A month ago I was invited for an Exclusive Bloggers Table to meet Chef Tenzin Khechok and to celebrate the “Dim Sum Week” which was held at Spices, JW Marriot. It was held at one of the private dining areas that Spices reserves for large group of diners.
My love for dim sum grew stronger after my trip to Malaysia. I was simply overwhelmed with the variety available there and jealous of the fact that almost every Tea House served dim sums for breakfast. We often like to compare it to a Tibetan momo or a dumpling but in actuality a Dim Sum is a Cantonese or Hokkien food prepared in small bite sized portions or individual portions and is traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. It could be a dumpling, a roll, a crispy deep fried treat or a even a sweet or savory bun.
So, coming back to the dinner. The décor was fancy and the table looked grand. I would have loved the temperature of the room to be a bit cooler. The waiters served wine and mocktails to set the mise en scène. It took almost an hour before the food arrived and eventually once the doors opened,huge bamboo baskets were carried in and were placed at our table.
The waiters got us two huge bamboo baskets of dim sums at a time. Each basket had one kind of dim sum and the waiters were instructed to serve all of us together. What they didn’t realize was that we were a large group of food bloggers, who wanted to click pictures of the lovely dinner before we ate. This caused the dim sums to go cold, kind of killing the whole experience. It could have been planned better, but then three of the dim sums served were brought in small baskets so it was all OK.
How did I like the fare? Well there were ups and downs.
We were first served the Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling (Rs 525), it lacked the mushroom flavor but had a good crunch because of the water chestnut in it.
Next was my favourite, Edamame Truffle (Rs 625) which was Chef Tenzin’s signature dish. It was so creamy and rich, I could finish the whole basket. 🙂 Loved it.
Then we were served what the waiters called “Chicken Buns”. It was kinda funny to see the waiters not aware of the names of the dim sums they were serving. It was only after the Chef came in, that we knew that these were actually called Char Siu Bao – which translates to Steamed Barbeque Chicken Buns. They were strictly OK, too sweet for my liking; however the baos were fluffy and soft.
Then came the cute lil Prawn Har Gao (Rs 625), the classic prawn crystal dumpling, perfectly steamed. It was a hit at the table. I love prawns and these were an absolute treat.
The Chicken Shanghai (Rs 600), which was served next was pan fried and absolutely delicious. The wrapper was crisp and it was served with a sour and spicy Shanghai sauce. A must try.
The prettiest looking dumpling of the evening were the Wild Mushroom & Pokchoy Dumpling (Rs 525). Every dim sum looked exactly the same, like little bags of colorful jewels. However, this tasted exactly like the Shiitake Mushroom dumplings. Not interesting.
When the waiters got us the next dim sum, they served it saying it was chicken rolls wrapped in spinach. It was only when I tasted it that I found out that they actually were Spinach Rolls with Prawn and Water Chestnut (Rs 625) served with black bean sauce. It tasted great, the rolls were soaked in the spicy black bean sauce. The other dumpling which was wrapped similarly, was the Chicken wrapped in Pokchoy Dumpling with Schezwan Sauce (Rs 600), it had a little too much salt.
I was really excited about this next dim sum as it was yet another signature dish by Chef Tenzin – the Prawn, Crab & Chive (Rs 625) – an open face crab and prawn dumpling. It looked lovely with its contrasting colors, I couldn’t wait and popped one right into my mouth. The flavours were so intense it almost felt like I had a piece of the ocean in my mouth, which was unreal. When I looked closely, I was shocked to see imitation crab in the dimsum. I was deeply disappointed to see a reputed restaurant like J W Marriot use it in their signature dish. It surely was the popular one at the table but faux meat makes me cringe.
We were then served the Sticky Rice with Prawn and Chicken in Lotus Leaf (Rs 625). It was steaming hot and the smoky smell of the lotus leaf sort of blended into the sticky rice making it very appetizing. But it lacked seasoning and flavors. Very passable.
Our meal ended with a Hot Chocolate Buns (Rs 500). These were a pleasant surprise; steaming hot buns were filled with melted chocolate. Everyone had a smile on their face. It was not overly sweet but it was rich and decadent.
This dinner was nothing short of a roller coaster ride for me. I was taken aback as I have been to a Saffron and Mezzo Mezzo at JW Marriot and I have never been disappointed. I felt that the whole event lacked planning and execution, there was a lot of confusion during service and this killed the whole experience for me. I felt that the dim sums could have been more refined. I would definitely want to go back and give them another chance as I do believe they have a great team and an evening like these can be one off instance.
JW Marriot have two Michelin Pop Ups that have been lined up for this month from April 8th-12th and April 15th-18th. The first one is an unusual fusion of French and Japanese cuisine by Michelin star Chef Laurent Peugeot from Burgundy and the other is traditional Italian fare by renowned Chef Giovanni D’amato. Definitely something worth trying so don’t miss it!