Kenilworth Hotel's Oriental diner Mae Kong introduces non-veg dishes in its menu
There’s good news for carnivores. Mae Kong, Kenilworth Hotel’s year-old Oriental fine diner, has turned non-vegetarian. “The demand for non-veg dishes was so high from our clients that we thought of including interesting fish and meat items in our menu,” explains Rijul Bharat, the young scion of Kenilworth Hotel. True to its name, the restaurant’s ambition is to offer the cuisines of a number of Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand, China, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, through which passes the world’s 12th longest river, the Mekong. “Right now, we have unique and authentic dishes from Thailand, China and Vietnam, and we plan to keep on adding to the eclectic menu,” shares Khemraj Bhatt, executive chef of Kenilworth Hotel.
As we settled in for some non-veg delights at the 62-seater plush eatery, decked in red and gold, Chef Bhatt lets us know that their USP lies in using fresh ingredients with in-house sauces and dips. “The vegetables used are fresh and so is our meat. Almost all the sauces served are made in our kitchen,” informs Chef Bhatt.
The conversation proceeded over Chicken Corn soup, followed by the Laab Kai, a minced chicken salad with mint leaves, garlic, broiled rice and a hint of fish sauce and palm syrup. The Miso Tofu and Korean Kimchi open bao made with miso paste, tofu, kimchi, shallots and garlic came next, and was soft and piquant.
No sooner had the baos disappeared than a platter of veg and non-veg dumplings arrived at our table. The dill-flavoured Prawn Hargao dumplings were exotic. The prawns wrapped inside the tender wheat and potato starch cover soaked in the mild flavour of sesame oil, and we devoured them with black bean sauce.
The chicken spring onion dumplings were anodyne, and we shifted our attention to their signature Cottage Cheese Celery dumplings that were heavenly. Made with fresh cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese and Britannia cheese, they go best with the accompanying mustard dressing, and we bet you can’t stop at one.
The main course started with the Pla Neung Manao, a tender portion of fresh bhetki steamed with chilli, lemon and coriander. We won’t suggest this dish if you are not a fan of fish sauce, an integral part of many Thai fish recipes. Instead, you can try the Shanghai Spiced Chicken tossed with scallions and chilli, a mildly spiced dish to suit Indian palates. We had this with the Moon Fan rice made with five spices, eggs, chicken and mushrooms.
But the clear winner had to be the Rendang curry, an Indonesian version made with pork. Cooked with dry roast spices including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, peppers, a bit of turmeric, chilli, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime, this was a burst of flavours that’s sure to lift your mood. We gorged on the delicacy with jasmine rice, but the dish goes best with sticky or steamed rice.
In the Orient, as indeed in Kolkata, the sweet dish is an almost permanent fixture of any spread. Mae Kong also has curated a few desserts from the region. We tasted the Jellied Water Chestnuts immersed in a sea of coconut cream. A Thai speciality, this dessert is a great option to end an authentic Oriental food trail.
Meal for two: Rs 2,000 (without alcohol)