I have always loved Chinese ever since I was introduced to the cuisine as a kid. Chinese food was prepared at home as a treat to us- the kids. The love for Chinese food never diminished.
The Chinese food that was introduced in the 90s was merely an Indian version. The chinese food that we have known has developed. It’s more of “Pan-Asian” cuisine. As Vir Sanghvi says
“Classifying a cuisine as Chinese is pretty complicated. Often it may not refer to a chef or a dish from the mainland at all.”
So, this New Year’s eve when I decided to have dinner I picked All Stir Fry at Waterstones Hotel, Andheri- located just a few meters away from the international airport.
About All Stir Fry
All Stir Fry captures the spirit of street kitchens of the Orient. The restaurant encourages its patrons to interact with the Chefs, challenging them with new and exciting combinations from their extensive range of seasonal vegetables, noodles, meats, sea food and sauces. The restaurant recommends making several trips to the wok burner to select different combinations to suit and build your personal taste. The restaurant also serves a-la-carte pan-Asian food with a wide variety of exotic and select dishes.
When I entered the restaurant, it was scarcely populated. Ambiance was pleasant until loud music started playing- I’m not sure if it was the restaurant’s or the hotel’s. But since it was New Year’s Eve, I didn’t mind the noise- though I usually prefer a quite dinner.
After settling in, I quickly ordered a portion of ChinWin Chicken and Prawns Chilli Basil.
While I was waited, I was served jasmine green tea that was soothing and refreshing to the palate. After about 20 minutes, the starters were served. I was impressed by the sauces used in both the dishes- they were neither too overwhelming nor did it have the artificial taste that I happen to associate with excess use of MSG
As I was at the restaurant for the purpose of a food review, the restaurant manager explained the unique concept of the restaurant. Patrons can either order from the ala carte menu or go for the ‘quick wok’ where all the ingredients right from the vegetables to condiments can be picked by the patron themselves.
Special mention was also given to the design of the restaurant. The ceiling had several colourful inverted woks.
Feeling already a little heavy from the two starters that I just had, I headed towards the wok station with a little apprehension. I was not sure if I’ll do justice to my wok. I always maintain a good relationship with my food.
As I preferred to have a non-vegetarian wok I was given a red bowl. I picked rice as the base, added some of my favourite veggies and tossed a few sausages, ham and paneer (not the conventional choice; was hoping to challenge the chef with my choice)
I handed over my uncooked wok bowl over the server and requested for the ingredients to be cooked in Kung Pao sauce along with some garlic.
Within a few minutes, I was served my cooked wok. Even though I didn’t cook my food- I felt exquisitely happy. I chose ALL the ingredients. The emotion I felt was close to the one you feel when you cook something for the first time and it turns out to be lip smacking! For people like me who don’t cook- this is the closest we can get to cooking.
While I was busing admiring ‘my dish’, I was urged to take as many trips to the wok station as I liked. I couldn’t wait to create something new again. I finished eating my first wok and I was “so full that I couldn’t breathe”. The second wok will have to wait- I told myself. I also made a mental note of eating slow and trying out ONLY the wok the next time I visit this restaurant. The starters though delicious had complicated my relationship with the woks here. I need to mend this. Next time, for sure.
While I was thinking all this, the server asked me- Would you like to have some Dessert?
My mind went from:
No way. I can’t have anything more. Are-you-kidding-me-there’s-always-room-for-dessert!
After a quick browse, I settled for the caramel custard. And it was a wise decision. Consistency was perfect, caramel was’t too sweet or liquidy. It was a good way to end the dinner.
If you live or work in and around Andheri East or the Mumbai airport- you must visit this place at least one for the sheer experience and the variety of food options that seldom is offered. Give All Stir Fry a try!