The rebirth of Lotus Land - but how did they fare?
‘As a person casts off worn-out clothes and takes on new ones, so, at the time of death does the embodied soul cast off its worn-out body and enters a new one.’
Bhagavad Gita 2:22
For one Shanghai restaurant, transmigration has come full circle. Opened in 2008, Lotus Land justifiably earned a reputation as purveyors of fine north Indian cuisine. Sadly, due to COVID-19, business dipped, and this stalwart of Shanghai’s curry scene shut up shop in March 2020.
As with the Cycle of Samara, however, death does not necessarily mean the end, and in October 2021 Lotus Land was reborn. Amid the narrow, atmospheric lanes of Tianzifang, this incarnation bears little resemblance to its previous manifestation. The rustic, old-world décor has been shed for a sleek, modern design offering comfortable, ambient indoor and outdoor dining.
Given the Oakham Curry Club’s affection for the old Lotus Land, it was heartening to see the new location doing a roaring trade. At near capacity, the restaurant was buzzing as the motley band of OCC members ambled in, expectations high, in anticipation of their November meet.
Warmly welcomed by old friend and proprietor Jacky, the stage was set. With contemporary surroundings, a lively atmosphere, and memories of excellent meals, the OCC were eager to find out if the new Lotus Land could equal or surpass prior dining experiences.
Now, it could be argued that questionable ordering may have negatively influenced certain OCC members, but there was no escaping the cold samosa, the lacklustre, soggy vegetable kadai, and the overwhelming soya sauciness of the Lotus Land Special Rice. Editor’s Note: Simon, who wrote this review, did the ordering.
Disappointing as some of the dishes were, all was not lost for the creamy Dal Makhani and the richly textured Palak Paneer were eminently palatable while the succulent and woody chicken tikka and the zesty prawn curry drew appreciative comments.
Perhaps the chef was having a bad day, or the harried staff was struggling with the demands of a busy restaurant, whatever the reason, the consensus was that while this was not the best meal the OCC has ever had at Lotus Land, there was still cause to celebrate Lotus Land’s return.
After every OCC meet, members are required to rate their experience. Scores for Customer Care, Service, Quality, Value, and Atmosphere are tallied to determine whether OCC Approval can be awarded.
Lotus Land has received this prized accolade twice before with scores of 7.4 and 7.1, respectively. So, how did Lotus Land perform this time?