Serves Chinese and Thai
Atmospherics: There are a few sectors in Noida that were built exclusively for the armed forces. You can always spot them by the adjoining markets: whereas other markets have grown hip and happening, those attached to the forces’ sectors have remained resolutely homely. There’s a certain retro charm about them, none more so than the Sector 29 Ganga Market. So, when Wok Art opened in this surprising location, the buzz was instant. More so because the promotor and the chef are both senior people from the Taj group, so there’s a gravitas to the food in a modest interior market in Noida. At last. Under the same roof is the long-lived Samarkand that has been in the same location for over 20 years. Wok Art really does have something for all tastes: spicy and crunchy; authentic flavours; large group dining; intimate tables; beer with a bit of lunch thrown in or just the tastes of South China and Thailand at astonishing prices.
Table talk: The kitchen under Chef Sunil excels at taking desi Chinese favourites and turning them into nuggets that the Chinese would be proud of. Nothing exemplifies this more than crispy tofu with crushed pepper and coriander (Rs 295), where the crust on the tofu is as light as a whisper, yet unmistakable, the sting of pepper is marked and the inside of each cube of tofu molten while it’s hot. Wok Art chilli mountain chicken (Rs 345) is the restaurant’s take on Chonqqing chicken: golden fried nuggets of succulent chicken with the heat of dry red chillies and the merest hint of Sichuan pepper. After those uber Chinese starters, our Thai rice noodle soup with burnt garlic (Rs 195/215 for veg/chicken) took us straight to Thailand: all too often, the ‘touch’ of the chefs cause different cuisines to taste the same, but it was not the case here. There even was a touch of the streets of Bangkok in the soup, as it is a common enough preparation at pavement stalls. Finally, Malaysian fish curry bowl, served with regular steamed rice or jasmine rice (Rs 425) gave us the flavours of yet another country in South East Asia, effortlessly.
Plus and minus: the prawns in all the dishes we ordered were cooked to crunchy perfection: a rare feat.
Must try: dynamite prawns, burnt garlic vegetable soup, steamed fillet of river sole
Food: 3.50; Service: 3.50; Décor: 3.25
R 292, Ganga Shopping Complex, Sector 29, Noida
Tel: 0120-4206802, 9717178527
Open from 12 noon to 12 midnight
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1,800