Sometimes it is when we’re surprised that we are gifted with the most amazing co-incidences. I say this because along with the Food Review of WOK by the Lake at Hotel Sheraton, I have an amusing story to share.
We were exploring our way to the Hotel on our own cobbling through the residential lanes and were truly grateful for the manual activity when we had the chance to watch a troop of deaf school students get on a bus managing their feat with no sound at all. It was the first time I’d ever seen a school so quiet!
Later disheartened by the slow progress we were making, we asked for directions from a well-built, natty young man who chimed in that his was the same destination and guided us for whatever was left of the small journey. It was not until later that we were to realize that we were going to meet this man again!
Sheraton is one of those structures that are shockingly beautiful but hidden smartly from the humdrum of the city. The entire arrangement is such that it overlooks the sprawling Fatehsagar lake . The guard at the gate marks the first checkpoint, which, surprisingly, let us through without a security check.
After about two more checkpoints without any security check, we had to confer about how easy it would be to carry anything illegal for a pedestrian in the premises! This is extremely worrying! But I digress. We were on a different type of job which included eating, not sneaking around!
In about ten minutes we were seated in the newly designed Thai restaurant, WOK by the Lake. An attendant stood by our table, awaiting instructions as we admired the serenity of the vicinity we were in.
The restaurant is cut-off from the other restaurants of the Hotel but like others, faces the swimming-pool, perhaps the reason for the name. Two aquariums bubbling with fresh water and curious fish add in to the enigma of the ambience which is as appealing as drawn-up curtain; one can’t create an end to one’s expectations.
It is customary in Northern China to serve Jasmine Tea before a meal and we were served the same along with the Menu.
The most famous scented tea of China is subtle in taste, and slightly sweet. The tea was lukewarm and used green tea as base. Also complimentary was the Crunchy Salad.
The restaurant also offers chopsticks as an option to be used, otherwise normal cutlery are also available. We preferred spoon and fork.
The next two items formed our starters:
Vegetable Lemon Coriander Soup
Minced vegetables and a sufficient amount of ginger augmented the taste of the soup to a great extent, but lemon seemed to be missing.
The gravy was dark and thick and the soup was warm, not heated to excess temperature but the absence of lemon was disturbing. Otherwise, the soup was perfect and master of its own persona. The Chef did a wonderful job and I loved it but the major part of the ingredient was still not handled carefully.
Vegetable Dim sums
The Chinese had perfected this art of small dishes long probably before the culture of going out would have started in India. Dim sums are made of refined flour and minced vegetables and to us, it was served out while steaming in small baskets with Chutney.
It is our mistake that we took time to savour the flavour rather than dive in immediately because the dim sums cooled off really quickly. But for what its worth, they were absolutely delectable.
And then began the Main Course:
Vegetable Sweet and Sour
Pineapple sweet and sour syrup dipped vegetables go perfectly well with Rice. And that’s what happened. Broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, chillies, baby corn, carrots, cucumber were covered with the thick red syrup and were delicious even when tried directly.
The enhanced taste of the syrup was a tad too sweet for my lunch partner who felt that it could have got away with more sour but to me it was okay. The Rice we had ordered piqued us with this combination and we were grateful for this order!
Since we weren’t able to pick out rice from the Menu, we were offered a choice of creating our own, and we gladly picked garlic and chilli as the base of our rice. We forgot to add in the frying part and so it came to be as plain-rice.
We tried it with Manchurian gravy but it didn’t work wonders and then we poured in gravy from the Sweet and Sour and it was phenomenal. We ate our fill to even third set of helping and finally were satisfied with our lunch.
Manchurians were larger than usually served elsewhere and were incredibly soft. This was the best Manchurian I have ever had!
The dumplings were so squishy and warm to bite through and the gravy was not heightened of any particular ingredient. The only thing anywhere near the Manchurians was probably the broccoli from Sweet and Sour which was equally as wonderful. Though the mild gravy didn’t match with the rice, we weren’t perturbed.
Hereby Manchurians are highly recommendable if WOK by the lake is ever visited!
This concluded our meal as we sat in a dizzy getting a second helping of the Jasmine Tea. The Chef came out to greet us personally and then we were in for a surprise. The Chef was the same man who’d guided us to the Hotel!
His name was Bharat and he’d had immense experience of Five-Star Hotels. He’d come to Udaipur only a few months earlier and he had prepared all our food. He was equally delighted in finding us on the table. We shared with him our suggestions regarding the food and he gracefully accepted them all while reasoning for the ones that were wrong on our behalf.
Meanwhile the bill was being prepared. We braced ourselves for the impact, which was meagre at Rs. 2171 considering the so many things we’d ordered! We frowned at the Rs 100 bottled water but smiled at the low taxes applied.
WOK by the lake is a non-vegetarian facility which is the reason why we couldn’t find many choices to order from.
Thai food is best experienced when ordered non-vegetarian and hence this review is never complete. If you have already tried non-vegetarian food, please mention in the comments and tell us more about your experience!