Get a taste of Southern aromas and Chinese flavours at Shanghai Annachi

There’s a picture of chicken podimas and a Chinese man wearing a traditional farmer hat — the restaurant’s appropriately called Shanghai Annaachi. But that doesn’t answer our question. Does this place serve Chettinad style Chinese food or South Indian food with Chinese influences? To solve the mystery we reach the newly-opened restaurant. Judging by the menu they serve both — but its authentic South Indian and Chinese cuisine minus the hotchpotch of flavours.

We are still a tad doubtful and expect a few curry leaves in the Roasted Chilly Tofu, Fowchang Lamb and Yang Chow rice that we ordered. From the Indian menu we settle for our favourite Mutton kola urundai. As we guzzle down the innovative welcome drink which is a mango-based beverage with a pinch of pepper and lime, the mutton kola urundais arrive. Neatly served on a plate that’s layered with plantain leaf each urundai daintily sits atop an onion ring. It’s pleasing to the eye and to the palate.

It has a crispy deep brown outer layer and a stuffing of minced mutton with a delicate hint of coriander. The waiter then brings the next dish. It’s the lamb we are told. But it tastes like diced chunks of chicken in a  honey and oyster sauce. Just then the otherwise cheerful maitre d’ rushes to us in a fit of panic and pulls away the delicious chicken dish. “Sorry madam this is roasted chicken, the lamb’s on its way,” he apologises. We stare at the chicken wistfully. The lamb is good but not a patch on the roasted chicken. It’s a little too crispy and its excessive corn flour coating takes away from the flavour.  

Next up is tofu and one of the restaurant’s speciality dish the Yang Chow fried rice. Sautéd in roasted chilly sauce, this tofu is leathery but the steaming hot fried rice with its sauce isn’t too bad although a little bland. 

The dessert list has quite a few interesting entries. Just when we waver between elaneer payasam and achchu murukku, the restaurant staff suggests Annachi’s Special Pudding. The light yellow pudding arrives in a glass bowl. It has a layer of crushed crunchy macaroons below and a small serving of a wobbly pineapple cheese cake on top. It seems to be one of the best desserts in the city.

The restaurant is at 9B, 1st Floor, Kakani Tower, New No. 34, Old No. 15, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam. For details, call 72999 93773.