Variety

Golden Dragon's new menu review

Archana Achal | | Updated on: May 29, 2012
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The Golden Dragon restaurant at the Taj Coromandel in Chennai has been regarded as one of the finest Chinese cuisine dining options in the city for decades. This reputation looks like one that is going to stick on, especially with the changes the hotel has made at the restaurant over the last few years. Late last year, they introduced a tea-pairing menu which was well received and now, they have added new dishes to the menu to lure health-conscious gourmands.

Contemporary move

The decision to add new dishes to the menu was made to make the restaurant more contemporary. Plus, Chinese styles of cooking are quite suited to good health, since it involves a lot of steaming and quick stir-frying with minimal oil. Chef Ho Chun Kee (William), who has close to forty years of culinary experience researched the recipes back in China before bringing them to Golden Dragon. Cantonese cuisine was a perfect choice and the dishes were made to represent both home and street-style cooking from the area. The ingredients used are quite seasonal and being paired with teas from their tea menu, the dining experience attempts at being a light yet satiating one.

Starting off

Two bamboo steamers arrive filled with dumplings that are paired with a subtle, green silk tea. The Chew Jao dumpling is a delight for mushroom-lovers, filled with straw and shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoot and cashew nuts. The soft mushrooms are given an edge with the crunchy nuts, creating contrasting textures. The chicken and chive dumpling is lighter in flavour and steamed to perfection. A contemporary condiment placed on the table is mustard sauce, very un-Chinese but popular with diners. The dumplings are followed by Drunken Tofu – firm tofu that is soaked in hot garlic sauce is garnished with sautéed onions. The spicy starter is offset by the Green and White tea with peaches and chamomile aroma. The wok fried chicken with sour plums and shitake is less forceful in flavour, with a subtle tang from the plums. A ginger and mushroom soup is served next with cinnamon roll-looking, fried garlic bao or Chinese bread. The soup has a consistency between thick and thin and is surprisingly sweet, attributed to palm sugar used often in Cantonese cooking. A vegetable soup with tomato is also available if you prefer clear soups. Aromatic white tea with fruit and flower overtones accompany the soups and is a good choice to clear your palate.

The main idea

The sides to the rice and noodles are varied and made with imported ingredients like lotus stem and bamboo shoots from Thailand. Sometimes, scallops with roe intact are brought in from Ukraine. The Ultimate Trio, a dish with crunchy snow peas, crisp lotus stem and baby corn stir-fried with chilis had balanced flavour and aroma, while the Hunan chicken in black bean sauce with earthy greens carried the familiar taste of sour black beans. But the aromatic soya rice was the star attraction. A mix of sticky and normal rice is steeped in soya sauce (that is fermented for ten days) and served with stir-fried cashew nuts. The dish is delicious enough to be eaten on its own with its dense soy flavour. Served with the light Fortune Ball tea, it is a great addition to the menu. Pan fried flat Hofan noodles are steamed and served in bamboo shoots which impart a deep, earthy flavour to an otherwise subtle noodle dish. Seafood-lovers can try the Prawn Cantonese, where the flavour of the fresh prawns is not overpowered by the garlic sauce.

Flambéed fruits are a clear choice for dessert after the substantial main course. The chefs use brandy, triple sec or other liquors for the flambé. Fresh, flambéed peaches were served for this review and were not too sweet, which was perfect with the vanilla ice cream placed alongside. But if you have a proper sweet tooth, do not miss out on the litchi and basil seed ice cream. Made entirely in-house, this sweet concoction was polished off quickly. Fresh slices of litchi and crunchy basil seeds added great texture to the smooth ice cream. Pu-erh tea is served with the desserts and one hopes its famous slimming properties kick into action straightaway.

The additions to the menu are light and delicious, and will not have you reaching for table condiments. Always a sign of a good meal.

What: A new menu

Where: Golden Dragon, Taj Coromandel, Chennai

How much: Rs 4,000 for a meal for two without wine

archana.a@thehindu.co.in

Published on May 29, 2012
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