In a nutshell:
A visit here during Durga Pujo turned out to b quite disappointing as the food was more Chindian than what cud b expected of a true blue 5 Star Chinese Restaurant. Royal China, The China Kitchen etc do a much better job in terms of Authenticity & variety of Chinese Cuisine.
Address & other details: Chinoiserie
Meal for 2: Rs. 3000 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
Taj Bengal is a landmark Hotel in Kolkata & hence expectations were touching the sky as we planned to have a lunch at their Chinese Restaurant, Chinosserie.
Chinese cuisine has a special place in my heart as I have been to & stayed in China many times & I have always loved the food. In China I have eaten Chinese food at 5 star restaurants, Government run canteens, mid range restaurants, humble eateries, roadside shacks & factory worker’s canteen as well. In all places I have found most of the items to be simple, made fresh from fresh ingredients, effortlessly & quickly made food used to b so good that I became a fan of it.
The Chinese that u get in most places in India is what I call Chinjabi – Punjabized Chinese food. Everything seems to have starch, lots of deep frying, thick gravies etc. In Tangra, Kolkata, the Chinese population settled here serves some good Chinese food though due to pressuer of local taste, they have also come up with their own Indianized version that is called Tangra Chinese.
The food at Chinoiserie was close to Tangra Chinese & also at times Chinjabi & quite removed from the original Chinese version. My expectation wud b to have the most authentic & themost exotic of food at a 5 start restaurant. Nothing of that kind was available as well. We were asked to choose from a ‘Navami menu’ that I realized much later, was not the normal menu card.
I was wondering that if I were to have this, I might well have gone to tangra & had the same food at 1/10 the price (I am guessing).
The service was good as expected. The guys & girls knew their job very well & did not leave any stone unturned to keep us comfortable.
Ambience was good – I wud not say that there was anything special that reminded me of China but in general it was a nice ambience.
Lighting was dim & I had a hard time trying to click pics for u all.
Food – if u do not have a baggage of authenticity, u might just like the food here – Indianized Chinese is usually chatpata & made to Indian taste. If u r a hardcore foodie & have tasted the original stuff, u might just have a hard time………………or u might just b in the good mood & pay multiple times more to eat the localized version of Chinese food in a city that had many who admired the Chinese model of Governance.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
We started our meal with Crabmeat and onion soup. It was a thick soup with a lot of starch unlike the numerous fresh clear soups served in China where they almost add ‘nothing much’ to fresh crabs. The onions cud b felt and so was the crab meat. There was a subtle taste & flavor to it which was contributed by both. It could have been ‘good’ & I wud have given it 3/5 but for the excess thickener I rate it 2.5/5
The first dish in starter was Pan fried Chilly fish. It was ‘Chilly fish’ which in itself is a non-Chinese dish invented in India. There is a close cousin of that in China but the sauces r different there. I ordered this dish out of sheer curiosity – do they serve the cousin or the ‘born in India’ Chilly fish. True to the name, Chinosserie served the Indian version. It was exactly what we have grown up having – for decades. Hot, slight sweet, slight sour, flavor of soy sauce, some bell pepper & pieces of boneless fish. The fish was nice & soft. It was overall good but not great. I rate this dish 3/5
We next went for Prawns chilly butter garlic. I was shocked to find that the prawns were coated with a layer of corn starch & fried b4 sautéing it in sauces. The direction of the dish was good, the prawns were soft, non rubbery & good but the corn starch killed it all. It was like putting 2 drops of lemon juice in reduced milk that took a long time to make. This is usually done if the prawns r not fresh. I have never ever seen anyone do anything such in China or Far East. I rate this dish 2/5.
Post this we got Sichuan crispy potato. I do not know what was Sichuan about it.Neither did I find the people of Sichuan province that fond of potatoes. It was basically ‘aloo bhaja’ with some ‘Sichuan spices’. It was neither here nor there. It was just a chatpata aloo, somewhat of the kind that u get aboard Indigo. I found it totally irrelevant & bad for the price that one pays for this dish. I rate it 1/5.
The next dish was Fish with black bean sauce (Gui Zhou fish). This was quite good. The black bean had an enjoyable fermented feel to it. The fish was soft & tasty. The gravy had quite an authentic feel to it. Thankfully not too much corn starch in this one. I rate this dish at 4.25/5
We moved on to Spicy onion pork. This was excellent & the best dish for the day. The pork pieces were too good – soft & juicy & superb to taste. Rate this dish 4.5/5.
The last dish we had was Ginger and wine lamb – Lo shou lamb. This was again very soft, nice shredded lamb. Liked it a lot. The light brownish sauce was pretty good to taste. Some of my co-diners who were overexposed to Chinjabi did not like this much. I rate this 4.25/5
We had this food with mixed meat Mei foon (Singaporean rice noodle). This was super thin strands of noodle made not from maida but rice. Among mixed meat was pork, chicken, prawns & egg. Very balanced taste. The veggies thrown in were crunchy & enjoyable too. I rate this dish 4.25/5
Fresh Lime soda sweet & salt was just perfect. As good as it cud get. Perfect balance of sweet, sour, salt. I rate it 4.5/5
Rating of food at Chinosserie averages out to 3.4/5
Clarification: In case u r thinking I am too price conscious (due to numerous mentions above), I am sorry to say that I have not been able to explain myself well. Lemme try to explain again. I am happy to pay (even) a fortune if what I get in return is awesome. If not, it pinches me. A Rs. 30 dish pinches me if it is bad & I smilingly pay Rs. 3000 for a dish if that is something ‘out of the world’.
I wud not revisit for sure. Look forward to hearing from u.