Monday is not a desired day to go out for dinner. Having said this we decided to head out to the Race Course in Colombo-7 in search of Tsing – Tao. The wooden staircase leading to the first floor heralds you to a serene entrance, complete with a smiling oriental hostess.

The left side of the venue has a massive wooden rack, displaying some Chinese antiques. The famous porcelain painted in blue embellishes the “Chinese connection’ to the restaurant. We chose to go and sit upstairs, where you have a wide angle view of the grounds. The interior of the venue has been designed to burst with elegance. The tables themselves are large and a perfect 4x4, and can make serving food a fun affair: in comparison to having to move your phone or other stuff to make room “at the table’. The roof has a nice display of hundreds of wooden pieces, intricately suspended.

The amiable hostess hands us the menu. This is a stunning representation of cuisine from the Guangdong (Canton), Peking, Nanjing and Szechuan regions of China. The menu boasts of 203 items prepared by head chef Hisuan Lino. The restaurant has a team of Chinese chefs. After sipping a drink of ginger ale infused with orange juice the ordering process began. I had boldly decided to try the black fungus. Not often found in Colombo menus the fungus is said to be loaded with vitamin K and improve circulation. The appetizer is served and the taste is something totally new. This is followed by boiled belly pork. Cutting the pork into thin slices itself is endorsement of the chef’s prowess.

The pork is tender and keeps you wanting for more. Browsing through 200 items makes you aware of the depth of Chinese cuisine. Here the chefs have supplemented traditional items with modern Chinese trends. Gazing out the windows on the left we can see traffic easing up and the crows flying to the massive trees down Reid Avenue.

The main course dishes were Hong Kong style chicken, stir fried lamb in cumin sauce, scrambled eggs with prawns and baked vegetables in cream cheese. The latter is a lovely contrast to the mundane chopsuey that often is associated with Chinese food in Sri Lanka. The lamb is nice to the bite and the essence of cumin not too overpowering.

After this delightful indulgence it was time for dessert. There are 27 items: quite an extensive choice for a dinner menu. I opted for the Black Beauty (with Valentine’s Day 48 hours away!). This dainty dish consists of chocolate soufflé bathed in black cherries. The presentation and flavour were indeed beautiful. I noticed artisan ice creams as well. Tsing – Tao can seat 140 guests, including an outdoor area. We missed the live entertainment as the musicians play from Wednesday through Sunday. The prices are a bit costly but this is refined Chinese cuisine served in opulent ambience.