I have a story going in my family through generations, one where a great grandparent once went to dine in a five star some 70 odd years ago. We never were city folk and it is said that the flabbergasted grandparent after taking his seat was presented with a menu which was as alien to him as commonsense to media persons these days.
Utterly confused he ticked something randomly and a plate of some gourd landed before him and utterly dissatisfied he left. So it is somewhat of a miracle that 3 generations later it would fall on me to guide you through this maze of absolutely bewildering names that are present on the menu of The studio in Novotel.
The dinner we had got underway with Tempura Veggies and Chicken Skewers with peanut butter sauce. While the tempura veggies were crunchy but there too oily and heavy on the palate. The peanut butter sauce and the grilled pineapple were absolute showstoppers along with the Chicken Skewers. The Peanut Butter sauce was brilliant. All of us seemed to want some more of it. One of the best peanut butter sauces in town!
The Sushis arrived next. The veg version with sesame seeds was great, so was the non veg version with prawns. The wasabi had a spicy pungent hit about it which is probably not for the faint hearted but is something we found quite enjoyable.
The Dimsums and the Chicken Char Sui bun came along and were ok at best. The Bun was soft and well made but we could only fantasize how divine a pork version of the same would have tasted. As the Chicken fell flat both in terms of richness and taste.
Among the veg main course we had the Shi Su and the Sichuan style braised tofu with ground vegetables. The Shi Su was basically an assortment of veggies in a light and smoky broth. The Tofu we felt were a bit over complicated with the use of a number of ingredients overpowering each other.
The Ga Tau Xi was a chicken and mushroom dish with water chestnut and oyster in black bean sauce. It was average at best with the oh so familiar taste of the soya coming to the fore. The Kung Pao Prawns were better. The Prawns fresh and the sauce rich in taste and texture but the overuse of cornflower was not needed. The Babi Chin was up next and it was SUBLIME. The melt in mouth pork belly in an extremely light and mildly flavoured broth was a treat to the taste buds. One dish you simply cannot afford to miss. The dish was a refreshing change from the generally rich dishes you associate with pork belly.
The noodles and the rice we had as mains were decent and pretty standard fare.
Last but by no means the least, were the desserts. Both the Poached pear with mascarpone cream and the Studio Garden were breathtaking in terms of presentation and exquisite in terms of taste. Work of art, indeed.
P.S. Hungry Hallows with Kolkata Food Fanatics were invited by Novotel- The Studio.