When we got invited to review the Lotus Court at Movenpick Hotel, we were not sure exactly what to expect from the restaurant. While Movenpick Hotel is known for its ever famous Kababjee (Lebanese) and Pakistani restaurants, Lotus somehow has played low key in terms of hype.
So one Sunday afternoon we decided to pay Lotus a visit. Tucked in a quiet little corner by the pool, the first thing that strikes you about Lotusis its serene and beautiful atmosphere. The immaculate interior is based on the Chinese art of Feng Shui which is all about creating a calm, conducive environment for the diners. By the time we were seated in comfortable sofa like chairs that came with a view of the pool, we were considerably excited about what the restaurant had to offer.
The Lotus menu is quite diverse, which was a pleasant surprise. There is an array of dishes to choose from in starters, main course and desserts. There is also a mocktails section that offers interesting thirst quenchers.
To start off, we ordered individual soup servings and Calamari Salad with glass noodles from the starters section. The soups were all served piping hot and with a generous helping of crackers (which for some reason was incredibly exciting for me!). While the Hot ‘n’ Sour and Tomato & Egg Drop Soup hit the spot, the real winner for me was the Lotus Special Soup – a clear soup with vegetables and garnished with lemon, the soup was full of zest and left a tangy aftertaste. The calamari salad also proved to be a worth-trying dish – the only thing missing was a little more flavour to the calamari.
The starters had left us even more excited for the food. The assortment of the menu made it all more difficult for us to settle on what to order for main course. Thankfully, Hassan, the Restaurant Manager helped us solve that dilemma by sharing the restaurant’s specialties. It was on his recommendation that we eventually ordered Chungking Chilli Chicken, Shuizhu Beef Sichuan Style and Sweet & Sour Chicken.
The first thing we noticed when the food arrived was the beautiful presentation of all the dishes (this was a recurring theme). The food was plated perfectly – so much so that we almost felt bad taking about eating it and ruining the presentation.
Chungking Chilli Chicken is essentially fried pieces of chicken and is a deceptively simple looking dish at first glance. However, one bite into the chicken and an array of tangy/sweet flavours literally burst into your mouth. A highly recommended dish that both adults and kids would equally enjoy.
I was also really keen to try to Shuizhu Beef. My experience with beef has always been on extreme – either I love it or I don’t want to take another bite. Lotus’ Shuizhu Beef managed to exceed my expectations on multiple levels – not only were the flavours done just right, the beef was also perfectly cooked. The taste and the texture of the beef, accompanied by the vegetables that were part of the dish, was simply mind blowing. One of the best beef dishes I have ever tried in Karachi, this was definitely the star of the main course for me.
Sweet & Sour Chicken is possibly the most generic dish on any Chinese menu and more or less everyone cooks it the same way, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much from it. Lotus caught me by surprise here – their sweet & sour chicken had an extremely distinct flavour to it and was extremely well cooked. Despite having gorged up on the beef I ended up taking quite a generous helping of the chicken (and did not regret it one bit!).
During the meal we had ordered fresh orange juice and mint lemonade to accompany with our food. Both the drinks were nicely done and hit the spot.
Despite being practically full, we decided to go for desserts. The dessert menu was actually diverse and happening for a restaurant serving Cantonese (Chinese) cuisine. Hassan jumped in once again with his recommendations. We ended up ordering Caramelized Banana & Vanilla Ice cream and Lotus Chocolate Explosion as per his recommendation. I do want to highlight here that part of the reason we had a great food experience was the excellent service. The manager was super friendly and took extra care to ensure we enjoyed the experience. A very rare thing to find in restaurants these days unfortunately.
So anyway, coming back the desserts – both of them had a 20 minute preparation time, which to be honest we didn’t mind much as it was a lazy Sunday afternoon and we were in no hurry. After twenty minutes, what was served on our tables was nothing less than a visual and gastronomical masterpiece.
Caramelized Banana & Vanilla Ice cream looked absolutely divine. It is worth ordering just for the plating alone. Aside from looking great the dish also tasted heavenly. Not overly sweet, the combination of caramelized bananas and vanilla ice cream is a rare treat for the taste buds.
Lotus Chocolate Explosion is basically the restaurant’s take on molten chocolate lava cake. This too was served with vanilla ice cream. It is hard to put in words the feeling of giddiness that one feels upon bursting this cake and watching the molten lava ooze out (I’m a hard core foodie!). This dessert was worth every second of the 20 minutes that it takes to prepare it!
OUR FINAL VERDICT ON LOTUS – It is a hidden gem that needs to be tried for sure! While Chinese restaurants are a dime a dozen, Lotus offers a distinctly unique flavour to its customers, both in terms of food as well as the ambiance. I already want to go there again!