Tag Archives: oriental

Of aromas and delicate flavours: The Oriental Wok

Oriental food is my weakness. My taste buds love to be teased by the sauces and flavours in Chinese cuisine, in particular. To commemorate the Chinese Year of the Sheep, The Club D.N. Nagar Andheri West, Mumbai is hosting a Chinese Food Festival at The Oriental Wok, their Oriental Restaurant and I decided to give it a shot.

The bright ambience and decor in red and gold was befitting the occasion. Seated in our favourite corner table, we were relaxed as we sipped our Jasmine Tea. The regular menu at this Restaurant is a delight and varied, but the festival menu too, was well-planned and exhaustive. It catered to all palates.

We opted for the Sea Food X.O. soup to begin with. The soup was a light one with delicate sea food flavours and a generous amount of prawns and sea food. But it could have been pepped up a bit in terms of spice. A little too bland for my liking. The Chicken coriander dim sums were delectable. No disappointment here. The covering was, light and smooth and the filling, flavourful. The two textures married perfectly.

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The Cheong Fun aka rice rolls with shrimps were unique. Liberally filled with shrimps and folded well in rice flour together with potato starch, swathed in soy sauce, these were truly a palate pleaser. But a trifle heavy, I must admit. I think I prefer the Vietnamese ones a bit more.

There was a fair amount of variety in the starters. Duck rolls, Hakka lamb, chicken et al. Vegetarians too can feat on an array of starters like Tahu Choi made with broccoli, water chestnut, silken tofu or Beijing style stir-fired Chinese cabbage.

For the mains, we decided to try a fish dish and had obviously made the right choice. The slow-fried Snapper looked appetizing as it arrived on our table. The garlic pepper black sauce, filled our nostrils and made us hungry. The Tibetan style pan fried chicken marinated with spices called Tubo Cha Sha, was equally a treat. The two had distinct flavours. We paired it with the flavoursome Jasmine Rice with garlic, ginger & cilantro.

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It was a meal which appeased our taste buds and satiated us completely. Chef Kuldeep Das obviously knows how to balance textures and flavours and create something unique.

The Fortune pudding sounded inviting. Indeed, what arrived on our table certainly was a treat for the eyes. And later, the palate. Truly an exotic preparation of sweet rice, dried fruits and nuts, it was decadence at its best. Reminded me of the meetha chawal, we Punjabis make. Full marks to the chef here.

Opening a fortune cookie, if only to read one’s fortune for fun, is a ritual one must indulge in a Chinese New Year meal and so we followed it.

An enjoyable meal in vibrant surroundings, with attentive and warm service, was what we savoured at The Oriental Wok. The Festival may be extended till March, owing to the great response it has received, so if you are lucky, you too can relish this food beyond this weekend. Don’t miss it if you get a chance!

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Worth Going To This Panda!

I really relish Oriental/ Pan Asian food and in the area where I live there is a serious dearth of restaurants/QSRs serving this cuisine. So naturally, when Go Panda, a QSR serving Oriental fare opened on the Lokhandwala bridge, I was delighted.

We trooped in on weekday night for dinner. As expected, the place was simple, a few tables and chairs outside, and a couple of high chairs and a bar style seating inside. What struck me was the glass facade to the kitchen, which allows you to peek inside. Scrupulously clean kitchen and well dressed staff handling food in a hygienic manner. I was thrilled.

To my utter delight, Nikhil, one of the founder Directors informed me that the food did not contain any MSG. I was relieved beyond words as am severely allergic to it and absolutely abhor places which use it.

Wonton Soup

Chicken steamed momos and chicken Phathimlai, were the starters we settled for and good ol’ Man chow soup. We were in for a pleasant surprise. The soup was delicious. Not the usual Man chow with oodles of vinegar and left-over chicken mince. The flavours were well balanced and it was tangy but not tart. Soulful. The momos had a delicate covering but again not the usual sticky ones. The filling too was generous and tasty.Full marks. The Phathimlai appeared a a bit salty, initially, because of the sauces but was palate-tickling alright. The chicken pieces were succulent and swathed in the spicy sauces. Absolutely loved it.

The food comes in attractive boxes. I love this as it enables you to eat on the go too and is hygienic too. Glad this trend is catching on in India.

“We thought this is the right time to launch something like Go Panda and our vision is to be the best Pan Asian cuisine quick service restaurant. We aim at providing our customers a smart, easy—to-follow menu, consistent quality, quick delivery and seeing every customer smile,” Sachet informed us.

Chilli Oyster Pot Rice- Chicken and Honeyed Chilli chicken Pot rice was what Sachet, the other Director recommended and we went along. These could not have been better selections. The earthen pots in which these are served are appealing and enable the food to remain warm longer. We could not put our forks down. The honeyed chilli chicken was crisp and had a delectable sweet spicy taste. It complimented the rice perfectly. The chilli oyster sauce was made in house and was lip-smacking with robust flavours. It enveloped our palate completely and left us craving for more.

The portions are generous and value-for-money. The ingredients appear to be of high quality and fresh.

Since they have just opened, their desserts section was not available and the Panda cooler(drink) too was not on offer yet. What caught my eye on the menu are the loaded sandwiches section. Sloppy Joe with Lamb, Grilled chicken with Ham n cheese sounded exciting. Got to try those soon. what’s more they have Panda combos too and affordably priced at that.

Phathimlai Potato

The menu offers chicken, lamb, sea food and vegetarian fare. Burmese Khow Suey and Malaysian Korma with rice are two fairly uncommon inclusions, on their menu as part of their signature meals. Next on my list.

Go Panda is definitely worth trying out. It is bound to become a habit for Pan Asian food lovers like me. The luscious flavours are already beckoning me. Tonight maybe?

A Majestic Dining Experience : Emperor, Deltin Daman

Oriental food is always a lure for me as I relish that immensely. Naturally then, lunch at Emperor, the swank, new fine dining restaurant at Deltin Daman, seemed like an appealing idea. I was in for a surprise. The décor is understated and elegant and yet has the richness, befitting an Emperor.  An interesting amalgamation of textures created as a result of the clever use of flooring, lighting and colours makes this restaurant chic and attractive.

The food at Emperor is undoubtedly a feast for all the senses. Pomfret garlic spring onion, on a bed of bean sprouts, was as aromatic as it was visually appealing. A bite into it and there was a burst of flavours in my mouth. Subtle, yet flavoursome. The pomfret and spring onions juxtaposed unusual textures. Crispy calamari, another starter, was fried to perfection and the calamari was soft, not chewy, as they sometimes turn.

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The chicken ginseng soup was heart-warming with strong flavours. The corn, spinach and water chestnut dumpling stole my heart with its soft, yet crunchy texture and delicious flavours. Chicken Char su pao dumpling was as authentic as it can get.

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The presentation of each dish caught my eye. Chef Love Mathur, is not only a chef extraordinaire, but also has an eye for details. His presentation is virtually poetry on plate. A man of few words, Chef Mathur lets his food speak for him. And trust me. that does say volumes about his expertise and versatility.

In the main course, the Jasmine chicken fried rice with its aromatic, mild flavours and prawns schezwan style were the highlight. The wok tossed beans, although a simple dish, were a real surprise  and tantalised my taste buds.

Chef Mathur obviously believes in less is more, and lets the flavours of the ingredient be predominant and does not let spices and seasonings overpower it. Even the cooking methods used are gentle and do justice to the ingredients.

The litchi toffee in the desserts, disappointed me a wee bit as the juicy flavour of the litchi was lost on the caramalised toffee. The steamed lotus bun with Mango Tropicana added the wow factor to the entire meal and was the perfect way to end our meal. It was an unusual pairing I thought and yet one, which complimented each other.

Impeccable service, palate pleasing food and elegant décor, makes Emperor an outstanding place to dine. Easily, one of the best Oriental meals I have had across the country. A feast truly for kings!

This House Serves Authentic, Affordable Asian fare

 

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Never judge a book by its cover. This saying couldn’t hold more true when it comes to Hotel  Mirador. A Four star Hotel in Chakala, Andheri East, yet it offers some of the best food in the city.  Tangerine the previous restaurant has now given way to a Pan-Asian speciality restaurant, ‘House of Asia’.

 

The bright and vibrant ambience gives a good-feel immediately as you enter this cosy eatery.  The spread is an exercise in choices. Delicacies from all parts of South East Asia and more are on offer.

 

The chicken and fish tepanyaki made on the “teppan” or iron plate, we tried were delightful. Each flavour was distinct and wowed our taste buds. I have never enjoyed vegetarian dim sums more. The filling was delectable as was the translucent covering with potato starch.

 

The Thai red curry that I sampled here with streamed rice is easily one of the best and most authentic. The freshly ground paste replete with galangal, basil, kaffir leaves and other spices was a treat for the taste buds. Equally unique was the terriyaki fried rice with veggies. Authentic flavours, aromas and textures make a meal at this restaurant memorable.

 

Other signature dishes like the Tom Yum Goong ,  Thai Crispy Chicken with Basil, Steamed Chicken Rice in Lotus Leaf are again a must-try.

 

House of Asia takes you on a gastronomic tour of the East with recipes spanning across various countries  (China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Mongolia, Singapore, Vietnam and India). The warm and affable Executive Chef Ajay Dewali, patiently explains each dish and makes recommendations which make your meal even more enjoyable. The F&B Manager Krishna Rao, well versed with food,  is a storehouse of knowledge.

 

Chef Dewali and Chef Vilas Shetkar, Sous Chef, who have trained exclusively in Chiang Mai, Thailand under Master-Chef Sompon in ChiangMaiThaiCookerySchool, one of the best culinary schools of Thailand have together created culinary magic.

 

It is a treat to watch the chefs at the live stations dishing out exotic fare in minutes.  The focus is on quality and wholesome ingredients and that is evident in the taste of the dishes.

 

An absolute value for money meal of the highest quality, with myriad flavours and textures,  is what you can safely look forward to at ‘House of Asia.’ If only it was next to my house, I’d go there everyday. If you enjoy Oriental food, do not miss this place.

 

 

Table for two or cosy home-cooked meal?

I am all for love and romance, but feel, one does not need just one day to celebrate it. Love needs to be celebrated everyday. Yet, Hotels and restaurants go all out to woo lovers and us too – the food lovers. To enjoy food, I need no special occasion, as I am an incorrigible foodie. So shall make the most of the special menus on Valentine’s Day. Trust me there are options galore.

Saptami, the multi-cuisine all day dining restaurant at Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport is one of my favourite eating places in Mumbai. Executive chef Sudhir Pai has prepared a special menu which consists of soups, starters, main course and desserts. What’s more, the names of the dishes are pretty cute. The soup which is called warmth of love, is a cantonese vegetable hot pot. Pehala Nasha are nothign but Hariyali Seekh, Lovely Pair-Mushroom and potato Croquette, Ishq Mohabbat -Murgh Multani Tikka, Mermaid -Sichuan fried Fish. Exciting and appetizing enough.

For main course you can have Pyar ke Khatir -Murgh Dahiwala or made for each other -Miloni Tarkari, Romance of ricotta and apricot in baked potato skin,  The first touch –honey glazed carrots, Only for you & me -Mediterranean vegetable bake, The Bond of love-Tofu and Water Chestnuts Hunan Style and ofcourse Meri Pyari-Dal makhani.The desserts are even more romantic. Cozy cuddle -Prunes and apricot cheese cake slice, Mio Amore -Pineapple compote with mascarpone cheese in glass, Heart to Heart -Maple honey nut pie, Single ready to mingle-Frangipani apple tart. Am certain the dishes are going to be as flavourful as the names themselves.

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Westin Mumbai Gardencity, too has a great line up for diners. An array of flavours. The Bouquet of Love at Seasonal Tastes, Aap ke liye at Kangan and so on. Each of the restaurants at Westin Mumbai are such a treat that it is difficult to choose one.

Must make a trip to Sofitel Mumbai BKC as have never been there.  The restaurants there seem to be offering a unique gastronomic experience. There are a variety of options to choose from. Designed to make your evening truly memorable, the contemporary styled restaurant, Jyran, will offer a glass of Moet et Chandon Rose Champagne on arrival complete with an extensive array of Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian delicacies. Else settle for the sumptuous spread at Pondichery Café.

Courtyard by Marriott, MumbaiInternationalAirport promises a memorable evening for couples. The “Strawberries and Cream” theme sounds like fun. The hotel plans to create a spectacular ambience with a red and white themed décor, balloons and candle lights. One can experience a sumptuous meal at MoMo Café with a tempting choice of fresh salads, piping hot soups, a smoked and marinated seafood bar, exotic main dishes, a live station kebab corner, 2 bars and more, or Red Zen if Oriental cuisine is what you prefer. This award-winning Pan-Asian restaurant will offer a special 5 course Valentine’s set menu handcrafted by Chef Phongthorn Hinracha with a delicious selection of Thai specialties.

And if you are not in the mood to go out for dinner, enjoy a home cooked meal by your loved one. Start with a Belvedere’s cocktail of the Love – the Cupid’s Bow. A deliciously seductive cocktail that uses Belvedere vodka and Raspberries to create a the perfectly apt red tinted drink to celebrate the season of love. I am seriously tempted to settle for this last option. What about you?

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Trifecta: This one’s worth a try

Although Trifecta, the newly opened restaurant at Royal Garden, Juhu, looked classy and appealing, the dining experience initially proved to be a tad disappointing for me. The Oriental food section on the menu seemed unusual and extraordinary in terms of the choice of dishes. I was excited, but as I ate the first spoonful of my burnt garlic chicken soup, I realised it contained oodles of MSG aka ajino moto, which I am severely allergic to.

That was rectified, but it was a long wait before my Homemade Spring Chicken Tortellini, Garden Vegetable Broth arrived. It was mediocre in taste, although had a great visual appeal.  The lemon grass chicken potli too was extremely dry and the flavours were not too exciting. The chicken satay and steamed chicken momos, which my friend tried, passed the test with flying colours.

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For me, Trifecta was a washout, but alas I was wrong. As soon as our main course, of the Grilled Basa with Potato Rösti in Curry Lemon Sauce and Florentine Duxcelle Stuffed Chicken Breast, Creamy Mash with Porcini Dusted Sauce was served, I was floored. Not only was the presentation par excellence, but the flavours, textures and taste, too were unparalleled. These were easily five star quality dishes which Chef Sandy aka Sarvesh had created. And that too, at affordable prices. Incredible.  The continental cuisine is easily one of the best I have ever had. They have a vast array of Indian food too, but we decided to skip that.

The dessert, bailey’s mousse cake, made in-house, was exotic to say the least.

It is a swanky place with a great ambience and good food. The F&B staff needs to get a little more proactive, attentive and energetic and be able to give suggestions to the guest.  The person serving us was exceptional though.

It is a perfect choice for an exciting continental meal. The well-stocked bar too is an added plus for those who drink. It is definitely worth a try!

An Oriental Barbeque

Oriental food is my weakness and when this cuisine is part of a Barbeque festival, the appeal doubles. The Barbeque food festival at Noodle Bar, thus seemed a gourmet’s delight and one I was not going to miss. So, I trooped to the Bandra outlet.

The menu was understandably limited, but interesting. Chicken and leek yakitori was certainly not commonplace. Chef Kamal, had ensured that everyone could sample and enjoy the luscious flavours from Pan Asian cuisine. a great amalgamation of flavours from Japanese, Indonesian, Thai and Chinese cuisines.

The Vietnamese Basa was grilled to perfection and had a tangy flavour to it. The flavours of an otherwise bland basa, had come alive. The chicken and leek yakitori too was flavoursome and well grilled. Although we skipped the grilled mustard lamb, it did sound interesting. Yoshino Katsu as a vegetarian starter sounded confusing, but was nothing but vegetable and potato cutlets, stuffed with broccoli and mushrooms.

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Our main course was roast chicken fried rice which was authentic from word go. The roasted chicken lend an unusual flavour to the fried rice. Aromatic and flavourful, it was palate pleasing. We paired it with barbeque mustard chicken which was one of the most unusual dishes in oriental cuisine I have tasted. Chicken in pickled cucumber sauce and cinnamon lamb were other interesting options. Vegetarians could settle for sweet n spicy tofu n pak choi or red pepper cottage cheese if you relish paneer. I prefer my chicken any day.  We decided to give the hot n spicy chicken noodles a miss though. That sounded like regular fare.

Chef Kamal went that extra mile creating a unique dessert for us. Darsan with ice cream served in a bed of fresh fruit juliennes.  Visually, a delight and for the taste buds too.

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Looks like my prayers have been answered and the festival is now till the end of January, as opposed to January 12 earlier. Wouldn’t mind tantalizing my taste buds once again.