Say “aye” if you’ve ever had those strong Chinese food cravings! You know, the kind that makes you dream about a plate of piping hot dim sums or those melt-in-the-mouth baos. Are you drooling yet? Because I sure was, while reading the menu of Typhoon Shelter.
Inspired by Hong Kong’s iconic typhoon shelters, this restaurant is also a refuge, but a gastronomical one where people can unwind and savour some Chinese cuisine.
Typhoon Shelter is tucked away on the far end, of the second floor of Skyzone at High Street Phoenix. You just cannot miss this place with its big red doors that display its South East Asian theme.
Enter inside and you will see a cosy space with a royal oriental feel to it.
There’s a beautiful bar featuring green shelves that look like rolling waves. Standing in front of it will leave you mesmerised with their wide collection of spirits and wines.
The seating inside is divided into highchairs at the bar, tables of fours in the centre and booths for six on the sides. I strolled around to find a good spot and just couldn’t resist picking one of the booths. They were lit up with yellow Chinese lanterns and had delicate tapestry, which gave out an authentic feel.
Overall, I thought the place had the perfect intimate setting for a date or a business meet where you could relax and chat the night away while sipping on cocktails and devouring food from their vast menu.
Talking about the menus, the one here wasn’t just a book with a selection of food and drinks. Every few pages, it carried monochrome portraits of rustic China that made you admire the art. At some point, I had to remind myself to stop and order something.
To kick things off, I picked a drink from their cocktail menu that was curated with an oriental flair. I tried the “Ba”, a lavender infused vodka drink with sour apple and muddled grapes. It came in a martini glass with a slice of dehydrated lemon and star anise. On sipping it, I was taken aback with this pale-yellow nectar that tasted mildly sweet and every bit refreshing. It proved to be the perfect thirst quencher to pair with the food I was to order.
Next, I decided it was time to get something to eat. I went with a recommendation from the restaurant general manager, Arnold Hou. He suggested the “Wild Mushroom & Edamame Dumplings” that was an assortment of seven types of mushrooms snuggled into millet skin pockets that were steamed to perfection. These dumplings were a delight to bite into. They were well-seasoned and every bit delicious. Served with 3 sauces, the flavours combine together to please the palate.
After that quick bite, I decided to try another cocktail. I picked the “Spice Route”, which was a whisky based Negroni that came with a full bloomed flower submerged with floating Sichuan peppers. This crystal red concoction was starkly different from my first drink. A tad bit spicy for my palate, the drink did not taste like anything you’d expect from something with flowers for garnish. At first, I was a little sceptical but the more I sipped on it, the more I started to like it.
For the next dish, I was eyeing the “Pepper Spiked Tofu”. I’ve eaten plenty of paneer chilli and paneer schezwan but never tofu. So, I thought, why not give it a shot! The dish that came to the table looked a lot like blocks of paneer but tasted nothing like it. This was a silkier version of it that could be swallowed with so much ease. It was mildly spicy but that didn’t bother me with the cocktails on the table.
Having had a fair share of food and cocktails, I was already satisfied with the way my night was turning out, but the best was yet to come.
Arnold Hou, the restaurant general manager is also one of the bartenders that participated in World Class 2019, a bartending competition hosted by Diageo Reserve. On finding that out, I requested him to recreate his World Class cocktail. It was called “Over The Rainbow, Into The Typhoon”. This was a tiki cocktail but unlike most rum based tikis, this one was made with whisky and smoked pineapple syrup.
It was presented in a ceramic tiki glass that looked like a broken eggshell. I thought that was an interesting glass but turns out there’s a story to it too. The glass represented a destruction, which was at par with the theme of the restaurant, a typhoon shelter. As for the taste, it was more de-stressing than destructing. I could taste the smokiness and the strong whisky notes and would definitely recommend you try this World Class cocktail at least once.
PS: This cocktail won Arnold the title of “The Unshakeable” at the Mumbai regionals at World Class.
No great night can be complete without dessert, so, when Arnold insisted I try the dessert, I gave it a shot. And boy, was it worth it! This was an authentic Chinese dessert called “Learning Mandarin” that had a beautiful story to go with it. I was told that for Chinese families, the mandarin orange is a symbol of abundance, good fortune and happiness. This was replicated in a delicious dessert that left me feeling absolutely satisfied and thankful that I didn’t skip dessert.
After a full belly and a happy heart, all I can say is that Typhoon Shelter is the perfect refuge for food lovers, whether there’s a storm brewing outside or not.
Where: Typhoon Shelter
S-3, Second floor,
Skyzone, Phoenix Mill Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg,
Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013
Phone: 022 3015 1817