Food : Trivandrum Rating : 1/5 Stars

Imperial Kitchen – Chilli Garlic Chicken Soup, Dragon Chicken, Jakarta Fried Rice, Sliced Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce

Went to Imperial Kitchen again with a friend/colleague… I went there expecting to try out another of their combos, but unfortunately it was not available this time… So, this time, decided to stick entirely in the Oriental menu, especially since I was in-charge of ordering… 🙂

So, as starter, went for their “Chilly Garlic Chicken Soup” and their “Dragon Chicken” starter… Then for mains, went for what they call as “Jakarta Fried Rice” and went for the “Sliced Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce”…

So, the soup was the first to arrive… The soup is called Chilli Garlic Soup and they have two kinds i.e. one with seafood and the one with chicken… I went for the Chicken variant… As per the menu, this is a rich, creamy and filling South East Asian soup that combines the flavour of Chicken (or seafood) with Garlic and Chilli… Essentially, its a thick soup consisting of Chicken, Egg-white drop and a lot of garlic in a thickened Chicken broth spiced with chilli sauce…

First of all, I felt that the soup is too thick for its own good… Why I say that is because I observed it to cross that threshold where the corn starch ends up dominating and essentially causing the flavours to get diluted… I believe that had the soup been not thickened to this level, it would’ve tasted much better… Other than this problem, I found the Chicken to have been cooked perfectly in the soup… But overall flavour profile felt to be quite bland to be honest… So, adding some salt and pepper from the shakers do help… 🙂

As I was having the soup, the waiter brought over the Dragon Chicken… This is something that can be found in almost every restaurant that has a Chinese sub-menu… Essentially its a spicy stir-fried dish made with dried Szechuan chillies and Cashew-nuts with Chinese greens… According to the menu here, the Dragon Chicken is described as consisting of crispy fried bite sized Chicken pieces tossed in some home made Chilli sauce with some dried Chillies and Cashew-nuts…

Coming to the taste, this felt a bit strange because it tasted exactly like another starter of theirs called Flakey BBQ Chicken Bites… Essentially felt like the exact same thing with the addition of the chillies and cashew-nuts, garlic and spring onions… This is because the sauce coating the pieces tasted exactly like the Barbeque sauce that was used in the BBQ Chicken starter… However, I loved the dish as the flavours felt strong and packed a punch… The Chicken was cooked perfectly on the inside with the crispy outer layer… The flavours of the chillies, garlic and the sauce were dominating the dish along with the Chicken… Overall a great starter to have… [I tried an experiment where I put in some of the dragon chicken pieces in the soup, which as I mentioned felt bland and that sort of balanced out the flavours and made the soup much more enjoyable than before… So, I would definitely recommend that]

Once the soup and the starter were done, the waiter brought in the main course which consisted of their Jakarta Fried Rice and their Sliced Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce… According to the menu, the Jakarta Fried Rice is an Indonesian fusion of Rice, Meat and Seafood and the Sliced Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce is described as a one pot Chinese dish consisting of Chicken, Mushrooms and made with Bamboo Shoots…

When I read the words Indonesian and Jakarta, what immediately came to my mind was about Nasi Goreng… This is because if you ask anyone anywhere about the quintessential fried rice option of both Malaysia and Indonesia, the answer you get is the Nasi Goreng… Plus, they have Mee Goreng in their menu, which I have had before and was great… However, what turned up was completely different… People who know me personally know that I hate the taste of beef and any other meat other than Chicken, but what most of them don’t know is that I can tolerate them if used with subtlety… This is why I can and sometimes like to have whats known as the “Mixed Fried Rice” in most places… So, I expected the same here as the menu mentioned the presence of seafood in it… However, turned out that the taste of beef was pretty much the only thing I could taste from the Fried Rice… Other than the beef, all I could taste was vinegar in it, especially when I bit into the vegetables like Baby Corn in it… Regarding the seafood, even though I found some tiny shrimp, unless I ate them individually, I couldn’t detect any presence of seafood in the dish… Hence, overall it was an unpleasant Fried Rice for me… Of-course, those who love the taste of Beef would love it… I for one, will be staying away from this option in my future visits…

Regarding the Sliced Chicken in Hot Garlic sauce, this too ended up being a disappointment for me because the blandness of the soup that was served earlier got replicated here… The Chicken was cooked perfectly but I didn’t detect any seasoning in them… The menu said that the dish is prepared with Bamboo Shoots but I couldn’t detect the presence of any and there was this taste of vinegar again, that showed up every time I took a bite of the vegetables in it… Of-course, there was a strong presence of the smell and taste of Garlic in the sauce about which I have no complaints… Its just that I wish I could’ve tasted anything other than the blank taste of corn starch with it… So, again an unpleasant experience which was made worse by the unpleasant experience with the fried rice…

So, for the first time, I find myself having had a meal that failed to impress me across the board… The Dragon Chicken starter was the only item that I liked the taste of, but at the same time I do wonder if it was a mistake there as well because a Chinese Chilli sauce cannot be tasting exactly same as the Barbeque sauce… Anyways, I hope this was a one time incident for some reason and I hope things will be fine when I visit there again and when I do, based on this experience, I might be tending to stay away from the “Nooshi” side of the menu… Once again, let me emphasis that all of the issues above are based on my personal taste and so I would encourage everyone to try and reach to their own conclusions…

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