Manhattan via Singapore

A sea of options

At the recently-opened The Manhattan Fish Market, there’s fish aplenty

It smells fishy. Though not in a wrinkle-your-nose kind of way. Thankfully, it isn’t as overpowering as an actual fish market, even though this restaurant is inspired by one — Fulton Fish Market, Manhattan.

At the recently launched The Manhattan Fish Market, the restaurant is wrapped in the unmistakable aroma of deep-fried food. We sit at one of the two empty tables. The rest of the brightly-lit restaurant is filled with diners, all engaged in loud conversations, over a wide range of fish — about a dozen in all I am informed.

The menu has an image of a red fish swirling out of the Statue of Liberty’s flame. Despite all the bombastic Manhattan branding, the first outlet opened in Malaysia. After more than 50 outlets in various parts of the world (a list from which Manhattan is conspicuously absent) they have opened their first outlet in India in Chennai.

Not surprisingly, the menu is all about fish, fish, and more fish, with a bit of meat in between.

For weeks now, the friend accompanying me has been drooling over tantalising pictures on their Facebook page…almost bordering on obsessive stalker territory. And since most of her messages read, “I want the seafood platter,” and “I woke up dreaming of that platter,” we knew that’s what we would definitely order. Even before the waiter hands us the menu, we ask for a Manhattan Flaming Sea Food platter. The scallops sound good but we are informed that this, unfortunately, isn’t the season. So, Chicken of Liberty it is. There aren’t too many options for vegetarians. But they won’t remain hungry either, as long as country-fried mushroom, baby corn fritters, cream of tomato and mushroom soup, vegetable olio and creamy mushroom pasta appeal to them.

Given the full house, the service isn’t bad. The grilled chicken breast, dusted with dry parsley and their signature spices isn’t the most exciting and all you taste is an explosion of fieryness. The herbed rice, with the familiar flavour of garlic, however, is an absolute delight. The restaurant takes great pride in their sauces that are made in-house. Garlic herb sauce is the star, and as a result, finds itself in most of the dishes.

The platter is like a crowded sea of fish. It arrives amidst much fanfare. The friend grins like a Cheshire cat, claps and takes numerous photos of the diva; and in this one-off case, it’s the food and not me. The prawns are dramatically flamed. Batter-fried calamari, mussels and filet of dory fish are the others on the platter. Golden brown and crunchy, they are addictive and filling. A few extra laps in the pool are recommended.

At The Manhattan Fish Market, they offer five styles of cooking for you to choose from — poached, grilled, baked, flamed and fried. Too bad this platter only comes deep-fried.

To end the meal, I ask for the Manhattan mud pie, but alas, I’m a little late. The neighbouring table just polished off the last of the pies. It’s tiramisu to the rescue. Creamy, frothy layers of mascarpone remind me why this is always a favourite.

As we leave, the waiter by the door announces in his loud, gruff voice “guests leaving.” “Come back again,” shout out the other waiters. And of course, we will.

After running successfully in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Oman and Japan, Mahattan Fish Market opens first restaurant in Channai India. The brand looks for Regional / Multi Unit / Unit franchise for other parts of India. Inventure India, a franchise consulting firm based in New Delhi, is assisting Manhattan Fish Market develop India market.

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