Those who lament that food in 5-star hotels is expensive should visit Spicy Duck at the Taj Palace to enjoy their fare at their leisure.
We are always looking for places where we can eat good food, a good atmosphere, eat our way and go out without emptying our wallets. Most people will tell you that’s a tall order. And we won’t have everything, we may have to choose because eating well rhymes with selling off big critters. But not anymore. Not only can you eat as you please, but you can walk out with cash in your pocket.
The Spicy Duck at the Taj Palace in the capital is one of those places where their signature lunches from 12:30 p.m., which started from March, are not to be missed. Priced at 1,999 (plus tax) per person, the four-course meal is not only a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds.
The restaurant that boasts of celebrating the flavors of Sichuan and Canton offers a brilliant curation that has been carefully crafted to be enjoyed with family and friends. Each dish is well prepared with love and served with care.
And it all starts with a plethora of dim sums. The first, a chicken dim sum, whets the appetite. Those who love dim sum will want to go back for more. But there is more to follow. The asparagus roll, although fried, is a must even if you are a diehard non-vegetarian.
You also have to understand that there is a difference between dim sums and momos. As Sharmaji in Sharmaji Namkeen pointed out that momos and dim sums are not the same. F
or uninitiated momos are made from maida and/or atta. Dim sums can be made from any type of flour, including rice, potato, and cornstarch. The shrimp dim sums can be missed. But if you are a seafood lover, you can enjoy it. The lamb dim sums are just as juicy and tasty. Vegetarians can enjoy steamed edamame, water chestnuts and a sui mai vegetable mix. But as each dim sum hits your plate, what happens are the sauces that go with them.
In fact, you can make a meal with just the sauces. Each has a distinct taste. Some spicy to burn your tongue, some to chill. Depending on the dim sum on the plate, you can choose the sauce. There are a few that one can miss and opt for a repeat instead. The shell of the bao dim sum is a bit thick. When eating crispy asparagus roll or chick dim sum, bao dim sum seems like a misfit, no matter how tasty.
For mains, one can choose from earthenware meal bowls inspired by southern China. These are served in traditional earthenware. The adage that you eat with your eyes first certainly holds true here. To keep the meal warm, the claypot is served over a mini bain-marie. Only here they use a tealight candle to keep food warm instead of hot water.
What makes the main meal even tastier is that the meal contains a range of aromatics. If you’re not a vegetarian, try the shrimp stir-fried in spicy coriander served with a ginger sauce and fresh red chilli; it is a treat for seafood lovers, especially if you like spices. The vegetables are crispy and the spicy oil on top adds to the flavors.
If it’s lamb you like, opt for the Yunnan lamb with spring onions and celery. Vegetarians; Kung pan opts for kung pao tofu with dry red chili and pepper. The black mushroom with broccoli, carrot and oyster sauce is equally good.
Before the main meal, there is also a soup of the day, vegetarian or non-vegetarian. However, it is prudent to avoid this if one wants to enjoy the main meal.
The kitchen is led by Chef Thanglawm Valte under the direction of the hotel’s Executive Chef, Rajesh Wadhwa. Every dish that ends up on the table has been prepared using homemade concoctions and infused oils for cooking. Most of the ingredients and raw materials, including spices and vegetables, are sourced from China to make every dish as authentic as possible.
Of course, no meal is complete without a candy. We must end the experience on a sweet note. The darsan, walnut caramel, glazed pomelo, mango and sago for dessert served with jasmine tea are a delight.