The Great Wall

The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China... now in Indiranagar

As of end 2008, this restaurant is closed.

After years of making do with far-from-satisfactory Chinese cuisine in cramped, eat-and-go chain restaurants, Indiranagar finally has reason to rejoice. The Great Wall, located right at the base of the Indiranagar-Airport Road flyover, offers an upscale Oriental dining experience with enough variety to satisfy even the most jaded palate. Chef Sukesh Srinivasan (remember Shanghai, Bangalore’s first truly elegant-yet-affordable Chinese eatery?) is passionate about “getting it right.”

“The Great Wall is inspired by cuisine from China’s Hunan and Schezwan regions,” he says, “with a healthy dose of Thai cuisine as well. These regions use a combination of ingredients that are more familiar to the Indian palate. Our aim is to try and introduce Bangalore to authentic Oriental flavurs without having to adapt the cuisine too much. Unlike many Bangalore eateries within our price range,” he adds with not a little hint of pride, “we actually import Schezwan peppers for our Schezwan sauce.”

The menu opens with a variety of steamed and fried dim sum, served piping hot in bamboo steamers. Try the Guo Teh, or fried dumplings – they are crisp without being greasy, and a light sprinkling of sesame seeds adds texture and a nutty flavor to the stuffing. If you’re health conscious, the Chiao-Tzu steamed dumplings are light and delicately flavored. Either way, you get to choose from chicken, prawn, or vegetable. Despite an honest effort to be different, the other appetizers are, for the most part, very average. Two exceptions – the Penang Chilli Fish, and the Prawn Yakitori. Both have a distinctive flavor, and both are done to perfection. Vegetarians could sample Monks Cap, mushrooms that are stuffed then batter fried. Be warned however – unless consumed immediately, these turn soggy very quickly.

The soup section comprises a total of nine clear and thick soups, most of which are available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions. These range from the ho-hum (sweet corn chicken) to the spectacular (Tom Yum Kung). Two must try salads are the exquisitely simple Treasures of the Sea (seafood and greens in lemon basil chilli dressing) and Crackling Spinach and Corn in a honey sesame dressing. The latter deserves special mention – the spinach truly does crackle, and flavors and textures collide with your tastebuds in happy succession.

The Great Wall’s entrées leave you spoilt for choice. However, with 25 non-vegetarian and just seven vegetarian dishes to choose from, the spread seems a little imbalanced. I sampled the Tiajin Lamb, whose rice-wine aftertaste may not be to everyone’s liking, and the braised greens and vegetables, which were outstanding. The exquisitely flavorful Kyoto Rice, fried rice with tiny pieces of diced asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and bamboo shoots, tempers the pungency of most entrées. If you prefer noodles, though, be sure to check out The Green Dragon, spinach-flavored fresh noodles that come to your table spitting and sizzling like, well, a dragon!

Chef Srinivasan’s desserts are truly inspired, and designed for adventurous palates. The pandan custard, made from (what else?) pandanus leaves, is not – repeat, not – for those afraid to try new flavors. The lemon tofu custard with chocolate sauce is less daunting to the taste buds. My favourite dessert? Buddha on the Great Wall. Won’t tell you what it is, but its finest ingredient is a sense of humor.


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