Taj Palace gets a new Chinese restaurant
Chinese from Guangdong (Canton)
Atmospherics: Spicy Duck was born in a mighty hurry: Blue Ginger had barely closed when Spicy Duck opened unofficially. The upshot is that the décor is largely the same as the old restaurant, but the food could not be more different! The official date of opening is Saturday, the 10th of September. There are two chefs in the restaurant, both from the South Chinese province of Guangdong, the origin of the finest, most flavourful food in the country. Both have worked in India before and know the tastes of the Indian palate, so there is an in-house chilli relish on the table and plenty of spice when you request for it.
Table talk: Chef Leong is a Peking duck expert who cooks the main courses and Chef Oon is the dimsum chef. As the restaurant has opened its doors with such speed, the entire dimsum menu is not in place, but is expected to be by November, when baked and fried dimsum will be added. In the meantime, the best dimsum include steamed shrimp and scallop dumpling (Rs 425) where the seafood has been cooked to crunchy perfection and the wrapper is firm and ever so slightly chewy. There are excellent hargao (Rs 425), decent shrimp and chicken sui mai (Rs 425) and BBQ pork buns (Rs 425 for three pieces). And there are a few vegetarian dimsum, of which the one I tried was steamed edamame with truffle oil (Rs 425) where the edamame had lost its texture. The one appetizer that is not, inexplicably, under dimsum, is crispy spring rolls, mushrooms, milk (yes!), truffle oil Rs 550. It is something of a novelty and is designed to appeal to our palate. In the main course, the eponymous spicy duck is a must-try. Priced at Rs 2900 for two courses: one is the sliced skin with pancake, sweet bean sauce and cucumber and spring onion juliennes. The second is a choice of two main courses, just as it would be in Quanjude, Beijing’s signature duck restaurant, where you finish the entire duck over a 4-5 course meal.
Plus and minus: Forgive the sagging sofas: getting the two chefs on board is a major achievement. Spicy Duck just has to become the best duck restaurant in the NCR!
Must try: wok-fried sliced pork with chilli bean; prawn stir-fried preserved chilli garlic, braised eggplant, wild mushroom in dou ban sauce
Food: 4.00; Service: 3.50; Décor: 3.50
Taj Palace Hotel
2, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave
Open from 12.30 to 2.45 and 7 pm to 11.45 pm
Meal for two: Rs 3,500
Alcohol, credit cards