New menu at 5 Sen5es, Westin Velachery

5 Sen5es at The Westin Velachery has been in a makeover mood and we were invited to review the new menu. What can I say except that I'm so glad that I did! Gone is the pan-Asian menu (you can still get sushi) and instead, they've got a new one that features Sichuan - Hunan, Cantonese and Zhejiang specialties.

The menu; saliva chicken!

The tasting menu began with a cold starter - Saliva Chicken [sic]. Ok, this moniker got our attention and after a few wild guesses, were told that you can't help but salivate when you start eating it. It's poached chicken that's tossed in a mix of soy and sesame oil dressing with flecks of crushed peppercorns. mushrooms and peanuts. The deliciously tender meat and the method of cooking is somewhat similar to the Hainanese chicken rice meat.

We were served a mocktail - Zhejiang, which is also the largest tea producing region of China. The drink was tea-based and very refreshing.

Tofu & spinach dumplings; crispy mustard fish

Other appetisers were spinach dumplings  and mustard fish. The dumplings had spinach puree mixed through and would have tasted even nicer if served steaming hot and with a little more filling. The fish with its slightly pungent mustard-y overtones was nicely done but I would have liked a crunchier coating on the fish.

Lemon coriander soup with chicken. Delicious, flavoursome stock that was perfect with the acidity from the lime 

Main courses-  braised lamb; stir fry of water chestnut, asparagus & shiitake; salt & pepper quail

Each of the main courses was skilfully made. The quail was tender and the salt and pepper sprinkle tickled the tongue. Cooking the bird is not easy, the meat can go from moist to dry in a matter of seconds. 5 Sen5es achieved this perfectly and you might as well lay down those chopsticks and use your hands for this one.
Hot garlic eggplant
Sticky rice in lotus leaf; veg hor fun noodle

Hot garlic eggplant positively sizzled with flavour. With a healthy dose of Chinkiang vinegar, it was the best dish of the day and we scraped out every last bit from the bowl, the perfect accompaniment to the steamed rice and sticky rice in lotus leaf. The sticky rice was not quite sticky and the flavour of the shiitake mushroom did not permeate the grains. The lotus leaf on the other hand, did leave a mild fragrance (of course, some Chinese sausage and belly pork and maybe some dried shrimp would have made it a feast fit for a king ...wishful thinking)! Hor fun is flat rice noodles and the finished dish usually swims in gravy. But here, it was almost dry and had a lovely smokiness and was bang on flavour.

Kaffir-lime chocolate log; pumpkin pudding

Dessert was kaffir-lime scented chocolate log, firmer than a mousse but not as firm as a marquise and it was divine - dense, chocolaty and zesty with the thinnest slice of cake below.  Chocolate sauce was poured over the top but honestly, it didn't need any adornment. Yum yum yum!

The new menu at 5 Sen5es is definitely worth checking out as the food is more authentic and flavours have been skilfully recreated. A  meal for 2 will be about 2500/++ and the restaurant is open from 7 pm onwards.

Westin Chennai Velachery
154, Velachery Main Road, Velachery
Chennai 600042.

Do call 044 66333777 for reservations.


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