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In the kingdom of mainland China

Enter Mainland China, where inviting aromas and oriental flavours beckon one and all.

CHINESE CUISINE: Tasteful and colourful

AMONG ITS numerous legacies to the world, nothing is more outstanding than the colourful and tradition of fine food that China offers. The delightful diversity of Chinese cuisine cannot be paralleled by any other fare. Mainland China (G.S Plaza, Road No. 1, Banjara Hills) - an odd confluence of Yin and Yan, bears ample testimony to the gastronomic repertoire of the Chinese.

Recently renovated, the restaurant showcases a menu that has 40 new items, in addition to the regulars - all unique and rare specialities - from the streets of Shanghai, Hunan, Chengdu and Guangdong. The secret of good taste of authentic Chinese fare is largely in the freshness of the ingredients and garden-fresh spices that are sautéed for that distinct Oriental flavour.

ORIENTAL ODYSSEY: Enjoy with family and friends.

Mainland China is religious when it comes to following the core principles. "We import fresh vegetables, herbs and sauces from Beijing and Canton," emphasises Mainland China's director (India-projects) Indroneil Palit. Be it black beans, oyster sauce, chilli mustard mix, plum sauce, asparagus, dried mushrooms, Szechwan pepper and cinnamon, star anis or the wide assortment of aromatic and therapeutic herbs, - a whole lot of freshly picked stuff is flown in regularly to formulate originality.

Simplicity and subtlety in combination of ingredients is a sign that only a master chef can display, - and Chinese culinary skills call for high degree of innovation and timing by the chef. "All our cooks are trained by master chefs in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei so as to maintain maximum precision and proximity to the actual taste and tang," says Palit.

One does, however, find an Indianised touch to the food served at Mainland China, only to an extent where sauces do not become curries and dimsums become samosas. "To cater to local taste buds, we did infuse a cosmetic Indian-touch to some of the foodstuff available. But principally, it is Chinese food that we serve without compromising on the condiments or method of cooking," explains the director.

Inviting aromas beckon on entry to this Chinese pavilion. The eating area has muted colours accented with golden napery and a purple orchid or two in a small white Chinese vase on each table. Understated wooden floors, a low-key Chinese décor, and laughter that threatens to overpower the soft flowing instrumentals, complete the rest of the ambience - not so typically Chinese.

Check out the menu that mentions Dimsums to start with. The Chinese are always eager to indulge in it, any hour of the day. Once savoured, you too will gladly turn an ardent slave to these bewitching little delights, - made of steamed flour and stuffed with meat, vegetables and light spices. Paper wrapped chicken, Sautéed lobster with dry red chillies, Crispy prawns with chilli plum sauce, Sliced fish with roasted chilli and Sansho pepper, Tai chin roast duck and Konjee crispy lamb are some of the other interesting starters.

Vegetarians do not miss out the Crackling spinach with Crispy fried Hunan Tofu and Golden potatoes with golden ginger, chillies and Soya.

DELIGHTFUL DIVERSITY: The restaurant offers a great choice.

Main courses are magnificent. Jumbo prawns in chilli bean sauce, Fish fillet in XO sauce, Stir-fried prawns in butter black-bean sauce, Kung pao shrimps, or Mapo Tofu, goes extremely well with Braised noodles with jalapeno pepper and garlic, Burnt garlic fried rice or Fortune rice with mushroom, - which is cooked and served in clay pots. Veggies can go for delectables like, Mixed vegetable in spicy smoked pepper sauce, Stir-fried Chinese cabbage with broccoli and fresh asparagus, et al.

Rates are high here but the quantity and taste of food compensates the cost. A once-a-while indulgence will be more than just rewarding. And yes, `diet' is a word that should not be uttered here.


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