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    Indo-Chinese cuisine at the reinvented Xian is easy on the pocket and high on taste

    Known for their top-notch Chinese fare, albeit with a distinct Indian touch, Xian has made a name on the foodies circuit. They recently shut shop for renovation and are back in business, bigger and better, with a vast selection of Punjabi food to add that much-appreciated delicious desi touch.

    Across the border
    The restaurant retains its cosy atmosphere and is ideal for an intimate meal with that special someone or for a large (and loud) family dinner. And unable to resist their classic Chinese fare, we started off with golden fried prawns and chicken lollipop a�� both of them very well turned out without a greasy after taste. The stir fried veggies a�� a mix of cauliflower and broccoli, was crisp and packed quite a punch. Other dishes that we thoroughly enjoyed, were the chilli chicken, prawn pepper salt and chicken in char sui sauce. Clearly, they can balance the two cuisines equally well as the Indian fare that followed gave us nothing to complain about either.

    Punjabi tadka
    Getting us off to a good start was the machi Amritsari a�� seasoned in typical North Indian spices like ajwain, chat masala and cumin, and the paneer malai kebab a�� soft chunks of cottage cheese straight from the tandoor. Mains comprised of a mix of tandoor and gravy dishes that we diligently mopped up with soft kulchas, crisp tandoori rotis and beautifully layered lachcha parathas. Then came a lavish spread of meat dishes a�� chicken tikka masala, mutton rogan josh and murg Patiala. The tikka masala, with a smoky tinge and bursting with flavour, was outstanding, while the rogan josh, although packed with a fiery peppery zing, came a worthy second. But it was the Patiala murg that truly stole the show. Loaded with dried fruits like cashew nuts, raisins and melon seeds emulsified in a thick gravy of tomato and yoghurt, with cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and other spices, the dish was a fantastic tribute to Punjabi food. Dal makhani was spot on and the earthy, satisfying palak paneer and egg bhurji immediately transported us to a courtyard in a village home in Punjab. All that was missing was the mustard fields with Shah Rukh Khan running through them.

    Add ons
    If you still have room for some more, the dessert here is basic with ice-creams dominating the list, but we highly recommend you skip it and opt for a soup before your meal instead. A great place for a big tuck in without breaking the bank.
    Rs750 for two. At Gangadhara Chetty Road, Ulsoor. Details: 41515163

    Aakanksha Devi



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