Stix, located at the Hyatt Regency in Teynampet, serves up high-end Chinese food inspired by the street food of Sichuan. A right sized menu (not endlessly overwhelming, but plenty to choose from) offers up a range of starters, dumplings, soups, main courses, and rice and noodle dishes. Chef Sun adds plenty of personality to Chinese food favorites with interesting additions to classics such as incorporating bamboo shoots in the spring rolls.
But we didn’t come for the menu. We came for the Hotpot Fiesta. Running from March 16th through March 25th, the hotpot festival brings a taste of Head Chef Sun Wenlin’s native Sichuan to the table. A deliciously spicy Sichuan broth was placed on a burner on our table and began heating up. While our broth was cooking we got started with a sampling of veg, seafood, chicken, and mutton dumplings. Accompanied by a selection of soya, black bean, and spring onion and garlic sauces, each dumpling was unique in texture, style, and taste. The seafood dumplings are a must-try; they were everyone’s’ favorite and even got approval from my wife. As a Northeastern at-home momo master chef, she brings a hypercritical eye to anything dumpling related, and even she couldn’t hide her delight.
As we finished up the dumplings our server Ivan, who was super attentive and friendly, brought out a range of ingredients for the hotpot. The vegetable mix was interesting, including the usual bok choy, tofu, snow peas, and broccoli as well as more unique ingredients such as lotus root and four types of mushrooms (enoki, shimeji, shiitake, and wild). With starters and rice, two people could theoretically share a hot pot order, but with big appetites and different proteins catching each of our eyes, the three of us each ordered one. I went with the beef tenderloin, while my wife and our friend Siddhu, both on seafood highs from the dumplings, opted for sea bass and prawns respectively. However, separate orders quickly blended into a shared experience. Hotpot cooking is fun and communal, with everyone cooking and eating at their own pace, dropping in whatever they want when they want it. While the food was fantastic, the shared cooking experience is what makes hot pot outings truly special.
I could see Siddhu, a 12-year-old Chennaite and first time hot potter, was initially somewhat puzzled with the set-up. His eyes asked, “Why would we come to a restaurant to do the cooking ourselves? Do you expect me to know how to cook Chinese food?” The staff expects this, as hotpots are not common in Chennai, thus Ivan guided us through the first round and dropped in a selection of vegetables, proteins, and glass noodles. Within minutes we were eating and enjoying. With Ivan’s tutorial complete and watching the chefs in the open kitchen masterfully work their woks we were inspired to start cooking. An eager Siddhu took over the reigns and was dropping in ingredients like a seasoned pro. Gathered together over the simmering broth, our ingredients danced into the stock to the soundtrack of our laughs, jokes, and slurps.
As we turned the fire down on our hotpot, our eyes turned towards dessert. Chef Sun did not disappoint. Siddhu had another foodie first, enjoying his fried ice cream with chocolate sauce. I went with the banana fritters and coconut ice cream, while my wife had the mandarin crème brulee. With the shared hotpot experience still fresh in our minds, our separate desserts quickly turned into a shared extravaganza.
Creating that sense of togetherness really is the deeper purpose of hotpots, if there is one. Like cooking together at home, everyone participating in the preparation creates a real bond while you eat. Great for families, friends, or even small team outings, the Hot Pot Fiesta at Stix was a wonderful experience. The food was first class, but even more than that, bonding together over tabletop cooking really made the night special.
Hotpot Fiesta at Stix, Hyatt Regency Teynampet
The Hotpot Fiesta is running from March 16th to March 25th at Stix on the 1st floor. Prices vary, but plan on Rs. 3,500 or so for two people.
HYATT REGENCY CHENNAI
365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018, India
Tel: +91 44 61001234
Mob: +91 9176633310