Critic “where do you go when you are not working?” Well, Rasam is a very regular choice for myself and my better half Brendan. We have our own table, if we are two – down near the archway to the back room – or if we are having a family birthday celebration there is a fantastic booth with a big central table which will probably take up to eight people. I have probably had every dish on the menu! I love starters and I love aubergine. Badal Jaam is grilled aubergine steak with tomato and buffalo mozzarella served with a light mustard sauce – this dish comes from Lucknow. From Goa in Southern India comes Galinha Cafreal which is chicken marinated with clove, cinnamon and malt vinegar. Duck Roll from Pondicherry is duck breas flavoured with Garam Masala in a sweet tamarind and fig chutney wrapped in thin handkerchief bread. Malai Jhinga from Kolkatta are three enormous succulent Indian Ocean jumbo prawns tempered with cream, yoghurt, ginger and green chilli – to die for. Another interesting starter is mackerel seasoned with garlic, turmeric, fennel and mustard, cooked in a clay Tandoori oven. Calamari is there too with the influences of Mumbai, in a seasoned batter served with spicy homemade tomato chutney.
They have come up with a very good idea too at Rasam, with each main course they suggest a side dish which will complement your main course choice. Chicken is available in a number of ways – by the way they buy the best of local free range Irish chicken at Rasam. Tandoori Butter chicken is straight from the Tandoor, served in a sauce of creamed fresh tomatoes with fenugreek leaves, ginger and green chillies. Murgh Tamatar Tariwala is a home style chicken curry with slit green chilli, cumin and turmeric. Murgh Xacutti is spiced chicken breast cooked with roasted coconut, onion aniseed cinnamon and cardamon served in a spicy sauce. Likewise with lamb you can have Lal Maas which is a deep hearty dish slow cooked for 8 hours on the bone with spices – served off the bone. Nalli Varual is lamb shank. Dahi Gosht is a lamb dish from the desert city of Bikaner. Patrani Machli is a Parsee speciality of fresh sea bass marinated in fresh green herbs, rolled in a banana leaf and steamed. Served with mango and tomato chilli sauce. Rasam also do traditional Thalis from the Tiffin Centres of Mumbai which are served on big silver platters and basically offer a selection of various dishes. I like that because it gives a little of lots of things. They have fantastic vegetarian dishes and vegetable side dishes – do try them. Melon Tarari is diced melon in a thin sharp chilli and garlic broth, Patta Gobhi is tempered white cabbage with mustard, curry leaves, and red chilli. Dal Panchratnee is a combo of five lentils tempered with garlic, cumin and asafoetida. There is a great modestly priced wine list……..and as for desserts…Fudge Brownie, Pista Kulfi, Rose Petal Crème Brulee, Organic home made sorbets….
If I had a last meal choice it would definitely include mirchi bada aur khasta kachori — I know, just say "mirchi" and I am sure they will know what you mean. It is a Rajasthani dish of golden fried potato stuffed green chilli involving flaky pastry and a spiced lentil filling — crispy, soft, spicy, hot, and yummy in each and every bite.