Speciality Restaurants completes 25 years of business in India
Mainland China is not just any other eating out place. It has been an emotion for many of us Punekars. Back in the mid-2000s, it used to feel like an elegant affair to dine at Mainland China. This used to be a place for exquisite family dinners, a classy dinner date, corporate meetings and much more. Mainland China introduced the concept of fine-dining into Chinese cuisine in Pune. They were one of the initial restaurants who got in the concept of privilege cards. The food has been consistent over the years and some of the signature dishes can never be forgotten. We used to go there specifically for the crab fried rice and the golden fried prawns. Pure bliss!
Speciality Restaurants, the parent brand of Mainland China has just completed 25 years in India. The group started their first restaurant in 1992 known as ‘Only Fish’ and back in those days, there used to be a waiting of approximately 20-25 people every day from Wednesday to Sunday. This is the result of having some brilliant dishes to offer and ensuring that every customer who walks out, goes back with a great experience.
The team of Mainland China is always in the pursuit of adding some new dishes on to the menu. The Indian palate always has a fondness for Asian cuisine which is why the restaurant went ahead and curated some dishes that are not just the typical Chinese. So they now focus on complete oriental cuisine.
To begin with we were served those yummy kimchee salad and cucumber. Of course the jasmine tea too! We started our dinner with a round of dimsums. First came the Corn and Water Chestnuts Dumplings. This dish had this yummy crunchiness to it and the vegetables tasted fresh inside those steamed dumplings. Next up was the Thai Style Dumplings both in vegetable and chicken options. It had a very subtle flavor of the lemongrass, not overpowering meat.
After that we tried a bowl of The Vietnamese Noodle Clear Soup which again is available in both vegetable and chicken options. The aroma of the caramelized onions and mint was mouth-watering. The flavor of the meat and the vegetables were incorporated really well into the soup that you could sit and enjoy this over a long conversation.
Now came an array of appetizers. We tried out the Truffle Flavored Zucchini Spring Rolls. Really crunchy and a very balanced hint of the truffle. We also tried out the Crispy Lotus Stem with Curry Leaves and Black Pepper which was out of this world. The lotus stems were really broad in width and had a nice juiciness to it on the inside. This was something completely different than regular ones that we have tried anywhere in the city and definitely a must try!
In the non-vegetarian options we tried out the Shanghai Style Baked Fish, Smoked Duck Rolls and Red Curry Infused Chicken Satay. The fish was baked really well and had a good flavor to it. The chicken satays were really big portions and the chicken was juicy and tender. The one thing that I would like to emphasize again here is that none of the item on the menu had a very strong flavor to it. Everything is kept subtle which helps you to enjoy the food nicely. We also tried out the Dynamite Prawns. The prawns was fresh, which wins our heart there itself and the coating was tangy with a slight crunch.
We tried out the below in the main course. First came the Steamed Chinese Greens and Tofu in a Mild Ginger Sauce. Chinese greens are my favorite and the ginger sauce added the right punch to it. Then there was the Slice Fish in Lemongrass and fresh cilantro sauce, which was a blast of flavors. The Cantonese King Prawns with Greens and Garlic were also good and the prawns were really fresh. The star performer for us was the Braised Chicken in Smoked Chilli Sauce.
In the Rice and Noodles we had the Steamed Jasmine Rice, Japanese Wheat Noodles with Vegetables and the Smoked Duck @ Asparagus Fried Rice. All of them were equally good but again the simple Jasmine rice is just love!
Finally the dessert was here. It was the Chocolate Dome with Warm Chocolate Sauce. Just watching that chocolate sauce pour over the dome and melt it away was a sight to watch. And thus we finished the entire plate relishing every bit of this sinful dessert!