My second visit to Blue Ginger to give it a second chance. Taking in to consideration my love for Vietnamese food and it being the only place serving it, how could I not. I wanted to believe it had gone from half-way-there to all the way up. Especially, with the back-bending service, the informative staff; ask them what you may about the menu and they actually have an answer. You forget what good service is until you step in to establishments like the Taj. The elements of the place itself look confusing and overly busy. As if fighting each other. However Blue Bar outside is an exception to this, nice ambience, a great place to get some drinks.
Though the food did not vow me like the service did. And my heart certainly didn’t go through an approving series of cartwheels. It wasn’t all a loss. Pick and choose wisely and you could have a fairly satisfactory meal.
- Start with a raw mango salad. The raw mango for me personally is a bit too sour (perhaps raw papaya next time), but in every other way the salad was a star. I especially loved those crispy brown shallots sprinkled all over.
- Next move on to some customary Fresh Summer Rolls - veg or non-veg you decide. These two dishes really just sum up Vietnamese food - fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil and a generous amount of fresh glorious herbs. Once you’ve got your doctors approval, sneak on to some delicious fried Taro Prawn. There is a special flour they use with the taro that creates this wonderfully crispy nest around the succulent prawn, which is half the allure for me. If you find yourself getting tempted by the Tofu Rock Salt, walk away. Uninspiring, and the tofu should be a lot softer and creamier for this dish to work.
- Angus Beef on Lemon Grass Skewers - Actually very good. So nice eating good beef too, makes all the difference.
- Next pick up a plate of the Black Bean Chicken in Pandanus Leaf. Now, I did expect it to be grilled in the pandan leaf but its a merely there for presentation. Tasty nonetheless with a generous burst of black bean.
- As you step in to the mains, you may find the whole or half duck with wraps calling, do keep walking. You can get much better duck elsewhere in the city. The meat was just ok and the skin was soggy which for me is a huge turn off.
- Have you reached the grills? Stop right there. The Galangal Chicken - though it tasted more like lemongrass to me was ok if you are looking for one more dish to add - otherwise skip.
- The Hanoi Fish could have done with a longer visit from the galangal and lemongrass but squirt it with some chilly, salt and lemon that it comes with (for good reason) and you will be satisfied.
- You love scallops? So do I. But I forbid you from ordering them. The natural sweetness of scallops means it can shine with very little but these could do with a complete recipe re-haul.
- You’re getting full you say? Well then stop eating whatever you are because you have a generous bowl of Angus Pho to get through! This noodle dish with an aromatic, clear, broth is a meal on its own. Serves about 3 and is a staple in all parts of Vietnam. However, the mild delicate flavours may not be for everyone. I personally would have preferred the dominating spice to be star anise rather than clove, but oh well. With angus, is the best way to eat it and it demonstrates another great quality of Vietnamese cuisine. Where meat is only cooked to a minimal to maintain their truest flavours. Here angus carpaccio slices are placed on top and as the piping hot broth is poured you see the meat transcend from a luscious red to a eat-me-pink. A little magic to brighten things up!
- Their Vegetable Claypot Sticky Rice was good as always. I love anything cooked in a claypot. And this was definitely the best claypot rice I have eaten in the city. I definitely recommend ordering a portion.
- I also quite enjoyed the slightly sweet, soft vegetable noodles with those wonderful crispy fried shallots again. Nice to have on the side to nibble on.
- The Caramel Lamb Shank was almost there but not quite there. The lamb itself was too gamy for me. The caramel sauce was quite intense and got a bit much after a few bites. A shame because the caramel sauced dishes are one of my favourites in Vietnamese food.
- And the flashy Pepper Angus served in a bamboo stem - flambeed with cointreau. Who doesn’t like a good show? Apart from the tender angus that didn’t need to be cajoled in to chewing, the sauce was too intense. Over spiced and seasoned, it created a kind of saltiness that over powers your taste buds.
- Ignore the Chicken Supreme . Its just well as the name suggests strips of chicken breast in what I call an "English curry" sauce. Nothing worth stopping for.
- Green Beans - I forget what this dish was called exactly but its predominantly flavoured with dry coriander powder, which was just too close to home for me. Like some indian beans subzi.. oh no but im eating Vietnamese .. ya it left me confused! The chef did tell me that they had to invent a few veggie dishes since Vietnamese food has very few (and you wonder why i love it) .
- Do make a stop for the delicious Yellow Basa Cari served with French Baguette. The curry is fairly mellow but rich and lush in its creaminess. Sad the French tradition of baguettes didn’t spread all over SEAsia, because its a wonderful way to eat curry!
- Before you leave won’t you stay for dessert? An Orange Creme Brulee beckons. The brulee is set and served in an orange rind, topped with that glass like, burnt sugar crust and a dollop of fresh marmalade. My favourite after such a huge meal though was the coconut ice-cream, with bits of dry and fresh coconut to give it another dimension of texture and flavour. However, skip the mung bean ice-cream - for one the grainy texture was weird and the flavour of the mung bean in an ice-cream form just didnt do it for me.
Another plus is their wine menu. Taj Palace is known to have the most extensive wine cellar in Delhi - here quality is not sidelined by quantity. If you aren't in the mood for alcohol then settle for some tea. Loved the ingenius little burners it comes on.
Taj Palace Hotel
+91 11 26110202
Labels: Healthy Options, Vietnamese