Eating Chinese in India is quite subjective to the region where it is eaten. Kolkata, seems to be a leader in this pack due to its Chinese heritage that was brought in during the (in)famous opium wars. Mumbai somehow seems to be a tail ender in the race of what we now know as “Indian Chinese”. Barring a few places, it is difficult to find authentic Chinese in the city and what one usually gets is a mish mash of regional interpretations of this cuisine.
So the first thought that came to my mind when I saw the invite for a recently opened Chinese restaurant, was whether it will go the Indianization route or will it feature some authentic dishes from the land of the Red Dragon.
As I entered the restaurant at 1.30 pm, I was a bit concerned about the place being completely empty and, with a bit of trepidation, took my seat. The décor at this small eatery is simple; the ceiling was done up in a way that reminded me of the standing soldiers of the terracotta army. Interesting!
The menu on the onset was run of the mill, with the usual Chinese fare. I wasted no time in ordering my starters which consisted of Chicken Fried Wonton (Rs.200) and Butter Garlic Prawns (Rs.380). The wontons were thick and lumpy in the centre but thankfully not too oily. The butter garlic prawns, on the other hand, were impeccable. The garnish of fried garlic added to the dish.
For the mains, I chose a Spicy Red Pepper Fish (Rs. 350), Chicken in Black Bean Gravy (Rs. 300) and a side of Chicken Hakka Noodles (Rs.230). The dishes arrived fairly quick and I was quite happy with the portion size. A bite into the chicken in black bean sauce, and a smile spread over my face. It reminded me of the Kolkata style of Chinese which we popularly now know as Tangda Chinese. The Hakka noodles further validated my belief as the noodles were exactly the way I like ..not overloaded with vinegar or ajinomoto, just the right balance of seasoning and fried just enough for the noodles to have a slight bite. The spicy red pepper fish, as the name suggests, was spicy but the fish unfortunately had gone soggy. Thankfully the cornflour in the gravy was fairly measured due to which the dish was not dense.
I closed my meal with classic Darsan (Honey crispy noodles with Ice Cream) (Rs.220) which often works as the litmus test at many Chinese eateries, and am glad to say that it faired pretty well out here. The sesame seeds further added to the dish.
For a city that is flooded with Chinese restaurants and is increasingly becoming a melting pot for many new global cuisines, Haka offers nothing new in terms of concept, flavours or dishes but the food is tasty and honest. The competitive pricing and honest food will surely appeal to the people around the area but I doubt if it will be able to pull the crowd from the suburbs to South Mumbai.
Rating (Out of 5)
Food: 3 | Service: 3 | Ambience: 3 | Overall: 3
Meal for Two: Rs.1200 | Wheel Chair Friendly: No | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: No | Timings: 12AM–4PM, 7PM–12AM
Address: Gr 296, Shahid Bhagat Singh Rd, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.