Friday, January 29, 2010

There's Always a First Time!

Confession time, people. I was a Mainland China virgin until the past weekend.

For the uninitiated, there’s always been the Indian Chinese served at most Chinese restaurants in India, and the Chinese served at Mainland China. I had never been to the restaurant because numerous people had told me that the Chinese they serve is rather bland, authentic Chinese so to say. And we all know that Indians love Indian Chinese. We have Chinese dishes that even the Chinese aren’t aware of! The most popular example being Chicken Manchurian, I think.

But I got convinced by a colleague to try the lunch buffet at Mainland China, and after the experience I’ve been wondering why I hadn’t been to the restaurant before!

Mainland China has two restaurants in Calcutta - one (the original) at Gurusaday Road & a new one at South City Mall, Calcutta’s newest hip destination. Both restaurants are HUGE. They also have a private dining facility at Silver Arcade on EM Bypass. I went to the one at South City. The ambience is serene, with just the right amount of lighting for a fine dining experience. The décor consists mainly of beige walls & ceiling, and cut-out wood.

And the food? It’s classy stuff. It retains the authenticity of Chinese cuisine, yet is spicy enough to tingle the Indian palate. The buffet spread consisted of a soup, LOVELY dim sums (I was going to make an entire meal of dim sums until I realized I didn't want to end up paying almost 500 bucs for dim sums alone!), chicken wings in Hunan sauce, chicken noodles, ginger fried rice (white with a hint of ginger, not the typical fried rice but very nice), a chicken entrée, one lamb and 3 types of fish (prawns, crabs & regular fish).

I didn’t check what was on offer for vegetarians, so excuse me s'il vous plaît!

My only grouse with the buffet spread was that they had so many fish dishes on offer and only one chicken & one lamb. But then, I live in Calcutta so I should’ve been prepared for the fish onslaught. Just that it seems a little unfair :(

The desserts….were awesome too! Strawberry mousse, Strawberry ice-cream, Vanilla ice-cream with darsaan (an ass-kicking combo), and tiny little white jelly-like cubes (kind of like the petit fours of Candies) that had something to do with almonds & were drizzled with orange sauce!!

I was truly in Chinese food paradise as we stretched our lunch to approximately 2 hours.
For those who might be interested, Mainland China serves lunch from 12.45PM - 3.30 PM & dinner from 7.30PM - 11.30PM. The lunch buffet costs Rs 325 (or Rs 350, I'm not sure) + taxes on weekdays & Rs 425 (or Rs 435) + taxes on weekends (in Calcutta that is. Prices in other cities may vary).

They do serve alcohol & accept credit cards. They have their own website, so you can check out their menu online. Their telephone nos. are 64578361/ 2422 5330/31/32/33 (South City Mall) & 22837964/65/66 / 32511257 (Gurusaday Road).

Mainland China is a classy place and it doesn't end at the food. They have superior service - efficient, prompt, attentive & helpful. That’s very different from most restaurants in Calcutta where one often finds waiters who are clueless about their own dishes, rude & act like they're doing you the biggest favor on earth by serving you!

When you go to Mainland China - or the next time you go to Mainland China - order the darsaan with Vanilla ice-cream for dessert. Vanilla has always been the real McCoy of ice-creams, and the darsaan is sweet & it’ll stick to your teeth and make you feel like a kid again :)


The knife said...

Hey this sounds reallly cool. 500 bucks? You get a lousy noodle bar buffet here for that.

I've gone to M C at Saki Naka twice with mixed experiences.

I know that Bongs are particularly possessive about it :)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - There's a good chance Mainland China might disappoint me the next time I go there. Indian restaurants aren't known for their consistency, after all :( But the first experience was good. I'll be sure to do a follow-up post if the second experience is different.

P.S.: Bongs as possessive about MC as they are about Tangra!! Or Tung Fong for that matter. And how can I forget Mocambo?

The knife said...

You know us so well Scarlett :) I meant Bongs in Mumbai and for ages. Even when M C was just in andheri