Black Pearl, the Chinese restaurant at The Renaissance, dons a snazzy new look and a new menu
Hats off to a chef who is candid enough to admit that he doesn't serve ‘authentic' Chinese food and also that he does NOT use monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the food that comes out of his kitchen.
“If I serve what the Chinese call corn soup, the real thing, then you may not like to look at it even,” says Chef K. Jayakumar, executive chef, The Renaissance. It is that old Indo-Chinese dilemma, but there is temporary resolution. We are at the refurbished, re-done ‘Black Pearl', the hotel's Chinese restaurant.
The décor is minimalism inspired, done in shades of grey and black. Thankfully there are no dragons, no lampshades and not a trace of that shade of bright red that our collective subconscious has come to associate with Chinese food. The upholstery, the table linen, crockery and cutlery even the menu card impress.
The chef gets to decide our chow, and while he is at it we engage ourselves with prawn chips (papads?). Prawn chips, the kind that we get at supermarkets, along with it comes kim chi and pickled cucumber slices. The kim chi (so what if it's Korean?) and the prawn chips go well. The Chef decides that we go the whole nine yards, so, enter the dragon (unintended pun)…Dragon Chicken (Rs.220). Boneless chicken tossed in dry red chilli and cashew nuts, juicy bite-sized chunks of chicken crisp fried...you will find yourself reaching for more. Only that the presence of cashew nuts is debatable.
Yong Ding (Rs. 100), a soya flavoured mushroom soup with noodles is next. The dark brown soup, with noodles and mushroom is filling. Chef Jayakumar's invention, the noodles in the soup have the subtle flavour of the soy sauce and pepper too. If you don't like wasting time on ordering, this is shortcut and works too. Most of the recipes on the menu are ‘inventions' and ‘innovations' by Chef Jayakumar.
“I spend a lot of time innovating and making modifications, in some cases inventing. And while naming them I give it a lot of thought,” he says. By the time the main course arrives we are almost full. But there come Chui Mui Kai (Rs. 230), chicken with green chilli and honey and to give it company Black Pearl Fried Rice (Rs. 150). To round off the meal it is Honey Noodle with Vanilla ice cream (Rs. 140).
And for those headed there with ‘little' people, there is a menu for kids too. Popped shrimps, sesame fish stick, crisp fried fish, chicken lollypops etc, just what kids love and can eat easily.