Chinese and other Asian cuisines
Asia 7 has been long in finding its feet, but now with a Chinese chef at the helm, it has hit on the winning formula: authentic Chinese food that appeals to the local palate.
Atmospherics: Asia 7 is in a noisy part of Ambience Mall, Gurgaon. It’s an open plan restaurant with no frontage; the restaurant is separated from its neighbours on either side with glass walls. On the plus side, there’s no feeling of being hemmed in; on the minus side, you do get to see a lot of humanity milling by. This is one popular restaurant. The location in a busy mall, the excellent food, the down to earth pricing – if you expect solitude, you won’t find it here.
Table Talk: There is only one way to describe the food and that is: brilliant. The a la carte menu that is, not the buffet, which is a (perhaps necessary) nod to the location in a mall. So the Hong Kong style sweet and sour pork (Rs 395) is a perfect blend of the two opposing tastes, with a third one: fruitiness, for which fresh pineapple juice has been used. Contrast works for the pork too: a crisp coating outside and rich juiciness inside.
Chicken with dry chilli, Sichuan pepper and soy (Rs 325) was the highlight of the meal. The chicken was deep-fried yet retained its succulence. The Sichuan pepper gave it its trademark punch and the chopped red chillies added a touch of fire.
Sichuan style boiled basa with dry chili (Rs 625) was served in a nifty bowl with its own stand, obviously from China. The fish was cooked in a bowl full of boiling oil, with the addition of chillies and Sichuan pepper. Poached to perfection, you are supposed to lift the fish out of the bed of oil and enjoy it. The perfect marriage between simplicity and complexity is what makes this dish a winner. The other one of our main courses was also the most expensive dish on the menu: Singapore style chili crab. Hugely messy to eat, it is worth ordering in a mall rather than in formal surroundings.
Plus and minus: So far, there’s only a single branch of Asia 7.
Must try: Preserved silken tofu and egg; fragrant steamed lotus leaf fried rice; Buddha style vegetables
Ratings: Food: 4.00, Service: 3.50, Décor: 3.00
Meal for two: Rs 1,800, Credit cards, alcohol
3rd floor, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, Tel: 0124-4665572, Open from 12 noon to 11.30 pm