Thursday, 01 September 2016 23:19

The Captivating China Kitchen

The China Kitchen at the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi has a new menu drawn up by Chef Jack Aw Yong, executive chef, Park Hyatt Beijing, which encapsulates the best of everything that Chinese cuisine has to offer says Purabi Shridhar as she samples the delicious fare for Luxepointindia. 

There are certain things in life that one prefers that they stay the way they are.  The China Kitchen, the Indian capital’s most awarded Chinese restaurant, at the Hyatt Regency, is certainly one of them. For years it has had its band of loyal clientele who swear by everything it has on its menu and considering that the hotel is celebrating its 34th birthday this year, it’s no small achievement. And when a new menu is launched, everyone knows the taste buds are in for a scrumptious treat. After two years The China Kitchen has come up with a new menu and when the man at the helm of it all is Chef Jack Aw Yong, executive chef at Park Hyatt Beijing then it is understood that it is the best of the best.

Tucked in one corner on the ground floor, there is something comfortable about The China Kitchen. The décor is classy sans any of the kitschy oriental overload usually adopted to announce the Chinese fare. It’s a seamless blend of straight modern lines with just the right balance of oriental exotica. What actually rules here is the menu. The new menu comes with an array of dishes from braised spicy pork, twice cooked crispy duck with five spices with Beijing sesame pancake etc, Mapo tofu puff, crispy crab claws to hot and sour truffle mushroom besides dumpling selections like glutinous rice chicken roll, spinach mushroom dumpling and more. Then there are mouth watering signature dishes – chilly jumbo crabs served with freshly baked baguette; twice cooked crisply lamb shank and of course, it’s legendary Peking duck.

When it’s a new menu, it’s only given that we rush to try it out. The gluttonous sprint paid off every which way!  The opener naturally had to be from the dumpling selections – Beijing style vegetable dumpling with celery, mushroom, truffle oil and sesame sauce; black peppered chicken; crystal vegetable dumpling with fresh pea, sweet corn, celery and wood ear fungi- the various yet distinct flavor make them all a finger licking affair. There is however always that one little sneaky item that simply wows one and that’s exactly what the ‘red chili, coriander, shrimp mousse, ginger soy’ does. A delicate looking dish, first the jewel red colour of the chili acts as an instant magnet and then the play of chili, the generous shrimp mousse and the ginger soy makes it irresistible and callings for second helpings.

We chased the appetizers with soup – hot and sour seafood soup with scallops, tofu, egg white, coriander and spring onion; ginseng fungi chicken soup and spicy cabbage soup with tofu, mushroom, sesame oil and crispy shallot. Delicate, yet wholesome, with the right balance of taste and texture 

For the mains we go by the chef’s selections and that’s all that needs to be said. There was Chairman Mao’s favourite dish- braised spicy pork; traditional Mapo tofu with chili, chive, garlic and Sichuan peppercorn; crispy spicy prawn with Sichuan black bean, spring onion and crispy garlic; stir fired asparagus with porcini mushroom with crispy shallot and above all, twice-cooked crispy lamb shank with garlic, cumin, coriander and chili, accompanied by northern-style fried rice with soy, vegetable, chili and spring onion and  Sichuan fried noodle with vegetable, bell pepper, bean sprout and sesame oil. The braised pork had the exact amount of spick spark as did the Mapo tofu and crispy spicy prawn – in fact, is there any better culinary pleasure than biting into a prawn that’s crisp on the outside and succulent inside? There of course, has to be a star and the first place on the podium goes to the twice-cooked crispy lamb shank. The big piece of shank is first steamed and then fried and the combination of garlic, cumin, coriander and chili works wonder. The way it is served is simple too – chili sauce, roundels of onions and lemon halves. This is one dish that sits well on the eye and definitely attaches itself to the taste bud, a winner all right.

Most of the time after a superb Chinese meal, the tendency is to stick to jasmine tea and let the flavor of the meal linger on both the taste buds and the mind. The chef however, presented the stunning looking ‘Sweet Memories’ a selection of the restaurant’s signature dishes and are we glad that he did so. First the visuals overwhelmed us and after that it was willful indulgence all the way. After all who could resist the pull of the coconut spring roll; the mango coconut crème brulee; the mango ice cream, the bowl of choice fruits; the chocolates and the Chinese egg tart with red currant and chocolate. Sinful and celebratory.  

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