Friday, January 13, 2012

chant

i was thrilled when i received an email from chef chris hora, the executive chef at chant in hyde park. it was an invitation to a blogger brunch event last sunday :: blogger bloody mary bowie birthday bash brunch ~ i have to say to the name is quite the mouthful. nonetheless, i was uber excited but at the same time nervous because it was my first official blogger tasting event (besides the food tour by chicago food planet) .


to be quite honest, i have not heard of chant restaurant prior to the email i received. i had to do a bit of research about the restaurant before going to the event. from what i've gathered:
o1| chant focuses on asian fusion cuisine.
o2| chef hora has been recently appointed as the executive chef at chant just last september, arriving from LA.
o3| that chris hora starred in a food network show called chef hunter. i watch food network almost religiously! and to be invited to an event by someone who was on a food network show...i mean, how exciting is that?!

i was the first to arrive to the restaurant ~ a tad too early, in fact. 15 minutes earlier than my reservation at 11:30am. i could clearly see chef chris hora planning out with his team (for the event, i assume) as i entered the restaurant. nerves started to kick in... i was thinking to myself 'what is the right thing to do at these events?'


i was seated at a table when chef hora came by to my table to say hello.  he offered a glass of bloody mary and when i mentioned that i didn't drink, he was very nice to offer to make a virgin version of the drink. i mean the blogger brunch is called 'bloody mary bowie birthday bash' so i had to give it a try. i've never really had bloody mary's before but i thought it was a pretty tasty drink. tomato-y with a hint of savoriness and a slight heat and bite at the end.



the decor at the restaurant is quite interesting and different which left me a bit confused. the style was leaning towards a thai direction but i thought it was almost adopted in an edgy (think punk rock) way. there are some decor pieces that i really like which compliments their theme but i'm not sure if the overall impression reflected chant's identity. however, according to the yelpers opinions, most of them thought the decor was cool, hip and trendy.




i was offered the brunch menu and was at a loss as to what to order. i asked my very perky and friendly server what she would recommend and she narrowed it down to three for me : the sweet potato five spice pancakes, honey chipotle wings or eggs with chant potatoes. as tempting as the honey chipotle wings sounded, i wanted to try something that represented chant that is asian fusion. so i opted for the pancakes.



brunch | sweet potato five spice pancakes and vanilla cream ($7)



normally, i wouldn't pick a brunch/sweet item that has five spice since it is usually used in savory dishes and my mind would almost immediately think of chinese roast duck. but i was immensely interested on how the flavor combination would work in this dish. surprisingly, it turned out rather well. these pancakes were crispy on the outside encasing the soft but slightly dense interior. the five spice whispered its presence where i could still taste it but it didn't make me think of duck as i took bites.  and i loved that i could see small bits of sweet potato in the pancakes itself. there were a few things that i would have preferred though - the pancakes could use a more sweetness with maybe maple syrup or honey on the side and would love to taste more vanilla in the cream.

i had the pleasure of meeting with philip moy, a rather friendly guy in charge of chant's marketing strategy and we chatted a bit about the background of chant and of its neighborhood, hyde park over my pancake tasting. we also shared our views on chicago food scene and our love for anything delicious.

one | arrival of chef hora to chant has sparked a change in chant ~ a new improved menu taking experiences from chef hora's travels around the world.
two | chant has a sister restaurant in the same neighborhood :: noodles etc which has a more casual setting
three | chant's decor is supposed to mimic the ambiance of dining on the streets in thailand which kinda pieced what the decor was about.
four | he has actually tried a third of the all menu items and he mentioned his favorite is 'benedict, wahoo, bok choy, snow peas, poached eggs, sauce cherone' so probably give that a try when you get a chance. :)
five | chef hora is bringing farm-to-table approach which is awesome not just for the diners with the use of freshest ingredients but also for the local farmers.

chant restaurant under the lead of chef hora is heading in the right direction in representing the growing food scene in hyde park. while there are some aspects that has room for improvement, i'd like to return to try out what chef hora has to offer for lunch/dinner menu.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others. 

p.s. i was invited by the chef for a complimentary brunch to try out their new menu.
Chant on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

well written :D

Sian Mei said...

thanks! :D