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EMPRESS OF CHINA, EROS HOTEL

Dining at Empress of China at Eros Hotel brought with it sweet anticipation. The Chinese restaurant has fond culinary memories and for this review the chef had prepared a special line-up of dishes to introduce us to the new summer menu. After enquiring about our preferences the first dish he sent out was 'Chilli Butter Prawns'. The prawns were fresh and well cooked with the intensity of the creamy sauce adding just the right punch. Up next was 'Szechuan Chicken'. This classic dish garnished with dried red peppers was a home run and touched all flavor bases. As we indulged in the opulent ambience the chef sent out our favorite — 'Empress Dimsum Platter' packed with 'Prawn Har Gao' and 'Chicken Pot Sticker'.. 'Steamed Crab Dumplings' and 'Cha Chao Bao'. The marinated prawn dimsums and the steamed barbeque chicken buns were favorites though we relished the pan fried chicken-and-celery dumplings and crab dumplings (delicious!). The eclectic platter had stimulated our taste buds with its bouquet of flavors.

The hours flew by as we exchanged delightful nuggets.. and then it was time for entrées. We bypassed tenderloin and pork and ordered 'Poached Prawns' and 'Red Snapper In Szechuan Sauce' among seafood entrées and 'Drunken Chicken' and 'Szechuan French Beans' to add some diversity — with a portion of 'Pan Fried Vegetable Noodles'. The Chengdu-style poached prawns in fiery stock was delivered first and was magnificent. I was later told it was one of their most requested dishes! As was the wok fried chicken with bamboo shoots in a flavorful beer marinade. Yum! The dry fried beans had a fresh crunchiness as it had been cooked rapidly in the wok to maintain the cellular integrity that keeps 'em crunchy. And the snapper was the crowning glory of our meal. One bite and we could taste the fresh meatiness of the snapper mildly flavored with Szechuan sauce. It was crispy and light on the palate.. almost delicate. 

Though we were packed to the brim the chef insisted our meal would not be complete without dessert —  and he was right. The 'Date Pancake' and 'Szechuan Chocolate Cake' were delicious! In retrospect I'd return to Empress Of China time and again and recommend it as a must-visit — excellent cuisine embellished with knowledgeable service and warm hospitality is a rare feat. Bon Appetite. (12.6.2014)

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Empress Of China, Hotel Eros, Nehru Place, New Delhi

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