Those traversing through Aerocity’s swanky Pullman for their pan-Asian Honk will first come across the Honk Cart. The food cart, a callback to the street food from the rice bowl regions of the world, is but a humble glimpse of what this bistro-style restaurant has up its sleeve.
And it is during its lunch hour (weekends included) that Honk’s offering, Yum Cha, slides into place. Located in the basement, the restaurant is a riot of colour with plush, bright pink seating and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the al fresco dining.
As soon as we sit, we are served rice crispies and spice-soaked peanuts. They carry us through courses, and we munch on them till the end of our meal. There are plenty of options with drinks too; a steaming pot of Silver Needle tea, some iced tea with sake and a bowl of lemon and coriander soup to pick from. We jump from one to another, but as one must, we start with the soup.
My friend’s soup comes with seafood and hums in contentment, an indicator of how the rest of our meal will be. We had come here with a single thought in mind: to try all 22 varieties of dim sums on the menu. After all, isn’t that what an all-you-can-eat menu means?
We do our best to try them all and then call again for our favourites. They come in baskets of four, six and eight. Some with soft, elastic skin with a fun crunch and flakes and others, pan-seared and fried. My friend digs into the tenderloin and chives dumplings with much enthusiasm and holds on to the plate of deep-fried crackling prawn balls. They make for a fun exercise (one that can’t be tackled by cutleries and chopsticks), the prawn in the centre like a treasure to find.
Things are equally, if not more, interesting on the vegetarian side. The poached Lanzhou vegetable dumplings almost melt in my mouth and the spicy edamame dumplings are a treat, the pickled mustard leaves, an added bonus. I also love the supple, pan-fried bun stuffed with preserved veggies. But the eggplant puff is a personal favourite and the highlight of my meal. The flaky puff with soft, sweet eggplant was served with sweet chillis and garlic. I had tried something similar before, but this version was a lot better.
When the dim sums take a break, the main course comes in. Sichuan-style tofu with soft, garlic noodles and for the non-vegetarian on the table, some Sichuan-style lamb with cumin. The strong flavour of cumin coating the lamb is the clear winner in this round, and we gladly move to desserts.
We polished off our gelatos, a scoop of 78% dark chocolate, one of custard apple and yuzu and of coconut, lychee and basil; each more refreshing than the last.
In the end, perhaps we made a small dent in the menu but patted our own backs for the effort. Honk’s Yum Cha is a great way to explore pan-Asain cuisine, and for those who love dim sums (like us), it is a true value for money.
Price point: Rs 1899 per person (including alcohol)
For more information, visit their website