Why Novotel Juhu’s Iconic Indo-Chinese restaurant ‘SAMPAN’ is a must visit?


Mumbai is a pulsating city whose diners are adventurous to the hilt, always clamoring for nouveau cuisines that titillate their taste buds. Though the recent trend has progressed to Instagrammable outlets which offer millennials of today with niche, gimmicky pop-ups for their social media – there are some Iconic restaurants that have withstood the competition storm and managed to stand tall and yet conquer the herd.

One such restaurant which rekindle our memories was SAMPAN, which has withstood the battles and yet continues to emerge a winner all the way. Nestled within the premium property of Novotel Juhu, Sampan has retained the flavours without succumbing to the fusion food rat race. Even today, Sampan serves the perfect blend of Indo-Chinese cuisine – they surely have some new additions to their menu but the iconic old-time hits still continue to wow their loyalist client base.

A brief about the team at SAMPAN:

Chef Penpa Tsering is the Master Chef for Sampan - the Indo-Chinese specialty restaurant at Novotel Juhu Mumbai. Having been associated with the hotel for almost four decades now, his mastery of the Sichuan and Mandarin cuisine is exemplary. Since he is the face of Sampan, his positive, holistic aura will wow you (we say this since he personally visited our table with one of his specialty dish).  

A special mention must surely go to Chef Jerson Fernandes who is the Executive Chef of Novotel Juhu. All restaurants including Sampan fall under his domain and he works alongside Chef Penpa Tsering to give the best experience to his patrons. 

While we take you through our review, be prepared to book ahead before you visit the restaurant for an enticing meal. Rest assured, it’s going to be worth it. Whatever you do though, just make sure you show up hungry.

What we tasted and sampled:

In the appetizers section, we ordered the Prawn shumai, Trio of mushroom, Baby corn and paneer and Crispy shredded potato. What we really loved about the flavours is the lilting after-tones of the juicy dressings. The blend of not over-doing the Indian cuisine influx (like today’s Indo-Chinese flavours) and yet retaining the authentic flavours of ethnic Chinese food flavours. The blend is miraculous, soothing and endearing. Be it the prawn dish (which was fleshy and superfluously coated) to the crispy potato, the flavours created magic.

The Chef insisted we also try small portions of the Mandarin chicken and the dumplings. Surely an impressive option to relish, the mandarin flavours were lip-smacking and the dumplings surely hit the right notes of perfection.

Since we were already satiated, on the insistence of the Chef, we agreed to try out the Pot rice and some stir fried Chinese greens. The pot rice was surely one the most outstanding dishes, the flavours subtle yet striking, the magical euphoria feeling that makes you lap up the entire pot without thinking twice. The stir-fried green veggies lend the adequate balance.

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Now comes the showstopper moment for our lunch:

A standing ovation and time for drum rolls for Chef Jerson Fernandes who has conjured up the most sensational desserts for this season. Yes, it’s Mango time and what better option for a sweet ending for your diners. 

The Baked yoghurt mango dessert and Mango Oreo cheese cake dessert are a class-apart. The rich textures, the immaculate, perfect finesse and slurpy enticing flavours will leave warm memories for all of us. 

These desserts aren’t just a piece of art but have raised the levels to a Michelin styled creation. The magnetic appeal of these desserts will win a lot of hearts with warm memories of the most mesmerizing, perfect and sizzling Indo-Chinese meal at SAMPAN- Mumbai’s Iconic Indo-Chinese restaurant at Novotel Juhu Mumbai.

We are surely coming back once again to relish some more culinary milestones with this premium hotel property.  



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