NAGA! A Taste of Pan- Asian Cuisine just off Kensington Hight Street
by Louise Hunt Edited by Annie Palmer
Last summer,sophisticated Pan Asian Restaurant and Bar, Naga, introduced a trend from far away shores with the launch of London’s first dedicated Tofu Bar.
Tofu has been a staple part of East Asian cuisine for many years, with numerous Tofu bars and dedicated restaurants easily found in Japan, China and Korea. However, in the UK and Europe, Tofu is more often than not viewed as the Vegan or Vegetarian’s substitute to meat, and by many a meat-eater, thought of as bland, and somewhat unappealing in texture. Overall, an unpopular alternative. But, this was before Silken Tofu, a softer type of tofu that has recently became more widely available and is being used more regularly in everything from dips and chips to stir-fries and salads.
Last year, guests who visited The Tofu Bar at Naga enjoyed a selection of deliciously dedicated tofu dishes ranging from; the Mixed Tofu Platter, that showcases an assortment of Chilled Silken Tofu with Roasted Tomato, Crispy tofu with Seven Spice Pepper and Citrus Wasabi dip and Steamed Silken tofu, to the Tofu Pouches, that are stuffed with beansprouts and shredded carrots and accompanied by a sweet chili dip. Then, for the less health conscious there were even Spicy Tofu Fries – yes that’s right, it’s goodbye triple cooked chip, hello silken sautés.
To accompany the new bar menu, Restaurant Manager and expert Mixologist Tri Van Dan also developed a bean curd-based cocktail, the Tofu Twist. Served in a chilled Martini glass the drink will be a blend of Soy Milk, Frangelico, Kahlua and Dark Crème de Cacao.
Chef Syarief created the concept of the Tofu Bar at Naga with the aim of inspiring visitors and to help create an excitement and buzz around tofu in London. With dishes such as the Spicy Tofu Chips in particular, he hopes to demonstrate to people that Tofu is a versatile ingredient that ‘should be enjoyed not just for it’s health benefits but also because of the fun and flavorsome dishes that it can be used to create’. However, lets not ignore the health benefits of regularly eating tofu, of which there are many. Recent research show that regularly eating soy not only may lower the risk of lung cancer in women, but it also helps to lower cholesterol, delay the ravages of age and is packed with protein and a great source of both Calcium and Vitamin E. So, for that bikini body that we all strive to perfect, best to begin with bean curd!
So jump on board the tofu train and stop off at Naga!
NAGA TOFU BAR 2 Abingdon Road, London W8 6AF Tel: 020 7795 6060 W: www.nagarestaurants.co.uk
Opening Times: Tues-Sat 12pm-2.30pm Mon-Sat 6.30pm -11pmSun 12:30pm -3pm, 6pm-10pm