hoosing a restaurant for a special date? Italian might seem like an obvious choice, but we are steering towards something slightly spicier and fragrant, that will send your tastebuds exploring new flavor universes.
Yes, the first fine dining restaurant in China, The Tandoor, has reopened and you are invited!
We spoke to Shyam Sundar Bhaskaran, The Tandoor’s general manager, about new challenges, menu changes, and how The Tandoor remains the classiest location to be dining at.
Shanghaiist: Everyone is very excited to see The Tandoor running again!
Shyam Sundar Bhaskaran: The Tandoor has always been a representation of Indian Food in Shanghai since it is the first Indian fine dining restaurant in China.
It was closed for almost six months and we received phone calls during the entire period enquiring when will we reopen.
What were the biggest changes made to the restaurant? It has been running since 1994, so many trends have changed and the restaurant had to adapt to the evolving community.
Our main focus during the renovation was to enhance the overall dining experience: create a visually impressive bar where signature cocktails could be presented, a welcoming al fresco seating with shisha pipes, and redesign the kitchen.
The Tandoor now has a cocktail menu, that is designed to complement small plates and appetizers.
One of my favorites is called Huanggua (Cucumber), where the heat of green chili is cooled with fresh cucumber and coriander, and grounded by gin & honey. It goes great with light flavors of chicken dish, murgh tikka abeer.
Another drink that’s become very popular with our guests is the whiskey highball twist.
It is a whiskey-based cocktail that is blended with the spiced Indian tea, chai, raising, and tonka beans. It goes hand in hand with salmon tikka.
What are people’s reactions when they try the food at The Tandoor for the first time?
There are a lot of misconceptions about Indian Cuisine.
People think It’s very hot & spicy, curry centric, oily and unhealthy. It is also often assumed Indian cuisine is the same all across the country, and that it is a place of cheap food, that does not fit the fine dining environment.
In reality, The Tandoor serves different levels of spice, and curries occupy only 25% of the menu. We focus on small plates, appetizers, and tandoor grill dishes.
All the ingredients are fresh and we focus on cooking that retains the nutritional value of ingredients.
Indian cuisine is incredibly varied! We focus on dishes from the Northern States of India- Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Each of these regions has its own special mix of herbs and spices.
What do you think is special about South Asian food in the world scene? What is the special niche it occupies?
South Asian food is certainly making waves in the world, especially in the well-established markets of London or New York, where restaurants are awarded 1, 2 and 3 Michelin Stars.
I think the special element about South Asian cuisine is the lavish use of herbs and spices, that leaves the dishes especially aromatic. Also, it is known for the love of sharing plates, which is a great way to socialize over a grand meal.
Going to an Indian restaurant is truly a whole cultural discovery, starting with the ambiance of the restaurant, music, and Indian hospitality. It’s special.
What would you say makes The Tandoor so successful in a place where restaurants open and close every month?
The founders of the restaurant have consistently invested in staying up to date and relevant to the place where the restaurant is located. We refurbished every five years, always hire talented chefs and best-trained service managers.
Do tell us your favorites at The Tandoor.
These are some of my favorites.
- Dahi ke kebab: homemade yogurt cheese patties filled with pistachio nuts and saffron
- Pyazz aur peethiwali kachori: a Marwari delicacy, duo pastries stuffed with spicy onion and lentils
- Tandoor guchchi: wild morels packed with cheese and preserved desi gulab
- Murgh ke pasande: griddled escallops of chicken
- Rogan- E- Nishat: lamb shanks with caramelized onions and tomatoes, perfectly balanced sweet, sharp, and tangy flavors
- Dal makhni: Visheshta black lentils simmered on the tandoor overnight
- Jalebi rabri: fritters paired perfectly with thick home-made evaporated milk
Reopened fine-dining Indian restaurant The Tandoor
Cathay Garden, (South Building)
Jin Jiang Hotel,
59 South Maoming Road,
Book a table at The Tandoor by scanning the QR code below