Time Out says
Exciting Indian-French fusion restaurant with a buzzing atmosphere and incredible food offerings.
Tucked away at the end of Sai Ying Pun’s vibrant Fuk Sau Lane, Pondi is a delightful new addition to an already exciting alcove in this residential neighbourhood. Named after Pondicherry, the former French colony in India, Pondi's food is an electrifying combination of Indian home cooking and classic French cooking philosophies. The restaurant is a passion project of restaurateurs Taran Chadha – founder of the original award-winning BlackSalt – Camille Glass, and George Kwok. Guests can taste careful skill and passion in every bite in an inspiring and intensely enjoyable dining experience.
The space sets the scene for epicurean bliss, with a thoughtfully decked out, candlelit alfresco terrace that opens onto the street and allows diners to relax while being immersed in the buzz of the neighbourhood. Inside, the kitchen bar seating is an intimate, modern nook where diners can chat away and look on as the chefs prepare dishes behind the counter. Upstairs there’s additional seating, but only reserved for private parties of 20 or more.
The menu is kept refreshingly simple and caters to vegetarians and the gluten intolerant, as well as boasting more than enough to keep carnivores satisfied. A good lead-in is the hung yoghurt croquettes ($115), a dish that elevates the oft prosaic French nibble to new, tangy heights with tamarind and pickled onions. The parcels lie atop a base of smooth and mellow beetroot puree, which gently pulls the whole dish back down to earth in an exciting interplay of flavours.
The signatures section of the menu offers baby calamari ($150) and air-dried lamb loin ($225), but the butter chicken liver terrine is surely unbeatable. The terrine is accompanied by mini papadums and dried banana chips, which make for the perfect vessels on which to load big scoops of the meaty, fatty slab before adorning with mango chutney for heavenly bite after heavenly bite. The dish could do with more chutney for liberal drizzles, but it’s a small grumble about an otherwise stellar Indian-French creation.
On to the vegetable section of the menu, and the flavour onslaught continues with baked aubergine ($145), which gets a boost from a generous sprinkle of capers, sun-dried tomatoes and a bed of coriander and cauliflower. This dish is incredibly fruity, with a complex – and impressively harmonious – marriage of around half a dozen flavours that leave little doubt of the skills and vision in the kitchen. Get stuck into this with some of Pondi’s doughy and moreish flatbread ($30/piece) and you can’t go wrong.
The menu has a seafood offering, for which the items and price change daily, and a meat section consisting of smoked pork belly dumplings ($150) and wild Hereford bavette (flank) steak ($200). Complemented with sweet potato and chorizo and soaked in red wine reduction sauce, the dish is a tad salty, but a pleasant outro to the meal – if you have enough room left– nonetheless. Wash everything down with a Jaipur IPA or a glass from the thoughtful wine selection to complete a memorable experience.