This gloriously decadent buffet is more an extended lazy lunch than a brunch. You don’t even need to serve yourself: just plonk down on the restaurant’s top floor, with the sun streaming in through the windows, and some 18-odd varieties of dim sum will make their way to your plate. We chose to ignore the temptations of Tiger beer and go straight for the first course. Our soup of the day was a light, flavourful broth with chicken and button mushrooms – just the thing to whet our tastebuds for the feast to follow.
We understand that you’d like to sustain the illusion of healthy eating, but don’t ignore the fried dim sums that arrive first: the chicken glutinous rice puff, Stalin’s beard (you’ll know it when you see it) and the exquisite lace-like yam puff. Don’t worry, most of what follows is steamed, often with the stuffing delicately encased in a translucent rice flour wrapping. The harkow (clear prawn dumpling) and the king dumpling (lobster) are joyful in their simplicity, though you might also like them dipped in soy sauce or the unusual lemon chilli coriander sauce. The folks at Nanking really know their pork: try the open-top pork-and-prawn sui mai, topped with pink fish roe, and the chee chung fan, a rice flour pancake with a delicious sweet-and-sour pork stuffing.
Two other highlights are the siew long pao, a juicy chicken dumpling that explodes in your mouth in a burst of flavour, and the stuffed chinese mushroom, which comes in a creamy crab meat sauce. Some of the most pleasant surprises are the ostensibly vegetarian options – the green-skinned coriander dumpling mixes moist pork with crunchy bits of water chestnut, while the radish cake gains in taste and texture from flecks of squid and pork in the dough. Then there are the classics: the steamed mutton ball, with just a hint of chives, and the fried spring chicken, perfectly complemented by the freshly ground black pepper that accompanies it. Clear your palate with the okayo, a bland home-style rice porridge that comes with a choice of fish or chicken, or end with a final new flavour by requesting the broad noodles with pork. If your stomach isn’t crying out for mercy by this time, finish up with sesame honey noodles and vanilla ice cream. Trisha Gupta
Plot C-6 Vasant Kunj, opposite Delhi Public School (2613-8936). Sat & Sun, 12.30-4pm. Rs 850 + tax per person, including one 650ml Tiger beer.
Time Out Delhi, Jan 2009