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Flavour of success

Mainland China is one place you would want to keep going for more



Restaurant on a roll: At Mainland China. Pic by S. Thanthoni

THIS IS a success story that tingles our tastebuds. Two years and eight months old Mainland China, Sterling Road, has been on a roll from the beginning. There is no Mon-Tues-Wednesday-lean syndrome here. With an average of 100 to 120 covers for lunch and 200 to 250 for dinner, life can be routinely successful. The August Moon Festival, on till October 15, was a good opportunity for me to test it out.

The menu [a special one for the festival] put my guard up at first. It had to do with the numbers on the right side. The start with spring onion pancake (Rs. 110) was promising. The red chilli perked up the bland pancake and onions and justified the semi-sweet tomato sauce that came with it. The red haze vanished completely with the steamed chicken with ginger and scallions (Rs. 165). Tender succulent chicken with a hint of ginger was just the salve my tongue needed.

Before the proceedings could sink into tepidity came the chilli garlic butter noodles (Rs. 120). It had the bite and at the same time, a rich smoothness that literally sent it sliding down my throat. No, the silky stuff doesn't end here. There was the tofu in oyster sauce (Rs. 150). That it held its perfect cubical shape speaks of the chef's dexterity and expertise.

Fish in chilli vinegar (Rs. 175) didn't touch the peak, but was certainly creditable. The generous servings are another attractive feature of this restaurant.

Almond curd dew with fruits and coconut roll with honey butter (Rs. 90 each) had me drooling in anticipation. You know what the Aesop fables and Panchatantra tales say, don't you? Too much expectation is not good. At least it was so with both the desserts.

Another aspect that could be looked into is the service. The attitude is friendly but one had to ask to be served! Despite these minor irritants, Mainland China (ph: 28238345) is a place one would want to keep going for more.

MARIEN MATHEW

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