Love Chinese food? There is no better day to enjoy the sweet, spicy and delectable cuisine than on Chinese New Year when chefs bring out special dishes that symbolize good fortune. Usher in the year of the Dog, on February 16th and guarantee yourself some good luck with these special chef crafted meals.
China House, Santacruz
The legendary China House at Grand Hyatt has put together a stellar Chinese New Year menu that consists of traditional delicacies and Chinese Zodiac themed cocktails. Start with the delightful Crystal Chinese cabbage dumplings. With a translucent skin and crunchy veggies it makes a promising and luscious start. Next, move to the delicately seasoned wok-tossed cuttlefish with spring onion and chili. But clearly the piece de resistance here is the steamed fish with chicken mince. The deliciously fresh grouper is perfect for tearing and devouring along with the spicy black bean chili sauce.
Don’t miss the cocktails. Bartender Arun Vishwakarma’s Chinese Zodiac-themed drinks straddle the line between sophistication and inventiveness. For desserts, the dark chocolate mousse is pleasing, spot-hitting and sprinkled with sesame seeds. But my absolute favourite here is the Chinese New Year cake. Unlike a traditional cake, these little pockets of steamed rice dumplings come studded with red bean paste and are just delicious. If you can tear away from your plate, there is a special lion dance to keep you regaled through the evening.
When: Ongoing till 18th February.
Where: Bandra Kurla Complex Vicinity, Off Western Express Highway, Santacruz East, Mumbai. Call 022 66761149/ 98202 28254
Hakkasan, known for its modern interpretation of authentic Cantonese cuisine, has unleashed a limited edition signature menu created by Hakkasan chefs from London, USA, the Middle East and Asia. Indulge in Asparagus and edamame dumpling and stir fry mushrooms with golden mantao. Eating fish at Chinese New Year is said to bring increased prosperity. You can have plenty of them at Hakkasan starting with the wok fried native lobster. Served with black truffle sauce, the lobster is a thing of beauty. But the star of the show for me is the baked Chilean sea bass. Heroically full of kumquat dressing, the fish is as pretty to gaze upon, as it is to gorge on. Vegetarians can go ahead and order the wok fried vegetarian chicken (faux meat) in spicy hakka sauce and the Szechwan noodles with shiitake mushrooms and chicken. Wrap it up with the Golden Fortune dessert with roasted macadamia nuts and lemongrass.
The gin based cocktail - Happy Daisy created by Group Head of Bar, Eder Neto is elegant and as well-balanced as a ballet dancer. Last but not the least, don’t forget to write your wish on the red ribbons provided by the restaurant and hang it on the wishing tree.
When: Ongoing until 4th March
Where: Waterfield Road, Bandra West, Mumbai. Call: +91 22 26444444
Yauatcha, Bandra Kurla Complex
Yauatcha, the Michelin-starred Chinese dim sum teahouse from London, has crafted a special menu for this festival with dishes that are traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year along with some brand new Yauatcha creations. The newest member of the menu, the Olive Dumpling, could become a favourite with both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The gorgeous looking Spicy Chicken Dumpling with red beetroot skin is dreamily moist.
The Golden Fortune Prawn in lime sauce represents good luck as seafood is considered lucky in China; while the Shredded Pork Loin in hoisin sauce with mantou brings together delicious flavours. Vegetarians can relish the Crispy Tofu in Hakka Spicy Sauce and the meat lovers can pick the Roasted Chicken in Mala Sauce. For sweet endings look no further than the Petit gâteau with soy caramel and mandarin because eating citrus is believed to bring luck. In between mouthfuls, do look up and see the customised paper-cut lanterns. They have been designed by renowned fashion and costume designer Nachiket Barve.
When: Ongoing till 4th March.
Where: Raheja Towers, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. Call: 9222222800
By the Mekong, St Regis
Make it a memorable Chinese New Year by dining in the clouds with gorgeous views of the glittering Mumbai skyline at By The Mekong. Perched on the 37th floor at St Regis, this stunning restaurant with its mood lighting, artistic chandeliers and tree bark sculptures is the perfect setting for Chef Shi Xilin’s dishes. Kick off with the Jiaozi, a traditional dish made of small piece of dough with fillings of meat and chopped vegetable. On the first day of the New Year, every household will have jiaozi made the previous night. Without eating jiaozi you are not celebrating the festival in the real sense of the word. Move on to the stir fried water chestnut and louts roots which will make you purr with pleasure. If you’re looking for a stellar main course, this is where you can call off the search - steamed scallops in XO sauce. The Mongolian lamb and wok fried lobster with egg chilli onion are the other worthy contenders. If you spring for only one dessert, bite into the rice glue balls, which are delightfully reticent in sugariness
When: Ongoing till 18th February
Where: Level 37, The St. Regis, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Call: 91 22 61628422 / +91 8291926985 / +91 8291926986
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Image courtesy: From the restaurants (China House, Hakkasan, Yauatcha, By the Mekong)
Featured Image: China House