Sunday Brunch Review: If Great Food Equals War, It’s War at the Emperor’s Court

IPL is round the corner and considering that we Indians are a fan of cricket, here’s your chance to enjoy the IPL with pan Asian food, booze, a lovely view and undoubtedly, a big screen.  So, last Sunday I visited the Emperor’s Court, a Chinese restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel to treat my palate to a delicious Sunday brunch.

Who on earth wouldn’t like to gulp down some cocktails, wines and beers while they hogged on a variety of six cuisines, and simultaneously got involved with the sport on the screen? If none of this interests you, your last resort is the serene Powai Lake. If not the former, you will at least appreciate the latter.

The first to catch my eyes were the live stations outside Emperor’s Court, followed by the bar (A – Bar) and the desserts. The live stations with Khao Suay Curry from Burma, Chicken Satay from Thailand, Nasigoreng counter from Indonesia, Pecking Duck, Dim Sum and Pot Sticker from China, Sushi from Japan and Spring Roll from Vietnam developed a sense of a Khao Galli in Mumbai. Well, the Sunday brunch is aimed at transporting you to the culinary heartland, that is the streets of Asia. My brunch kick started with a customized cocktail – Chinese Mary (it’s much better than Bloody Mary).

One by one I served myself starters – Dim Sums that were very flavourful, Chicken Lollipops came with a hygiene tag, Beef stuffed with veggies was extremely appetizing, Veg Manchurian was palatable, Chicken and Veg sticks turned out to be a bit wishy-washy, Sushi did not really convince me and the Duck roll was a complete no-no as it was tough.

However, now sipping on beer, I looked forward to my main course that included Nasigoreng and Thai Curry. Nasigoreng is Indonesian fried rice that includes chicken/ fried prawns tossed up with vegetables and topped with a fried egg. It’s one of the most tempting counters – a must try! Don’t miss the Thai Curry either. Also try the Duck Counter for delicious roast duck. It involves a very slow roasting process as the roasting doesn’t happen on fire, but on heat. This is done to retain the juices and flavours.

The dessert counter looked very tempting, but a suggestion to the organisers – tags never let you down. I tried the chocolate mousse and deliver no complaints. That was a perfect ending to the entire brunching session.

Nevertheless, it’s always preferred to get the best details from the horse’s mouth, so I dared to separate Chef Danish Ashraf and the kitchen for a few minutes. Excerpts:

How was it drawing up this sumptuous menu for this Emperor’s brunch?

I won’t say it was all that simple. It involved a lot of research and patience as we are trying to capture the food culture of South East Asia.

The Emperor’s Court is a Chinese restaurant, but the Sunday brunch covers Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese and Burmese.  How would you describe these cuisines?

Ingredients: The ingredients involved are way distinct. There is a lot of influence of different cuisines within these regions. For instance, the Chinese migrants who went to Malaysia took along with them their style of cooking. Apart from that, the Malay themselves have a specific style of cooking. The ingredients they use are mostly their local produce.

Flavours: Their flavours are fresh. They use a lot of ingredients like lime and lemongrass which add most of the flavour. For instance, when you rub a lemon we get that freshness, so most of their food is straight out of the palm and as mentioned earlier, they believe in using fresh produce.

Taste: They are sweet and spicy. They use coconut milk that’s sweet and a lot of fresh chillies that are spicy. There are some that are salty and sweet. In short, it is umami (pleasant savoury taste).

How would you compare South East Asian cuisine with Indian?

The ingredients available in India are also available in South East Asia, so the ingredients are mostly similar. There are common ingredients that are used like coconut milk, chillies, peppers, mushrooms, but the style of cooking is different. South East Asians believe in stir fry cooking. It really helps them keep up the nutritive value of the ingredients. They have more to offer in terms of stir fries and light curries. Most of them are boiled and cooked for hours.

Do you think the Indian Palate is fond of South East Asian cuisines?

Yes, very much.  Earlier, people didn’t travel much, but due to business needs or even leisure, people have now begun traveling. And since they’ve developed the taste for South East Asian food, they start expecting those flavours here in India as well. So we’re catering to Indians who love to travel and experience various cuisines and also the locals who adore South East Asian cuisine.

Pricing:

  • Rs. 1,500++ (Non- alcoholic)
  • Rs. 1,800++ (Alcoholic)

For reservations, call 022 66927561

Address: Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, 2 & 3 B, near Chinmayanand Ashram, Powai, Mumbai 400087

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