A friend recommended that we head over to China Bowl to get some Kuay Teow. It's located below Vicky's La Terrazza, Koramangla 6th Block. I'm sure everyone knows by now, that I'm a huge fan of Malaysian Food. Char Kway Teow, is essentially fresh flat noodles fried over a very high heat, to give it a charred or smoky flavor with cockles & prawns, bean sprouts & spring onions with soya sauce & chilli. Of course, there's many variants to the dish, but as I said, a friend told me that the best one he's had so far was at China Bowl.
I went to investigate. I wasn't sure where to place my expectations, as I had placed them high many times before and got served chop suey (at Chung Wa), fried flat noodles (every other "Chinese" restaurant). So the first thing I did was a quick survey of how everyone else was enjoying their food. The restaurant has a contemporary, clean feel to it. For a Saturday afternoon, it wasn't very crowded but everybody there seemed to be enjoying their food- wolfing it down more like. 2 other ladies asked for the home delivery menu and that made me a happy woman :)
Dish 1: Tom Yam Phak
Price: Rs 90
Liked: We ordered a vegetarian tom yam, which is unfair really. Especially when you consider one of the main ingredients to go into a tom yam is fish sauce. If you are looking for a tomato-tangy and spicy, then this is it. I was pleased to find galangal & lemongrass in the dish, make sure you fish it out before eating. My companion loved the soup, and told me to make sure I wrote it in here too.
Disliked: The fragrance of turmeric, that seemed inappropriate. Though there was a lot of diced lemongrass the flavor had disappointingly not penetrated the soup.
Dish 2: Char Kway Teow
Price: Rs 120
Liked: The char! Finally, Kway Teow with the fragrance of one. I ordered mine with prawns and the combo came the closest to the real deal. So my friend was proven right.
Disliked: The Indianized addition of carrot & well, the dried flat noodles (always reminds me of fettuccine). Some one needs to start peddling fresh flat noodles!! Also, the spring onions needed to be cut one inch long & bean sprouts needed to be much much more abundant. I recommend ditching the carrots and everything else extra in there and for the dish to be LOADED with the two.
Dish 3: Burnt Garlic Fried Rice Chicken
Price: Rs 110
Liked: The fresh, soft eggs & chicken in the fried rice. I know I may come off as being fussy, but given the fried rice doesn't have much added to it, it's important the egg isn't hard and crisy but soft. I would've loved some bacon in the dish too, would've made it yummy in my tummy.
Disliked: I'm not too sure about this, but I think the rice was basmati rice. Seemed to be a mismatch to me. Basmathi is great in fragrance and I've always felt it's a great absorber of flavors. That's what makes it great with Biryani or Ghee Rice or what have yous. It doesn't complement bland too well.
Dish 4: Diced Chicken in Sapo Sauce
Liked: The aroma of wine (white wine I thought) and the softness of the chicken.
Disliked: Everything else. This was a typical sauce, with the standard garlic and chili base, topped up with chilli and blah and blah. One of those things you've tasted a million times before, in the kazillion chinese restaurants.
And special mention on the pickled cucumber & carrots. I loved them, sweet and sour and not overly pickled with a nice crunch. I thought the kimchi was slightly different, there was obviously some dark/roasted sesame oil, that added just a hint of uniqueness. The chili sauce is also a nice addition to those who like chili on everything!
Portions were more than worth the money (reasonable prices), three of us ate all of these and there was still some food left over. The service was good, with constant filling up of the water glasses and what not. Overall, China Bowl left us all satisfied. Will we go back? Probably.. I have my eye on the roast chilli pork. Sounds delish.