Diners are in for a rare treat in the city. The Chinese chef who has been lighting up gourmets’ journeys of “a thousand bites” in the famous Tao of Peng restaurant in the Intercontinental in Mahabalipuram has brought his remarkable fare to the Crowne Plaza in the city for a pop-up upto May 5 at the Cappuccino, Crowne Plaza.
“You have to cook food with your heart, only then will it go to the heart of the person you serve,” says chef Tenzin Phuntsok. “You can call me by any name but all I believe in us winning your heart,” he says. Tenzin is an artiste who believes presentation is as important as the food he serves. His speciality is dim sums, of which he serves up a dozen varieties, including at least five vegetarian to suit a traditional Chennai preference.
You relish a course of dim sums with every kind of filling imaginable – one of them stunningly aromatic - all served in an artistic platter of accompaniments of vegetables, dips and sauces, believing you are done with the meal when your plate is taken away. And then come starters – lotus root brilliant in texture, spicy on the outside and crisp and delicious to bite into.
And then the noodles, the rice and the tofu for the main course, perhaps not as interesting as the path leading there. An hour of dim sums and you feel you are just about ready to wrap up with a mild dessert when an astonishing array of ice creams turn up – Mandarin ice cream in a delightful mellow yellow colour with a touch of chilli inside, vodka flavoured dark ice cream, a brilliant lychee and Goji berry and to boot – a Wasabi ice cream to die for.
With short introductions from Ms Aarohi Tambe of Intercon Mahabs, Mr Nalin Manidritta, Area General Manager, South India of Intercontinental Hotels Group and Crowne Plaza GM Anand G. Nair and a few words from chef Tenzin and it was down to a contest among journos vying to match him for artistic handling of the dim sum platter and soon enough off the party went to gorge on the goodies.
It takes a couple of hours to go through a multi-course Chinese meal but it was well worth the wait as the wholesome experience was so pleasant.
The Pan Asian offerings from Hunan, Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine presented in a modern interpretation of authentic recipes where emulsions are spooned, foams are whipped and garnishes placed with perfect precision were just perfect for a leisurely lunch. To get to the heart of an inveterate vegetarian must have taken some doing but the chef did it....