I love this kind of food – Chinese, but Indian style! From roadside stalls to upmarket restaurants in Mumbai, Delhi and numerous other cities/towns in India, I have had a lot of ‘Indian Chinese’ and have, on average, really enjoyed it.
Dal Chini is a great name for a restaurant serving ‘Indian Chinese’ and, having read the descriptions and menus on their site, we went with high hopes. Veronica Sarkhel's restaurant brought us down to earth in a jiffy.
The service was ever so slightly grumpy but we put it down to an overactive imagination to begin with. Unfortunately the grumpiness continued throughout our dinner. One of the waiters (maybe a new employee), slightly built and anxious, was occasionally bullied by the more ‘senior’ (read grumpy) ones.
The menu was good – not extensive, but a reasonable coverage of the dishes I would have expected to see, so we set about our business with some ‘Hot & sour chicken soup’ for us, ‘Hakka fried chicken’ and ‘Chicken sweetcorn soup’ for the kids. Our soup was just about average – was missing the zing that I normally associate this soup with. Chicken sweetcorn soup is reasonably simple but a quick taste from the kids' bowls revealed weak flavours. The Hakka fried chicken (splashed on to a quarter plate with not a nano-second's thought to presentation) was definitely reheated.
Szechuan egg noodles arrived and were undercooked (just a bit); the vegetable fried rice was okay – slightly more oil than preferable and possibly reheated. Chicken hunan came with refried (or reheated) chicken strips in the sauce – again, tolerable but just about. Our choice from the specials menu was ‘Vegetables with bamboo shoots and cashew nuts’ – the sauce was fine however some of the vegetables tasted a little stale (mushrooms for instance). The beans, normally supposed to be firm and crunchy, were weak and soggy – maybe boiled for too long.
So, you ask, were the prices so low that one would overlook all of this and come home having received fair value for money? Erm…no, not really. Even had a 10% optional service charge added in which I, meekly, left in. We also managed the incredible feat of ceasing to exist as customers immediately after payment was complete. No byes, no thank yous, no nothing – insincerities you only miss when the staff can't muster even these up!
Strangely, the restaurant was quite busy! Was this crowd mainly made up of first-timers? I have to think it was; I certainly can't think of anything that would make me go back to Dalchini.
All in all, a poor experience.