Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

Fine Dine – First Visit

Okay… so this one is special… The reason why its so special is because I have been searching for this food for more than 14 years… So, long story short, my friend recently informed me about this new place called Fine Dine which is not too far away from my place and also informed me that the owner was the chef at the old Chefmaster restaurant that used to exist 14 years ago near Trivandrum Medical College… That peaked my interest and got me hyper-excited because that old restaurant and the food there was my all time favourite place to eat and it used to be a regular spot for my me and my parents back when I was a kid… So, my interest peaked to the max level when the friend informed me that the owner has brought in the very same menu and recipes here… So, I simply had to go there and check it out… I got the chance yesterday to visit and this post is about the visit… The place is located at Thampurannada right behind the Kunnil HyperMarket thats close to the Infosys campus…

So, clearly the place is new and it still has that newly shine… Its spotlessly clean… At one end of the dining hall, I found a drum kit placed which I guess is for live music shows (I guess bands and artists, pls note)… Now coming to the menu, although the menu looks different, it really was a trip down memory lane seeing that same old menu once again after so long… I found all my favourites to still be there and so today I went for those which for me is at the very top of the list of my alltime favourite things to eat… Its this this combination of flavours that I have been desperately searching for ever since Chefmaster closed down but couldn’t find… Its their Yang Chow Fried Rice and Chicken Mughlai… Yep… I know its not a logical combination and theoritically its not supposed to work together, but the thing to note here is that the version of both these items that Chefmaster used to serve were unique and to me its the perfect fusion of Indian and Chinese flavours that the chef achieved thru both these recipes… I mean I can never have too much of them…In fact I used to have this everytime that the chefs and owner used to know its me when they get the order… So, considering that this new restaurant is owned by the former chef from Chefmaster (Not sure if he still remembers though) and because I heard that its the same menu, my whole purpose of visiting here was to try the same… So, I went for them and as a starter, I went for their Lung Fung soup… They all arrived as shown in the pics below…

First, lets talk about the Lung Fung Soup… My memory of how the ChefMaster’s Lung Fung Soup tasted like is of the Sweet Corn Chicken Soup but without the corn ie, flavour of sweet corn in soup and then with the addition of coriander, mushrooms and egg drop… So, nevertheless I expected the same… So, the soup arrived as shown below…

Turns out its pretty much the same old soup, but with the addition of carrots as well… The soup was indeed thickened with corn starch but it didn’t feel too thick… The ingredients in there including the Chicken felt to be cooked perfectly and the fragrance of the herbs were simply amazing… So, this is a soup that I’ll be having again…

As I was done with the soup, my main course of the much much awaited Yang chow Fried Rice and Chicken Mughlai arrived as shown in the pic below:

IMG_1759

Coming to the Yang Chow Fried Rice, I felt extremely happy to see that its the same version that I got at Chefmaster and its served in the exact same manner as well… What makes this version so unique is that basically its Schzwan Fried Rice served with a small portion of Chicken Manchurian in the middle and surrounded by slices of Tomatoes as can be seen in the pics below…

First of all, the flavours in this are pretty intense, but its not the heat thats high here… The Schezwan sauce that they make for this is simply awesome to have… That perfect blend of the sweet and spicy taste of the Schezwan Chilly paste and garlic is what you get from it… The rice has eggs, carrots, green beans, ginger, garlic, coriander and chives… Then on top of that you get the next layer which is their Chicken Manchurian, made with batterfried chicken meat along with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chillies, peppers, onions and chives… So you get the dominating flavour of the Scezwan sauce from the rice combined with the soy based flavour of the manchurian sauce here… On top of all that, there is the freshness of the freshly sliced tomatoes… I do realise that common instinct is to discard the tomatoes, but I would recommend including them in your bites cause that further adds another dimension to the flavour profile and also helps cut down the spice level too… 🙂 This is the absolute favourite Indo-Chinese Chicken and Rice dish of mine and I would recommend everyone do try it if they haven’t…

Along with the Yang Chow Fried Rice, as I mentioned before, I really like having the Chicken Mughlai… In fact I think I liked the combination so much that thinking back, I think this combination is what triggered my tastebuds into turning me into a foodie as I began to appreciate complex flavour profiles…

The Chicken Mughlai here is again completely different from the versions of other places… Usually, the Mughlai Chicken ends up tasting sweet with the domniating taste of cream… Here, the dominating taste is that of eggs and black pepper and cream only comes below the eggs and chicken… This is because, clearly in the gravy, they do drop one or two eggs and mix and its not the egg white drop like how we see in soups but rather whole eggs… Its then served garnished on top with coriander and some fresh cream as shown below…

First of all, even back in the days of Chefmaster, when you order this and ask for it to be made boneless, in between the pieces there will atleast be a couple of pieces with the bone in place… So, a joke which me and my dad used to say is that the waiter only said “boneless” and not “bonefree” cause clearly, its less amount of bones than how they would otherwise serve you… 😀 😛 Now coming to the taste, its again exactly like how it was back in Chefmaster with the peppery eggy creamy chickeny flavour with the fragrance of coriander and some sweetness from the cream… This when had with the Yang Chow Fried Rice adds another whole new dimension to the flavour profile especially in the richness department… The only downside this time however, is that the pieces of chicken in the Chicken Mughlai ended up being overcooked and so a bit tough to chew… Otherwise, flavours are all perfectly intact… I would definitely recommend that everyone may please try it…

So, to be frank, I really don’t have words to express how happy I am that a 14 year long search has finally come to an end and I found what I was looking for… Its one of those extremely rare and unique combination of flavours that is a foodie’s dream that can’t be found anywhere else… Also, to be frank, I am glad that the chef who owns the recipes is the owner of this restaurant rather than just the chef cause it guarantees that they will stay and I hope the restaurant becomes a success and be the giant Chefmaster was in Trivandrum’s gastronomic map…

 

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