Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Enter The Dragon

Review: Ming Yang                                          

You know you have entered a restaurant at one of the Taj Group of Hotels when 1) it’s not too crowded (certainly too expensive to be crowded) and 2) the hospitality with which your greeted at the entrance. So we enter Ming Yang, the upscale Chinese eatery at Taj Lands End frequented by Crème de la creme and  Bollywood celebrities, and we are greeted by friendly North Eastern staff.

Adorned with carved wooden furniture and pale jade green interiors, Ming Yang gives me the feeling that China Garden gave in its first avataar at Kemps Corner. You know the feeling of being transported to China probably during the era of one of the ancient dynastys (not that I have been there in person but Kylie Kwong does a good job at transporting me with her show My China).  The sound of flowing from the waterfall at the entrance just adds to beautiful ambiance.

I open the menu and I am immediately struck by the prices! All Chicken appetizers are above Rs 500 and Seafood is twice that. Forgive me for playing Mc. Scrooge here but I believe in getting value for my money. This better be an extraordinary experience, I thought to myself and looked at my accomplices who seemed to mirror my feelings.

We get down to ordering the food. Our maitre d’, the North Eastern looking lady, let’s call her Kanchi Re (yes she reminded me of the women in that song) takes our order with just a nod no pen and paper in hand.

The soups come first – the Hot and Sour Soup is quiet the quotidian, the Lemon Chicken Coriander one with egg droplets is quite zesty & flavorsome. While we ordered only one portion of the Lemon Chicken Coriander soup we were served two. On questioning, the server gave us a confused look and took it back to the kitchen. After some time Kanchi Re came, apologised and said that we can have it and we won’t charged extra. We were beginning to like Ming Yang (yes we are a Sindhi family and a free anything doesn’t hurt). 

For the starters again we ordered for a Mixed Platter Dimsum which consists of 10 dimsums where Kanchi Re told us that we could customize it in case we didn’t want Veg dimsums. So we ordered half and half combination of Prawn and Chicken dimsums. However to our dismay we were served half chicken and half veg ones. I was about to get irritated! Get a writing pad lady! I wanted to yell but Kanchi Re walks in again with an expression that read somewhere between ‘constipation’ and ‘Shit I screwed it up again!’ and told us that she will give us additional prawns ones as well with no extra charge. You should have seen the smiles on our faces.

Continuing to the rest of the appetizers – the Chicken Chilly Mountain a fiery dish with piquant pieces of batter fried chicken, chillies and sesame seeds, was quite a delight. 

The Ming Yang Chicken - sliced chicken with cashew nuts (it seems be a popular ingredient, wonder if it’s an Indianisation or do the Chinese really have cashews in their food) however, which boasted of being the Chefs specialty lacked flavour. 

The Chicken, Prawn and free Veg dimsums - morsels of chicken, prawns & vegetables wrapped in slender wanton dough were light & delicate with no overpowering flavours just the natural juices of chicken, prawns and vegetables. Saporous I would say.

For the main course we had Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce, again nothing very distinguishing about its taste. Next the Basa Fish in Schezwan Pickled Chilli sauce - tender basa fish marinated in a mix of Chilly, garlic and lime. The fiery flavor of the pickled chilli combined with the velvety texture of the Basa fish tasted brilliant. Warning a potent dish, definitely not for the faint hearted. This we coupled with the Burnt Garlic Rice.

With some very discerning dishes like the Basa Fish & the Chicken Chilli Mountain and some quotidian ones, Ming Yang was a mixed bag. What I really like about the place is that after reading my comments in the feedback form served with the bill, Chef David, the head chef, actually came to our table to take suggestions on how it could be made better. This in my opinion is the hallmark of Taj or any other place where they truly believe that the ‘Customer is the King’. Stratospherically priced at Rs. 1000 – Rs 1500 per person

Food: Mixed Bag
Ambience: Excellent
Service: Confused yet polite

Quicktip: If it’s your turn to treat, don’t opt for Ming Yang especially if it’s a large group. If someone else is treating, don’t miss out. If you are going Dutch call in sick!

The Co-ordinates
Ming Yang, Lobby Level 1 at The Taj Lands End, Band Stand, Bandra (W), Mumbai -400050
Timings: Lunch: 12:30 pm - 14:45 pm
Dinner: 19:30 pm - 23:45 pm
Serves Alcohol and Accepts Cards

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