The ITC Sheraton group is known for the Bukhara and Dum Pukht. With such a pedigree of Indian food, would we dare to enter their Chinese joint?

You bet we would.

The Shanghai Club is easily the least marketed, least known 5-star chinese restaurant in Bombay. No one knows it exists and you get zero bragging rights by saying you dined there.

Its literally your last stop at the ITC Grand Central in Lower Parel. You walk all the way through the indian restaurant, meander past their glass-walled kitchens with buttery kababs and fluffy naans until the decor suddenly turns oriental. You cross the India-China border and there you are!

The ambience is very nice. Great lighting, good room between tables, lovely limitless tea. The cutlery gleams and the crockery has some quaint chinese design elements.

Your journey here has to start with the appetizers and for me, they stole the show. The dim sum is dead-on. Only one veggie option, but the steamed veggie dumplings are as good as anything you get in Singapore. Another nice starter are the crispy, chilly pepper vegetables. Just the right mix of spice and flavour.

We tried the Gong-bao veggies and the Ma Po Tofu. The tofu is silken and the sauce delicate though not as spicy as the original. The Gong-bao is a poor cousin of the real deal – Kung Pao is meant to be a fiery mixture of dried red chillies and peanuts. This fell short! The rices have decent options, though they lacked a pot rice option. We had the ginger peppers rice and it was nice.

The pricing is high, but not as high as you would expect.

TIP: By investing in an annual ITC Sheraton Plus Card you get great discounts on your meals (upto 50% off for a couple meal). If you like their food, worth coughing up the 6 grand.

Overall, a decent experience, but you could get better chinese elsewhere.

My recco – Worth a visit, if you are a regular to ITC for one of the expos. But, if you visit rarely try the indian place first.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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Named after the famed 5-spice powder which is a key component of Chinese cooking, 5 Spice is practically an institution in Bandra, and Bombay as a whole.

This place toes an interesting line between conventional “Indian Chinese” cuisine and a more authentic hong kong-style. In the balance I would put it in the Indian Chinese boat, but with just a hint of the real deal.

The menu is loaded with veggie options. If  you were to start with a soup, I would recommend the Veg Wonton Soup which is done particularly well. Without introducing artificial spice, this mildly flavoured clearish soup allows the more subtle flavours to hold court. In appetizers, there are a few I could recommend. The corn cream melts like butter in your mouth and the accompanying mint sauce is stuff of legend now. Another good option is the veg fried wontons, which have enough stuffing to keep you engaged. My personal favourite remains the veg steamed wontons.

In the main course, you cannot go wrong with the burnt chilly fried rice. No place does it better! If you prefer a more subtle rice dish, go for the Veg Moon Fan. In noodles, I would probably say the Veg singapore noodles are the most flexible.

The main course dishes have many options, but the Tofu with Black Bean chilly sauce is a must-have. Another good dish is the Tsing Ho potatoes – a definite “Indian Chinese” dish, but a new one! If you want a mix of veggies, go for the Hot Wok.

The ambience is modern asian with nice even lighting. There could be more space between tables, but nobody’s perfect.

They recently upped prices and this prevents them from being a 5-bone eatery. But, I cant be too harsh. This is one place where you forgive them the price tag.

My recco – you must visit this place to experience the current home of Indian Chinese food in India. Dont save space for the desserts – pig out on starters and way more!

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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