Pearl Continental PR invited Kluchit to food tasting session at Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore’s Chinese restaurant Tai Pan. Though from the first time I received invite from Sacha Zaidi for the food tasting, I had my reservations as Pearl Continental has a long history of good restaurant but bad food.
Though I am known to be late on all and every occasion but somehow for this one, I reached quite on time. Tai Pan moved right opposite to main reception area of the hotel. Believe me the front of Tai Pan could be defined as ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’, who so ever did that did an amazing job. The view gives a very fresh Oriental feeling. The bright red and corresponding lighter and darker color mash up keep your sight stuck onto Tai Pan, rather warmly invites you in. But the question is, should you take that step or just walk away after enjoying the view?
The place is quite exquisite. I like when a restaurant creates those small seating areas divided by not the walls but rather esthetically designed dividers. The first thing you will see and find amusing are the walls which are padded panels of Chinese silk. And then there are those walls which have Chinese motifs printed on backlit skins. Overall seating is a mix of comfortable chairs and sofas which give a wide range for the visitor to choose whatever makes them comfortable for dining.
I was seated on a table of six, table setup nicely done. Now, If I say that the crockery and table setup was immaculately done, it would not be justify. Had it been some other food place or Chinese restaurant, it would have been an add-on to the experience. But over here at Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore, it’s like a mandatory to have this sort of setup. No one will expect anything less than extreme on luxurious environment. The color scheme on the table had lots of red, little bit of black with some wooden browns.
The tasting started with serving of Tempura Prawns. The yellowish golden prawns looked quite tempting. My humble apologies that I could not figure out the orange-ish bland sauce which was served with the prawns. The prawns had very crispy batter, my assumption that kitchen staff might have added a certain portion of rice flour to the batter to make it that crispy. Sadly, prawns had that overcooked bite to it. Sauce, whatever it was, was way too bland and had no flavor to it.
Next in line was Hot n Sour Soup, oh boy oh boy…the smell and the visuals swept me off my feet. The soup was served in smaller bowl by the waiter and he stopped filling my bowl as soon as it hit the brim. The soup not only smelled nice but tasted too good. A perfect balance of chili and tanginess to make it the Hot and Sour soup. The down side, was the consistency of the soup which was quite liquidy. There was excess of veggies, mushrooms and bits of meat too except the ‘soup’ itself. Had I not be sitting in Chinese restaurant of Pakistan’s leading hotel and in a very fine environment and with some of the most prominent ladies of social media industry, I would’ve asked the waiter to get me a Taaza Tandoori Roti to have it with Chinese mixed vegetable salan…’sarcasm’!
For the main, we were served Egg Fried Rice with Schezwan Chicken and Beef Chilli Dry. The main were served in bowl, waiter served me and others, of course, some rice. Every person has their own preference of Beef or Chicken and I surely am a Beef person. So had a bit of Chicken Schezwan and hefty serving of Beef Chilli Dry. Rice could be so way far better than what was served and specially knowing the chef himself is from same oriental region. Well, at least that’s what we were told. Do not shoot me if I am wrong on this fact. Both gravies did justice to their names. Beef was tender with rightly sauced and had perfect green chili kick. The Chicken was not floating in corn flour thickened gravy but rather proportionately in a glossy tasteful gravy. The small red chili bulbs gave that spike needed for slightly sweetened Schezwan gravy. Overall a good meal. I would order that Beef Chili Dry any time of day and that too on its own rather with rice or noodles. Talking about noodles, Tai Pan must have let us try the noodles too. Hmmmm…wonder why they missed on that.
Chinese cuisine has a long list of traditional desserts. I mean like from fruity jellies to sesame baked sweet buns or even Sachima but Tai Pan served us Fried Lychees on Ice cream. I mean like Why Why Why!! No comment on dessert as its actually (apparently) fried lychee on ice cream. On closing note, Pearl Continental does not need to host these food tasting sessions as this is not the core business. They have been there to satisfy egoistic urge of a certain portion of our population who does not understand food but rather just need to make a claim that they had food at Pearl Continental Hotel. If you ask anyone of them which restaurant they had food at, they might/wont even know the name except they were at PC Hotel. A big shout to Sacha Zaidi from Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore. Also to my favorite bunch of people, Anna Leghari, Mina Khan, Huda Emran and Farhan Hafeez.
Contributed by Jehanzeb A Khan who’s alternative ego is that of The Bearded Chef. He loves cooking and cigars and has a jazzy wit!