What: Chao Ban
where: 30, K Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Call: 4915 0050
What’s on the menu: Oriental cuisine
In Kala Ghoda, replacing the immensely popular Asian restaurant Joss, is a swanky new Chinese restaurant — Chao Ban, owned by the same guys who run The Irish House (the pub upstairs). Word about it already seems to be out there; we found it doing roaring business on a weeknight. And this, mind you, isn’t your four-table Bandra affair, but a big space (if you’ve been to Joss, you’ll know). We didn’t have to wait for a table, though the menu only came after we asked for one, after waiting for 10 minutes. The décor is sophisticated and clean without being original, with standard Chinese paintings and some
We started with the Fried Crunchy Duck Roll (R350). Though it comes in just four portions and were ever-so-slightly oily, they were crunchy and stuffed generously with minced duck. The highlight, however, was the varied condiments that came with the dish.
For the main course,
we called for the Braised Yee-fu Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables (R425) which the server recommended, while adding, for good measure, that they were “imported”. It didn’t disappoint at all. The noodles were slightly chewy and spongy — just like they are meant to be — and that gives them an exciting texture. The chicken was tender and the flavours were so well balanced that we could have eaten just the noodles without a side dish. Disappointingly enough, the Kung Pao Lamb with Ginger, Chinese Vinegar and Cashew (R475) made us wish that we were eating just the noodles. The lamb was tough and very chewy, and sauce was so humdrum, we’d expect it only from our neighbourhood Chinese hole-in-the-wall eatery. As for the cashew, well, we didn’t find any. The portions for the mains, however, were generous. Thankfully, we were able to finish on a better note, as the Lemon Grass Crème Brûlée (R250) had a subtle flavour and just the right amount of crunch to crack through at the top. Overall, minus the glitches, we would recommend Chao Ban. They do, however, have tough competition from several established Chinese restaurants in Mumbai. And some of those guys rarely get a dish wrong.
— HT Café reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
What we like
The Yee-fu noodles
we don’t like
The Kung Pao Lamb