The Raintree, St Mary's Road in Chennai serves up 51 dumplings as part of a new festival!
As a caravan of bamboo baskets made their way to our table, we wait eagerly even as Executive Chef Tamoghna Chakraborty explained how the annual Yum Cha festival of dim sums and tea at the Chap Chay restaurant coincided with the Chinese Spring Festival. A unique curation of about 51 dim sums that includes dessert, the festival menu at this 62-seater restaurant is divided into eight categories, and what really sets them apart is the choice of tea paired with each and of course, the tea cocktails.
Tofu wrapped in lettuce gets the meal started as an amuse bouche. However, the non-descript brown flower garnish that has a robust fruity taste piques our curiosity. The chef lets on that it is the Mahua flower from the northern rural regions of the country — clearly a precursor to interesting presentations and twists in recipes. The soupy Xiao long bao stuffed with bits of pork belly and shrimps is well paired with the hearty Hibiscus Lush Tea. The Fatty Chicken Jian Jiao is meaty and pan-seared delicately. The Cheese and Broccoli Siu Mai is a tad bland and needed copious amounts of the chilli paste dip, while the Baozi stuffed with edamame and cheese is delectable without add-ons. Another stuffed bao that held our attention is the famous char sui pork that was as sweet and sticky as hoped for. We find it a good time to try the pink and pretty Cran-tini. The vodka-based cocktail with cranberry and tea is subtle and easy.
From the Guotie section, we gorged on the green-hued Pumpkin and Asparagus that was juicy and the Vegan Treasure that looks like rose buds. We sip on a light and fragrant Lavender Rose Mint Tea as we munch on the Crisp Golden Finger Chicken — the deep-fried cheung fun is deeply satisfying as only deep-fried items can be. Besides traditional teas like the Chrysanthemum, Chef Tamoghna has also brewed his own concoction. Paired with the delicious and translucent Prawn and Bamboo Shoot Treasure that won us over with the fish paste garnish, the Herbal Grass Tea has hints of holy basil and tamarind and feels like a health drink!
Peas & paddy
The decor of this festival is as colourful and bursting with freshness as the Spring season it represents is meant to be. The theme begins at your table way before the blue-hued Butterfly pea flower-infused tea arrives. Every table has a specially created centerpiece — a glass-dome-protected patch of green, this is fresh grass of paddy — glistening green, young and real. The chef has fashioned colourful flowers with dim sum dough to add the season’s cheer to the arrangement of sprouted rice.
Boom boom krapow!
The chef insisted that we try a bowl of his personal favourite — the Krapow fried rice. Tossed with bits of pork and packing a punch with bird’s eye chilli, this one is not for the faint-hearted. The Dark Chocolate and Dry Nut dim sums doused with mascarpone and blueberry cream works perfectly to soothe the palate after that fiery albeit delicious dish.
At INR 1,600 for two, the festival is on till March 22.