ADYA Celebrates 1 year at the Anaheim Packing District
One of the first residents of the Anaheim Packing District was ADYA. One year ago Chef Shachi Mehra opened up a food stall that focused on Indian street food. The restaurant has gained media attention from CBS to Westways magazine.
Indian Roots, Steeped in the United States
ADYA and owned and operated with Executive Chef Shachi Mehra grew up in an Indian American household, living between both worlds.
During her summer breaks she returned to her native India and continued to be steeped in the flavor complexity of Indian cuisine. Mehra’s goal is to have her food appeal to a variety of tastes and support the use of seasonal food from local farmers.
Legit Indian cuisine, but approachable to beginners
This was my first visit to ADYA, even though I have visited the Anaheim Packing House several times, the place is big. Little did I know that I was missing out on one of the better restaurants at the Packing District.
When I think of Indian food, I often think of flavor saturated dishes that will blow out my taste buds by the third dish. Although her dishes are uniquely Indian, they share a familiar string of American food culture. I can’t put my finger on it, but the dishes tasted both exotic and comfort food at the same time.
I was recently invited in for a taste testing of some of their dishes to celebrate their 1 year anniversary, and I will say that I was impressed. As disclosure, I visited ADYA an additional time on my own dime so that I could write an unbiased review of the food.
What I tried at ADYA
Papadum, Lotus Seeds, and Chuntnies ohh my!
If you are unfamiliar with Indian food, this appetizer is similar to chips and really fancy salsas. A light and crunchy bean based crisp is available for dipping with a variety of Chutneys. Like Salsa, chutney is made with fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.
The day I visited I tried the Tomato Chutney, Mint Chutney and Tamarind Chutney. My favorite was definitely the Tamarind Chutney; I cleared out the bowl that I was supposed to share with my table mates. Sorry folks, I was on a flavor mission.
The appetizer was also served with puffed lotus seeds, which reminded of large salty kasha. This isn’t your Grandpa’s breakfast cereal, rather an addiction inducing dipping vessel for the chutneys.
Again if you are unfamiliar with Indian food, the closest while person food is a crab cake. With that said, this isn’t your Yankee Doodle Baltimore Harbor crab cake.
The Crab Masala has a complex flavor profile from fresh crab, corn, asparagus pressed together and drizzled with a delicious mustard yogurt. The crab masala was complex in flavor, which I appreciate but quite can’t figure out the exact blend, much like a woman’s heart.
Lamb Kofta , Meat Balls with a kick
Kofta in this preparation is simply lamb meatballs with a tomato tamarind glaze. The kofta had a slightly spicy zing at the tail end and extremely flavorful. These lambs kofta’s balls were too spicy for my wife’s mouth, so I had to finish her portion. No complaints on my side.
Kokum Fish Curry (the best dish)
The Kokum fish curry was my favorite dish that I tried at ADYA. A curry is made with kokum fruit and coconut milk and the fish is cooked in the mixture, embedding the rich flavors of spice and coconut into the fish. It is served atop rice and portion of Naan.
On the side we had Raita, which are a cucumber and yogurt dipping sauce, black lentils and a side salad.
Chicken Tikka Masala , I could it this all day, any day
This is perhaps the one Indian dish that most Americans are familiar with, as it is considered to be the safe dish at any Indian restaurant. I really enjoyed ADYA’s preparation, as it was flavorful as I would expect from a traditional preparation.
The Tikka Masala was still very approachable with the right blending of ingredients. I could eat this dish all day and I soaked up every last drop of the sauce with my garlic naan, don’t judge me….
This dish was Served with an amazing garlic naan. Garlic Naan is like Cats and Chips, you cannot have just one. Yes that was a bastardized version of Ernest Hemingway’s quote ;).
White Chocolate Rabri and Cardamom Grilled Peaches
This is a sweet Rabri dish was with white chocolate and grilled peaches; it might remind you of a creamy custard or pudding. It is made by slowing boiling milk, spices and sugar down on low heat until it becomes dense.
I loved this desert and the rabri was a nice match for the cardamom flavored peaches. The white chocolate rounded out the flavors of this dish with a silky fine flavor.
Date and Coconut Naan
Yes there is dessert Naan as well, the coconut naan was filled with a date puree. This dish was happiness.
Chef Mehra worked with 180 chocolates, their neighbor at the Anaheim packing house, to create a chai spiced chocolate truffle. This was the perfect end to my Indian street food meal.
My Final Thoughts of ADYA
You have many choices when dining at the Anaheim Packing District; I highly recommend you add ADYA to your foodie bucket list. If you like Indian food, then you will definitely love it. If you are unsure about Indian food, then ADYA is a great start.
Dip your feet into the water with the Chicken Tikka Masala and then jump in with the Kokum fish curry. From there, explore the different flavors of ADYA India Street food creations. Tom’s Foodie Blog recommends ADYA.