Growing up in Chandigarh,special treats (the birthday and anniversary kind) were incomplete without a celebratory meal at Yangste in Hotel Shivalikview. One of the first Chinese fine-diners in the city,it opened in 1989. It would not be out of place to mention Yangste now as one writes about the dining experience at its younger sibling Magic Wok,a few sectors away in Hotel Mountview,another CITCO property. Few would be aware that the chef who manned the kitchen back in Yangste for more than two decades is now tossing up specials in Magic Wok. Hes chef Gopal Khadka,who has had a long run with city diners who,as he puts it,relish Chinese food thats not too close to the original yet not too familiar to be Punjabi Chinese. Khadka has managed to tread the middle path and hes seldom spoken about it. Though familiar with Thai fare,(he introduced the curries in Yangste when it wasnt a fad like now),chef Khadka is finally getting to show his culinary skills. Which is what makes the ongoing Thai food festival at Magic Wok an interesting choice for a meal out.
The festival menu is divided into two parts theres a robust selection of leafy,meaty and seafood starters and dimsums served a la carte and a three-day special buffet for lunch and dinner. There are onion cakes,deep-fried tofu,Thai rice rolls,chicken satay and the like to choose from. We zero in on Corn Salt Pepper (Rs 175) and Thai Chicken Roll with Plum Sauce (Rs 300) along with Tom Yum soup. The latter comes as part of the buffet (Rs 650). Those familiar with Yangstes menu will recognise the Corn Salt Pepper instantly. Its a popular favourite there and chef Khadka manages to dish out the same flavours. The chicken rolls were equally well-done. Paired with the soup,it made for a good meal for one.
The buffet,given its competitive price,has an impressive spread. Dinner for us meant choosing from sliced fish with chilli dressing,Thai lamb chops,chicken green curry,yellow curry with Thai greens,Thai garlic noodles and more on offer. The Singaporean noodles were spot on,paired with the chicken curry,that surprisingly wasnt too spicy. The chilli-meter for most dishes would rank medium and will suit most palates.
To add a fun element to the serious dining is a martial arts and Chinese dance presentation that is showcased every few minutes by a team from the citys Kings Academy of Martial Arts. It thankfully doesnt turn out to be an unnecessary distraction and works almost like an amuse-bouche.
The Thai food festival is on till May 13.
Meal for two: Rs 1,500 Location: Hotel Mountview,Sector 10,Chandigarh Contact: 0172-4671111