China House is at the Grand Hyatt which is at Kalina, not the Hyatt at the International Airport. This is quite a good Chinese restaurant. The restaurant specialises in Sichuan food which has bold flavours from the use of garlic and chilly as well as the unique ingredient known as Sichuan Peppercorns. Sichuan Peppercorns result in a unique sensation in the mouth both spicy/tingling as well as numbing which the Chinese call Ma La. Though the restaurant is Sichuan, it has several classic Beijing dishes too.
We have eaten here a few times including twice with Senior Mrs Stonethrower and once with Sister Stonethrower. We had not visited here for quite long, and since we had happy memories of the place we thought we should go there again. In the past we have had some really excellent Peking Duck here. This is the real Peking Duck, the whole duck roasted over a wood fire, carved at your table. The skin was as crisp as the Peking Duck we had at the legendary Da Dong Restaurant in Beijing on which I had written some blogs ago. The duck served at Royal China etc is not Peking Duck but a fake preparation correctly called Crispy Aromatic Duck which is actually deep fried and shredded. China House serves the real thing and it’s damn good.
China House also serves Beggars Chicken. This is also an excellent dish. A whole chicken is stuffed with Mushrooms, Pork, and Cabbage then wrapped in Lotus leaves then covered with clay and baked. The clay hardens on baking. The chicken is brought to your table, the clay cracked open and you are served this wonderful aromatic moist chicken. It’s a speciality from the Beijing region. It’s delicious and the Hyatt does it very well.
I recommend that you call the restaurant a day or so in advance and book a Duck and a Chicken. There should be at least 4 of you to get thru this meal. This is a meal well worth it and you don’t get this kind of food anywhere else in Mumbai. So go.
Anyway, after downing a few beers at the bar and the Queen elegantly sipping her Talisker with ice and a splash of water we walked across to the restaurant and were soon seated. The restaurant is not `done up’ in the traditional sense. It has a very open kitchen feel to it, the partitions are glass which are blocked off by several bottles of Chinese ingredients. Craftily done but not a cozy restaurant. Service is good, as you would expect in a 5 star hotel with the waiters being generally knowledgeable, peasant and fluent in English.
Since we had eaten the Peking Duck and Beggars Chicken before and the fact that there were only two of us we looked at the other options on the menu. The one which caught our eye for a starter was a Pancake with lamb. This was very Indian in taste, somewhat like a mild kheema paratha but nice all the same. Hot, crisp and tasty.
For our mains we ordered a Wok fried Pork, Kung Pao Chicken which was their speciality being a classic Sichuan dish, and, a Braised Bean Curd also a Sichuan dish. This was accompanied by a Noodle with Seafood.
All the food turned up hot, very hot, obviously co-ordination between the kitchen and the waiters was good and the food was not sitting on the counter. The Pork was good tender and tasty. The Kung Pao Chicken was very good. It was quite different from the heavy over thickened Kun Pao Chicken you get at most Chinese restaurants and Clubs in Mumbai. The standout dish was the braised bean curd. The quality of the bean curd itself was very good, soft and silken. It had been cooked with some skill as it had not broken down. All in all well cooked food, tasty and hot. Portion sizes are generous to large. My minor complaint or rather issue, was that it was all spicy, but, I should expect that from a Sichuan Restaurant. We had a lot of Kung Pao Chicken left over which we packed [after thanking our respective Gods that we were not at the anti doggy bag Hakkasan] and carried home. The next day dinner was the leftover chicken with some steamed rice and stir fried Chinese cabbage which we made. Wonderful.
This is a good restaurant as I have said earlier. Do go if you have not been before.