Dine-Esty has been a part of Gurgaon’s tapestry for over six years now. In the meanwhile, the city has grown to four times its size, and every second restaurant today promises to serve similar fare – the familiar version of Chinese cuisine that is now popularly known as Indian Chinese. So why is it that even today, Dine-Esty stays full for the both the lunch service and for dinner? I am here to decode its recipe for success.
At the ground floor of the anonymous looking Times Square building, I enter the premises to find large, swank naturally lit interiors with comfortable seating. What is with the name “Dine-Esty”? I wonder, because it is an unusual pun. The owner Mr HS Kalra has a quick answer to this. Very simply, it is a peppy name and he likes it. An engineer by profession, Mr Kalra decided to come back to India from Abu Dhabi to start a restaurant that served Chinese food that he liked. In this quest he visited Hong Kong and many provinces of China, to create his own brand of familiar-yet-authentic Chinese cuisine. To this he added true-blue Punjabi tradition of hospitality. “I love the fact that happy diners come back here and feel at home. They have grown to expect the personalized service that we provide”, he says, visibly pleased.
By now I am eager to try their food. I start with the Beijing Seafood Soup (Rs 175). Though it does not have the regal splendour of the Beijing Imperial cuisine, it is a mild soup with a familiar taste, with liberal amounts of fish in it. The crunchy corn seeds (Rs 265) which follow are addictive to say the least. Here we have some rather fine corn kernels pressure fried, minimally seasoned and beautifully presented. A bite into them reveals a crisp exterior with a soft inside – a similar experience to watching a Lara Croft adventure.
Mr Kalra wants me to try a dish that he discovered in Hong Kong, and recreated it for the restaurant. He loves it so much that it is a part of his regular lunch that he partakes here. The Water Fish Hunan style (Rs 480) is pressure fried in water in his hi-tech open woks with super-powered flames. The result is by far the lightest and freshest Chinese dish that I have had in Delhi NCR.
After this tasteful prelude comes my main course order of sole fish with chilly black bean sauce (Rs 480) which is delicious. Fresh fillets of sole cooked with a freshly prepared, exquisite black bean sauce and embellished with the right amount of heat, are a treat for the senses. The veg hakka noodles (Rs 235) are an able accompaniment to this masterpiece just like an able tabla accompanying a perfectly rendered raga, providing a perfect ending to a good meal.
I think I now understand what makes Dine-Esty work. The proprietor’s passion is evident in the quality of food, the interiors, and the service. Add to it consistency, and what we have is a simple answer to what makes a restaurant fill up all its tables at all hours.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.5, Ambience: 4.0, Service: 4.0| Overall: 4.0
Address: Dine-Esty, Time Square Building, B Block, Sushant Lok 1, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124 4070000
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese | Timings: 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM | Meal for two: Rs 1200