Crystal Jade

 

A lunch date with the wife sans kids is a special occasion. The fact that we had a Rs. 1000,- coupon from the good people of Zomato handy adds a little to that (Okay fine, it actually subtracts from the bill, smarty pants). So off we went on a not-so-long drive to Crystal Jade tucked neatly in a mall in-between the rising residential towers and commercial spaces on Golf Course Road.

Classy. Yes, that’s the word, that’s the first impression I got of the place. A well dressed hostess to greet us at the door, a host to walk us up the flight of stairs to our table, and then the staff who took care for the reminder of the lunch. Everyone is courteous, smiling, and most importantly very professional.

In terms of decor and the ambience, Crystal Jade is sophisticated and smart; a place you’d want to dress up in semi-casuals at least (not that they have a dress code that I know of) to eat at. The menu is quite cleverly divided into two separate booklets, one featuring vegetarian and the other non-vegetarian.

I must at this stage state that when it comes to service I prefer to be left alone. I hate when conversations are interrupted for one reason or another by the staff; other than when they take the order or bring the food obviously. So, while at Crystal Jade the staff doesn’t technically leave you alone for long, there is a good reason for it and that’s to serve the dishes. Normally, I’m okay serving myself, but besides the fact that there is a certain elegance that I’m sure the restaurant is proud of, if the staff hadn’t helped, I would have dropped a couple of dumplings on the floor. So, even though it might not be to my personal liking, they do play an essential role in the overall experience and after a while one gets used to it.

 

The food at Crystal Jade is different. It’s unique in the sense that they proudly stay away from the usual fair one would find at say a neighbourhood Chinese restaurant. There’s a lot of thought that’s gone in the dishes, especially in the style they are cooked, the presentation, and lastly because of the ingredients, the taste too is distinctive. It’s clearly South-Asian but one cannot pinpoint it to a specific region.

Furthermore, although they have a nice little liquor and alcohol menu, once I spotted that classic Cold Coffee with Ice Cream on there, nothing else would be good enough. It’s one of those things us 80s kids get excited about even in our 30s. And yes, the drink was perfect.

Onwards to food now (I’m surprised you’ve stuck with me till here). The Multi-flavoured Xiao Long Bao was divine. I’ve had dumplings before but these were slightly peculiar, in a good way. Besides the meat the enclosure was filled with liquid (gravy/ soup) and were then served on soup spoons individually. It was like having a dumpling soup, only individually. Colourful, tasty, unique, and well presented… Recommended!

As for the Chicken and Shrimp Omelette on a Hot Plate; nothing beats having breakfast food at odd hours (lunch included). The presentation was a tad quirky as the basic omelette was brought at the table, then placed on a hot plate, followed by the server adding an egg yolk mixture to the omelette and cooking it more. I loved this little show and had I been aware of it, would have made a video of it. Obviously, after all the drama it had to taste great, which it did, and the various sauces on the table complimented it further.

Lastly, the Deep Fried Eggplant with Seaweed would have been preferred with fresh seaweed rather than the seaweed paper strips, nevertheless the strips were a nice match with the deep fried aubergine. Heavy because of the nature of cooking it, there was a requirement for an extra hint of garnishing on top for which the sweet and sour or soya sauce came in handy. On its own it borderlines on being bland even though it’s fried nicely with the kind of crunch that makes even adults act like children.

The bill for the entire meal came out to be for Rs. 1800,- (without the discount) which is just about acceptable considering the large helpings. However, no alcohol was consumed so that might further hike up the cost considerably.

Crystal Jade is a great place to visit if you want to try hardcore Asian food with a twist. While you might find your regular favourites, it’s recommended that you try something that is particular to the restaurant because therein lies their specialty.

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