A slice of China

When The Oberoi first opened up its Chinese restaurant, ‘Szechwan Court’, in 1992, the menu and tastes, although simple, were new and even exotic for the time. But now, with the rapid growth in the culinary world, at a time when experimentation is likely to give you a head start in the rat race, the menu has actively changed face, into something that is truly unique.

The hotel has spent some time revamping the restaurant, which is set to turn 23 years old later this year. Not only has the latest menu taken a turn for the better, but so has the decor and ambience. But for regular visitors, they have maintained some of the classic dishes from 1992.

Constructed by The Oberoi chef Arup Kakati and Chinese chef Liang Cheng, diners are likely to get a dose of the Sichuan, Cantonese and Peking regions of China in the menu. And for those who are indecisive and take hours deciding on one dish, the chefs have come up with an eight course tasting menu that comprises dishes from the 1992 and 2005 menu.

The chef’s tasting menu has four appetisers, three of which are new additions. The ‘Fried squid rings with chili plum sauce’ is a classic that dates back to 1992, and has a distinct taste of the Sichuan region. The spices are gentle and stay on the palate long enough to savour the flavours. A vegetarian option is ‘Tofu with homemade Szechwan spices’, while the ‘Szechwan style dry chicken’ is the right kind of crunchy and spicy. A seafood appetiser from the new menu is the ‘Fish with celery, leeks and black bean sauce’.
A traditional ‘Hot and sour’ soup, which comes in a vegetarian, seafood or chicken avatar, has all the flavours needed for a good Szechwan meal – spices, salt, sour and sweet. The tanginess of vinegar, hotness of red chilis and the tenderly cooked meat (or tofu) makes it worth it.

For the main course, the ‘Stir fried rice noodles with tenderloin, spring onions and bean sprouts’ is a must-try. It is a new avatar of the rice noodles, which is light on the stomach. Another classic dish is ‘Jasmine fried rice with ginger and pinenuts’ – the Jasmine rice is the right kind of sticky and makes the meal enjoyable. Peanuts, which are an essential part of Chinese food, add that crunch.

For those willing to experiment, the ‘Chinese vegetables and water chestnuts’ and ‘Sea bass with broccoli and black fungus in XO sauce’ are an option. The XO sauce, which originated in Hong Kong, has ingredients like dried scallops and shrimp, and adds some spice to the otherwise bland dish. The dessert platter is an interesting one that comprises date pancakes, the seasonal mango set and ice cream. The date pancakes taste scrumptious with ice cream.

The new decor has subtle Chinese wall hangings, lotus candles and stands which enhance the gold and beige ambience of the restaurant. The upholstery has also seen a change as bright red runners with golden trims complement the set up.  
‘Szechwan Court’ is located at The Oberoi, MG Road.

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