Article By Thabo Jaffe
2F, HUALUXE XI’AN HI-TECH ZONE,11 Tuan Jie Nan Lu, Gaoxin District, Xi’an.
(029) 8812 3456
Average Price per Person /人均消费:280RMB
It may be a stroke of genius or a mark of idiocy, but I always go into reviews with as little information as possible. Usually I’m armed with just a name and location. Keeps my expectations in check. This particular day we drove down Tuanjie Nanlu, and parked in a hotel parking which I deemed close enough to the restaurant. The restaurant turned out to be inside the Hualuxe Hotel, a recently opened five-star hotel, a stone’s throw from Yanpingmen station.
Upon reaching the 2nd floor we were led to Cai Feng Lou – one of IHG’s top food brands – by all means a Chinese restaurant, but with a very modern twist on their extensive menu of classic dishes. It’s worth mentioning that the hotel also has a more international kind of buffet with a wide variety of foods (which I did not sample). The Cai Feng Lou restaurant seems to cater mostly to business groups or at least people who enjoy the privacy of their own room to dine in. In varying room sizes, the design is inspired by thousands of years of appreciation for birds in China, rich in colour and brimming with elegance, the rooms come with dedicated waiters, and their own bathroom.
On the table, pre-empting our arrival, the starter was a cold dish of melon balls and tender dried beef styled in the form of a delicate Zen garden. As we were treated to somewhat of a set menu, the amazingly attentive staff was ready with the next dish the minute we thought of it. I highly recommend the mutton braised in tea – soft, with gentle fragrant notes from the tea. Next out was fried pork neck, dangling from an ornate wooden stand by a thread of spring onion. Dry and crunchy on the outside, but carrying all the flavour on the inside.
We sampled a few other dishes which were all bursting with flavour, and tame when the recipe required, but all had exceptional taste and presentation. The menu here offers a lot to choose from, but I would advise that you take advantage of their set menus, which are well thought out, and come at a range of prices. If you’re looking for a more private space away from the hubbub, something sophisticated that still evokes a warm nostalgic feeling for Chinese tradition, then you’ve just found a new spot.
Thabo is an avid explorer and less-than-worldly South African, always in search of new experiences. Stopping just short of suicidal, he’s a true Yes Man. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org