Delhi has been flooded with new restaurants but all these cater more to the non-vegetarians; where should the vegetarians go to have good food in the city. While searching for such a place, we received an invitation to review the ‘Empress of China’ at the Eros Hotel Nehru Place which is a golden place for vegetarians. Truly, old is gold as vegetarian finds ample space on the menu here. Even though Chinese is more about non-vegetarian but EOC offers equal varities of vegetarian and what we found there made us quite happy and contended. While the interiors are inspired from the old colonial times, your palate will certainly appreciate the distinctive flavours of the Szechuan cuisines. A perfect blend of old Britain and ancient China.
We went to the restaurant to be greeted with a welcoming smile. The ‘Empress of China’ is the fine-dining restaurant of Eros Hotel. As the name suggests it offers a great combination of authentic Szechuan and Cantonese cuisines from China in a regal ambience. The restaurant has unique displays, music and aromas which create much more than the normal dining experience.
There is a myth that Chinese food is all about fiery spices but no, the Chinese cuisine is all about balancing the flavours. So, if the Chef puts lots of chillies in a dish, he/she would add something sweet to counter the taste and this perfection we experienced at EOC. We started our meal with Chinese wild mushroom clear soup. Prepared with different varieties of mushrooms the beauty of the soup lies in the simplicity of its preparation.
By the time we finished the soup; the starters were prepared and brought to our table. An assortment of wild mushrooms with soya garlic served on a lettuce was the first dish to reach our salvers and it added to our already soared expectations. The wild mushrooms tasted almost perfect with a perfect treat for those softer taste buds. Golden nest dumplings (pan fried dumplings), Hand roll (spring rolls), Black pepper mushroom (crispy button mushrooms tossed in black pepper sauce) and Lo han dumplings (crystal mixed vegetable dumplings) were some other dishes we tried but the black pepper mushroom won amongst all. Steaming and deep frying, the two ways of Chinese cooking were used perfectly by the Chef.
For the main course, we tried some of their best dishes; Szechuan French beans (sauteed with preserved vegetable and chilli bean), braised eggplant and tofu, fresh wild mushrooms (stir fried in black pepper sauce), vegetable ‘ma po tofu’ (bean curd with minced vegetable) and baby pok choy. And to accompany these dishes were the pan fried noodles (crispy noodles with vegetables), fujian fried rice (garlic fried with vegetables) and steamed jasmine rice. Our second course of the meal was completed with a ginger based mocktail. The tofu was very soft and tasted perfect while the French beans were crunchy and were made with full precision.
A conversation with Chef Tenzin Losel over the deserts gave us more insights about the Szechuan cuisines and why EOC stands out among other Chinese restaurants in the town. He told us that all the ingredients are imported especially the mushrooms. When asked about retaining the authentic flavours, Chef told us that to retain authentic Szechuan flavours, the restaurant ensures strict control on quality of products used for preparation. A number of sauce bases and other raw ingredients are imported to enhance flavours and continuous training of team members ensures consistency in food preparation.Chinaware is carefully selected to showcase the different dishes in a colourful and natural way ranging from modern trendy to rustic and traditional.
We would like to thanks Vaishali Dar and Chef Tenzin Losel for the appetising food. The large window lane overlooking the balcony garden was the cherry on the cake.
Our verdict: Perfect for family dinners and Sunday bruches.
Price for two: Rs 3000 approx (without alcohol)
Address: Empress of China, Lobby Level, Eros Hotel managed by Hilton
Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110019
For reservations call 4133 1653
Review by Supriya Aggarwal