My craving for an oriental fine-dining experience drew me and some friends to this wonderful restaurant-Crystal Jade. This newly opened oriental restaurant in Gurgaon is a part of the Crystal Jade Chain headquartered in Singapore. The chain is blooming with over 120 restaurants in 21 cities in 9 countries and still counting. It is located very close to my place in central plaza mall which incidentally has a very convenient parking facility. The decor is mostly utilitarian albeit with a subtle oriental flavour, though nothing struck me out of the ordinary. The place does have a clean, contemporary setting and I found it to be quite comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised that they offer a separate vegetarian menu. An oriental restaurant with a reasonably extensive vegetarian menu, how cool is that!
For starters I ordered Chilled Spicy Cucumber. It is a cold salad with sautéed cucumbers, lightly spiced with chillies. It‘s refreshingly fresh taste did succeed in preparing my palate for the gastronomic extravaganza that was to follow. Next on the table were Dimsums. They have a huge variety of fillings to choose from, the whole range from chicken or pork to a variety of good old vegetables. The wrapping of the Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling was almost translucent, you could see through and the stuffing had the right balance of flavour and bite. The Deep Fried Oat Bun was served alongside condensed milk. It tasted similar to a donut but was a little denser than one. The condensed milk with donut would be a delightful treat, especially if you are accompanied by children. The Deep Fried Crispy Sliced Lotus Root is another gem in their collection. The lotus stems were crispy, crunchy and sent my taste buds in rapture. I ordered an orange and lemon mocktail which was as sweet as served in most places. I wonder when will restaurants get the art of making mocktails right?
For the main course we were served Steamed Sliced Fish with Cut Chilli. I would give full marks for presentation to this visual delight. The red and white colour palette of this dish exudes a festive vibe. If you though Omelettes were boring, wait till you check out their varied offerings in this category. They would be perfect as a light yet fulfilling lunch option. The Braised Mushroom with Bean Curd was well cooked. The bean curd was soft but the skin retained it’s chewy texture. Poached noodles with dried mushroom was flavourful too. The vegetables in the sauce, served over noodles, were cooked just right. The noodles also had some bite to it which was refreshingly different from its counterparts in other restaurants.
The Sautéed Diced Beef in Black Pepper Sauce apparently lacked pepper, according to my co-diners. The Braised Honey Spare Rib stood out on the busy table. It looked so masculine, was juicy with the meat being tender but not falling off the rib and I am sure will be hugely appreciated by the man who loves his meat. Assorted Vegetable and Mushroom served with rice in Hot Stone Pot arrived on the table. Now this one should be mandatorily checked out before the server mixes the whole dish up. This dish stimulates the senses, visually due to the beautiful arrangement of vegetables and mushrooms, the sizzle stimulates the auditory senses and the combination can send you in a tizzy. The chewy mushrooms, spicy kimchi sauce, juicy corn, assorted vegetables, everything put together makes this one a must try.
The first dessert to arrive on the table was Glutinous Rice Balls with Black Sesame Paste coated with Peanuts. The rice balls were nutty, not too sweet and the novelty of this dessert makes it appealing- definitely recommended! Next, I tried the Chilled Almond Bean Curd with Longan, Chilled Almond Bean Curd with Mango Cream and Chilled Mango Cream with Sago and Pomello. Honestly all of them tasted more or less the same to me. They could still be a light dessert option If it were a lunch outing, personally I didn’t enjoy them very much. The sago was raw which was sorely unsuitable for my Indian palate. A thumbs-down to these three desserts on the menu. Last but not the least was the Mango Pudding. It was served with fresh fruits on the side. The presentation was ravishing. My mango crazy taste-buds were dancing in delight as I dug into this golden dessert.
We had a chance to interact with the manager and he gave us a crash course in Chinese culture which was very informative. The head chef has worked in Malaysia and Singapore and his effort in dishing out the fare which will be appreciated by the Indian palate is laudable. My only grouse would be, the ill informed staff and the slow service. Nothing that a little training should not take care of though. All in all it was a good experience. They served decent portions, used fresh ingredients, The menu was extensive by both vegetarian and non vegetarian standards and included novel desserts. I was so impressed that I have already planned my next visit to crystal jade.
Food 4/5 Service 3.5/5 Ambience 3.5/5 Meal for two-Rs 1300
Address-G 01,Central Plaza Mall, Golf course road,Gurgaon Phone-0124-4001505, 9811474888