What does happiness look like?
It’s hard to answer that question without thinking of happy memories. For most of us, those happy memories revolve around simple things- like food, family and friends.
The House of Ming at Taj Man Singh, New Delhi has been one such purveyor of happiness and happy memories. Now in it’s 40th year, this flag bearer of Chinese cuisine in Delhi/ NCR has brought to Delhiites not just great food, but happy memories for all who step through it’s doors at the Taj Man Singh in Delhi.
But is it fair to restrict this house of joy to just the Taj Man Singh in central Delhi?
This thought must have occurred to the powers that be at the Indian Hotels Co Ltd, and so it was decided that The House of Ming will travel to and be available at the Taj City Center Gurugram until the 21st of July, as will the Spicy Duck restaurant travel to and be available at Vivanta Dwarka (also till the 21st of July), and Thai Pavillion will travel to Taj Man Singh Delhi.
I very recently had the privilege of experiencing first hand the culinary delights of two of these iconic restaurants -The House of Ming, and The Spicy Duck.
At the Taj City Centre in Gurugram, Chef Salem Lepcha brought to life absolutely scrumptious delights that are signature dishes from the House of Ming, leaving one absolutely full, and wishing one had an extra stomach to be able to eat beyond one’s capacity.
Start your experience with a mocktail. The Caribbean Sunshine mocktail is a harmonious and cooling blend that is sweet but not overly so, and very cooling in the Gurugram heat. It’s key ingredients are pineapple and coconut.
In the starters, for vegetarians, I personally found the Mixed Vegetable Shui Mai and the Lotus Stem Tossed with Honey and Dry Chili as must haves.
For the non vegetarians- who can resist Golden Fried Prawns?! Or the tender and immensely flavourful Lamb Cumin? And of course there is the Prawn Har Gau.
Change tracks with some Sour Pepper Chicken Soup with Crushed Black Pepper or if you are vegetarian, the Sour Pepper Vegetable Soup with Crushed Black Pepper is also available.
True to it’s name, this soup is tangy, peppery, and guaranteed to get the mouth-watering.
For mains the non-vegetarians must try the Crispy Konjee Lamb Beijing style and the Kung Pao Chicken with Toasted Cashews. The vegetarian dishes which I liked best were the Silken Tofu in Chilli Black Bean Sauce and the Stir-Fried Chinese Greens.
These dishes go very well with the Wok Fried Rice Flavoured with Ginger and Celery, and the Mixed Vegetable Hakka Noodle.
Finally for dessert one cannot miss the chef’s platter of spiced figs.
Crossing over to Dwarka, the 3 year old Vivanta Dwarka is a 200 room hotel that has over 50 varieties of trees native to India on it’s property. At the Spicy Duck (which as mentioned earlier, is visiting the Vivanta Dwarka), there is no shortage of culinary delights and treats.
Start your experience here with a mocktail to beat the Delhi heat. If you prefer a cocktail, give the range of refreshing and cooling signature cocktails at the Vivanta Dwarka a try.
My personal favourites from the Vivanta’s range of signature cocktails were the “Triangle” with carrot and tequila as key ingredients, the “Back to Square” with turmeric, roasted cumin and gin as key ingredients, , and the “Cube” with Cucumber and vodka as it’s key ingredients.
At the Vivanta, the emphasis is on health, thus none of their cocktails have sugar as an ingredient. Instead, the sweetness in the cocktails comes from ingredients like honey.
In terms of culinary delights, Spicy Duck has many. For starters, the non-vegetarians must try the Pan Fried Chicken ‘Guo Tie”- which is served with an edible charcoal lattice. For the vegetarians, the Shanghai Vegetarian Dumpling- a Steamed Mixed Vegetable Dumpling is a must have.
Other must haves include the Wok Fried Shimeji Mushrooms, Dry Chilli, Green Beans, and the Chicken Tai Chin. The Shimeji mushrooms have an incredible texture and flavour that is very pleasing to the palate.
For the soup course, the Schezwan soup is spicy and satisfying.
For the mains, a trip to Spicy Duck would not be complete without the Peking Duck. The dish consists of duck, spring onion, cucumber rolled into a pancake. Served with an absolutely delectable plum sauce, this is simply put heaven on earth.
If you still haven’t had your fill of Duck, try the Stir Fried Shredded Duck, Vegetable and Black Bean Sauce. Another feather in the hat of the chef, this dish is hearty, filling and satisfying.
If you aren’t a fan of Duck then go for the Prawns with Ginger and Spring Onions, and the Stir Fried Bean Curd Chilli Bean Paste DeLong Chilli Clay Pot. The vegetarians must also try the Wok Fried Asparagus Broccoli and Wolf Berries.
These dishes go very well with Jasmine Rice and Chilli Garlic Noodles.
Dessert was a trip down memory lane with Crispy Date Pancakes. Also try the Pomelo Mango Sago, Vanilla Ice Cream. The combination of ingredients covers a range of textures and is both engaging and soothing on the palate
The post desert finale saw an absolutely delightful, fresh mini macaroon with lavender and kafir lime flavours. The meringue was exactly as a macaroon shell should be- slightly crunchy when bitten into, giving way to a very soft, and some what chewy texture. The kafir lime filling was ….. exceptional.
To conclude, this is a rare opportunity for people in the NCR to have access to the Treasures of the Orient Restaurants (House of Ming, Thai Pavilion and Spicy Duck) at more convenient locations across Delhi / NCR and should not be missed.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for a quick, green escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, consider these two properties as two very accessible oases around Delhi, complete with ample food, drinks and warm and welcoming hospitality and with something for everyone.