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Sauces score here

Mainland China at Tulip Aruna, on Sterling Road, offers an enjoyable fare in an impressive ambience.

WE HIRE professionals to peddle tangibles and intangibles. So between PR persons, lobbyists, image and media managers and the omnipresent advertising gurus what has gone out of fashion is the reality.

Things have come to such a pass that if the cover is good one tends to distrust the contents.

Sadly, this cynicism is more validated than not. But every once in a while something comes along that looks what it is, just to keep hope afloat.

Nice. Very nice. Those words crossed my mind as we entered the new Chinese restaurant in the city, Mainland China at Tulip Aruna, on the Sterling Road. It is spacious and has an ambience, a pretty good one at that.

Instead of relaxing, surrounded by all that woodwork, I went on red alert, as the packaging was impressive.

From the very beginning itself all my theories were debunked.

The Chicken wotibs or steamed dim sums (Rs.120) and Corn cubes (Rs.110) were enjoyable. There may not be much novelty in Mainland China, actually there are quite a number of golden oldies on the menu, but these oldies are golden here.

The dish that simply outshone the rest, which were by no means inferior, was the Stir-fried Chinese cabbage, snow pea and asparagus.

It was nothing less than perfection. The greens were crunchy, glistening green tossed in a light white sauce.

Sauces. That is where Mainland China scores. May not be all that original but they, including the dips, are done very well. The meats too were good.

We went for braised lamb in black pepper sauce (Rs.160) and Roast duck in light soy sauce (Rs.300).

After living in water starved Chennai, ducks have become a weakness for me. And this one didn't let me down.

The sauce merely enhanced the flavour of the meat. The only dish that didn't go down well was the Steamed noodles with crabmeat sauce (Rs.140). The strong smell gave the crab away.

For dessert, again the problem of same choices — Date pancake, chocolate dipped litchis, etc. — crops up. We plumbed for Darsaan and Date wontons (Rs. 45 each).

While the first one was ample and nice, the second one had only a measly amount of dates.

Except for minor hiccups here and there, it was a tasty meal.

MARIEN MATHEW

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