A Birthday And Chinese New Year At San Qi At The Four Seasons Hotel

There is nothing more exciting than a birthday celebration for this tiny taster. In our house it’s not just our birthday but also our birthday according to the Parsi Calendar ( roj bday) we take very seriously. I love it because as a child there is nothing cooler than having two birthday celebrations and all your friends thinking it’s weird but secretly being jealous.
It was Dad’s roj birthday yesterday and since it was just him and me we decided to celebrate and ended up having a spectacular meal at the delicious San Qi at the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. I have had fabulous meals at San Qi and have particularly enjoyed their Yum Cha brunch. It’s dad’s first time here and it’s  a pleasure dining with someone who loves Asian food as much as I do. We also make so many stir fry dishes at home so it’s always interesting to chat about how we can ‘ better’ our dishes at home.

The menu at San Qi is lovely but since they are celebrating the Chinese New Year all week long, till Sunday 2nd February it would be criminal not to try it. In fact I think most restaurants tend to shine with their special menus because the chefs pull all the stops to ensure its special. In this case their Chef is Chinese and he’s curated what I can only describe as heaven with this menu.
The Yee Sang Salad is typically prepared for Chinese New Year and its customary to toast while tossing the salad. You toast to good health and lots of money for the new year! The salad looks beautiful and I’ve eaten the vegetarian version of it but the salmon addition which Chef Ralf says is how the Chinese eat it is excellent. It’s just what the salad needs really.

The beef with asparagus, apart from being a brilliant combination packed with flavour is the softest beef I’ve eaten recently and a joy to devour. It comes with crisp dough balls which I’m sure were great because dad loved it but I avoided them.

The wok fried French beans with dry chili are crispy and crunchy but the chili on top adds a reach punch of spice. This is exactly how I like my greens, crunchy and tossed in Chinese flavours.

The noodles with seafood, vegetables and chili bean sauce was possibly the best dish along with that beautiful tenderloin. The rice noodles are tossed with prawn squid mushrooms and is not incredibly spicy like the chili in the French beans. It’s actually the perfect noodle dish.

The steamed king prawn is presented in its shell on top of a bed of glass noodles and covered with ample garlic. I’m not a glass noodle fan so I would eat the prawn meat and garlic by its self but what an extremely healthy dish to have. The abundance of garlic gives the steamed prawn a gentle but delicious flavour making it a change from all the chili bean and chili paste dishes.

The chicken with lemon sauce is probably my least favourite from what we had. It’s nuggets of fried chicken which by its self are great, just regular pieces of fried chicken but the lemon sauce accompanying it gives it a very different flavour. I still felt it wasn’t as lovely as the rest on the table but it’s enjoyable enough.

The tofu with mushroom broccoli and chili bean is surprisingly tasty. Dad likes to have some veggies with his food so we always order some but this was served in a mildly spicy gravy ( no complaints ) and the tofu was soft and delicious. I was expecting it to be more of a dry dish and it was the complete opposite but one I’d order again.

For dessert we had their specialty , pandan flavoured crepes with ice cream which I personally think is exceptional. They didn’t have Mango sorbet so we had to make do with a chocolate one but dad loved it so I didn’t mind. This is one of my favourite desserts and I’d eat it every time. It’s got coconut inside the crepe so dad enjoyed it with the chocolate.

The food I’ve eaten today is exactly how I like my Chinese food- light, crisp, the right amount of spice, ample dipping sauces and so much flavour that all the ingredients just shine in each dish. Pure magic.  They were sweet enough to give us a small cake to celebrate dad’s birthday and though I don’t eat chocolate he relished it and licked his fingers in delight. I have absolutely no idea what it was, a very mousse like cake but clearly a hot favourite. There are many restaurants flogging a Chinese New Year menu but this is definitely one you should try. It’s as close to authentic as you’ll get and far superior to most restaurants. I have a soft spot for San Qi but who wouldn’t if they have a great meal at every visit?