<Review & photography by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Another review of Oriental cuisine thanks to my dear friend and fellow food reviewer who hosted an event for KitchenAid at the Grand Hyatt (Read about the event here) recently. After the launch of KitchenAid’s wonderful appliances for bakers and home chefs, we proceeded to dinner at China House, the hotel’s premier dining lounge. A couple of years ago, this was the place to be. Now of course the environment isn’t as chaotic.
China House has a distinctive outdoor seating area called the Garden where you can sit in pagodas encircled by bamboo plants. Unfortunately, it was closed since the rains were still in full swing in Mumbai. So we were ushered into the wooded, warmly lit restaurant that boasts open kitchens. Our hosts gave us a nice table enclosed by wooden latticework to give you the feel of a private area.
My companions started with Hot & Sour soup but I thought I’d try something different. How does Ginseng Chicken Soup sound? Definitely unusual and as a food reviewer I thought I should go for it. It arrived in a plain white bowl, with a white soupspoon on a white saucer. It was a light creamy concoction and was delightful. Just a hint of ginseng in there, which of course the chef told me, was extremely good for health. I’m glad I went off the beaten path.
An assortment of Dim Sum followed:
The Crystal dumplings with lotus root and shitake were nice, the Steamed dumplings with snow peas, chestnut and celery was unique. The two fried dumplings (Pan fried tenderloin and Pot Sticker with mushroom, asparagus, pokchoy and glass noodles) I didn’t enjoy that much.
In came the Schezwan Chicken and it was just like you’d expect it with flavour and lots of red chillies. I loved the presentation of the Pineapple Prawns in sweet and sour sauce. Full of colour and chunky, succulent prawns, it made me forego my cholesterol-consciousness just for that evening.
The Chef and the Duck
Peking Duck – the national dish of China – is a speciality at China House and the chef comes over with a whole duck and carving knives right to your table. If you’re a bit faint of heart then you may want to ask them to pre-carve it and bring it over. First the crispy skin is cut and arranged delicately in a plate.
Then the duck meat, which is to be mixed up with assorted condiments and fillers such as scallion, cucumber, sugar and ginger paste and wrapped up in a pancake. Sort of like a duck meat roll. It’s fun if you’re in a do-it-yourself mood.
The duck, which turned out to be too much for us to polish off, was followed by Steamed Basa with a spicy fragrant black bean sauce. Light and well seasoned though it was, I preferred the fish I had at Hakkasan the previous weekend (Read the review here).
I do have to mention though how much I enjoyed the Caramelised Walnuts with sesame munchies. I had two little bowlfuls of them. And the Chinese tea served in these wonderful glass and steel goblets was perfect to wash down the food with. And so much prettier than the usual Chinese teacups!
The dish of the day
After a relatively satisfying tasting we all agreed that the dessert was the best part of the meal. The chef prepared something special for us: a Grand dessert platter filled with scrumptious sweet treats that we all tucked into with gusto.
The Chinese Egg Tarts were my favourite. I burnt my palate on one of them but it was so worth it. I couldn’t wait to get the next one in my mouth. Custardy and just the right amount of caramelisation with frosted sugar on the top. The Green Tiramisu was a splendid little innovation, worthy of MasterChef Australia. The Mango pudding and fresh fruits were all tangy and chilled to perfection. Banana Fritters went splendidly with the vanilla bean sauce and the ‘Chinese’ chocolates (well, shaped like old Chinese coins) were also quite yum.
If you ask me, I’d go back to China House just for that Grand dessert platter or those delectable Egg Tarts and Tiramisu. Thank you chef, for appeasing my sweet tooth with such a lavish spread of honeyed delights.
Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Off Western Express Highway,
Santacruz East, Mumbai, Vakola, Mumbai, MH 400055
Tel: 022 6676 1234
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays for lunch from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and for dinner from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight