Tag Archives: chinese

Zen (Connaught Place) 7/10

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Zen

One of the old stalwarts on the Inner Circle, Zen provides wholesome Chinese food. Given my innate bias against Chinese food, I’d say the place is acceptable. The décor is a little dated, but I guess the old-world charm works.

It’s a pity we were seated next to an obnoxious group- most likely a family celebrating some sort of birthday or the like. Really loud and slightly drunk. The fact that there were a couple of toddlers on that table didn’t help either.

We started with the soup. Warning! Stay away from the Hot and Sour. It’s really heavy, mostly hot, not sour enough and the chicken pieces are rather insipid. On the other hand, the Wanton (try the Zen special) Soup is light and perfectly balanced. An old favourite with the missus, we also ordered the Honey Chilli Potatoes. According to her, north campus still has the best HCP.

Moving on to the main course, we ordered the penang curry, shrimp flat noodles, the grilled saki maki, a tofu in black bean sauce and a vegetarian shallow fried noodles. The penang curry was good- albeit the overpowering flavor of peanuts. The shrimp flat noodles- which I’m guessing is Zen’s attempt at a Char Poy Tao- a wonderfully wholesome dish local to Malaysia- wasn’t bad either. I wasn’t exactly transported back to a hot and sticky marketplace in Kuala Lumpur, but a good attempt, nonetheless. If you’re looking to have something apart from the regular Chinese fare, I’d say this is the dish to try out. The tofu and the shallow fried noodles were par for the course- although the noodles could do with less frying.

The grilled saki maki on the other hand- is awesome. It looks small on the plate but boy, is it filling. The hand rolls are perfectly made and the fish is well seasoned. Will have to go back to try out more of their sushi.

Don’t even think of trying the Italian fare. Zen has been and presently is a predominantly Chinese restaurant. Let them stick to what they know best.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 6
Ease of access 9
Service 7
Quality of food 5
Value for money 8
Would I go back there? Atleast one more time to try the sushi
Meal for two Rs 1600
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

 

 

Top Tips:

  • Careful while ordering. Their portions are huge!
  • Take a stroll down to Keventers for a butterscotch milkshake after meal
  • Parking is an issue. Try taking the metro. Its right on the inner circle- block B

 


 

Sushi (Defence Colony) 4.7/10

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Note: this is a guest post by good friend and fellow foodie Paroma Ray who tried out Sushi by Moet’s at Defence Colony

I decided to give one last chance to Moets. I tried their Chinese (available in their restaurant called Sushi) in Defence colony, New Delhi.

I am not going back there. This is why:

1) The crispy fried vegetables were so salty (yes, salt sprinkled on top!) that I did not eat it

2) The chicken hakka noodle had raw chicken smelly chicken which on inspection proved to be raw. When I complained to the staff they just could not understand what was wrong with the whole dish. They took it to the kitchen and their “chef” sent it back saying nothing was wrong with the dish. Needless to say I could not eat that either

3) The chilli chicken was way too steeped in oil and ajina moto. We took our first helpings and finished them but could not bring ourselves to take second helpings. Food wasted.

We skipped dessert. The only thing that we could have without complaining was the fresh lime water and the clear vegetable soup.

Word of advice. Skip this place. If you want to have inexpensive Indian Chinese and a few drinks for a working lunch, hop across to 4S. Much, much better.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 7
Ease of access 8
Service 7
Quality of food 1
Value for money 1
Would I go back there? No.
Meal for two Rs 1200 –1500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Sidewok (Khan Market) 6/10

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Khan Market? Sure! But where do we go? With so many options, most of them either continental, or oriental- it gets a little difficult to decide exactly what would tickle your fancy on that day.

With a dim, distant memory of Sidewok for a New Years Eve dinner some years back, I headed there again, this time solely to sample the sushi. Unfortunately, having had the excellent chinese and thai food there before, I was quite disappointed with the sushi. The prawns were soggy and curiously sour. The tuna was inedible. The saving grace on the seafood platter was the salmon, really.

However, having said that, the Bejing Chicken is brilliant- as is most of their non-Japanese fare. Having had the chicken aniseed and the shredded lamb in garlic sauce earlier, I can vouch that if you’re looking for a decent Chinese meal- you shouldnt go wrong with Sidewok.

The ambience isn’t anything to write home about really- semi dim lighting with ostensibly oriental looking wall-hangings and decoration pieces carefully arranged around the place. However, we were suitably impressed with their service. Polite, prompt and mostly silent- just the way it should be.

Top Tips:

  • Getting in and out of, and parking at Khan Market is a pain at times- especially during the brunch hours on a weekend
  • Just dont try the sushi- everything else is pretty much standard
  • They dont serve alcohol (atleast not anymore)
  • Get ready to climb- like with most other restaurants in Khan Market
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 5
Ease of access 8
Service 7
Quality of food 6
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? After I’ve tried almost everything else in Khan
Meal for two Rs 1500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol No
Credit cards Accepted

Swagath (Noida) 2.8/10

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What does one do for good south-Indian seafood in Delhi? Well, there is Gunpowder- but who wants to climb 8 flights of stairs on an empty stomach and then down again on a full one? Enter Swagath- a well established chain, supposedly renowned for their seafood. Having dined at the Swagath at the Park Hotel, we had certain expectations from the Noida branch. Sadly, the Noida branch fell far short of these expectations.

Bang in the middle of the Sector 18 market in Noida, under Centrestage Mall, getting in and out, and what is infinitely worse- parking, is a nightmare. Perhaps a valet system should be in the offing for the premium rates that the Swagath menu commands.

There’s also the issue of the ambience and decor. Nothing that stands out really- pretty much a bland, run-of the-mill stuff that most other restaurants you would go to. Unless of course you’re in their basement (which I suppose has been pressed into service primarily because the main restaurant is too small). There’s hardly any daylight entering the basement and the staff make it a point to keep the lights low- adding to an already depressing and dingy atmosphere.

We started with the Fish Amritsari, which I will admit, is more than acceptable. The kebab would not be out of place in a top class buffet. The portion was enough for two people and it did match up to our expectations. Unfortunately, we were greatly let down by the Chettinad Pepper Chicken. The tamarind didnt come through, the pepper was overpowering and where the hell is the boiled egg? The chicken itself was dry and stringy, having been overcooked. By the end of it, we were more congenial to the Malabar Paranthas that we’d ordered to accompany the chettinad.

Top Tips:

  • Park in the Centrestage Mall and walk there, if you must go at all
  • Ridiculously expensive for the quality of food and service
  • Speaking of service, expect nothing
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 3
Ease of access 4
Service 2
Quality of food 3
Value for money 2
Would I go back there? Burn it down. Now.
Meal for two Rs 3000 (with alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Ichiban (Pandara Road) 4.9/10

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An old haven for Oriental food seekers, usually late at night, Ichiban provides acceptable food, but is not likely to burn a hole in your pocket.

After a walkaround at Dill Haat, we headed over to Ichibaan on a cold December night mostly in search of soup to fend off the chill. While the restaurant is small- 20 guests at best, it does have a warm, cosy feeling to it. The soft lighting and the almost-hidden citronella oil dispenser does add to the ambience.

For starters we ordered the chilli potatoes and the crispy lamb. Since there were three of us, we figured to go with two starters at least. Both were acceptable, but I’d still prefer the honey cilli potatoes at Zen in CP. One must note here- the portions are HUGE. One plate of anything, whether it be soup, starters or the main course will easily provide for two people. We didn’t know that- ah well.

Onto the soup. Having ordered the Mie Bakso (an Indonesian soup with meatballs), the chicken hot ‘n sour and the seafood/seaweed soups, we were disappointed with all but the seafood soup. The Mie Bakso has this weird burnt flavor to it and the meatballs weren’t really cooked through. The chicken hot ‘n sour is acceptable at best, but no better than the ones you’d get in any roadside Chinese food stall or even at Majnu ka Tila. The high point really, was the seafood soup. Even though it had the seafood flavours- it had none of the pungency that one would usually associate with seafood (see my comment on the Miso soup at Sushi earlier). Perfect!

Ichiban serves a variety of Oriental cuisines, including sushi, much to the delight of fellow foodie Rukmini. So sushi it was for her. Also fellow foodie, chef par excellence and mother Sahana looked up and down the menu, searching for a Thai red curry with fish. It wasn’t there. Upon request, the chef did agree to make a fish red curry. Highly commendable, I say! I ordered a dry lamb.

I would have to say that the food is up to par. The Sushi did come with the dipping bowl, wasabi and ginger. The red curry was excellent and the fish cooked just right. The let down was the lamb- a little overcooked and therefore too stringy.

But, like I mentioned earlier, we didn’t know how large the portions were going to be and ended up over-ordering. The food just described would be enough for 5 people. We ended up packing most of it.

 

Top Tips:

  • The Pandara Road eateries are quite interesting. Do try out Gulati’s sometime
  • The service is woefully slow. From taking orders to serving.
  • Parking is an issue. Most weekend nights will have you hunting for parking space along the narrow bylane. These guys should get together and have a valet parking system

 

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 6
Ease of access 3
Service 3
Quality of food 5
Value for money 7
Would I go back there? Sure, just not often though. Would probably head to Gulati’s instead
Meal for two Rs 1200 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol No
Credit cards Accepted

 

 


 

 

 


Mainland China (Gurgaon) 5/10

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As a well established, pan- India chain, one has certain expectations from Mainland China. Having sampled their fare in Saket (Delhi), Andheri (Bombay) and Calcutta, I was eager to try out their outlet in Gurgaon. I’m not a big fan of chinese food- just a personal choice, but I firmly believe that Mainland China’s standards of quality of food and service were among the best in the food industry.

Until I visited their Gurgaon branch in Cyber City for their lunch buffet.

Granted, it was a weekday and at lunchtime. But if you have seating available for say, a hundred people, it would stand to reason to have enough service staff to manage a hundred people. Sadly, that was missing. What was also missing were plates! At the beginning of the buffet counter, queues of guests could be seen, waiting for plates to arrive from the kitchen! Completely unacceptable. Despite assurances from who I could only assume to be be the service captain, we had to endure upto 15 minutes of wait-time before plates arrived.

On to the food. Appetizers were thankfully served on the table. Veg dimsums, some kind of fried potatoes, salt and pepper veggies and chicken lollipops. 3 veg and 1 non-veg?! While that would be good news for vegans, veggie lovers and other herbivores, its completely unacceptable for meat-lovers.

The spread otherwise was acceptable. Three mains of non-veg and veg, along with noodles and rice. Apart from the mustard fish, I can’t say that any of them warranted a second helping. The fish was well seasoned with the gravy having the right amount of sharpness from the mustard- not overpowering, nor flaccid. I didnt try the salads, but noted an acceptable spread of the greens. The desserts were a little confusing. While they had the standard icecream and darsan, for some reason, there was also a chocolate fountain and almost- empty bowls of what we assumed to be nuts. The caramel custard was limp and there was a strange peppercorn mousse which frankly, reminded me of the two rupee cakes you’d get at roadside chaiwallas as a kid in Calcutta.

The big let down, however, was the service. Only two servings of appetizers- after being repeatedly asked for the second. It took ages to get a can of coke and as mentioned above, there simply werent enough plates to serve at full capacity.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 7
Ease of access 6
Service 2
Quality of food 4
Value for money 5
Would I go back there? Certainly, but only if all the other restaurants in the area shut down
Meal for two INR 1000 + taxes (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Top Tips:

  • Get a reservation. Definitely.
  • Getting there is not much of a pain- except for the toll plaza at the entrance to Gurgaon. The building no. is 9A- a little confusing for non cyber-city dwellers. Its at the first turn after the entrance to cyber-city. Valet parking is free.
  • Ala carte is recommended over the buffet.