A cross between dining and nightclub
Atmospherics: One would not have thought that the great civilization that China is, would be up for a bit of tweaking of its food, but that is exactly what is happening in Delhi. The good news is that it is barely 5% of this menu that has been modernized. The problem you cannot tell by the description on the menu alone if it is a traditional prep. In the main, fortunately, the flavours have been left intact. With a ginormous private dining area (seats 50) with its own bar, two floors, live entertainment on the weekends and an open kitchen with six chefs from Guangdong bustling about, this is the Big Daddy of Chinese restaurants in the NCR. Like many Chinese restaurants in Delhi, dimsum is not considered exclusively for breakfast (as it is in China) and there are separate dishes that appeal to Indians and Chinese and ne’er the twain do meet!
Turnip cake with hoisin vinaigrette (Rs 380) was flavourful enough inside and the vinaigrette burst with flavour, but the ‘cake’ had been deep-fried with what appeared to be panko crumbs. Great for the gang that fancies samosa-like crispness, but rather too over-the-top for my tastes. Marble boiled duck egg, crispy cured pork, water chestnuts and string beans (Rs 420) centered around the egg, boiled in tea and soy – an ancient Chinese favourite. There is little synergy between the other ingredients (you can ask them to omit the pork without much alteration in taste, but the egg is sublime. The best dish of my meal was the steamed chicken feet in barbecue sauce (Rs 780) which was as good as anywhere in Hong Kong or Guangdong. There was a generous gelatinous meat-to-bone ratio and the sauce, tinged as it was with sesame oil, was dainty and satisfying at once. Vegetarians are very well taken care of, here: the main course tofu, three mushroom and bamboo shoots (Rs 1120) was a chewy delight, with every ingredient that was napped expertly in the sauce having its own texture. And the wok-fried bamboo and red rice (Rs 920) was unusual.
Plus and minus: Baby carrots, corn onion seeds (Rs 680) fell between two stools. It was definitely a made-up dish, but it could have pressed more buttons to appeal to Indian tastes. Order carefully and you could have a (relatively) moderately priced meal.
Food: 4.00. Service: 4.00. Décor: 4.00
Must try: Pork belly and kashundi; steamed fish with soy; Cantonese chicken with soy and vinegar
Andaz Delhi, Aerocity, New Delhi
Tel: 97114 23287
Open from 6 pm to 4 am
Meal for two: Rs 4,500
Credit cards, alcohol.