China Garden (G 4/5/6, Marina Arcade, near outer circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi)


In a nutshell:

A visually beautiful ‘fine dine’ restaurant run by a celebrity Indian Chinese Chef (who invented Chicken Manchurian), polite serving staff, serves few good, mostly average to bad Sino Ludhianvi cuisine (Chinjabi).

China Garden
China Garden

Address & other details:  China Garden

address etc
address etc

Meal for 2: Rs. 800 onwards

list of other branches
list of other branches

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.

receipt - proof of payment
receipt – proof of payment

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:

I read about Nelson Wang in Rude Food, a book by Vir Sanghvi. A Kolkata boy from the Chinese community, Nelson went on to become a Celebrity Chef by Indianizing hardcore Chinese food to match the palate of Indian customers. According to the book & also a TV show by Vir Sanghvi, Nelson invented Chicken Manchurain. My personal experience – The Chinese people in China have not heard about anything called Manchurian.

the facade of the restaurant
the facade of the restaurant

The food options at this restaurant were hence a mix of almost Original (slight tweak) Chinese to newly created dishes by this Celebrity Chef.

Small semi covered coupes in the Dining HAll
Small semi covered coupes in the Dining HAll

I have been to China several times & have had the opportunity to eat at restaurants of different kinds, factory canteens, government run eateries, bus stations, roadside shacks etc. The food at China Garden was not like that – It was way Indainized. I used the term ‘Sino Ludhianvi’ coined by Vir Sanghvi as  found it quite amusing.

Another view of the dining hall
Another view of the dining hall

As mentioned above, the restaurant is beautiful. It has two floors of seating area, ornate traditional Chinese look furniture, framed pics on the wall and they play peppy music most of the time.

A section of the restaurant
A section of the restaurant

The menu card was very long & detailed & almost every item had two to three nonveg options. E.g. if the dish is butter garlic, then there wud b a butter garlic prawn, butter garlic fish & maybe butter garlic crab. On a relative scale, the options of meat/seafood in this restaurant were more than most non-5 star restaurants in Delhi.

the menu card
the menu card

We ordered two unusual items on the menu. Both were not there. So we had to do with relatively usual items.

Nicely decorated wall near the entrance
Nicely decorated wall near the entrance

The staff members were very polite in general. The manager was very nice & humble & he tried his best to take care of customers. Some guys in the kitchen however took him & us for a ride… Keep reading.

served b4 the guy came to take order
complimentary salad served b4 the guy came to take order

Food as I said was a combination of bad, average & good but not outstanding. This statement wud b both from the authrnticity perspective & also the execution perspective.

Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:

We started with Barbeque Wonton thong Soup.

Barbeque Wonton thong Soup
Barbeque Wonton thong Soup

It was a thin clear soup full of flavours of the ingredients. Dumplings were soft, had thin cover, were chiffon like smooth and very nice. Loved munching on the Leaf (that had withered a bit in the extreme heat).

Barbeque Wonton thong Soup
Barbeque Wonton thong Soup

Slices of sweetish pork sausage was very nice.

All the ingredients went well with one another. There was a touch on indianization but not much. Rate it 4/5.

Steamed Shanghai Dumpling Pork
Steamed Shanghai Dumpling Pork

We moved on to Steamed Shanghai Dumpling Pork –It had a very smooth and thin outer cover, intense & very good to taste filling. Steaming made the filling release juices and that was flowing out as I wud attempt to bite into the dumpling. The filling meat did not seem to b machine minced. Rate it 4/5 again.

Steamed Shanghai Dumpling Pork
Steamed Shanghai Dumpling Pork

The next item we had was Chow sui Fish – fish quickly stir fried in chinese meso. We asked ‘what is meso?’ The waiter said ‘Chinese Wan’. We said ‘what’. After few rounds, we understood – Chinese wine!!!!!

Chow sui Fish
Chow sui Fish

It was an unputdownable dish. Our hands were on auto mode transporting the food from plate to mouth. However it cud hv been anything else in place of fish – paneer, tofu etc. Sauces etc get 4.5/5. Fish gets 1/5 as u just cud not get the fish taste. For some reason the fish was coated. The Chinese in China almost never coat fish & seafood.

The taste of the coating was excellent but the coating taste overpowered the overall taste in such a way that the taste of fish vanished. Totally. Fish was murdered on the wok. Rate this dish 2.75/5.

Then we tried Barbeque Roast pork. We thought we wud get roasted pork meat but what we got instead was slices of a salami.

Barbeque Roast pork
Barbeque Roast pork

It was sweetish like many Chinese dishes but the salt was totally off. Balance of sweet and salt was just wrong. Rate it 2/5.

Barbeque Roast pork
Barbeque Roast pork

At last we ordered Cha Choi Nu nuek – tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables. We have had this in quite a few places – there the veggies had a fermented feel to them.

Cha Choi Nu nuek - tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables.
Cha Choi Nu nuek – tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables.

However by mistake they served us – tenderloin and deep fried coated bacon. We understood that as we found no hint of pickled veggies.  We checked and found from waiter that they had by mistake given tenderloin and bacon. ‘Nu Chu thong chao – Tenderloin marinated in garlic, ginger & chilli , sauteed with burnt crispy bacon ‘ said the menu card & it exactly matched what we were munching on.

Cha Choi Nu nuek - tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables.
Cha Choi Nu nuek – tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables.

However at this time the Manager intervened. He went to kitchen and came back and said ‘this is pickled veg’ I said where r the veggies. He said it has been made into a paste and has been mixed. I said where is the pickle flavor. He said it is subtle. I thought – It os so subtle that the person eating it wud not even get a hint of pickled veggies!!!!

Well I hv no prob eaing bacon but imagine a religious minded guy who does not eat pork. He is served pork with tenderloin but not told about it and not written on menu card either. I didn’t know how to react to such a blatant lie on the face. I said ‘OK, thank u’ & finished the rest of the dish.

Cha Choi Nu nuek - tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables.
Cha Choi Nu nuek – tenderloin marinated then sauteed with aged chinese pickled vegetables.

The tenderloin was very soft and good. It was as good as it cud get. The bacon was coated and deep fried. Tasted good but I did not order it. Rate the dish 4/5 as it is, if I ignore what I ordered and how pickled veggies r. Rate it 1/5 if I compare what was ordered vs what was served,

We NJOY ed the food with Chinese steamed bread. They did not have fermented feel but were soft & fluffy. Rate them 3/5

Chinese steamed bread
Chinese steamed bread

We also had Lemonade (bill calls it lemonaid:)). It was simple & good. Just right. Rate it 3/5.

Lemonade
Lemonade

For dessert we ordered Date pancakes – were the worst I have ever had. The cook seems to have made this in extreme frustration for being retained late in the kitchen and just messed it up beyond repair.

Date pancakes
Date pancakes

It was over fried, dripping oil from all sides. Sesame also had got burnt. I think it was a good dish (planned good) but very poorly executed. Rate it 1/5.

Date pancakes
Date pancakes

Overall rating of food & beverages at China garden averages out to 2.65/5. I do not think I will ever revisit to torture my tastebuds / my peace of mind.

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6 comments

  1. As a third generation indian chinese living in New Delhi….and after reading you review of the China Garden I cannot help but write to correct your review/view. Firstly, as a food critic one is entitled to your opinion as taste is personal however to brand a restaurant and their food as ” Sino Ludhianvi ” or ” punjaby chinese ” especially when the restaurant and its food is anything other then….is something else. The food you based your review on is nothing close to punjaby chinese – and this is coming from a chinese person- the wonton thong, shanghai dumpling , ” chow sui fish ” barbeque roast pork, and bacon beef or ” nu chu thong sao ” and steam bao are all extremely traditional chinese dishes and the pork that you had is not salami lol like you said but in fact pork undercut ( lean cut of pork meat ) which is first roasted then stir fried and topped with chinese barbeque sauce. Which happens to be the ” real ” traditional way. critics like vir sangvi etc have made fun off rather then support the creative adaption of chinese cuisine in india refering to it as unauthentic or indianised but truth is there is no such thing as ” authentic ” chinese cuisine. ( this was also very recently realised and admitted by Vir Sangvi himself too ) The cusine has been so popular ove the past century that it has been adulterated all over the world i.e singapore chinese, american chinese, hong kong chinese, mainland chinese etc etc Indian chinese is as authntic as an indian B.M.W. Truth is authentic isnt the best way to describe what some want to say..a more appropriate word is probably ” traditional ” or ” popular ” . But either way ..As a true critic one should not brand, tag or question origins of food..after all it is not a history class. One should enjoy food for how it tastes and how it makes one feel. Personally, like the west I applaud and welome creativity and originality, it is more difficult to create then to copy. We / critica like Vir Sangvi are hippocrits as we call twisted indian food ” modern ” and Not ” unauthentic” or “western indian” food as we obviously would. Ot dare to i sult our own. but at the same time we dont call chefs like Nelson wang “modern ” or “Creative” but ” unauthentic ” and ” sino ludhianvi ” sorry but with all the bashing of our ” indian chinese ” adaption lately just felt that it was about time someone said something.

    1. While I agree totally to the concept of adaptation and creativity, I think one should declare that to customers when they come to ‘buy’ the food. There are many who say they sell ‘Indian chinese’ – great, at least one knows whether to go or not to go. However when ‘Indian Chinese’ is sold under the name ‘authentic Chinese’ or ‘Chinese’ , I wud surely speak against it. Indian accent says it does fusion Indian. Perfect. Why not do something like that? The issue is what is said vs what is offered. It is not about any cuisine.

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