What we had
Taj Samudra is home to the Golden Dragon restaurant that maintains a fantastic reputation for Sichuan cuisine. Sichuan is a province in South West China that is renowned for its cuisine that liberally uses chilli and garlic making it distinctly different to Chinese cuisine from the rest of the country.
The restaurant’s menu has undergone a minor revamp due to the arrival of Chef Shi Xi Lin who is fresh off a tenure as Chef de Cuisine of the Mekong Restaurant at the St Regis in Mumbai. Chef Shi Xi Lin has quite the resume with stints at other hotels such as the Park Sheraton and Taj Mahal hotels in Mumbai. While the revamped menu features many of the already existing dishes, new additions by Chef Lin makes for a delicious change.
Crispy Corn Kernels with Pepper and Salt – LKR 990 (S)/1790 (L)
The corn kernels were fried in a batter and seasoned with salt and pepper making it a nice snack. The corn was satisfyingly crunchy and like pringles, there was no stopping once started.
Sichuan Chilli Baby Corn – LKR 990 (S)/1790 (L)
The baby corn was fried in a batter giving each a light covering, and then smothered with a sweet chilli sauce which was simultaneously spicy and sweet which cut the spice.
Pan-Fried Assorted Dim Sum – LKR 1200 (S)/1970 (L)
The dumplings consisted of the typical dumpling with chicken filling that was accompanied by a chilli oil which was slightly spicy but gave the dumplings the flavour they required. The dumplings were pan-fried and resulted in various textures on different parts of each dumpling which was lovely.
Pork Spareribs with Chilli Hoisin – LKR 1190(S)/1990(L)
There was definitely cause for excitement when this dish was brought out because RIBS! The dish looked extremely delicious and we couldn’t wait to sample it. While the meat was slightly tough, the sauce was beautifully flavoured.
Prawns in Chilli Tomato – LKR 1190 (S)/1990(L)
The prawns were coated in a thin layer of batter and tossed in a sauce that had a spicy tang to it which was absolutely lovely. Definitely a must-try for seafood lovers!
Mushroom Pepper Garlic Soup – LKR 660
The best thing to have on a cold day, the soup was seasoned well with a hint of pepper at the start that warms you right down to your soul. The clear soup also contained copious amounts of vegetables and mushroom which gave it some weight and depth.
Sichuan Dry Cooked Green Beans – LKR 990(S)/1790(L)
The beans were blanched giving it a crunchy freshness to it and was complemented by a sesame flavoured chilli sauce.
Shitake Mushroom with Vegetables in Black Bean Chili Sauce – LKR 1090(S)/1960(L)
The mushrooms had a satisfying bite to it and were covered in chilli flavoured black bean sauce. The dish also had quite the variety of veggies and definitely makes it suitable as a vegetarian option.
Conji Crispy Lamb – LKR 1160(S)/ 1990(L)
The lamb had a nice crisp texture to it and at first bite it appeared mild but then, just like the rest of the Sichuan cuisine, the spice kicked in.
Double Cooked Pork – LKR 1060(S)/ 1800(L)
Thin slices of pork that are cooked twice and served in a black bean sauce which has a hint of spice to it. What was nice about the dish was the texture of the pork as it has a slight chewiness to it. The spice in the sauce took away the typical flavour of pork that often comes through which was great.
Scallops on Sauce – LKR 5090
This was definitely a favourite! The scallops were lightly pan cooked in sesame oil and this gave them a light wash of flavour that was absolutely beautiful. The scallops were also cooked to perfection without any hint of tough chewiness.
Vegetable Chow Mein – LKR 860(S)/ 1460(L)
The noodles were perfect in texture as there was a slight firmness which can be compared to the Italian term of ‘al dente’. They were stir-fried along with vegetables to give a nice overall light flavour.
Prawn Fried Rice – LKR 1090(S)/ 1700(L)
The rice was balanced in flavour and seasoned well with the distinct taste of the prawns and egg coming through nicely. The rice along with the chow mein were perfect bases to handle the signature sichuan spice.
Mango Pudding with Strawberry and Coconut Sauce – LKR 700
A lovely end to the meal, the mango pudding was the perfect way to put out the fire caused by the spice. Sweet, but not sickly, the pudding and the complementing sauce was very refreshing.
The restaurant is as elegant as one would expect as part of the Taj Samudra. Ample seating in spacious booths, as well as more intimate settings making it great for dinners with large families or business lunches. A colour palette of white, gold and blue gives the whole place a regal look that is reminiscent of dynasty-era China.