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Is it all about dimsums?

Arati Carroll Menon | January 23, 2006

We check out Chinese diner China White that opened for tasting last week.

The same as China White that's in London?

Uhhh, not so. Proprietor Mustafa Eisa claims he hadn't heard of the chic London eatery/ nightclub until after he'd registered the name. "The name stems from a Mandarin movie made in the 1980s called China White," he says.

So is this a nightclub or a restaurant or both?

This place is all about the food; it's a 150-seater restaurant. There will be no bar area or nightclub; food takes centrestage. Eisa takes care to mention he has employed only Chinese chefs from the mainland and from Hong Kong (but the hostesses only look Chinese, they are Indian).

Who is Mustafa Eisa anyway?

He was a model for 12 years, before heading off to Parsons School of design in New York to study interior design. He owns ME Furniture & Beyond, a three-year-old furniture store under the Yash Birla Group banner.

Critic speak?

Meher Moos, a retired food columnist at the Afternoon tabloid, gave it a fairly vigorous thumbs-up in between mouthfuls of food. "The beef balls are great," she said, "and so are the veg dimsums."

Eisa recommends the Schezwan style tofu, the steamed crab and the crispy aromatic duck. "It's like Peking duck, but way better," he says.

Is it all about dimsums?

"There are very few restaurants that get their suimai (dumplings) right," says Moos. The transparency of the skin of the dimsum is the deciding factor, and China White seems to have got that right.

"You wouldn't get this garlic-chilli sauce in China, though," she adds. We can't possibly surrender our Indian palate completely now, can we?

Is its Chinese fare affordable?

The quality of food served will make up for the medium-sized hole the cheque will burn in your pocket. A meal for two will cost Rs 1,500. (That doesn't include extravagant choices like lobster!)

Will it give Royal China a run for its money?

"The market is big enough for both of us," says Eisa graciously. "They are the best in south Mumbai, but the suburbs only has Indian-Chinese restaurants, so there was a gap waiting to be filled.

Our competitive advantage will be that we have chefs who've specialised in Hunan, Schezwan, Cantonese and dimsums. You won't get this variety anywhere, not even at Royal China." (Pssst! SemChi Ling, the manager of Royal China, was poached to handle back-end operations.)

And is the restaurant 'white'?

Well, close. It's predominantly clothed in shades of cream and beige. The interiors have been designed by Eisa himself, and are a curious mix and match of seemingly disparate materials -- marble flooring, walls that alternate in rough cut stone, velvet or tapestries, and bendy velvet and paper wall lamps made by Parisienne lighting designer David Emery.

But the fact that it is relatively contained in its expression averts what could have been utter confusion. There isn't a hint of Chinese aesthetic to be seen, save for the artificial Chinese bamboo at the entrance.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or cuisine? Or have you sampled the latest haunt on the block? Be it Manali or Kanyakumari, Kashmir or Goa, Jaipur or Nagpur -- we would love to know more about the eating out options in your village, town or city. 

Self-confessed foodies, 
recommend a restaurant. Rate the food (vegetarian and non-vegetarian), ambience, service, accessibility and whether you plan to head back.

Don't forget to add the restaurant's address and phone number, along with your full name, age, the name of your city, your profession and contact details.


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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: where is this restaurant?

Wheres this restaurant? the author seems to be on his own trip?

Posted by Nitin


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