Today I am visiting a restaurant I grew up with. Chopsticks at the Asiad Village complex, is a 30 year old institution, which has introduced many a Delhi lads and lasses to the joys of Chinese food. I still remember my first taste of barbecued pork spare ribs and mapo tofu that started my love affair with Chinese food. I am here at their invitation to sample out their new menu to be launched from 21 December. And I am fortunate to have Rajiv Bajaj, the GM of the Village restaurant complex, and the man who started both Chopsticks and the quintessential dating venue in the 80’s, the American Pie.
Without much ado, we start with the tasting session with the starters. I start with my favourite tom yum prawn soup (Rs 199) which is well prepared with fresh crunchy prawns. Next I try the dish I am hankering for – the dish that made me fall in love with pork and with barbeque pork spare ribs (Rs 399), which to my delight taste as juicy and meaty as ever before. At this time Amit Gurung, the Executive Chef at Chopsticks joins us recommending much more. So I place my faith and tummy capacity to him.
More starters follow next. The fish tempura (Rs 399) which comes dramatically plated. This dish is great in a Japanese pakoda kind of way, though as a tempura, the batter is a bit too thick. Next on his list of things to taste are the dim sums, and they are all delightful. The tri pepper & prawns with celery (Rs 379) are succulent with a tasty peppery crunch. The chicken Thai herbs dimsum (Rs 349) have an interesting depth of flavours. The broccoli & almond dimsum (Rs 329) turn out to be the best of the lot; they are soft and light with a delightful almond crunch.
The tasting session continues with onion pancakes (Rs 299) which have the combination of spring onions and chopped onions, giving it a wonderful frsh, light and crispy taste. The sushi platter consisting of Philadelphia cheese roll, salmon maki, and California roll (Rs 800) needs a little more work. The rice texture is not right, and neither is the taste profile. I am sure with some tweaking they will get it right.
I am now joined by Pankaj Badola, the bar manager at Chopsticks, who comes duly armed with three delightful mocktails. The first one is Osabi which is a combination of orange juice, freshly chopped parsley, and wasabi, making for a rather exciting combination. Melobi has fresh water melon juice, bit of lime juice and lemon grass, giving it a nice oriental touch. The best of the lot is Ap gin which is equally interesting with freshly muddled apple juice, bit of olive, jalapeno and lemon grass.
The main course starts with a strong recommendation from Rajiv, to try his favourite dish, shredded chicken in creamy wasabi sauce (Rs 399). This is a simple dish, but packs a punch. The wasabi hit is there, but there is a great balance of flavours here. Equally enjoyable is the steamed fish in banana leaf (Rs 399) with its fragrant flavours. I am looking forward to the next dish which is a very popular dish from the Schezwan province of China, and not available in many restaurants –mapo tofu (Rs 429). It is a combination of tofu (bean curd) set in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension, and minced meat. The taste remains the same as it has been for years. This is served with fortune rice (Rs 269) which has star anise and mushrooms, and mee ming noodles (Rs 269).
It is time for the meetha. I have chocolate mahjong with vanilla ice cream (Rs 269) which is chocolaty without being sweet, and pairs well with the ice cream, thereby finishing the delicious meal with the right note.
Now is an exciting time to go to Chopsticks. The old favourites are all there, and chef Amit promises to unleash a lot of new exciting dishes from 21 December’12, which will include a variety of dimsum, sushis and other Asian delights, all presented impeccably.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.0 | Ambiance: 3.5 | Service: 4.5 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs 2000 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Timing: 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM
Address: Chopsticks, The Village Restaurant Complex, Near Sirifort Auditorium, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi | Phone: 011 26492890