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This smells like a Le Méridien: Restaurant Chinar (25. March 2016)

| May 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

You wonder why this post is called “This smells like a Le Méridien!”? Simply put, apparently it does though, the scent seems to be themed after a Le Méridien according to my travel companion. I just had to laugh so hard, I definitely had to share that statement!

Whenever I travel I try to try local cuisine, however, when I got the recommendations for Baku from the hotel, I did not really check what kind of food the places would offer. Well, my bad, I suppose but I was a bit surprised when I walked in a restaurant where they’d serve Asian cuisine. The evening started with “Edamame” (6 AZN) which was fine.


As a real first starter I went for the “Angus beef dumplings with soy dipping sauce (4 pieces)” (12 AZN) but was at first informed that the steamer does not work so they would serve them fried instead. I was obviously not happy about that but still agreed to the suggestion (being quite hungry after walking the whole day in town). After the order was placed, the waiter got back and informed us that the steamer does work after all and we’ll get the “regular dumplings”. That is great news, definitely! However: Why would you inform your customer first that the steamer is not working without even having checked back with the kitchen only to inform your customer then that the steamer actually works. Weird approach.

However, the dumplings were good too. Definitely not the best dumplings I have had in my life but a fair dish.


Somehow foie gras kept popping up on the menu so I also went for the “seared French foie gras, nashi pear chutney, soy glaze” (29 AZN) and I must admit it did not match up to the foie gras I have had for lunch. While the combination with the pear was nice, it was definitely not at the same level as the lunch version.


The first main was an “Atlantic black cod in spicy miso” (38 AZN) which was actually quite delicious. The fish was fresh, slightly glassy served with a nice miso sauce. What I was a bit surprised by was the price. I mean almost CHF 23.20 for the fish only was way above what I had expected for Azerbaijan. Still, the fish was lovely.


As a second main, the “tuna tataki, spicy sesame vinaigrette” (15 AZN) sounded really promising and while the tuna was actually lovely, the dish as a whole was too simple for my taste, meaning, the salad was completely unnecessary. If it was just the tuna, I would have definitely preferred that.


As the dishes were good but I was definitely still hungry, I decided to go for the “tempura roll – spicy salmon, tempura shrimp, teriyaki (8 pieces)” (18 AZN) and while I had expected something quite different, the dish was great. The roll was actually quickly fried before so the rice around the shrimps, respectively the salmon was a tiny bit crunchy which was a lovely experience.


I decided to have some tea alongside the meals and went for the “Yunnan Pu-erh” but unfortunately they did not have that tea in stock, so I was provided with the “Yunnan Imperial” (5.50 AZN) which is fine but not really what you would expect of a “supposed to be high-end restaurant”.


For dessert, the “green tea tiramisu” (9 AZN) sounded like a great idea and I must say, it was. As simple as the tiramisu was, as tasty it was.


The interior is actually quite nice and atmospheric and if you get to be seated in a small both with view into the kitchen, you can see the chefs prepare your food. There is one downside though to the whole thing – the seats are covered in plasticized leather which make sitting there quite uncomfortable after some time.


Other than that, the quality of the service really varies by waiter. Some are very attentive, friendly, and swift. Others are like passing by without evening glancing at you. And we went for dinner early, so it was actually not so crowded. But once more one realized – as soon as more customers pour in, waiters tend to get inattentive. To be fair, the service was good overall, but it could be better e.g. by assigning a certain waiter to certain tables and not having a random concept where every waiter is responsible for every table in the restaurant.


If you are into Asian food, I can recommend the Chinar as the dishes are actually quite good, the service is friendly and overall quite swift. But one has to be fair, the prices go way beyond the regular level in Baku. While at most restaurants I ate a bottle of 0,6L Badami Sparkling water ranges between 1,5 AZN and 2,0 AZN, here it was 5 AZN! Other than that, the prices for the beverages were actually okay, i.e. “double espresso” (4.50 AZN) and “Puchi Moon, Sudachi Citrus Sake (120ml)” (10 AZN).


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Chinar

Shovkat Alakbarova 1

1095 Baku (AZ)

Tel.: +994 12 404 82 11

E-Mail: reservations@chinar-dining.az

Homepage: http://www.chinar-dining.com

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
174.30 AZN (incl. tip) Filed in: Baku (AZ), Restaurants

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