For that authentic Cantonese flavour

Cantan serves dishes from the Guangzhou, Hunan, Shanghai and Sichuan regions

The interiors are vibrant and colourful.

With a special focus on Cantonese dishes, Cantan-Chinese Bar House by the Olive Group has tried to carve out a niche in the crowded space of Chinese cuisine restaurants in the city. The restaurant has a unique combination of Cantonese, Shanghainese and Sichuan influences, and the odd reinvention of a Chindian staple that warms the hearts of even the snootiest of foodies.

The decor involves an open kitchen with a private dining space attached to it, two floors of comfortable, intimate seating, a bright and open bar area and colourful, vibrant decor.

We started off with two signature cocktails- Star of Cantan and Cantan XO. The former has a strong taste of watermelon and wheat beer and may seem a tad too watery but the effect of the alcohol soon kicks in. Cantan XO was more subtle, with a slightly sweet and tangy taste.

The famed dimsums came next. ‘Shrimp and water chestnut dumpling’ was not sticky and had just the right texture and flavour. The ‘Edamame and tofu dumpling’ is sure to delight vegetarians; the flavour was nicely accentuated, unlike usual veg dumplings which are quite bland. 

‘Steamed pork wonton in chilli oil’ is spicy but not too salty, like pork usually is. The highlight was the add-on sauce which gels well with the flavour of the dish. The ‘Pan-fried broccoli, snow peas and sunflower seed dumpling’ was good enough (thankfully, the taste of the broccoli was kept mild) though nothing extraordinary.

We progressed to ‘Spinach and fish rolls in black bean sauce’ (little chewy, the fish was cooked well all through) and ‘Baked lotus root and asparagus puff’ (the chilli dip was the best part).

The ‘BBQ chicken bao’ was too cute to be eaten (it’s made in the form with a fluffy chicken with beak and eyes) but we didn’t regret the decision as the taste was frankly excellent — the bao was sweet and didn’t stick to the roof of our mouths.

An interesting experiment was the DIY noodle soup, of which we were served both the veg and non-veg versions. You get ten toppings to choose from and can make the soup according to your wishes. But one needs to know how much to add of what or the entire taste can be ruined.

The ‘Shiitake mushroom grill’ was soft but the oil content might be a bit too much for some. The ‘Peking style Pork spare ribs’ were well cooked, tender and sweet.

The ‘Steamed tofu’ can seem bland at first but the peppery sauce begins its work soon after. The ‘Steamed salmon’ has a gingery broth and a mix of sweet and salty flavours. My friend who tasted it said “she could taste the sea”. Full marks then!

A clear winner was the ‘Lobster fried rice’. Bengaluru seems to have forgotten how to make fried rice and chefs can take tips from this brilliant dish. The ‘3 grain fried rice’ is a good option for vegetarians. They can also give the ‘Spiced tofu and greens’ a try. The place also has mock meats in udon noodles.

Dessert was pure bliss. The ‘Milk chocolate & Hazelnut tart’ and ‘Cantonese Steamed Cheesecake’ were both light and delicious.

Cantan is located on 25/4 Lavelle Road, opposite Harley Davidson showroom. 

Timings: 12 noon to 4 pm and 6:30 pm to 12 am all days

Average Meal for two: Rs 1600 + taxes without alcohol; Rs 2800 + taxes with alcohol.

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