A penchant for posh hotels in the capital often takes people to Aerocity. Most hotel were serving the clinical purpose of a convenient stay until Hyatt’s Andaz stepped up the game. The newest hotel on that block is like a millennial: It’s excellent at multitasking and the young brand is tech-savvy and passionate about food. Plus, it embodies the soul of the city.
The hotel opened its door last year amidst much fanfare and again garnered the limelight when it opened its prized possession: The Hong Kong Club. If you’ve ever been keeping up with the club scene of Delhi, then you’ve must have heard of it. On weekends, it is one of the few places open till 4am. But what happens when you step in for an early dinner on a Tuesday evening?
The first thing you notice about The Hong Kong Club are its dramatic interiors--a high ceiling space, centered around a gorgeous circular island bar. It opens up to the swimming pool and the hotel has accomplished to mask the fact you’re close to the monotony of the airport. The menu, expectedly, consists of Hong Kong Cantonese cooking. Along with Chef Yu Fuhai, Chef Alex Moser created an extensive menu with traditional Hong Kong dishes based on local Indian ingredients.
Instead of having to decide which cocktail you’d like to order, The Hong Kong Club has a menu that picks out your poison for you. It’s based on the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac. I’m not really a cocktail person, but I decided to give them a go. Happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. For me, the power of a cocktail is the flavour, with the alcohol sneaking up on you when you least expect it. The flavours of the two cocktails I tried were strong and more importantly, fresh. I started the evening with The Snakebite. Who knew that scotch combined with miso and ginger beer would make for a delicious drink? The sweetness of the ginger beer seamlessly blended into the bitter scotch.
To pair with my dinner, I decided to go for the Sleeping Dragon. In retrospect, I should’ve stopped at the first drink. Don’t get me wrong, the combination of scotch, martini, orange liqueur and chocolate bitters worked well. It just overpowered the flavours of my delicious meal. Which brings me to...
Our dinner became an experience when their Executive Chef Alex Moser casually pulled up a chair and joined us. First, he placed our order for us (a little bit of everything), then proceeded to tell us how he came up with the menu (a lot of research). He’s spent over a year in India, working with the local flavours and ingredients. In fact, the restaurant holds fresh ingredients high up on the list of things that matter whether it’s for a cocktail or for an appetiser.
The recipe might be traditional Cantonese, but the ingredients are all sourced locally. But that doesn’t mean the menu can in any way be considered as ‘fusion’ - a fact the Chef was quick to clarify. The ingredients are sourced locally and constantly reinvented, depending on the season. A challenge Moser was excited to take on.
I started with my absolute favourite, the dumplings. And in a first, I enjoyed the vegetarian options more. The Cauliflower & Red Chinese Cabbage ones were delicious. The casing was thin, the filling savoury. How do I know that I’m going to be coming back for the dumplings? When I don’t need to use a sauce with it.
The next dish that made it to my personal hall of fame was the Hong Kong Duck Barbecue Sauce And Mini Bao. You get to decide the filling, casing and the amount of sauce you want. It’s hard to go wrong with a personalised bao. And for the final flourish, Crispy Pork Belly with the Kasundi Mustard.
Till now, three people (bartender, server and the chef himself) had asked me to save some room for the dessert. So obviously, I obliged. After having ‘a bit of everything,’ the fact that I happily dug in for a second helping of the Bitter Chocolate Tart, Chilli Chocolate Whip and Lychee Sorbet, proves how good they were.
The key word at the Hong Kong club is ‘experience’ - from the time you enter the hotel to ordering your first cocktail. For me, they’ve created the perfect place for a romantic date night. Other than for a plateful of heart-warming dimsums, I’m also extremely tempted to head there on a Friday for a boozy night with my girlfriends.
Cost for two: Rs 3,500 (with alcohol)
Address: Andaz Delhi, Asset 1, Aerocity, New Delhi
Reservations: +91-11/3310-5961; +91-11/4903-1234