This star hotel's new menu boasts myriad flavours of the Orient

This new menu at China XO takes gastronomes on a journey into the culinary richness of Cantonese, Hunan, and Sichuan cuisines
Chicke charcoal jiaozi dumpling
Chicke charcoal jiaozi dumpling

“Let CHINA SLEEP, for when she wakes, she will shake the world” is a popular quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. And when the flamboyant Chinese dragon danced its way to the regal opulence of The Leela Palace, Chennai, over the weekend, it did spark enthusiasm among guests and gave their epicurean voyage a shake-up. Adding to the splendour was the arrival of the new menu of China XO in a red-coloured chariot.

Crispy prawn Cheung fun
Crispy prawn Cheung fun

What followed was a gastronomic odyssey that celebrated the culinary richness of Cantonese, Hunan, and Sichuan cuisines. We set about the Chinese chow with some Cheung fun and dim sums that came in an assortment of shapes, sizes, feisty flavours and tantalising textures. As the piping hot delicacies arrived in style, encased in elegant bamboo baskets, the sinful aroma of the delectable delicacies wafted in the air.

First arrived the scrumptious Tofu and black fungus jiaozi, followed by Chow chow and pine nut dumpling, Scallop and crab dumpling, and Chicken gua tie dumpling. And it was heaven in every bite. Since all these delicacies were steamed, they were quite light on the stomach, too.

Next, the baos made a beeline for our tasting session.

Crispy asparagus Cheung fun
Crispy asparagus Cheung fun

Leading the pack was the savoury and pillowy Truffle mushroom bao, followed by Chicken char siu bao. The mushroom and chicken stuffing were swathed by the fluffy dough, which were pinched in the middle, giving them cute as a button look. While the dim sums had a tinge of a tart flavour, the baos had a hint of sweetness. We reached the culmination of the starters with the Baked chicken million layers radish puff, a succulent chicken delicacy sheathed by a crispy and flaky exterior.

As we veered toward the main course, we tried the comforting Morel mushroom soup with Chinese cabbage Sichuan preserved chicken soup. The soup was truly refreshing after an array of starters. The preserved vegetable gave the soup a tinge of acerbity and crunchiness, which we quite relished.

Dessert Sampler
Dessert Sampler

The main course comprised a plethora of dishes, and our top picks were Asparagus baby kailan and pok choy Cantonese style, Braised tofu with assorted vegetables in Sichuan sauce served with man tau buns, Steamed fish with cochon sauce, Wok tossed chicken and morel, and Crispy yam and water chestnut with fermented black bean sauce. It instantly drew us in with a sumptuous promise, and boy were we bowled over!

The legion of delicacies also comprised Mélange of mushrooms in chilli bean sauce, Fried rice with shredded mock duck and spring onions, and Beijing style lamb with ginger and spring onion, Chilli lobster with steamed man tau buns, to name a few.

And what’s a meal without some sinful desserts? The Schezwan pepper Créme brûlée with sesame seed tuile, had a hint of pepper that stimulated our senses, and it truly caught us by surprise. Thereafter, we dove straight into decadence with a bite of the Dates pecan tart with hazelnut gelato. And with the summer sun at its fiery peak, how can we miss out on the king of fruits? The mouthwatering Mango mousse, Almond dacquoise, and Mango coulis provided a fitting finale to the gastronomic sojourn.

Meal for two: `5,000 approx.

Available for both lunch and dinner. At The Leela Palace

sangeetha.p@newindianexpress.com

@psangeetha2112

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