Delhi has always been the platter for epicurean global cuisines. As it started summoning travellers from around the world, for business or pleasure, the need to broaden our menus also increased, compelling us to look for authenticity and ingenuity in every bite. And a new restaurant on our radar that is melting the best of Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine in our mouths is Mei Kun at The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel on Maharaj Surajmal Road.
Mei Kun, which translates to a beautiful universe in Mandarin, underwent a complete menu overhaul over the past couple of months. Initially revered for serving the best Indian-Chinese food in the area, Mei Kun re-launched a fresh Pan-Asian menu, dripping with finesse and innovation. The reasons to bring about this change to the menu are two-fold. The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel in East Delhi is a contemporary business hotel and entertain the needs of global travellers that are either looking for staycations, layover stops, corporate retreats, or MICE. While business travellers often look for a healthy meal outlet with quick service, Mei Kun offers to take that same experience and make it better x10 via their gastronomical delight in luxury dining space. Another reason behind the revamped menu is to match the elegance of its decor.
It is indeed a part of the beautiful universe, Mei Kun. There aren’t many places in East Delhi where you can indulge in a luxurious dining experience in complete zen. Upon arriving, behold the auspicious koi pond on your left that symbolises good fortune, filled with several colourful carps. It’s this harmonious and radiant entry to the foyer of the restaurant that calms your nerves and allows you to unwind. Hidden behind an inconspicuous patterned screen, the PDR boasts of a quiet intimacy that befits special gatherings and celebrations. And frangipani trees surrounding the restaurant create a more relaxed space, which is perfect for casual lounging. The restaurant also follows proper safety protocols under the initiative of Suraksha by The Leela, a comprehensive program built in partnership with Bureau Veritas India, for an uninterrupted dining experience.
Matching the ambience of the restaurant is culinary innovation. Brought to you by chef Binod Kotiyal, the exhilarating sensory adventure comprises a melange of flavours and textures with freshly-sourced ingredients. Without even glaring at the menu, I requested the chef to serve me his favourites, and what came next left me startled yet suffonsified.
Starting with a creamy Tom Kha soup with mushrooms was savoury, but if you’re looking for something heavier in the mains later, I’d say skip it. While the taste is exquisite, courtesy of the lemongrass and coriander, it’s the thick coconut base that fills you up.
A unanimously accepted quality of a traditional Pan-Asian menu lies in its ability to serve snack as entrée. I mean, who knew a citrus fruit such a pomelo would taste divine with sweet chilli dressing? That even goes best with their whisky-based cocktails here (Try Marcus, a mix of whisky, spiced earl grey tea, pineapple, and kaffir lime). Another munchy option that may convince you to break up with french fries is a plate of Crispy Lotus Stem sprinkled with oats, curry leaves, and fresh red chilli. It’s heart-healthy and addictive! In dimsums, there’s nothing you can go wrong with, but I highly recommend Crispy Mushroom Wanton, Prawn Hargow, and Pan-Fried Chicken and Chives.
Building a meaner appetite, I head towards a head-spinning platter of mains that comprises the classic Kung Pao Chicken, Steamed Seabass, Green Curry, Sichuan Mapo Tofu, and the garlicky Cantonese Prawns. All great options, especially if you’re a sucker for hot and spicy food. Moving away from the Indian-Chinese style, Mei Kun has done a fantastic job. Nonetheless, when it comes to mains, the flavours are still more suited for the Indian palate. And who doesn’t appreciate a little decadence after a sleep-inducing meal? The Matcha Cheesecake and the Fried Coconut Ice Cream are most-recommended.
Barring the distance from my usual hideouts — South Delhi, Gurgaon, or Airport — Mei Kun comes as a great recommendation for your traveller friends and family or even as a quiet dinner date. The food is remarkable, and the ambience is welcoming.
Price: Rs 3,000 for two (approx.)
Ambience: Well-informed and convivial
Timings: 7:30 pm onwards
Where: 1, CBD, Maharaja Surajmal Road Near Yamuna Sports Complex, Delhi, 110032
All images: Courtesy Mei Kun