Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Address: The Lalit Hotel, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place
When we go out for dinner, we always expect great food and great service, but when we go to a five-star, we expect more than that- we expect a dining experience. Woks at The Lalit, which specializes in Pan-Asian food, provides just that.
Located on the 28th floor, offering an excellent view of the city, this place gives you a really nice feeling of temporarily being cut-off from the hustle and bustle that exists in our day-to-day lives, and the view from there makes the craziness of our lives, even if just for a couple of hours, seem small and distant.
The restaurant has been done up in wooden interiors, adding to that calming feeling, with soothing music which instantly relaxes you the moment you enter. The hospitality and courteous service was no less than what you expect from a 5-star, from the moment we entered up until the moment we left. We had a brief chat with the sous chef, who talked about her passion for her job, and how important it is for her that all diners walk out satiated. We even got introduced to Chef Sharma, the mind behind the food at this restaurant, but he was a man of few words and chose to let the food speak for him. And so it did.
We started off with an amuse-bouche of Pumpkin Crackers and Prawn Crackers. Now I am not a fan of pumpkin, and I always try to stay as far away as possible from all kinds of seafood, but both these crackers, surprisingly, were excellent. I kept going back for more and more of these during the entire meal.
For starters, we had Chicken Tai Chi and Pan Fried Chicken Kothe Dimsum. The chicken tai chi had boneless chicken chunks, fried and coated in a sauce which was tangy and spicy, with a prominent flavour of star anise which provided earthy undertones, and went brilliantly with the chili garlic sauce served with it. The pan fried kothe dimsum had a stuffing of juicy minced chicken, which was mildly flavoured, balanced perfectly with the two sauces served with it- one was a pickled ginger sauce which tasted very similar to a strong ginger ale (which I personally love) and a spicy tomato and onion sauce, which was a perfect accompaniment for the dimsum. After the starters, we had a Lemon Coriander Chicken Soup, which was a light, fragrant, clear soup, flavoured with kaffir lime leaves, coriander leaves and lemon juice. The vegetables in the soup were perfectly cooked, so they still retained their texture. This was a great way to cleanse our palate for the rest of the meal.
For the main course, we had Shredded Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Crispy Konjee Lamb Beijing Style with Sesame Seeds, Cauliflower Butter Garlic Sauce, Stir-fried Asian Greens, Silky Bean Curd with Bokchoy in Chili Garlic Sauce, along with Mushroom Fried Rice and Egg Hakka Noodles. The chicken was coated in a thick sauce which had a nice, bold flavour. The lamb dish had fried morsels of excellent quality lamb, with the added crunch of the sesame seeds. Even the veg dishes were very well prepared- the Asian greens were cooked perfectly and even vegetables like broccoli and zucchini tasted wonderful, and the bean curd was so soft and creamy. But the stand-out dish here was the cauliflower butter garlic, which is Chef Sharma’s signature dish- his own innovation. It had tempura cauliflower, which was extremely soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, in a creamy, rich, luscious butter garlic sauce. I’m not sure how authentically Chinese this particular dish is, but this is an absolute must-have for any diner at Woks. The sauce was addictive and I kept going back for more even though I was totally full, and I’m craving for it again as I write this.
All the dishes had distinct flavours and the fried rice and noodles were a perfect match for these dishes. Again here I would like to mention that the fried rice was the best I’ve ever had, as this dish again had a nice background flavour of ginger and spices.
For desserts, we had Date Pancake with Vanilla Ice-cream and Woks Delight (Chocolate Mousse). The date pancake was actually a crispy filo pastry , stuffed with a dry-ish date spread with sesame seeds, served warm. This is a perfect dish for people who don’t like their desserts to be overly sweet or heavy. It was something I had not tasted before and I really enjoyed it. The chocolate mousse on the other hand, was rich and creamy and really well-made.
Throughout the meal, the service was excellent and each dish was explained to us in detail.
The balance of flavours- sweet, sour, spicy and tangy- is the most important factor in Asian food, and Woks has got that down perfectly. We often associate authentic Chinese with bland food, but Woks proves with their mastery of this cuisine, that Chinese can have flavours, other than just chillies. They use various earthy spices which provide nice undertones and helps build layers of flavour, which would please our Indian palate, despite still being authentic.
For its excellent food, superb hospitality and unmatched view, I would definitely recommend Woks!