As the proprietors of a major website and respected elders of our community, there is much we know about the workings of the world at large. But ever so often, we come across entirely new knowledge, like the existence of new & exciting cuisines we haven’t tried before. In one recent such case, we visited a Tibetan restaurant not too far from what’s left of Link Road in Andheri. Its name, New Sernyaa, is Lhasa for Goldfish, an item that is unfortunately not on the menu. We asked.
The restaurant itself, despite like looking like a garage from the outside, was a small but rather cute establishment, with maybe five or six tables. It was colourful like Jughead’s, and had bright flags hanging from the walls, which reminded us of that level in Modern Warfare 3, and of course, framed accolades from Just Dial, which reminded us of 2008.
Within three seconds of walking in, we got a whiff of the sweet, delicate incense that is perpetually wafting throughout the tiny restaurant. While it was pretty dimly lit, it still had a warm, almost homely atmosphere that was only slightly offset by Derrick The Intern’s endless droning about the complexities & drawbacks of having women in the workplace. The menus had more pages dedicated to poetry and famous people’s birth years on the Chinese zodiac calendar than it did about food, although we didn’t really mind, because it was the first menu we’d ever come across that actually had a likable personality to it.
After unsuccessfully trying to guess what each item on the menu was without looking at the description because reading is for pussies, we decided to ask the waiter to bring us his personal favourites. While we waited, we were presented with a plate of two sauces & one magical spicy seaweed chutney, that in all honesty was one of our favourite things that night. We just have one question, if Tibet is a landlocked and mountainous country how does its cuisine incorporate seaweed?
This strange new world we’d found ourselves in was shaping up to be one of the most pleasant meals we’d ever had. And we’d only just begun.
Pan Fried Pork Momos
Based on everything we’ve ever eaten so far, we held the notion that not only were Bombay’s momos average at best but also ridiculously overpriced. And that was not without some degree of truth. The Pork Momos at New Sernyaa, on the other hand, were everything that’s right with the world; flavourful, thoroughly juicy, and deliciously crisp on the bottom, by virtue of being pan-fried. If there was just one thing on the menu that we could recommend, this would be it. It’s not so much food as it a warm, reassuring hug that lets you know everything’s going to be okay.
We’re not often stumped by the ingredients in the food we eat, but we were simply unable to guess what exactly was in the Tubo Jhasha, and asking our waiter was no help whatsoever because the man spoke in parables. Clearly we’d stumbled on some secret Tibetan recipe, but we were far to engrossed in our meal to further act on our curiosity. The Tubo Jhasha was perfectly cooked strips of Tibetan fried chicken, in a spicy red masala, almost like a Chicken Crispy. For a dish so simple it was surprisingly tasty.
The Roast Pork at New Sernyaa looked a lot like gymkhana food, and tasted not entirely different from the stir fried pork at a generically fancy Chinese restaurant. It was made up stir fried vegetables and green chillies, with some of the best, most tender cuts of pork we’ve come across to date. When coupled with the seaweed chutney thing we’d mentioned earlier, it made the entire trip to Oshiwara worth it.
The Decree: New Sernyaa was an incredible place with nice people and good food, the likes of which you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the city. They have a guitar hanging on the wall near the cashier so you can play a little music if you’re feeling up to it, and sharp metal cutlery so you can stab anyone who plays Wonderwall. New Sernyaa is a place we’d pay good money to visit, and we wouldn’t even have to, because it isn’t really all that expensive either. Would we recommend it? Absolutely.