Food Festival: A Jugalbandhi Of Cantonese And Desi Delights
Biju Parameswaran takes a trip to Café Jade and comes back quite pleased with his choices
On Jan 28, 2015


When it comes to innovative food treats for the connoisseur, Hycinth by Sparsa takes the cake. The city hotel’s Café Jade restaurant’s ongoing Indo-China fest takes your gastronomical experience beyond the frontiers of the land to the olfactory delights of the orient in the form of authentic Chinese grub.
The jamboree which rolled out on the 23rd of this month is, true to name, as much Indian as it is Chinese. Chinese has always been in demand in our country in its customized version of Indian Chinese or fusion food, best epitomized by the ubiquitous Manchurian, a term ironically unseen in the menu in China! Sweet, sour and spicy – Indian dishes have much in common with Chinese.

The swanky ambience of the spacious restaurant is accentuated by Chinese props that help set the right tone. The hostess in an elegant Chinese dress greets you with an effusive smile. Live Western music revs up the proceedings on Friday and Saturday nights.
You can work your way through steamed delicacies that come as part of Dim Sum, an important tradition having its origin in Chinese teahouses. But before that there are a brace of soups, veg and non-veg each, to choose from the menu which changes texture by the day. If piping hot double boiled chicken and corn peal vegetarian are the options in soup on one day, it is chicken manchow and spinach and tomato on another day and seafood talumin and mushrooms and greens on yet another day.

Yummy starters, again honestly authentic, tempt you from the Live Counters -- vegetable and chicken momos, spring rolls of the right crunchiness and pan fried dim sum that are oh-so soft and tender. Completing the culinary perfect picture are 5 salads and 5 non veg and 10 veg main courses topped off by no fewer than 10 delightful desserts.
The fest is attracting a steady stream of guests. Chinese food continues to enchant Indian gourmands. However, observes the hotel’s Executive Chef Max Millyan Colbey, the demand is more for fusion food than authentic Chinese. Perhaps people are only slowly beginning to relish the charms of the real deal.

Maxy has drawn from his experience of working in Macau, China to conjure up exquisite dishes like Cantonese roasted chicken and double fried duck in Hunan sauce. Talking of sauces, he lists out Plum, oyster, soya, black bean and the spicy seafood sauce XO as the five popular ones in his repertoire. Five spice powders and green peppercorn lend the dishes their vivid flavors.

Seafood seems to be a highlight of Indo –China Fest as guests are in for a mouthwatering treat of squid and celery in XO sauce, sliced fish with pok choi and black bean, crab congee and fish in basil corn sauce.

The veg main course presents a minefield of choices ranging from stir fried Asian greens and Szechwan cottage cheese to five spiced potato and five spiced spinach and mushroom dumpling. If you prefer to stick to Indian dishes, do not worry as dal, sambhar, chilly gobi, mutton biriyani, steamed and fried rice and even curd rice are ready at all times. If these are not enough, there is a chaat counter too! Appams, a mainstay of any buffet nowadays, are prepared and served on demand at the live counter. Daily specialties like Mongolian seafood grill are a salient feature of the fest.
Expect a riotous spread of desserts in any Chinese foodie fair. This Fest is no different. At least ten different finishers are on offer to round off the memorable dining experience. A Chinese banana roll vies for space with Chinese toffee apples which are deep-fried apple fritters soaked in honey syrup and topped with sesame seeds. The apples are soft inside, but the coating of caramelized sugar and honey gives it a crispy cum gooey texture. There is beetroot kheer for that unmistakable North Indian sweet touch.

The Indo-China Fest is on till February 1st at Hotel Hycinth. 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The buffet costs Rs.899 plus taxes per adult and Rs.549 plus taxes per child (5 to 10 years). For Bookings Contact: 94000 00747.

Note: Café Jade has in the past hosted food carnivals like Southern Feast, Chettinad Festival, Seafood Festival and a Thattukada Fete.

Indo-China Food Fest @ Cafe Jade



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