t2 takes a bite of the oriental fare at the revamped Mainland China in South City mall

Mainland China Where: South City Mall, 4th floor Timings: Lunch buffet 12.30pm-3pm on all days; dinner buffet 7pm-11pm Friday-Sunday; Hi-Tea buffet 4pm-6pm on Saturday and Sunday Pocket pinch: Lunch buffet Rs 866 on weekdays, Rs 996 on weekends; dinner buffet Rs 996, Hi-Tea buffet Rs 362 (all inclusive)

  • Published 23.03.18
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What: Mainland China
Where: South City Mall, 4th floor
Timings: Lunch buffet 12.30pm-3pm on all days; dinner buffet 7pm-11pm Friday-Sunday; Hi-Tea buffet 4pm-6pm on Saturday and Sunday
Pocket pinch: Lunch buffet Rs 866 on weekdays, Rs 996 on weekends; dinner buffet Rs 996, Hi-Tea buffet Rs 362 (all inclusive)

The interiors of the restaurant, done up by Anjan Chatterjee’s wife, Suchandra, are spacious with Oriental elements.
 
Speciality Restaurants chief Anjan Chatterjee at the entrance to Mainland China in South City Mall, which still has the lion guarding the door.
 

If you’ve been a regular at Mainland China in South City Mall, then you are in for a big surprise when you drop in next time. For post a one-year renovation break, the Oriental dine den from the Speciality Restaurants stable is back in a completely new avatar. The look and feel and even the menu have all gone through a sea change. 

“When the mall closed down for renovation, we took this opportunity to totally change the decor of Mainland China. Not that the mall asked us to, but we thought why not?! When the mall is running, you don’t get the chance to close down the restaurant for renovation work, so this was the perfect opportunity,” said Anjan Chatterjee, chairman and managing direction of Speciality Restaurants, before taking t2 on a walk-through of the restaurant. 

The 164-cover eatery is divided into two separate sections with wooden dividers, with the smaller 50-seater section doubling as a private party area with a separate entry so as to keep it secluded from the main seating area. The decor is all-out Oriental, with touches of red brightening up the otherwise raw wooden walls and furniture, and Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Huge prayer wheels line the entrance. A sushi counter, a bar counter and a buffet section, with a lot of leg room between tables, are the highlights.

The menu has moved beyond Chinese to include all things Oriental. Think Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian. “So much is happening in the world of food... people’s tastes are changing. If you don’t reinvent the wheel, if you don’t ideate with the chefs and come up with new things, after a point of time you stagnate. So the idea is to go beyond Chinese and include a lot many flavours in the menu,” said Chatterjee. 

“In Chinese, it’s limited to soya sauce, chilli paste, kikoman soya, white garlic sauce… so there’s a trap… how do we get out of it? So we introduced things like truffle oil, smoked chilli sauce… new things like sushis, lemongrass prawn dim sums, then fried duck roll, which is an innovation on the traditional duck roll, then we have introduced lotus stem… without new things there’s no reason for people to come back again and again,” he added. 

While the popular Mainland China lunch and dinner buffet continues, a new addition is a Hi-Tea buffet on weekends. The private party area coupled with the Hi-Tea menu from 4pm to 6pm makes an ideal combo for kids’ birthday parties. 

FROM THE NEW MENU

Crabsticks, cucumber, avocado and tobiko garnish come together in the Californian Sushi that’s authentic Japanese, in spite of California in the name.
 
A simple and flavourful vegetarian starter would be the Edamame Dumpling with Truffle Oil, which is roughly chopped edamame flavoured with truffle oil. 
 

Drinks like Lychee and Kaffir Lime Mojito and Watermelon and Basil Crush are refreshing sips in this sultry weather, with or without alcohol in them.
 
Smoked Duck Roll: This one got us with its smoky flavour and the tenderness of the duck. Smoked duck breast flavoured with Hoisin sauce, and rolled with cucumber and scallion and crisp-fried. #MustTry
 
Korean Style Grilled Lamb Chop: Who doesn’t like lamb ribs? Even better when it’s drizzled with the tangy Korean chilli sauce, Gochujang.
 
An alternative to the typical Chinese noodles you usually order, the Japanese Wheat Noodles is buckwheat noodles tossed in sake, mirin and kikoman soya with shredded pepper and veggies flavoured with butter garlic.
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Chilli Chicken Bao: Calcutta’s favourite Chinese comfort dish, chilli chicken, stuffed inside soft baos, makes for a wholesome meal.
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The Chocolate Dome is a dessert lover’s paradise. It’s an assortment of brownie, caramelised popcorn, honey noodles and a scoop of vanilla ice cream covered with a chocolate dome. It’s a treat for the senses when the hot chocolate sauce poured on top melts the chocolate and the sweet filling peep out. 
 

Smita Roy Chowdhury
Pictures: B. Halder