It’s funny how whenever we’ve passed by the Hilton Mumbai, we have always wanted to check it out but never really ended up stopping by. So when we were invited to review one of their restaurants – Imperial China, and we were really looking forward to dining there.
Cosy and intimate are two words you think of when you enter this beautiful boutique hotel. The interiors will take you to a forgotten era with decor that oozes sophistication and timeless beauty. Everything in the hotel has an old English charm to it. The Crystal Lounge near the lobby is styled after a 19th Century Summer Palace. So beautiful!
The first thing you notice as you enter the restaurant are the wooden carvings and white French windows with Venetian shutters. A life size paper fan swings back and forth creating an amazing environment to unwind in; Very romantic as well. Imperial China boasts of a menu from the Sichuan province and also has a bevy of Southeast Asian dishes to choose from. We had a lovely time chatting with the newly appointed Chef Balajee, who spoke about his experience as a chef and the time he spent in Bhutan and Nigeria. He hadn’t changed anything on the menu yet but will soon curate dishes that reflect his passion for Asian food.
Chef Balajee recommended we start off with Cheese and Chilli momos, a dish that he had fond memories of from Bhutan. It was everything you love about momos – plump and delicious. The accompanying sauces added a power packed punch, which definitely makes you go back for seconds.
For appetizers we had Two Treasure Dumplings which has Prawns, Scallops and Celery. Juicy and delicious, the dumpling wrapper was super thin and was steamed to perfection. We also tried Salt and Pepper Prawns which are one of our favourites. Fresh prawns, wok tossed with bell peppers; what’s not to like. 🙂 The Imperial Pork Ribs was lipsmackingly good. The dark garlicy Chinese BBQ sauce with Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushroom makes this dish a definite must have. We also tried a couple of the Hot Pot soups. We had the Peking Duck and the Thai flavoured Prawns. They were strictly OK. We’re huge fans of hotpot, where the broth is usually the hero of the dish and has an immense amount of depth and flavour. So the hotpot soups were not up to the mark.
Moving on to main course. We had the Imperial Lobster, made in a spicy XO sauce, a Singapore Curry style Prawns and a portion of Jasmine Rice. Both dishes had bold flavours yet were very well balanced. The Imperial Lobster had a generous portion of lobster meat and the XO sauce was made really well. The Curry style Singapore Prawns was rich and spiced with hints of lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves singing throughout the dish. We thoroughly enjoyed it with Jasmine Rice.
For dessert, we had a Lemongrass Creme Brûlée and Coconut Pancake with a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream.
Dining at Imperial China was a wonderful experience. The restaurant staff were courteous and well trained when it came to knowledge of each dish. The food gave us a good understanding of the history of the restaurant and we can’t wait to see how Chef Balajee brings his influence and experience to new/revamped menu. Even with a few misses, we would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking to enjoy good Southeast Asian fare. We will definitely be back for more.