When you've eaten the variety of food that I have had the good fortune to do, you learn to discern the personality and skills of the chef, and in this case it's his ability to whip up sumptuous Pan-Asian cuisine. The menu doesn't come close to describing the intensity of the flavours that await!
I had heard a lot about Sampan, the Oriental restaurant at The Suryaa, so I welcomed the opportunity to dine there. Walking in at 9 pm I observed that the rooftop restaurant is designed well—luxurious ambiance, open kitchen and glassed walls overlooking the city right from Lotus Temple to Akshardham, makes it visually stunning. To top it all, they have retro band 'Black Slade'. Seated at the table, my friend and I placed our culinary journey in the hands of Chef Lal Singh who ordered dimsums to begin with. Now, dimsums translates as "to touch your heart" and that's what these prawn delicacies did! I added a dollop of chili sauce in a bowl, dabbed it on the steamed and fried dimsums, and relished each bite! In fact, everything we had was flavourful and fresh! Up next was the classic "California Roll" and "Asparagus Maki" from the sushi counter. Dipping it in wasabi, and soy, each bite seemed to explode in the mouth with flavor.
Sipping chilled beer and enjoying retro tracks from George Michael to Abba, we were content. And once we moved on to heartier dishes, we were amply rewarded. The "Chicken Teriyaki" on skewers was plump and melt-in-the-mouth tender, sumptuous enough for a poultry portrait! Ohh! It was gustatory pleasure and I can now appreciate why diners routinely return to Sampan. Up next was 'off the hook fresh' "Basa Fish" and as I'm a sea-foodie I went for seconds! Whoa! And that's when the main course arrived: "Steamed Indian Ocean Lobster with ginger scallion sauce" and "Har Tin Choi" ie spinach, baby corn and mushroom in sherry and ginger sauce accompanied by fried rice. Though we were stuffed to the brim, I did have some of it and it was just as fresh and sumptuous as the other dishes we had indulged in the past two hours!! I also discovered that no matter how full I am there's always room for dessert when Chef ordered what I now describe as 'Heaven In A Bowl' — vanilla ice-cream, seasonal fruits on a skewer and chocolate pastry. It's awe-inspiring how something so simple can be so delicious!
Reminiscing over the dinner, the maxim "build it and they will come" applies to Pan Asian restaurant, Sampan. What I found remarkable is the emphasis on quality and presentation of the dishes. What most people don't know is that they can escape here to indulge in a slow elaborate meal with live retro in the backdrop. I use the word "escape" because that's what you do to get away from the commonplace; try it and you'll soon discover the difference between regular and exceptional! The only thing I found odd? The waitstaff was in such a hurry presumably to leave for the day that they began clearing the other tables of tablecloths and cutlery before our main course was served!!!! Hey, after all, this is the hospitality biz!!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Sampan. The Suryaa. New Friends Colony. New Delhi