Serving almost authentic Chinese
An unpretentious dwarf in a giant’s playground
Atmospherics: Chin Chin checks a few boxes simultaneously. It has been around ever since Sector 29 came into existence, but has always been resolutely under the radar, catering to loyalists. It does not have the authenticity of a China Club on the one hand, but its offerings are nowhere near the Chinjabi fare that many eateries dish out in deference to the local palate. Then, despite the market being overcrowded with high-profile bars, this one serves no alcohol and gets lost in the crowd of neon-lit signages. However, in a city where staff keeps changing, Chin Chin has maintained a text-book degree of consistency. It is helped along by the menu that, in South-East Asian fashion, lists out the dishes and prices along with pictures. On the upside, you know exactly what you are going to get; on the downside, you can order chilli prawns, chilli fish, chilli chicken, chilli lamb, chilli potato and so on. Every single time I have visited, I have seen a few diners from the Chinese-speaking world at lunch.
Table talk: The great part about Chin Chin is that it caters effortlessly to a wide swathe of customers and also has a popular home delivery service. While all the appetizers are deep-fried and most soups corn starch thickened, wonton soup (Rs 188) is not. Sweet and sour chicken (Rs 488) is a bona fide preparation that originated in Guangdong (formerly Canton) and really does use fruit juice in the recipe. This version mercifully stays away from tomato ketchup, and is pleasantly sweet and sour, though the chicken chunks in the menu image have been made into less satisfying strips. Beijing eggplant (Rs 363) is an imaginary rendering of how the residents of that city treat their aubergine. However, for our palate, it works well: soft and velvety inside and crisp and chewy outside, with a fair bit of red chilli, it is dry enough to be eaten as a snack. Fish green chilli soy (Rs 495) has, what in our city is called ‘semi gravy’ in a unique turn of phrase. Sadly, there was no green chilli at all, but capsicum.
Plus and minus: the interiors cry out for a bit of sprucing up and service is unnervingly clueless. Also, fried rice is bone dry.
Must try: salt and pepper winglets; ginger chicken; tofu and pak choi
Food: 3.00; Service: 2.50; Décor: 2.75
SCO 33, Ground floor, Sector 29, Gurgaon
Open from 11 am to 12 midnight
No alcohol served; credit cards accepted