An experience we tried recently and can vouch for is this special menu by head chef Stanley Lum Wah Cheok. At Rs 2,888 per head for soup, starters, mains and dessert, with a choice of cocktail or mocktail, it’s also serious value for money. Ordering a la carte is also an option for light eaters.
The Year of the Monkey cocktail – named 9 Hóu – is a delightful blend of guava juice, white rum, sherry, banana syrup and lime juice. The seriously cool monkey charm that hangs from the stirrer is for you to take home, as is a specially crafted coin that you receive at the end of your meal.
Start off your meal with a clear soup – pak choi and shimeji mushroom for vegetarians, prawn and scallop for non-vegetarians. Hakkasan has mastered the clear soup over the years, and you’re not going to have any complaints with this one.
Our first starter of Lamb with Vegetables and Pine Nut was hearty, with some nice crunch, but the second one – Lychee with Taro Ring in Spicy Curry Sauce – is what blew us away. We had our doubts about a savoury dish that uses lychees, but cooking them took away just enough of the sweetness. The bit that remained was beautifully offset by the stuffing in the lychees, the crunchy taro ring and a spicy curry sauce.
Mains also impress with fried rice, noodles, Fragrant Chicken and Baked Silver Cod Miso to split between two of us. Special mention to the rice, with an ever-so-subtle hit of ginger that elevates all the other flavours. Those who are dining a la carte, some fantastic sounding options that we didn’t try are the Pork Belly with Kimchi and Royal Sauce, and Wok Fried Lobster in Spicy Truffle Sauce.
You won’t regret a shared portion of the special Chinese New Year dessert, christened Golden Halo. The banana and peanut cake (we thought there was way more peanut than banana) comes with cream, caramel, chocolate and peanut dressing.
Some more Mumbai restaurants to check out during Chinese New Year:
By the Mekong, Lower Parel
The Asian restaurant at the St Regis is offering set menus at Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,500 per head for vegetarians and non-vegetarians respectively.
Home-style dishes on the menu include Xi Lan Hua Men Xiang Gu (braised mushrooms, broccoli in mushroom oyster sauce), Sang Kaya Fakthong (steamed pumpkin with custard), Gong Bao Chao Xia Qiu (“Kung po” style prawns tossed with cashew nuts) and Dou Rong Song Gu You Jiao (steamed peas, edamame and truffle dumplings).
Available till February 13.
Yauatcha, Bandra Kurla Complex
The limited edition festive menu, available a la carte, features newly introduced dishes like Truffle and English Carrot Dumpling, Kiwi and Black Olive Dumpling, Stir-fry Mock Chicken in Hunan Style Spicy Sauce and Braised Pork Belly in Spicy Yellow Bean Sauce with Cigar Mantou Roll.
Guests can also indulge in the festive special range of desserts – macarons with exotic ingredients like bitter orange, chamomile, elderflower and rose sporting the silhouette of a monkey and a sinfully delicious Crunchy caramel with honeycomb ice cream. Also try a special cocktail named Cherry Chaser.
Available till February 23.
Umame, Churchgate and Joss, Santacruz (W)
The vast menu features dishes that bring luck and prosperity, according to the Chinese. Savour the Xiao Long Bao of Chicken or Forest Mushroom, Crispy Lobster Cheung Fun, Beggar’s Chicken- the famous plump whole chicken in a secret recipe or the Hoisin Glazed Lamb Sausage Fried Rice.
The journey ends on a sweet note with innovative desserts like the Toffee Apple Filo Torte with Vanilla Ice Cream and Fortune Cookie, or the 5 Spice Tossed Churros with Banana Ice Cream and Chocolate Drizzle.
Sichuan House, Kurla
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with a six-course set menu crafted by celebrated Chef Paul Kinny, priced at Rs 699 per head. On the menu are dishes like Beijing Style Potato Straws, Mala Mushroom with Bell Peppers and Superior Soy, Wok Tossed Chinese Greens in Burnt Butter Garlic Sauce and Quick Fried Lamb. Desserts include Coconut Cigar, Thread Darsan and Orange Honey Glaze. Also try Asian cocktails like Long Island Iced Green Tea, Chinese Mary and Thai Mojito.
Guests born in the Year of the Monkey (1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004) get a special goodie bag on showing a valid ID proof.
Available till February 14.
Ming Yang, Bandra (W)
The specially crafted menu features an array of dumplings, soups as well as dishes like Tai Chin Fish, Corn Cream Kernel with Black Bean and Dry Red Chili, Whole Crab in Ginger Spring Onion Sauce and Broccoli and Snow peas in Chili Garlic Sauce. Complete the celebratory meal with the signature Chinese New Year Cake and Crispy Fried Milk with Ice Cream.