“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.” – Marcel Boulestin
Located on the third floor in Palladium mall, Lower Parel, Asia Kitchen by Mainland China seems to be yet another promising venture by Speciality restaurants group as it attempts in bringing out the best of the culinary culture from China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Korea.
The ambience and decor is absolutely enchanting right from the entrance with it’s predominantly wooden interiors with occasional shades of red, yellow and black all around. The dining area is adequately lit with wooden tables, comfortable red couches lined along the walls and well cushioned wooden chairs lined up in the centre of the hall. The open kitchen that lies beyond an artfully styled large counter with open wooden cabinets on one end of the hall totally adds to the charm.
The bubbly and sour CAMBODIAN COOLER, fruity but overly tangy SHANGHAI FIZZ and the spicy and sour SICHUAN MARY didn’t quite please our taste buds, to say the least. The SULA SATORI MERLOT SANGRIA on the other hand, turned out to be a savior with it’s perfect blend of chopped apples in a sweet and smooth red wine that went very well with the meats we consumed during our meal.
Sea Food And Crab Meat Soup
This was a warm and soothing soup with adequately cooked sea food in a thick and clear stock without any seasoning or spices. Maintaining the original humble flavours of the ingredients intact was the essence of this dish which was done brilliantly! Although, adding some sweet corn as well to this recipe would have been an excellent idea as the sweetness of the corn would have combined uniquely with the strong savoury flavours of the crab meat, taking this soup to yet another level of culinary excellence!
Chicken Sui Mai
These delicate, small and pretty steamed dumplings that consisted of little morsels of ground chicken meat stuffed within thin wanton skin parcels came in a bamboo steamer which emitted a mesmerizing aroma of the freshly steamed dim sums. Each bite into these dainty dumplings released the juicy and fresh goodness of the filling.
These translucent dumplings had a artistically pleated yet smooth wanton sheet covering which was thin yet sturdy enough to not break, clearly displaying the chef’s excellence, and was stuffed with generous amount of well cooked and juicy prawn meat.
Pan Fried Chilli Fish
Thin boneless pieces of fish meat were batter fried to give a crispy exterior and a uniquely spicy taste, courtesy, the spicy and tangy, soy and tomato based marinade with a hint of spicy chilly and peppery taste. This dish reflected a perfect balance of hot, tangy, sour and spicy flavours.
General Tao’s Favourite Chicken
Juicy boneless chicken meat was dressed so generously in a tangy sauce with a mild spicy kick and smoky flavour from the chillies, forming a crunchy, sweet, sour and a mildly spicy coating. These were served over a bed of thin and flat rice noodles having a subtle flavour and an appealing chewy texture.
Chicken And Sesame Gyoza
Dumplings with moderately crispy and golden fried bottoms were stuffed with tender and flavourful ground chicken filling, surprisingly also consisting of finely ground peanuts. Unfortunately, the abundant use of ground peanuts totally overpowered the taste of the chicken in the dumplings making this one quite an AVERAGE dish.
Stir Fried Crab Meat
This was a deliciously done dish comprising of crab meat separated from the crab shells and cooked in a mildly spicy and sweet sauce along with plenty of curry leaves.
These cakes composed of well seasoned and juicy crab meat coated with egg and were lightly grilled to form a light golden brown yet a tender and delicate exterior. The seasoning imparted simple yet amazing flavours to the crab meat with a strong peppery and faintly eggy taste.
Chicken Stir Fried In Black Bean Sauce
Though the chunks of chicken in this one were well cooked, tender and juicy and the black bean gravy had a wonderfully sharp, pungent and spicy odour, taste wise the dish was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT as it had turned extremely salty and unpalatable due to recklessly adding way too much of salt to even the black bean sauce which already is a mildly salty sauce by nature, thereby completely ruining the possible good balance between salty and somewhat bitter and sweet tastes.
Poached Fish With Thai Herbs
This one consisted of tender chunks of fish meat, exotic veggies like zucchinis, bell peppers, etc in an aromatic, greasy and runny gravy with lemongrass, lots of galangal (Thai ginger) and plenty of other Thai herbs. The thick slices of Galangal added in such abundance sadly were a complete LET DOWN as the strong gingery flavour of the galangal overpowered the flavours of all the other herbs and ingredients in the dish.
Egg White Fried Rice
The profound eggy flavour and savouriness of the fluffy and soft shreds of egg whites along with a countable few sweet and crunchy chopped spring onion greens, very well complimented the simple white rice without an otherwise distinctive flavour.
Stir Fried Noodles With Chicken
Optimally cooked noodles were tossed along with juicy chunks of chicken, exotic vegetables like julienned bell peppers, etc with their crispiness intact. The dish was a delight to taste with the flavours of the individual ingredients intact and their well retained colour and texture.
Caramel Sponge Cake With Toffee Sauce
While I was expecting alternating layers of thick and glossy caramel icing between the spongy layers of this pastry, this one had very less caramel on top just for the design and instead comprised of alternating layers of dense and creamy smooth whipped cream and light and cushiony soft vanilla sponge cake. It was a delish treat nevertheless! The thick, sticky and glossy toffee sauce that was so generously drizzled atop, not only imparted the much needed moisture to the pastry but also enhanced it’s taste.
A rich, soft, sweet and smooth mango flavoured pudding with an airy texture and custard-like consistency topped with fresh cut mangoes and whipped cream as garnish, rested in a pool of thick and sweet mango coulis. The fact that this vanished within seconds after it arrived on the table is proof enough for it’s delicious goodness!
The service was extremely warm, welcoming, kind and attentive, to say the least. The manager was a wonderful host who ensured time and again that we were having a good time. The attendants lack confidence and effective communication skills though, which needs to be worked upon.
Beverages – 3/5
Food quality – 4/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5
VFM – NA (This meal was complimentary, courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu.)