Spicy Duck – Taj Palace Hotel
As many of my readers may know, I have been staying at the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi for about 20 years and during the visits many years ago, I frequented my favorite restaurant in the hotel, Tea House Of The August Moon. It was a Chinese restaurant in the hotel and in my opinion, the best one in town! It unfortunately closed down in 2009, leaving a void…a void that has now been filled by Spicy Duck. As they say “As one door closes, another one opens”.
My expectations were set very high before reviewing Spicy Duck. While good food and good customer service are crucial for a great restaurant experience, the ambiance of a restaurant is also important. I want to feel comfortable and enjoy my meal…too much to ask? As I entered Spicy Duck, I noticed the elegance of the decor. It is set in warm shades of white, brown and gold with very ornate, elegant lighting. My mood immediately changed from apprehensive to excited!
The staff was warm and attentive the moment we entered the restaurant. Before we could order, they offered us Kim-chi accompanied with dipping sauces.
It was spiced to perfection. It brought me back to the old days of Tea House of the August Moon. The meal then started with the Crispy Mushroom Spring Roll, which was known as their signature dish. The outer part of the spring roll was crispy and the filling was cooked with tender mushrooms in condensed milk. These were so light and crispy that my dinner guest and I found it difficult to stop at just one. I hope I did some justice in describing it here. It was the cheesiest, creamiest mushroom delight ever! A must-have!
We were then served more starters: Steamed Edamame Dumpling, Wok-Fried Shimeiji Mushrooms, Ying Yang Hargao, Prawn Horseradish, Pan Fried Chicken Guo Tie, Thousand Layer Radish Puff
I kept thinking that I had a favorite…until I tried the next dish. Everything was mouth-watering! Since I am vegetarian, I was getting some help from my dinner guest, who was visually enjoying all the dishes. He really enjoyed the prawns describing them as delicious and delectable. We were enjoying the starters so much that we forgot that the main meal was next.
The next course was Fried Prawns (with ginger spring onion), Stewed bean curd, “Ma Po” style, Wok fried asparagus, Broccoli, Bamboo Pith and Wolf berries, Mock Chicken (kung pao style), Pan Fried Vegetable Noodles, and Vegetable Fried Rice.
The Stewed Bean Curd shown here had a tangy, spicy and delicious sauce, with soft tofu that melts in your mouth. When paired with the Vegetable Fried Rice was scrumptious.
The Broccoli, Bamboo Pith and Wolf berries shown here was served in a light, but tasty sauce. What I loved about this dish was how crispy and fresh the vegetables were. The Wolf berries provided a sweet and tangy accent to the dish.
Mock Chicken (kung pao style) shown here was served in a spicy sauce and served with cashews. Not sure how the chef did it, but the tofu in this dish had the texture of chicken. My dinner guest and I asked a few times of this was really “mock” chicken.
Just look at my plate…I had to eat slower so that I could take my time and enjoy all the various flavors
After mouth-watering and delectable meal, I thought to myself, I am not eating for a full day after this meal. We were then asked about dessert. You know that they say that life is short, have dessert…so I did!
It was Sticky Date Cake, (five spice caramel) and Pomelo Mango Sago (vanilla Ice cream) You can imagine how good it must have been for me to eat anything at this point. The date cake was moist and not too sweet, with dates and hints of spices and caramel. The Pomelo Mango Sago was my favorite and a must-have at Spicy Duck. It was light, cool, refreshing and not super sweet, with my favorite, mango flavor.
The service throughout my dining experience was warm, friendly and efficient…very much in line with the extraordinary Taj service.
Although I still miss the old Tea House of the August Moon, only because it was like tradition to go there, I think the Taj Palace has done wonders opening the Spicy Duck restaurant. I hope you will give this restaurant a try…who knows, it could become your favorite!