‘Dumplings are most succulent when heading in the direction of the mouth’
About three months ago Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage, Abhishek Basu took a trip down south & dropped by China XO at The Leela Palace Chennai. He was absolutely smitten by the food, and why wouldn’t he? The Conde Nast Traveller has mentioned China XO as no.15 in their list of India’s 50 best restaurants. He just knew he had to bring this delightfulness back with him to Mumbai… And thus, began the brilliant plan for a special China XO pop-up at The Great Wall, The Leela Mumbai
To ensure the flavours of the meal was just as brilliant as the one he had at The Leela Palace Chennai, The Leela Mumbai is hosting a 10-day pop-up with a special menu curated, prepared & overlooked by Dim Sum Master Chef Chee Soon Hoong and Duck Chef Sylvester Lepcha. We were also joined by Chef Sashi, a pre-opening member of China XO & is now with The Leela Mumbai. This pop-up feature’s an exquisite range of dim sums, carefully curated set menus and signature creations like the Peking Duck, which we absolutely fell in love with!
Non – Vegetarian Dim Sums & Dumplings
Chef’s Special Chicken Xiao Long Bao
This dumpling is a Soup based dumpling and a highlight of our afternoon. The dumpling had it in minced chicken in a chicken stock. The chicken bones are simmered for a while thus releasing gelatin. This stalk is refrigerated for about 5 hours, thus creating a jelly. The jelly is minced along with the chicken and placed in the dumpling dough. Once enclosed, the dim sum is steamed for about five minutes thus transforming the jelly into a soup. This dumpling is eaten with a ginger-soya-vinegar sauce. And if you didn’t think this was adventurous enough, there is actually a way to eat it!
How to eat the Chicken Xiao Long Bao
* Add the ginger-soya-vinegar sauce to the soup spoon
* Place the dumpling on your spoon
* Make a hole on the top of the dumpling wrapper and add a bit of the ginger-soya-vinegar sauce.
* Then pop it in your mouth for a burst of flavours.
The soup inside the dumpling has a rich mouthfeel & a rich chicken flavor, and the addition of the ginger-soya-vinegar sauce gives it a beautiful kick of pungency.
Lobster & Truffle
Cubes of lobster, Black truffle for flavor, water chestnut for a crunch tucked in dim sum dough made from Custard starch, potato starch & Wheat Starch with Asparagus as garnish.
Little sweet to taste with the custard powder& lobster meat countered by a subliminal bitter from the asparagus, along with the delicious richness of truffle.
Shaped like an adorable white Koi with black sesame eyes & Tobiko (flying fish roe) in its mouth, this fish got the most aww’s at first sight. The dim sum had, in it, fresh chopped prawn & scallops along with carrot, asparagus & fish roe. The dim sum wrapper was made from potato starch.
Chicken in Black Pepper
The hero of the dish is the kick of the fresh, crushed black pepper which is mixed with minced chicken & Water Chestnut for a crunch in each bite. The dim sum wrapper is made with wheat & potato starch.
Spicy Lamb Dumpling
Minced Lamb, teamed up with Lemon Grass and Galangal and garnished with pomegranate arils. The red wrapper was made from chili powder mixed with potato starch which gave it a beautiful reddish-orange.
Vegetarian Dim Sums & Dumplings
Cabbage & Lotus Roll
The wrapper of this dim sum is the Chinese cabbage leaf itself with is stuffed with bamboo shoots, lotus root, water chestnut, baby corn. The flavours of the dim sum come alive with the black pepper & black bean sauce it was doused it!
Asparagus & Black Pepper
Chopped Asparagus, carrot & water chestnut team up with spicy black pepper and are encased in a dim sum made with potato starch.
Louts root, water chestnut, carrot, chopped peas, asparagus and a hint of chilies … quite a vegetable medley. The wrapper was made from chili powder mixed with potato starch for a lovely reddish-orange glow and garnished with pomegranate arils.
Pumpkin & Pine nut
Chopped pumpkin mixed with roasted pine nuts, cabbage & bamboo shoot encase in a triangle fold of a wrapper made from potato starch. Light on taste but the nutty-sweetness of It is something we found incredibly intriguing!
Spinach & Water Chestnut
Blanched Spinach, crunchy water chestnuts & sweet carrots were wrapped in a Rosebud fold the wrapper of which was made from potato starch.
The magnum opus of the menu, along with the Chicken Xiao Long Bao, is undoubtedly the Peking Duck. Cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven for forty-five minutes giving it a beautiful crisp.
This traditional delicacy is served with steamed pancakes, hoisin sauce, sugar powder, ginger paste along julienned lettuce & cucumber sticks. The pancakes were so light and delightful! Not only did they hold our little duck rolls together but it let each flavor shine through.
Honey Noodles with Ice Cream
Of course, no meal is complete with our a delicious sweet! To give us a treat, Team Leela Mumbai gave us one of their signature desserts to indulge in – Honey Noodle with Vanilla Ice Cream. Golden fried, crunchy noodles doused in honey and a sprinkle of sesame that go perfectly with a scoop of vanilla.
Meet the Chefs
Speaking on the launch of the pop-up, Chef Chee Soon Hoong, Dim Sum master chef at The Leela Palace Chennai said “The idea behind this collaboration is to bring the ultimate China XO experience to the shores of Mumbai. I hope to offer something fresh and exciting to the city’s evolving culinary landscape. If I had to pick a favorite from the menu, it would be the Lamb & Lemon Grass ”
Duck Chef Sylvester Lepcha told us, “I am glad everyone liked the duck. If I had to pick a favourite dim sum, it would have to be the Har Gau variety.”
Chef Sashi Kumar ( Junior Sous Chef ) said, “It was a pleasure working with these amazing Chefs and to see them in action. If I had to pick a favorite, it would definitely be the Chicken Xiao Long Bao!”
It breaks our heart that these amazing delicacies will only be available till the 31st of July 2018 but we are definitely going back for seconds! Anyone coming along?
China XO pop-up at The Great Wall
Venue: The Great Wall, The Leela Mumbai
Date: 22nd July to 31st July 2018
Timing : ( Lunch) 12.30 pm to 3.00 pm, ( Dinner ) 7.00 pm to Midnight.
For reservations, please call: 022 6691 1347/48
About The Leela Mumbai
The first hotel of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, The Leela Mumbai is an oasis of tranquility in the bustling metropolis and set amidst 11 acres of lush landscaped gardens and cascading waterfalls. A convenient 5-minute drive from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and a 15-minute drive from the domestic airport, the hotel is located in close proximity to North Mumbai’s commercial center and export zone. The hotel offers spacious and beautifully-appointed 391-rooms and suites, including a 140sq. meters Presidential Suite. The exciting spectrum of culinary experiences includes Le Cirque Signature, the legendary Franco-Italian spectacle, a royal Indian dining experience at Jamavar, modern global dining at Citrus, authentic Chinese at The Great Wall, along with a sophisticated retreat at Six Degrees bar by the poolside. Multi-purpose meeting and conference rooms with the latest technologies are available upon request. For blissful and revitalizing indulgence the exclusive Spa at The Leela offers European and Oriental inspired treatments.