Chinese is one of the most famous foreign-origin cuisines in India, to the point that it has been appropriated by kitchens across the country to give rise to Indo-Chinese food. Therefore, the choice is not all that wide for people looking for authentic Chinese food. Mahjong Room at WelcomHotel by ITC Hotels just widened the search bandwidth.
Opened in November this year, Mahjong Room exudes elegance not just from its food but also its décor. Order the right cocktails with the food, and you could have a luxurious experience from the get-go!
Mahjong Room has a good selection of drinks — both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The first drink we were served was of the latter variety.
It was called Butterfly Tea, and for good reason! Served hot, it is blue in colour. Squeeze a few drops of lemon in it, and it turns a nice shade of pink! Take a look yourself:
As for the alcoholic section, there’s a wide range of cocktails. The first I had was called Shanghai Gesture, a pomegranate-based drink that cools well.
Otherwise, I suggest the Monkey King, which complements Chinese food well! It was a pity I got a taste of this at the fag end of the meal.
Chinese starters do tend to get repetitive over time. However, the true strength of any restaurant lies in the treatment it reserves for such “regular” Chinese dishes. That is where Mahjong Room scores.
The first of these was Crunchy Corn Kernel. True to the name, these were crunchy, fresh and nicely seasoned, making them the near-perfect “chakhna” — Indian word that denotes that the food is an accompaniment for alcohol consumption — for your cocktail.
Next, some Sesame Lotus Stems. Basically, lotus stems cut diagonally, fried to crunchy goodness, cooked with some tongue-tingling sauces and served coated with sesame seeds. A genuine treat!
And then things got interesting. The thing with the next dish — Sesame Prawns — is a crunchy shell concealed some succulent prawns. But there was a bigger secret here: The dish had been created and cooked under the supervision of WelcomHotel’s Chef Dhaval Ajmera, who is allergic to seafood!
Then, something that’s a mainstay in Indo-Chinese cuisine, but with a twist. This Sichuan Chilli Pepper Chicken was hot, but just enough to enjoy the other flavours that swirled around in my mouth.
Even the dumplings are in a different league here, especially the Chicken Dumplings.
The vegetarian variety of that — the Water Chestnut Dumplings — was a revelation as well!
The starters out of the way, we turned our attention to the main course of the meal, beginning with Kung Pao Chicken, Hot and Spicy Hunan Prawn and Corn and Mushroom Jasmine Rice.
Just these alone could make for a full meal but, of course, there was more to come! And first in line after this was Mapo Tofu. Silky smooth and diced into small pieces, these really begged the question: Why do people hate tofu so much?
Pair that with some Chilli Garlic Noodles, and you would have little to complain about!
The last dish of the main course was something we specifically requested: Vegetable Pan-Fried Noodles. If you are laying off meat, this is definitely one to go with!
You didn’t think we skipped dessert, did you? Because Mahjong Room has some great ones, and we got to taste two of them.
The first among these was the Passionfruit Coconut Lime Shortcake. With a dollop of ice cream in there somewhere.
And finally, the Hot Chocolate Fudge over Cookie. I am not the least bit ashamed to say I polished this one off all on my own! I loved the texture — the smooth, creamy chocolate ice cream, the fudge and the crunchy choco-filled cookie.
Final thoughts on Mahjong Room
As a Chinese restaurant, Mahjong Room scores on several fronts, not the least of which is the Mahjong Nuts that are served right at the beginning of the meal. These are plain peanuts coated with a special concoction of sugar and chilli, and are so good we requested a to-go box of them for each of us after the meal! Be sure to ask for them when you are there.
Otherwise, book this place for a nice adult lunch or dinner. Children may find the place a little boring, but if Chef Dhaval Ajmera is there, he can whip up something special for them.
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