If proof were required of an Indian homily that translates into "there's magic in his hands" it is to be found in Nepalese master chef R.B., who weaves magic with his pan-Asian creations at the Ni Hao fine diner at the Radisson here.
"I believe in always carrying a positive attitude," the largely self-taught R.B, who graduated from Nepal's Shri Chandra Jyoti Pokhara University, explained.
"You've got to have a feeling for food and convey that to your guests," R.B., who has 19 years under his belt and has worked at a variety of five-stars across India, and also as head chef of a fine diner in Singapore, told IANS as he served up a lightly-spiced pan fried slit chilly chicken that was done just right.
"The trick lies in the marination," R.B. beamed.
While I contemplatively chewed on the starter, with a red wine on the side, it gave me a chance to take in the authentic Chinese decor in a mix of light bloomy colours like pink, beige, white and lavender.
The chairs and sofas are handcrafted out of special bamboos and a huge Chinese chandelier hanging from the centre of the 50-cover restaurant, with smaller ones along the walls, made for an incredibly cosy ambience while soft Chinese music played in the background.
In the midst of my reverie, caused partly by the open kitchen, two appetisers - Peking duck with pancake and a combination of prawn, duck, lamb, chicken, pork and fish dimsums quitely arrived at the table.
All of this quickly disappeared and it was only then that one realised that given the variety of meats, there was absolutely no clash of flavours.
"This is what I meant by saying that you've got to conveny to your guests your feeling for food," R.B. explained.
"What also helps is the fact that the Peking duck is our signature dish," Taslim Khan, the restaurant manager, added.
As is the wont with such cuisine, a chimney pot chicken soup was up next with tasters' helpings of the main course: steamed fish with black bean sauce; stir-fried prawn with scallop in X.O. sauce and stir-fried pork with Oriental greens with soya garlic sauce.
In all this, what really stood out was the soft, chewy and crunchy prawns. Once again, the condiments blended seamlessly, aided of course by the red wine.
I threw up my hands after this repast but R.B. would have none of it and insisted I try his signature desert - fried ice-cream.
"We set the ice-cream balls rock hard, harder than is usually done. Then, just before serving we dip the ball in a batter and fry it in shallow heat."
And what an adventure it turned out to be - slicing through the covering and devouring it with the ice cream. Suddenly, a second helping appeared.
"Your face said 'yeh dil mange more' so here it is," R.B. beamed.
One couldn't have asked for a better end to a sumptious meal.
Where: Radisson Hotel, Sector 55 Noida.
Cost for two: Rs 5,000 (without alcohol)
Timings:- 12 noon to 3 p.m. for lunch; 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. for dinner.
Vishnu Makhijani visited NiHao at its invitation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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