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Scent of China

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OF SAUCE AND SPICE At Jasmine, Ramada Plaza
OF SAUCE AND SPICE At Jasmine, Ramada Plaza

Jasmine at Ramada Plaza on Ashoka Road is a slice of Chinese fare

Ramada Plaza spews ostentation. With 24-carat gold lining the lobby pillars, it doesn't deter you from seeing bits of it seep into their new Chinese restaurant — Jasmine. The marbled floor creeps in here, the kitchen is a glass counter away and a tiny bar takes up a corner. The central dining space is elevated and the rest of the tables and chairs are set around it.

The largely Chinese menu, with a smattering of Oriental, is not the one that makes you sit up and say ‘aha.' Usual suspects dot it — from money bags to hakka noodles. Chicken and seaweed roll is doled out for starters. A thick sheet of chicken couching a layer of seaweed offers a juicy bite. The seaweed contributes a quaint slippery-feel to the roll.

Vegetable money bag is skilfully done. The bag is soft while the plume is delightfully crunchy. Xo flavoured spicy seafood and bean curd soup is vigorous. Xo grants it a shooting tang and miniscule bean curds and sea food makes it a packed affair.

However, egg fried rice and vegetable hakka noodles break your heart. They are smothered by an overt local flavour, the noodles take on a yellow hue and the fried rice has been trapped in the wok for long.

Ample company

But the accompaniments valiantly lift the scene. Stir-fried tofu, bok choy and black mushroom strike a deal with perfection. The large black mushrooms are remarkably fleshy, tofu smoother than silk and bok choy happy to be in the background.

Stir-fried fish in black bean sauce is almost faultless. The fish, as tender as meant to be, has comfortable company in bean sauce. Exotic chicken with chilli comes on sizzler and hisses its way to the table. Get to the chicken, after the fanfare is done with, and find soft flesh.

At Jasmine, they keep the best for the finale. Tab tim grob — the Thai dessert is soothing. Chestnuts drowned in rose syrup twinkle like rubies even as they swim in coconut milk. Chestnuts are in a crackling mood here.

The meal can be washed down with one of their signature chrysanthemum and jasmine tea. I'm told the tea, with Jasmine stems and chrysanthemum flowers floating in it, is a preferred digestive to a fibre-rich meal. A meal for two at Jasmine is priced at Rs.3,000 plus taxes.

P. ANIMA

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