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Hardly anybody remembers this, but the Taj Palace was the hotel that popularised dim sums in Delhi in the 1980s at the Tea House of the August Moon. Also on the menu was Peking Duck with all the trimmings. Except that you could not find good duck in Delhi in the 1980s, so the dish was made with chicken instead. The Tea House is long gone and its successor, Blue Ginger suffered from having an ugly room and a cuisine (Vietnamese) that Delhi did not like. Now Blue Ginger is also gone but the room remains roughly the same (new upholstery, though) and the restaurant at the old Tea House location is called Spicy Duck. This time around, they can do real Peking Duck, and it is carved and served at your table with panache. The dim sums are back too, and the menu is all Chinese, though it steers clear of the Sichuan style that made the Taj’s Chinese food famous. This is the food of the overseas Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore, and the flavours are different from those on the mainland; some may be sweeter.
Seeing today you might assume that Chinese food has always been this sought after by the gastronomes but it wasn’t so. The cuisine gained momentum in New Delhi in the 1980s when fancy five star hotels started introducing the diners to the different aspects of Chinese cuisine. With the arrival of legendary Chinese restaurants like The Tea House and Blue Ginger, Chinese food became more familiar to Indian diners. So when ‘Spicy Duck’ came along we knew we had a hit on our hands. Spicy Duck is the luxurious fine dining restaurant of Taj Palace Hotel in Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi. Tea House and Blue Ginger are long gone but with Spicy Duck we are not left bereft of their gastronomic presence. Spicy Duck is at the same location where Blue Ginger once was.
The name Spicy Duck can be misleading but don’t be taken in by the suggestive name. Their food is neither spicy nor duck heavy. Their menu celebrates Chinese food but not the Sichuan style cooking Taj is known for. Flavours are a tad different from what you might expect usually of a Chinese five star place. Influences from Malaysia and Singapore can be seen on the menu, a fact that excites us to no end. Well-dressed ladies are often seen enjoying a dim sum luncheon here. You should start the meal the same way. Otherwise look towards, black fungus tossed with rice vinegar, champagne pork chop, crispy lotus root, golden fried prawns and double fried winter melon in sweet chilli sauce. Dishes like, wok-fried cuttle fish, stir-fried chicken with ginger & spring onion, wok-fried sliced lamb in yellow bean sauce and peking duck are must haves.
Signature cocktails inspired by Chinese flavours, Qing Ceremony, Smoke of Dragons, Crouching Tiger Hidden Rose, are fantastic to wash down your meal. Don’t walk out without tasting Spicy Duck’s sumptuous Asian desserts. Pomelo mango sago with vanilla ice cream, sweet chili chocolate mousse in brittle basket, snow rainbow cake, lemongrass crème brulee and ginger chocolate fondue with banana spring rolls will be an awesome finish. The interiors of Spicy Duck exudes elegance, grandeur, sophistication and style. The long drooping chandelier hanging over each table casts quite a spell. Dining room is formally designed keeping with its fancy five star hotel image. Spicy Duck is quite expensive, be aware.