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Food, with a tang of creativity



The Noodle Bar: going Cantonese

THE ENTRANCE may be easy to miss, but the small winding staircase that leads you to the second floor opens into a bright and inviting eatery. China at Residency, popularly known as The Noodle Bar is the most recent Chinese restaurant in the City. Though it is only a few weeks old, the restaurant shows all the signs of becoming a favourite haunt for families and corporates.

The Noodle Bar, the outcome of four years of "extensive research", is the brainchild of Ameet Lakhiani. Born and brought up in South Korea, Mr. Lakhiani was initially debating on whether to open a coffee shop or a bakery. Then he went on to provide Bangaloreans an exclusive Chinese and Thai speciality cuisine restaurant.

The ambience at the restaurant is contemporary with a hint of the orient. "The food we serve here is authentic Chinese cuisine that appeals to the Indian palate. Authentic as our ingredients are genuine and imported to a large extent, and appealing because our dishes won' t seem alien and insipid," explains Mr. Lakhiani.

For those of you wondering where the name "The Noodle Bar" fits in with the scheme of authentic oriental fare, Mr. Lakhiani has introduced a do-it-yourself section with the noodles served. It is also said to be a first in Bangalore. The noodles are not served like items at a salad bar, where patrons serve themselves because "it would defeat the very purpose of fine dining," instead; they are conjured by the chef who prepares your creation for you, where you can choose everything that goes into the making of a noodle dish. For an all-inclusive price of Rs. 120 (non-vegetarian) and Rs. 105 (vegetarian) you get to "invent" your own noodle delicacy. Be it Hakka, rice, or flat Malaysian noodles, a choice of vegetables/meat, or chilly and garlic flakes, and ginger for garnish, you can simply choose your pick.

The vegetarian range includes red capsicum, baby corn, sprouts and broccoli to pokchoy, tofu, and mushrooms. The non-vegetarian add-in includes chicken, pork, lamb, shrimp, fish, and crabmeat.

Thai peanut sauce, Drunken Monk (a white wine based Cantonese sauce) and the sweet and sour are the milder sauces one could select from, while the barbeque, hoisin, mahlak (made from the oil of Szechwan peppers), hot bean, chilli basil, and chilli garlic sauces are on the spicier side. The concept thus combines creativity and individuality.

Other atypical items featured on the menu are the Chinese steamed buns, rice pearls (with chicken stuffing), crabmeat soup, and the Tom Kha soup (coconut milk based) to name a few. These encourage diners to stray from the predictable gobi manchurian and sweet corn chicken soup.

Highly recommended is the tiger tofu in Schezwan sauce, prawn pepper garlic, rolling chicken lettuce (shredded chicken served in lettuce parcels), minced chicken salad, raw papaya salad, and the chicken in spicy shrimp sauce.

The restaurant also offers a wide range of seafood that includes grilled pomfret (Rs. 160), pepper garlic crab (Rs. 155), and prawns (Rs. 125) among others.

For desserts there is lychees with coconut custard, grilled pineapples, brownies, apple pie, chocolate mousse, etc.

Apart from introducing quick lunch for corporates, China at Residency plans to set up an aquarium with live lobsters and crabs — a "fish market" of sorts for diners in the near future.

With so many unusual dishes and concepts, China at Residency establishes that one can get adventurous with Chinese cuisine.

The restaurant can be contacted on 51129920.

SOMIKA BASU

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