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Fresh from the mainland



Mainland China: no `Indian-style' Chinese here

THE CHINESE believe you have enjoyed your meal if your table is, at the end of the meal, adequately messed up with food crumbs. And when I left Mainland China on St. Mark's Road, I made sure my table was a good indicator of how I felt about my meal.

Entering Mainland China is a pleasant experience in itself, since the unpleasant job of finding parking space is taken care of by the restaurant valets. Inside, one is instantly struck by the clean and fresh look, the place having been renovated recently. A peek into the menu, and you realise that it has been revamped too.

The range of dimsums (which are neatly folded into different shapes of wontons, money bags, little rolls, etc.), are available with fillings such as vegetables, chicken, and prawns. We tried a few variations, and beancurd delight, which had beancurd stuffed with a filling and topped with spicy bean sauce, was a delight. The appetisers section has also undergone a change, and you notice that there are options in seafood, poultry, lamb, and vegetables.

Chef Rajesh Dubey recently spent some time in China, researching on food, of course. The result is that you can savour some strikingly different recipes at Mainland China now, which thankfully are a far cry from the soya sauce and ketchup-based, ubiquitous "Indian-style Chinese" fare. Though all the seafood options beg to be tasted, the sliced fish with roasted chilli and sansho pepper is unique. Amongst the poultry, the sesame chicken with chillies and honey (with a sweet and tangy flavour) and chicken with ginger, chillies, and soya are very popular. The vegetarians can enjoy crunchy water chestnuts in Sichuan chilli sauce and crispy fried hunan tofu.

Mainland China claims to use some special sauces imported from China. You can actually try the flavour of a number of them in their main course dishes. The menu lists out various preparations, but you can choose your own combination of meat, vegetables, seafood with the sauces. Sliced fish with shaoxiang and prawns in black bean and butter sauce are a must have for seafood lovers, while vegetarians will love the smoked pepper sauce. The restaurant serves a variety of rice and noodles preparations, with meats and vegetables tossed into them.

Desserts are the regular Chinese fare. A range, titled Desserts of the World, is currently being served.

In case you are wondering why there is no mention of soups as yet, it is because the Chinese believe in washing down a meal with hot soup or Chinese tea, and Mainland China, in the true spirit of China, lists its large variety of soups at the end of the menu. The restaurant also serves an executive lunch at Rs. 150.

You can call Mainland China on 2277722.

T.G.

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