Jing, my cursory search on Wikipedia (where else?) revealed, means “essence” in Chinese and is, according to the wise ones at the Internet’s free encyclopedia, a principle of Chinese medicine. It also happens to be the name of a new Chinese restaurant in Gurgaon that my editor asked me to go and review.
We went to Jing for an early lunch on a Sunday — oxymoronic as that may seem — and happened to be the only people turning up to eat so early. It’s a spacious, glass-fronted place set as a standalone annex of what is otherwise a high-rise office block and gives you the choice of eating al fresco or indoors. I always choose indoors over al fresco because although the latter can seem stylishly Continental during a pleasant December afternoon, here on the sub-continent we have uninvited guests called flies.
As it happened, we weren’t spared visitations from eight members of that species inside Jing as well, but early into our repast, the enterprising wait-staff dealt with the problem using a nifty tennis racquet-like electronic swatter. We’d already ordered our wine, an Australian Yellow Tail Shiraz (Rs 1,650) and appetisers — steamed shrimp dim sums (Rs 295), Butter Garlic Chilli Prawns (Rs 450) and Spare Pork Ribs in Black Pepper Sauce (Rs 325). Wang Li is the executive chef at Jing and, clearly, he’s got the essence of what it means to feed the average well-heeled north Indian foodie in Gurgaon who prefers his Chinese with an Indian tweak. The Butter Prawns were redolent of garlic (nice) but battered and deep fried (not so nice!); and the spare pork ribs — I’m not saying they weren’t delicious — too seemed to have been dunked in hot oil.
Jing is not claustrophobic like many Chinese restaurants tend to be — perhaps because of the floor-to-ceiling glass frontage and the roominess of the place. The absence of weepy Chinese music was a great positive factor for me as was the courteousness of the wait-staff.
For the main course, we had a Steamed Sliced Snapper (Rs 475), which was delicately flavoured and happened to be the high point of my meal, Sauteed Shredded Chicken in Sichuan style (Rs 325) and Smoked Chicken and Lettuce Fried Rice (Rs 195). The smoked chicken added a curiously pleasing flavour to the lettuce and the rice but when I said that the sauteed shredded chicken was too spicy, my companion wondered what I expected something that said ‘Sichuan’ to be. We begged off the offer of desserts, although the Honey Darsan with Ice Cream is billed as one of Chef Wang’s signature dishes and made a mental note of going back next time for the Beijing Roast Duck, which is another of his “masterpiece delights”.