Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Indians' favourite Chinese restaurant in London


Last Saturday I went to Chinoisserie – the famous Chinese restaurant of Taj Bengal. Chinese food has always been a favourite of Kolkatans and surprisingly even for those who are veggies. Although authentic Chinese food has little scope for that.
The popularity of `Chinese food' is evident from the fact that almost all the hotels in our city have an elaborate Chinese menu to offer. People who travel to China know for sure how difficult it is to get vegetarian food in the Chinese restaurants. Even the boiled noodles too are prepared with eggs.
The so called `Chinese food' we get in India is a study in contrast with that of its Chinese counterpart. Authentic Chinese food, I think, would not go down well with Indians who have a palate for what is actually Indian version of the Chinese food. In fact many times when I am overseas and ask the concierge desk about the Chinese restaurant, their ask me whether I would prefer to go to the the Indian version of the Chinese restaurant or the authentic one!
Prior to this weekend, I was in another famous Chinese restaurant in London called Kai Mayfair on South Audely Street. This famous Chinese restaurant has a separate vegetarian menu even for appetizers, main course and desserts. No wonder Indians love this place. Chances are that anyone who is a name in the political or glamour world from India, and in London, can be spotted at the Kai.
The restaurant was founded in1975 by Mr Kai and gained in fame and popularity over the years because of not only its authentic or classic Chinese cuisine but also for its modern fusion food. During my last two visits in London I could not get a table booking at Kai. This time I was determined and booked in advance. For the wine lovers this restaurant offers the selection of wines which, going up to Rs 8 lakh per bottle, may pinch your wallet or credit card.
About 80 per cent of restaurants' dishes are signature dishes which they are proud of. The recipes are top secret and kept close and known to only few.
In 1993 the ownership of this restaurant changed but there was no dent in its popularity. I have been told that because of its fame and goodwill among the rich and the famous they are planning to open a branch of Kai in India soon. But no one in the restaurant was willing to confirm this.
The location of South Audely Street is not the only connect with India as the Nehru Centre – the local India culture hub - is located on the same street. And if you miss Flury's in London you may go to Richoux at South Audely - another corner which is famous for English tea, pastries and cheese toast.
Among the four branches at Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Piccadilly and St John Wood, this branch is the most popular of all. The cultural icons of India, who perform at the Nehru Centre, can be seen here in adda sessions prior to or after their events.
ess bee

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