Restaurant Review: Asia Kitchen By Mainland China

Restaurant Review: Asia Kitchen By Mainland China

Fuss-free pan-Asian cuisine with a gentle twist. That's the ethos of the newly-opened Asia Kitchen By Mainland China in BurJuman. Anamika Chatterjee samples the fare

Being a non-resident Indian can mean living in a constant state of nostalgia. And if you happen to have a special affinity towards food, it becomes a sureshot way of revisiting pleasant memories of the place you call home. Sitting inside and glancing through its exhaustive menu, Asia Kitchen By Mainland China afforded me one such time travel: I'd spent a good part of 2012 musing about life over dimsums and prawns at the parent restaurant's Delhi branch, which was then pretty close to a magazine office I was employed with back then. The branch in BurJuman has a different face to it. It's smaller, but the interiors are in keeping with the brand's minimalistic ethos. There is a certain thoughtfulness to every dining aspect - the interiors are subtly designed, the lighting is not really in your face, the staff is warm and welcoming, but the real star is the food. There is a good mix of new offerings with staples. The addition and subtraction of ingredients does leave an impact. For instance, I just loved the sweet and spicy lotus stems as much as I relished the chicken dumplings with basil. Staples like Keong's chilli chicken and crispy corn also make an impact. I visited the restaurant on a regular weekday, and happened to find it busy... not to mention buzzy!
Taste: There are no compromises on this one. Loved most things I ate, even though my companion did not fully approve of Keong's chilli chicken (she felt the chicken was a bit hard). The star of the table was the crispy lotus stem and chicken basil dumplings - both bursting with flavours.
Ambience: For a semi casual dining restaurant, Asia Kitchen gets its vibe just right. As mentioned earlier, the lighting is subtle and the decor is minimal, so the attention is completely on the food. Given that the open kitchen is located right at the centre, it can get a tad noisy.
Service: The service is top notch. We were attended by three members of the staff - Binoy, Dev and Naresh - and each one made it a point to describe the menu at length, apart from explaining how the ingredients have been treated.
Presentation: Perhaps not the strongest point, though it's interesting in its own way. Quirky cutlery accompanies the drinks while the lotus stem is another visual delight that comes atop a wooden tray. Mostly, it's fuss-free presentation, which has its own appeal to a die-hard foodie.
Value for money: At Dh150 for two, Asia Kitchen is definitely value for money. The portions are fairly elaborate (even with good appetite, my companion and I found ourselves struggling to finish most items), as is the menu. Rest assured, you'll be spoilt for choice.

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