I firmly believe that attending the launch or for that matter, even the relaunch of a five star restaurant is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. So, despite a hectic schedule, I made it for the select media preview at Vivanta by Taj, Trivandrum, for the relaunch of their signature Chinese restaurant, Chinapolis.
V K Prasad, GM, Vivanta by Taj, Trivandrum told us it was in 2012 that they brought the first authentic Chinese restaurant to the capital city and now they are again adding more flavour and vigour to it in a manner that will keep pace with the ever changing taste of their patrons.
Jose Thomas, Executive Chef and James Kumar Kashyap, Assistant Food & Beverages Manager briefed us about the changes in the menu and the interiors in general, and the cutlery in particular. In fact they didn’t want to reveal too many details to us, “Sir, just wait for the surprise”. And yes, it was worth it.
The relaunch is being spearheaded by Chef William Tong from Hong Kong who leaves behind a legacy of opening one of the most sought after Chinese restaurants of the Taj Group, Memories of China.
After the welcome drink and a round of the refreshing Jasmine Mint tea, we settled down for the Starters. First was the Konjee Crispy Lamb followed by deep fried Prawns served with Wasabi and Mayonnaise. Then we had Crispy Honey Chilli Lotus Stem & Water Chestnuts and crispy Chilli Baby Corn.
In between we had Chinapolis associates, Alo Kali and Chon Chon teaching us how to use chopsticks who also encouraged us to have Chinese food in the traditional way.
Next came in the Dim Sums or dumplings, a style of Chinese cuisine prepared as small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets. We had four different Dim Sums – Hau Gau (Prawns Dumplings), Lamb Shumai, pan fried Chicken Goti and steamed Vegetable dumplings. Dim sum dishes are usually served with tea and I must say that we had an endless supply of Jasmine Mint tea.
Before the main course, Chef Tong showed us how to make Peking Duck Spring Rolls with peking duck meat – shredded and crispy skin, sliced zucchini, capsicum, spring onions and hoisin sauce spread over thin pancakes.
The main course consisted of Vegetable Hakka Noodles and burnt Garlic Vegetable Fried Rice accompanied with fried Grouper Fillet in Black Bean Chilli Sauce, the traditional roast Peking Duck, Kung – Pao Chicken, sliced Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce, mixed Vegetables Cooked with Butter Garlic Sauce and Eggplant & Mushroom with Hot Garlic Sauce.
And for the grand finale, we had Honey Darsaan, a popular Chinese Dessert made with fried wonton noodles, drizzled with Honey and Sesame seeds, and served with vanilla ice cream. They simply melted in the mouth.
Later interacting with us Chef Tong said, “My task was to raise up the standard of this restaurant as an authentic Chinese restaurant. We have completely revamped the menu with a mix of Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, a total about 75 dishes from starters to dessert.”
It was a gastronomic delight as we savoured a mix of Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine – total about 18 dishes during our two hour lunch. Chinapolis associates, Za za, Wanngam Konyak and Mucivi Zholia ensured that we were never short of anything. Ashik Korah Joseph, Sales Manager, who shared the table with us, gave insights to their plans for the restaurant.
So if you are in Thiruvananthapuram and want to have some authentic Chinese cuisine, now you know where to head to. The guests at Chinapolis will get to treat themselves to an array of new delicacies and signature dishes of Chef William that will include Pork Ribs in Peking Sauce, Sichuan mapo tofu with vegetables and Dan Dan Sichuan noodles. A serving of nutty sesame sweet dumpling in caramelised ginger soup or a deep fried sesame Ferrero Rocher will serve for a sweet finale.
Chinapolis is also going to be the one and only fine dining restaurant in the city where the guests will be served by an all women team trained in Chinese food. The restaurant which formally opens for public from Monday, November 07 serves a la carte menu, dinner only.
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