The choice of Yi-Jing for ITC’s grand Hyderabad hotel may be more than a coincidence. It means Book of Changes in Mandarin; this contemporary Chinese restaurant could just be the latest chapter in ITC Hotels’ endeavour to create another successful restaurant brand. It’s fair to say that ITC Hotels has created more endearing restaurant brands than some of its competitors. Bukhara, Dum Pukht and Dakshin are all brands that have stood the test of time. But these were brands that play to the chain’s perceived strength in Indian cuisine. It’s why Yi-Jing is an interesting start in many ways.
It’s still early to say whether Yi-Jing will join Pan Asian that rounds up cuisines from across Asia. This restaurant is ITC’s current Asian restaurant brand in many of its luxury hotels. Yi-Jing sticks to a brand of Chinese that has worked well in the past for the Indian palate. The restaurant tilts towards Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine but it’s not all classic dishes or dishes that have been Indianised by Chinese master chefs who’ve spent more time hopping restaurants in India than back home in China. The interiors are a giveaway.
This is a restaurant that’s equally vibrant and progressive with quite a few quirky design elements and lots of natural light. The all-red private dining room is one of our favourite spaces in Yi-Jing.
Show and tell is a big part of the food philosophy. ITC Kohenur is in the heart of Hyderabad’s booming new Hi-tech city and it’s the millennial diner who holds sway here. The emphasis on food presentation becomes evident as soon as we’re served our first course – mushroom buns that pass off for real mushrooms. This playful approach continues with the dim sums that include one in the shape of a swan with delicate flavours. There’s no attempt to tweak a Chinese classic – barbequed Beijing duck, that’s also one of the highlights of the menu.
Two Chinese chefs greet you at the restaurant’s live station. The restaurant’s hand pulled noodles is one of the showstoppers. Many of the diners couldn’t resist capturing slow-mo videos of the chef displaying amazing dexterity and skills as he hand tossed the noodles.
It’s not just show, the noodles were one of the highlights of the mains that also included the braised mushrooms elevated by a truffle oil and a Sichuan style twice-cooked pork. Dessert is usually an afterthought in Chinese restaurants. Not at Yi-Jing where they’ve worked hard to perfect the jasmine tea tart with Madagascar milk chocolate on an apricot sponge. A scrumptious finale that crowned a brilliant meal.
Yi-Jing is at ITC Kohenur, Hyderabad Knowledge City, Madhapur. Phone: (040) 6766 0101 (www.itchotels.in) Meal for 2: Rs 2,500/-