Not as fancy as some of Mumbai’s other Chinese joints, but it’s a place that many serious foodies swear by.
Behind Regal Cinema, Colaba, Mumbai
Meal for two: Rs. 1,200
Which was the world’s first known restaurant? We don’t know its name, unfortunately, but it was in the Chinese city of Kaifeng, in the 12th century. And it’s been written about by a 12th century mandarin named Meng Yuanlao (who was, in effect, the world’s first known ‘restaurant reviewer’). This was the earliest recorded place that we’d define as a restaurant today: not merely an inn, but an eating house that offered customers meals purely for gustatory pleasure. Its menu, Meng tells us, included delicacies like ‘fried liver, dumplings, tripe pudding and goose pears’. And it is that ancient legacy that’s been inherited, in some way, by today’s Chinese restaurants. Like Ling’s.
Ling’s isn’t as fancy as some of Mumbai’s other Chinese joints, but it’s a place that many serious foodies swear by. The food is uniformly excellent, but we’d particularly recommend their wonderful crispy sesame spinach, steamed fish and Mongolian chicken. There used to be a legendary chimney soup that Baba Ling used to make in the old days, simmered overnight inside a scooped-out melon shell but that, alas, is no longer available. The service is also excellent—which brings us back to Meng’s journals, which note that customers at Kaifeng’s 12th century eating houses demanded attentive service and that “even the smallest mistake was reported to the proprietor, who would curse the staff, beat them or even throw them out on to the street”. Which, happily, is something that’s unlikely to happen at Ling’s.