Chinese Foodie adventures

A Gastronomic celebration of the Chinese New Year

Monday, February 03, 2014Me! In words

Paying tribute to the Year of the Horse is ITC Gardenia which has perfectly timed the arrival of Chef Zang Wei Zia's from The Great Wall Sheraton, Beijing to Bangalore. He will be serving up some interesting Chinese delicacies for lunch and dinner at the Cubbon Pavilion between January 31st and February 9th. I was invited to partake of this food festival this past weekend and did not want to pass up the opportunity of eating some really good non-Indianized Chinese. 

Chef Zang has brought with him a range of sauces and his own unique blend of soya sauce. His specialty lies in Cantonese and Sichuan cooking - one known for the heartiness of its dishes and the other for its touch of spice. Both of these features you will find predominantly in all dishes. 

While we waited for the chef to work his magic we were kept company by some thick prawn crackers, and kimchi. The crackers are very addictive and I wouldn't blame you for reaching out for another one. Do remember though that there is a veritable feast awaiting you and you will need tummy space to take it all in. the kimchi is not one of the long-fermented versions, but rather an instant one with a crunchiness to the cabbage, a strong smack of chilli and a sweet note hidden in there as well. 

We had two appetizers - a chicken and a fish, to begin with. Little morsels of chicken in a light marinade, pan friend and garnished with coriander. The chicken is soft, so unlike most of the dry Chinese chicken dishes we are often subjected to. It crackles a bit as you slice through its steaming hot outer cover and every bite is a pleasure. 

This sole fish - battered fried and served  up with kernels of corn and spring onion were a crunchy delight. Somehow the corn had a slight tangy touch to it which is a surprise considering how sweet it is on its own. Paired with the light batter of a succulent prawn, you will have a good thing going on the table. 

Next came the soups - a clear vegetarian soup to the left and a lovely chicken and radish broth - Yang Tui Chuan Lou Bo - to the right. Instantly the soup refreshes. It is not thick, or simply a stock boiled up and served. Each soup is light, the taste of ingredients like ginger, coriander and the slivers of chicken stand to attention in each one. 

The Jiao Liu Ji Qiu - Pan fried chicken with tomato soy garlic sauce and tender slices of radish with a sprinkle of spring onions. The sauce on this was light in terms of taste, yet it packed a lot of flavors that I couldn't possibly dissect. A bite of the chicken and mushroom together give you an interesting mix of smooth and slightly chewy in one go. A final crunch from the spring onions to finish each mouthful. 

Truly and completely the highlight of this meal was the Jing Wei Pao Qie Ding - Stir fried eggplant and tomato capsicum in soy garlic sauce - I can sing songs of praise in honour of this dish. Somewhere in the depths of Johnson Market is a small restaurant that displays an adage - "God has given us some many wonderful things to eat - its only right that we serve it in a wonderful way" - the humble eggplant has truly been elevated here in keeping with this adage and whether you are a fan of the vegetable or not, you should order it. 

This prawn dish - the Sichuan Bao Xia Qiu - looked so delicious that it had one of the lovely ladies at the table - vegetarian by choice decide to try it out. There was no stopping her or us after that point. The proof of this prawn is in the eating!

The menu will feature a range of aromatic rice and noodle dishes - We had two simple versions of them both considering how packed we already were. 

To accompany this we served up - in beautiful clay pots (how I wish I could take these home with me) - some Don Bao Shao Ban Dou - wholesome veggies tossed in a simple gravy - cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, corn and mushroom

Gan Shao Yu - Pan fried chicken mince and fish with chilli bean sauce

Some fish with bell peppers

And a very interesting Suan La Bai Kai - Chinese stir fried cabbage with dry chilli

Though Chinese meals do not end a sweet note, it does here - some beautiful knife skills on a fresh fruits like apple, fig, pineapple and pear along with the lemon meringue cake with coconut crumble and sesame biscuit. Do not miss the date and cream cake too

This Chinese dining experience will be available for lunch and dinner in the buffet to an extent and through an a la carte menu all through till February 9th. The menu is extensive and includes beef and pork delicacies that you may choose in consultation with the chef. What you will definitely enjoy is the fact the every dish stands on its own - no two sauces will taste the same and every dish is light - without any of that signature Indian ingredient of cornflour to thicken a sauce, as we commonly see. You will come away from the meal with a new perspective on Chinese dining. An average meal for two here is Rs 3500 / - plus taxes.

Address: #1, Residency Road, Bangalore - 560025
Phone: 22119898
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Valet

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