Often, it’s the execution of the simplest dishes that reveals the competence of a kitchen, not of the dishes that are designed to awe and impress anyway. The identity of the humble dish of which I speak will be revealed shortly. Of course, the competence of China Kitchen, the well-loved Chinese restaurant at Hyatt Regency Delhi, was never in question, considering it recently completed 11 years of successful operations.
It’s a restaurant I’ve followed since its inception and still remember the ambitious menu it launched with. This included a stir-fried soft-shell crab that has clawed its way into that place in my brain where I store my favourite food memories. At some point, market forces kicked in and the restaurant settled for a more approachable Chinese menu—while continuing to serve delicious egg tarts and the best Peking duck in town.
To mark the 11th anniversary, a revamped menu has reinstated authentic flavours and dishes, this time round inspired by the flavours of Beijing street food. The revamp was guided by one of the leading Chinese chefs in the Hyatt arsenal, who is currently stationed at Grand Hyatt Beijing.
The China Kitchen team itself is led by the talented Chef Zhang, who, rather than bask in the limelight, prefers to quietly plod away in the kitchen, producing one perfect dish after another. I had the privilege of sampling the new menu, with Chef Zhang personally presiding over the affair.
Chinese hot and sour soup usually induces yawns but the China Kitchen version, bold in flavour and satisfyingly thick, is leagues ahead of anything your neighbourhood Chinjabi joint can conjure up.
The new dumplings, which look like little works of art, were stunning, and include a standout spicy green dumpling with an asparagus, lotus root and pea filling. The clay pot chicken has been elevated to new heights with an unctuous shrimp broth, while the legendary bullet chilli lends a new dimension to the prawns in black bean sauce. These were sharing portions and the way my lunch companion and I fought over them is incontrovertible proof of their deliciousness.
The pièce de résistance, however, was the poached broccoli, deceptively humble in its bearing, and heavenly once transported delicately with chopsticks from plate to palate. With that one dish, China Kitchen returns to the roots of Chinese food...and we’ll definitely be returning for it.
The China Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Delhi, Bhikaji Cama Place, Delhi, +91-11-30054102 (or call table reservations at +91-11-66771308); timings: 12 noon to 2.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm; average meal for two: ₹ 4,500 plus taxes; delhi.regency.hyatt.com