One of those emails, that I normally don’t bother reading, but Sun-n-Sand in the subject matter had me interested. The bar has been an old favourite for nearly a decade or more. A couple of good deals have been struck there and many memories.
Learnt about a new Chinese restaurant that was opening, asked a couple of people if they wanted to join and made quick plans to check it out for lunch on the 3rd December.
There were three of us there that afternoon the other two being Gaurav Jain and Girish Mallya along with the Ritu Sadarangani who handles their PR and the chef Gautam Mehrishi with whom we had quite an interesting time, with Gulshan Arora also dropping by to say hello. The newly renovated place looks pretty good with a bit of Maoish grey and wood, marble finish with comfortable seating. After a lot of discussion, debate and nostalgia we were handed over the menu.
Opening the drinks menu, one was sorely tempted to tryout the Japanese whiskey or at least the Tsing Tao, but the people accompanying me were a bit worried and we gave it a pass. Then asked Chef Gautam to take us thru the menu the way he would like us, with my opting out for soups and anything faintly resembling Indian Chinese.
And so we began –
DimSums / Dumplings –
Vegetarian – black mushroom and spinach – very lightly flavoured but went well with the different sauces provided;
Chicken – crystal chicken dumplings – nice but not something that cannot be found anywhere else.
Pork Sui Mai – Char Sui Bao – The outer was too thick and doughy and absolutely did not work for me at all.
Crystal Prawn Dumpling – the best of the lot, an absolute delight so much so that I polished off the entire portion.
And then the Indian favourite Prawn Mango Roll (Fried) – Just lovely, crunchy, melt in the mouth with the sauce the best.
Chicken Gem wraps – nice, wrapped in lettuce which provided the crunch and the sauce provided the spice.
Tofu Chilli Garlic Spicy Salt – Tofu and me are sworn enemies and hence I refused to even look at that, forget eating it.
Haaochi Lotus Root – A truly unique dish, at least for me; just a bit of spice and fried, it would go exceedingly well with the Chinese beer or Japanese whiskey – made me regret. Truly their signature dish. Well recommended by Ritu.
Baby Pork Ribs – Something that made GIrish’s eyes go all glitter and after the first bite sigh in contentment as if he’s just smoked a marathon or something. He demolished the entire plate gladly.
Haaochi Special Veg and Non Veg Soup – I am not a soup person unless, tired, sick and in a foreign place with need of T & C but the others felt it was pretty decent.
Main Course –
Chicken in Black Pepper sauce – Divine, after a long time, the black pepper was just to taste in the chicken and the chunks were immersed correctly. Or Not. But whatever it was definitely worked for me.
Fresh Aparagus in ginger and spring onion sauce – was pretty nice, but would leave Gaurav to comment on the veg things.
Veg butter garlic rice was definitely very very good, even for a confirmed non rice eater like me.
A lovely afternoon with more hits then misses, but it is always difficult to get it 100% or even close in a small group. Ideally a group of 6-8 would work better; however I think they took my opinion of preferring a small group of 4 to heart 😉
Haochi which translates to ‘Simply Delicious’ is worth a second try probably for beer and dumplings.