Gracious dining amidst a rash of cacophony
Serves authentic Sichuan Chinese
Atmospherics: kudos to the management of this 14 year old restaurant that is as pristine today as the day it opened its doors. It has always had three Sichuan chefs in the kitchen. The tastes are closer to our desi palate than many other regions of China. The restaurant can be directly accessed in your car; there are private dining rooms and a lounge at the entrance for drinks and snacks. The beautifully appointed space beats the hell out of every other stand-alone restaurant in the Millennium City.
Table talk: I have never had a less than excellent meal here. It is one of the rare Chinese restaurants to offer cold starters, an intrinsic part of a meal in China. Sauteed lamb brisket with chilli and caraway (Rs 540) is a dry starter with a spicy ‘masala’ clinging to the superbly cut slices of lamb that are tender enough to melt in your mouth. Most of the meats in the restaurant have obviously been cut by the Chinese chefs themselves, and the difference in tenderness is plain to see. Chinese fungus with chilli and coriander (Rs 430) is a vegetarian dish which, like many dishes in that cuisine, depends on its textures for success. Wok-fried lamb with fresh tomatoes and ye shan chilli (Rs 650) turned out to be a masterpiece of simple flavours with a bit of sauce and quartered, peeled tomatoes. It was a home style dish, albeit one made by a superb home cook! Here too, the lamb was sliced against the grain, not along it, so that the meat cooked fast and was tender. There was a touch of tomato gravy involved. Restaurant meals in China tend to go easy on the starch and never are rice and noodles consumed in the same meal: the two are consumed in different parts of China. However, dan dan noodles (Rs 280) are a speciality of the Sichuan province – a street-side treat in which a seller used to carry a bamboo pole on his shoulder (dan dan) with baskets of ingredients suspended. The noodles were a little soft for my liking and the sauce too thin to cling to them
Plus and minus: Best for formal entertaining. Prices are surprisingly moderate
Must try: eggplant stuffed with bean curd; fried bacon with green chilli, roasted Sichuan style duck with condiments
Food: 4.25; Service: 4; Décor: 4.00
Ground floor, Tower C, Global Business Park, MG Road
Open from 12-3; 7-11.
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 2,500 plus taxes