Yue Chuan (Kingsbury).

Yue Chuan is a fine dining Chinese restaurant located at the Kingsbury hotel. The food is good, but not excellent.

The Food

The menu at Yue Chuan is very well presented, offering a curated and brief selection of dishes – unlike the encyclopaedic Chinese menus we usually encounter – which makes compiling your meal a lot easier. The menu highlights two chef’s specials: roast peking duck (Rs 9,500) and salt baked chicken (Rs 2,800) accompanied by informative, enticing descriptions.

But while the menu bears so much promise, the food falls slightly short. We ordered the XO chicken and prawns (Rs. 1200) and claypot tofu (Rs. 650) with a portion of garlic butter rice (Rs. 700). The chicken and tofu were fine, but nothing exceptional. The flavours were mild and lacked a little… something. The tofu again was fine but not great. This would have been perfectly acceptable at a mid range Chinese joint, but served at a five star hotel with five star prices, it wasn’t good enough.

The butter garlic rice, however, is exceptional. Buttery beads of rice are spiked the flecks of crispy garlic – it’s simple, but intoxicatingly flavourful. Also, enormously expensive at Rs. 700 (!) but it was the best part of the meal. I could honestly just eat it plain with their excellent chilli paste – which uses peanut quite interestingly to complement its spiciness.

We didn’t try that many dishes so the review is based on just the above. However, every dish at a restaurant like this one ought to be outstanding. And only one of them was.

Drinks

The beverage list is extensive, but expensive, and all drinks come from the King’s Bar next door. They have a good range of cocktails so we tried the red sangria with lemon (Rs. 700). It looks like pink lemonade and is alcoholic without tasting anything like alcohol (win). Round blackcurrants, wedges of lemon, apple and sprigs of mint float in a pearly spritz. It’s a delicious, refreshing drink. Doesn’t really taste like the conventional sangria which is much richer and actually contains wine (not sure where the wine was in this one). But I actually like the King’s Bar version better – it’s refreshing and heady. An excellent drink.

Ambience, Or Lack Of

Wonderful cocktails aside, however, the restaurant itself has little to no ambience. The shiny, over polished floors look a little tacky, as does the mottled gold ceiling. I don’t believe there was any background music and overall there was just a complete absence of atmosphere (the lights were too bright, the chairs were plush without being comfortable) – this is not the venue for a romantic date. There’s very little difference between the overlit mid-range Chinese dining experience and this. Our table for two was a clumsy arrangement next to a narrow wall – and we sat down feeling a bit like an afterthought. But the service was good. The staff were attentive and the manager in particular was extremely friendly and helpful.

So…

Yue Chuan doesn’t offer a dining experience. They offer Chinese food, but little more than that. With fine dining you expect a rounded experience – flawless service, great ambience and excellent food, which Yue Chuan doesn’t deliver.

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