Tucked away in a sprawling Juhu compound, Open China lives up to the open in its name. Wide spaces welcome with rustic floors, plush seating and wooden notes… and food that is no less than the treasure found in Aladdin’s cave, which is why ‘Open Sesame’ in the title!
The smiling staff are quick to settle you in and pour out steaming fragrant Chinese tea. As the starters prepare to roll in, you sip on Melony, a refreshing watermelon juice muddled with mint, combining passionfruit and pineapple juice, and Nutty Bliss, with its blend of orange, peach and pineapple juices with Indian spices and lemon extract. The appetisers are worth making a meal of in themselves – from the crunchy Salt And Pepper Asparagus, to Smoked Shredded Chicken Salt and Pepper, Chung Fun Pancake which is a steamed spring roll and the beautifully plated Scallop Dumpling, it’s all definitely moreish.
The spread is not your run of mill regulars. Instead, sample corn cream curd (deep fried sweet corn curd), parcels of fragrant sticky rice laden with mushrooms in lotus leaf, and make yourself a delightful wrap by spooning veggies and glass noodles into a lettuce leaf drizzled with plum sauce. Yum!
The attentive manager Ambrish is quick to guide you as you choose your mains – yes, we do have place for the Prawns in Thai Green Curry, Chicken in Yellow Bean Sauce (don’t miss this), Tofu in Basil and Soya, and the unusual Stir Fried Morning Glory. The Lotus Leaf Rice and Panfried Noodles don’t mind taking the back-seat! Dessert – delicious mounds of Noir, Framboise, Caramel and Banoffee mousses and cakes – do not fall in the Chinese category, but hey, you won’t hear us complaining!
Go with a large appetite and treat your taste buds to tantalising flavours which will make you rediscover the beauty of Chinese cuisine minus the overpowering Indian tadka.
(Open China, Patel wadi, Juhu Church Road, AB Nair Rd, near Horizon Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai)