Monday 29 May 2017

Satay Food Festival | Imperial China Hilton International Airport Mumbai | Food Review | Restaurant Review

'There is a Satay Food Festival going on'

'I am on a diet, you go'

'It is at Imperial China, Hilton'

'We are going tomorrow night,understood?'

This is the exact conversation I had with my sister after having been invited by the good folks at Hilton to try their Satay Festival. And it turned out to be a beautiful unmissable experience to boot :)

Situated among the vast stretch of elegant 5 star hotels just beside Mumbai International Airport, Hilton exudes an understated European heritage charm. The gorgeous chandeliers in the lobby, the muted elegant color scheme, the high arches, selective vintage artifacts (combining European and Indian artistic sensibilities), they all create a sort of time bubble as we enter Imperial China. Appropriate (not overwhelming) oriental touches jump off, most strikingly the imported Dragon Fans hanging from the ceiling, using a lever mechanism to fan out the room just like it was done a century ago manually! Difficult to tear away our eyes from this demonstration yet we did and noticed a calm ambiance, thanks to beautiful paintings and Buddha sculpture, enveloped in a wooden floors meet marble walls interiors. Gotta come back here someday to do a complete photo-shoot of this very unique decor. There is character here.

Add superlative service to all this and we are golden :) Relaxing within a luxurious environment, being served the finest of Jasmine Tea by the ever smiling staff, followed by a procession of some of their best vegetarian specialties, what more could we want! Even the prices, that might seem high at one glance, are actually very reasonable looking at the top-notch quality and more than sufficient quantity of every dish. 

There is a Satay Food Festival going on right now, where we have a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian satays to try. From among these, we tried-
Paneer Satay i.e. Cottage Cheese infused with lemon juice, kaffir leaves and red chilli paste -had a good smokey flavor, paneer was soft and tasted divine with accompanying peanut sauce :)

My personal favorite was Mushroom and Cheese Satay i.e. Wild Mushroom stuffed with Creamy Cheese & Aromatic Herbs, a dish worthy of being repeated, juicy mushrooms and wholesome bell peppers on skewers with gooey cheese, I am salivating just thinking about these!

Apart from these satays, we tried some choicest dishes, none of which were swimming in oil or spices or chillies. One of very few times when we binged on flavorful oriental food without everything tasting like overdose of soya sauce or vinegar! Fresh and abundant veggies were used, gravies were lip-smacking, noodles were crispy and a good time was had by all.

We started with Chef's Signature Imperial Dragon Vegetable Soup, such a filling combination of clear soup with a ton of veggies and tofu, if you are on a diet,this is your poison :)

Onwards ho with Chestnut Dim Sum with Crispy Chestnuts wok tossed with Seasonal Vegetable, crunchy and satisfying, especially when paired with accompanying dim sum special sauces,

A must-have dish we recommend is their Chilly Baby Corn i.e. Crispy Baby Corn tossed with Thai Bird Chilly, it has the right balance of crunch and spice, an explosion of flavors on palate, nothing overwhelming, everything memorable,

My sister being a huge eggplant fan obviously loved Schezwan Eggplant i.e. Crispy Eggplant with Sweet Chilli Sauce, but these were soooo good that even I, an avowed eggplant loath-er couldn't help but have seconds! Most times, if you cook eggplant, it gets soggy or too oily or too salty, but here it was the crunchiest and delicious version of eggplant I have ever eaten anywhere!

If you are like me, a lover of mushroom and tofu, you have got to try Tangy Mushroom i.e. Assorted Mushroom Saute in Black Bean gravy, so very rich in textures, as well as Mapo Tofu i.e. Bean Curd, Trio Bell Pepper in Tangy Sauce, a simple dish with down to earth flavors.

Both the gravies went beautifully with Vegetable Hot Basil Rice and Vegetable Hakka Noodles, former being so good that we could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and hakka noodles, just how one would expect some flavorsome noodles to be :)

And after all this, did we have space left for any dessert, you ask? Indeed we did and we had a refreshing swipe of Tab-Tim-Grab i.e. Crunchy Chestnut with Jackfruit and Coconut Cream, very light, sparsely beautiful, clean flavors tantalizing our palate after a heady night of culinary celebrations :) 

We also enjoyed some summer special mocktails, a fruity citrusy one as well as a khus + lemon + coke concoction, both superb. This is a young team geared to make each patron feel like royalty, so obviously our plans to go back for a family feast are pretty much set in stone :) 

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