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Monday, Feb 24, 2003

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Savouring a new look

Step into the newly done up China Town restaurant on Cathedral Road for some interesting flavours that refrain you from haggling about prices...


HERE IS resurgence from the ashes. If you remember the old dark China Town restaurant on Cathedral Road, you will agree with me, any change even if it is an increase in the wattage of the bulb is a step forward.

The previous heavy furniture and the dark red décor had gone to seed. But all that is a bad memory now. Step into the newly done up restaurant (phone: 28112246), it is bright, cheery and attractive.

The menu is a classy affair with interesting quotes about food and pictures of Chinese artefacts. There is no mingling of veg and non-veg sections as done usually.

Wade past all the meats and seafood and you come to the veg list.

The evening started off with sesame prawns (Rs.120). Dressed in golden brown stiff batter studded with sesame seeds they looked gorgeous and tasted nice. It is just that the prawns had stayed a little too long in the refrigerator. So one missed the juicy, sweet meatiness.

Among the house specialties comes the clay pot (Rs.135) with a choice of meat or seafood. I had chosen lamb. This one was yummy, with a delicate flavour. The other specialties are steam boat and sapo.

Going through the seafood section, I couldn't resist the famous Singapore chilli crab (Rs.160).

It is the interesting contrast of flavours and textures that keep me hooked to this dish — the flaming red, hot sweet exterior and pristine white flaky meat inside.

Again batter was all it should be, but the crab was atrophic in parts. The meat instead of being flaky, was mushy. The mixed vegetables with cashew nuts (Rs.105) was okay. Amid all these near misses was the Fung chong beef (Rs.110) that lived up to the expectations. The portions are generous which stops one from haggling about prices. Of course the restaurant is aimed at tapping the middle and upper middle class market, but the cuisine doesn't have to stay in the middle.

There is plenty of room above the average mark. Friendly and helpful service is a plus point.

The desserts, honey crisp noodle with ice cream (Rs.80) and lychees with ice cream (Rs. 65) offered no surprises. Tried and tested is good, one can't go wrong with it. But the tragedy is that it can also be uninspiring.

MARIEN MATHEW

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