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DAO

I had heard through the culinary grapevine that the split-level eatery housing dimsum café Dimcha and Thai restaurant Dao was whipping up sumptuous dishes. That was good enough to prompt a lunchtime visit! Once inside, I observed the management had expended elbow grease to present a chic ambience with low lighting, windows overlooking the marketplace, wooden interiors and enough room between tables to allow an element of privacy.

 

Sipping on a refreshing vodka-based cocktail muddled with kiwi and cucumber, I perused the menu and placed the order in consultation with the waitstaff as there was no manager present. Lunch began with "French Beans and Tofu Salad" which was spiced and flavourful and this was followed by baskets of dimsums from Dimcha (they bring it up to you while you dine at Dao, on request). Now dimsums literally translates as "to touch your heart" and that's what these delicacies did. I was really impressed by the variety of dimsums and added a dollop of black pepper sauce on my plate as the chef sent out "spinach and prawn rolls" and "spicy seafood dumplings" steamed with chilli oil. Delicious! Another delicacy was "sour pepper beijing chicken dumplings". All dumplings seemed to emit flavour and freshness and I literally ate from basket to basket! There are so many more enticing dumplings, dimsums and rolls to indulge in but I had to pace myself for the next course. Sigh!

 

Coming to the menu at Dao, I had ordered "Steamed Fish In Spicy Lemon Sauce" and "Sautéed Prawns with crushed pepper, garlic and coriander". The steamed fish was beautifully plated on banana leaves and was and off-the-hook fresh and flavourful. As was sautéed prawns which dialled up the spice factor real high and had me reaching for a tall glass of water. Wow! It was amazing how I still had room for the entrées "pineapple fried rice" served in a carved out pineapple accompanied with "stir fried assorted vegetables in yellow bean sauce". Though fresh, well prepared and beautifully plated, both dishes were fairly standard. Packed to the brim, I had no space for dessert but caved when the waitstaff mentioned their signature "sticky rice with coconut ice cream and mango syrup". It was sinfully sumptuous! And then, he mentioned the kitchen had saved the best as a parting shot — literally! A shot of palate cleanser "Vanilla Mud Slide". Looking back, dishes at Dao are made with genuine love and respect for the flavours of Pan Asian cuisine and definitely worth a visit. I'm heading back soon!! 

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Dao. 'N' Block Market. Greater Kailash Part 1. New Delhi 110048.

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