Few places in south Delhi can boast of a beautiful terrace lounge with mist effect, a personal dining room for large gathering (as well as for romantic duo), a remote controlled high ceiling that can open up to show the star lit night and of course an elegant interior with huge artificial plants. It was by accident that I discovered this beautiful restaurant, China Doll, specializing in Hunan cuisine.
China Doll sounds like a shady name, but actually these are the dolls made out of glazed porcelain. I could not see any such decoration; however if one ignores the omission, the restaurant still managed to impress me with its spacious and comfortable layout which could easily house around 200 guests including the space at terrace.
Hunan cuisine is known for its hot, spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep colors. Anyone who believes that subtle and low spices flavors are representative of authentic Chinese cuisine and spicy flavors is like stepping into Indo-Chinese or Chin-zabi territory is not correct. China is a big country and just like India it has different flavors along its coastline and mainland.
Starting with Rainbow Prawn Dumpling (285) and Chicken suimui (255), I wasn’t too impressed. The chicken in suimui was over-filled giving it a dry and hard feel, while prawns had lost their bite that happened when they aren’t too fresh.
Luckily the Chicken dry red chili (385) and crispy fried lotus stem (320), came to the rescue. Both the dishes were excellent. Red chili chicken is hot but addictive. Each bite led to the next and then to the next.
It looked like we were in a roller coaster. Raw papaya salad (565) though tasted well, had a thickly diced papaya preventing the flavors to completely seep-in.
The main course at China Doll has some great dishes. We were recommended Water boiled Fish (850) and (485). Semi poached fish finally cooked with flowing hot oil on top and the numbing flavor of whole Sichuan pepper is an experience in itself. The marinated pork that’s kept for over 48 hours and later steamed is another dish that is a complete paisa vasool. Both the dishes are a must try and are strongly recommended. Diced chicken pickle chilli (525) is good but lost its charm in front of two great dishes. I still do not understand why fine dine Chinese restaurants use basmati rice for making fried rice.
For desserts we had Lychee with Ice cream (275) which was nice but I would have liked fresh lychee while the fruit is at its peak in Delhi. Also the pricing of the dessert seemed a bit steep compared to the rest of the dishes.
Overall, the place has some great spark, excellent décor and a good location. Just select the right dishes and you are in for a good time.
Rating out of 5
Food: 3.0 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs. 1500| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 12 Noon – 11PM
Address:China Doll, D-14, 3rd Floor, South Extn-II, New Delhi-49 | Phone: 011- 46075888/ 6888