The new menu at Stix promises some epic Sichuan flavours
Raindrops on roses and radish cakes on Saturday afternoons. Chef Sun Wenlin just gave me a new favourite thing with his innovative twist on the normally pungent radish. Golden brown squares with sliced spring onions for peek of green — make for a gorgeous plate as we dive in, at the time completely unaware of what the core ingredient is. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and incredibly delicious. “It’s a mix of fresh radish, carrots and mushrooms — and made with rice flour and corn starch in such a way that it tastes nothing like radish,” explains the expat chef, making us want to go home and attempt to recreate it immediately.
Pots & peppercorns
The dish is one of the additions to the new menu at Stix, in Hyatt Regency Chennai. After his annual visit back home to China, we’re told the chef returned with Sichuan peppercorns and plenty of inspiration. For regulars however, fret not, favourites like the Crispy Tofu and Chef Sun Signature Dry Pot have been retained on the menu.
We surprise ourselves going in for seconds of the crystal vegetable dumpling with clean, simple flavours. And dunk these, not so delicately into the luscious ginger green spring onion dip it pairs with. Unfortunately, the Kung Pao Chicken bao is not as impressive.
Later for mains, we discover the stark difference between hand shaved noodles and machine cut. “The technique is simple but tricky,” we are told. “The dough has to be kneaded well and rested for 15 to 20 minutes, then the same process is repeated three or four times — so the dough becomes smooth and hard,” he says, as we taste. The result is soft, delicate bites that are entirely distinctive from what we are used to. Wok-tossed with a saucy lamb mince, we continue to explore, with sample portions of succulent Sichuan style Chilli Chicken and delicate but wonderfully flavourful, Kung Pao Chicken with ginger, Chinese vinegar and cashewnut.
Dessert rolls out two creations pretty enough to be works of art. One is a platter of banana fritters with a chocolate filling, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and passion fruit compote. The other which is our must-try is a coconut custard and litchi jelly topped with a garnish of edible flowers like pansies and violas, and some shredded coconut. Light as cloud, and just the sweet escape we need from the summer heat.
Meal for two INR 2,600 plus taxes.
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