Jagmeeta Thind Joy
When it first launched a few years ago, Black Lotus, the fine dining Chinese restaurant housed in Taj Chandigarh became the go-to place to satiate all your Chinese food cravings. The menu was simple but authentic. But it became all-too familiar with flavours getting muddled with ‘local demands’. Having said that, the food festivals organised here were always looked forward to as they gave foodies a chance to savour lesser known fare culled from different regions of China.
A few months ago, Black Lotus took a breather and closed for a makeover. Well, the doors opened last week and the lotus has bloomed again. Walk in and you realise in terms of layout not much has changed. The red and black theme remains and looks like the Black Lotus has taken on a golden sheen. The newly refurbished space includes a comfortable bar area and alfresco dining. The most noticeable change from a design stand point are the large, three dimensional artworks created in metal that dot almost all the main walls. A modern interpretation of the lotus pond, they are arresting but a bit jarring to the eye. Nevertheless, the new space seems more open now and can take in, we are told, as many as 80 diners. The private dining room has been retained.
We are also informed of a change of hands in the kitchen with expat Chef Wang taking over from Chef Shi to come up with a menu that leans towards contemporary Chinese. It is most evident in the plating style. Some popular favourites from the old menu like crispy corn kernels, Peking duck and tiger prawn sesame chilli sauce have been retained with new additions culled from the Schezwan belt of China. Grills featuring almost all kinds of meats and sea food are now presented on a hot plate. There’s minimalistic use of sauces that brings out the flavours. Another interesting section that has been added to the menu is clay pots and the option to customise sauces to the guest’s liking. New entrants also include wontons and baozi. Dishes like stir fried lobster garlic pepper; Haricot beans with dry chilli in black bean sauce and steamed tofu on a bed of bok choy come highly recommended.
The desserts, usually a neglected section in Chinese menus, have been given a lot of attention in the new menu. Lemon grass crème brule, Clove triangle pineapple with chilli and coconut milk are among the new arrivals. The restaurant is now led by its manager Sumit Sharma and will be open from 1 pm to midnight, seven days a week. A meal for two will cost Rs 3,500.