Apparently the faux rock-face waterfall -- that’s doing the feng shui across from the restaurant’s corridor -- was one inspiration for Chef David Wang to create the new menu at Schezwan Court. The Oberoi’s beautiful Chinese restaurant.
Wang is from Beijing and recently moved to Bangalore. Having spent 10 years in India, he’s no stranger to our spicy ways and this is maybe why his newly crafted menu includes flavours and seasoning that might be alien to restaurants in China. Then again, “authentic cuisine” does not exactly fetch a premium among Indians who are unrelenting when it comes to the spice in their rice.
Explocity sat at a tasting menu with Chef Wang. He kicked us off with a stir-fried bean sprout and wild mushrooms, powered by red chillies. This starter was followed by a plate of stir fried five spiced prawns. The flavours reminded us of southern spices, like those from Chettinad. This amalgam of Oriental and a typical South Indian seasoning, read spicy, is clearly designed to make the aforementioned unrelenting Indian happy.
One indication of Wang’s skill at localising food was evident at the turnip tasting. Now, the turnip is not everyone’s first choice of vegetable. In essence, the turnip is bitter and it takes much boiling to leach out this -- and every other -- taste. But Wang’s Turnip Cake was palatable on account that it was dutifully influenced by Sichuan Peppers. The seasoning in the dish was an echo of the taste of other two appetizers - tangy, peppery and hot.
Not all the food was indigenized. Wang left some favourites in the menu, we dare say to cater to the urbane hotel guest.
The Crabmeat with Onion Soup offered chunks of juicy meat with a strong and hearty backing of seafood aromas.
That old classic, Peking Duck, was served in three different ways -- rolls, broth with vegetables and stir-fried. The outside of the bird was crispy and the inside was juicy. The ingredients that go into this cuisine are sourced from abroad, in the interest of keeping the taste authentic.
The other courses in the tasting menu were not too pungent and they remained friendly to most palates. And, although this is not germane to the People’s Republic, we had ice cream. And chocolate and orange doused mousse.