UB City has become one of my favorite places to hang out. The open air cafés and restaurants, the dancing fountain, the easy relaxed pace in the evening under the stars – I always feel like I’m out of Bangalore. Sunday brunches at Shiro – the pan Asian restaurant, is an indulgence that I often dip into. The Zen like ambience with the giant statues and the serene Buddha never fail to get me into a happy and peaceful mood. So when Shiro invited me to their Asian Grill Festival, I was more than happy to pay them a visit. Bangalore winters have started, so we chose a table inside right next to the Buddha. I was feeling good already!
(L-R: Pina Colada and Virgin Orange and Lime Mojito)
We ordered a virgin Orange and Lime Mojito and a Pina Colada to start the evening. My companion and I were deeply engrossed in discussing the superstitions involved in having a Buddha statue at home. She had heard that placing a Buddha statue at home makes the house less peaceful, because the Buddha draws the peace out of his surroundings so that he can appear serene! My jaw dropped. I had just bought a massive painting of the smiling Buddha to hang in my living room and trust me I didn’t want him to suck out the peace. Just then the executive brand chef of Shiro – Rahul Hajarnavis walked in. He was very amused to hear the theory. ‘Complete hogwash’, he proclaimed. ‘How do you feel when you step into Shiro?’ he asked. ‘Serene and chilled out’, I replied. With the biggest statue of the Buddha in Bangalore, if Shiro is peaceful, then my little painting can do no harm, we conceded.
(L-R: Grilled Mushroom Skewers, Pan Seared Tofu with Indonesian Ginger Sauce)
The Grill Festival menu at Shiros crafted by Chef Rahul has sixteen delectable dishes on offer. Divided it into four sections (Vegetarian, Poultry, Seafood and Meats), most of the dishes are meant to be starters to pair with their existing drinks menu, but some could easily be eaten as main courses as well. The chef suggested we try tasting portions from each section to get an overall feel of the offerings.
From the vegetarian section we opted for the Grilled Mushroom skewers, Thai Curry Babycorn skewers and the Pan seared Tofu with Indonesian Ginger Sauce. The mushrooms were divine. Plump, juicy and the marinade just clinging on to them. I generally wouldn’t order veggies, but I might make an exception for this one. (Maybe it’s because mushrooms have maximum Umami – a naturally occurring ajinomoto that enhances taste!) The Babycorn skewers were ok and I really can’t say anymore about them. The Tofu served with crunchy green beans was interesting and could easily be a light main course.
(L-R: Grilled Snapper Brochettes, Grilled Thai Prawns)
Alright then, moving on to the Seafood section! Shiro is popular for their Sushi and I have devoured it with relish whenever I come here, so I knew I would not be disappointed. The Grilled Thai Prawns arrived at the table. Coated with a coriander and scallion marinade and served with Wasabi Mayo, they disappeared faster than they arrived. What arrived next looked like Hariyali Fish tikka’s! I raised a quizzical eyebrow and gently popped a piece in my mouth. It came alive with lovely flavors of a Thai green Curry – Kaffir lime, Basil, Galangal and Chilli. The fish was neither overcooked nor undercooked and the pink of the snapper peaked out now and then. A lemon martini would have been a perfect accompaniment. Unfortunately, I had to drive back home – so alcohol was out of the equation!
(L-R: Grilled Chicken with Citrus Tamarind Glaze, Tsukuni)
The Chicken dishes glided in next. The Tsukuni – a minced chicken skewer, was the surprise favorite. It tasted just like the street food in Bangkok or Malaysia and we gobbled it up without a second thought. The Chef was pleased as punch, because he didn’t expect us to choose this one as the star. We even asked him to move this permanently into the main menu. Fingers crossed! The other two dishes we tried could easily cross over into the main course category. The grilled Chicken with a Citrus Tamarind Glaze was tangy (to say the least) and quite fun on the taste buds. It’s a good thing they served it with charred sweet corn which balances out the tang. The Indonesian Grilled Chicken was marinated with Sambal Olek (red chilli and vinegar paste) and served with an Avacado salsa. This was a let down, because in my mouth the avocado didn’t really gel with the chicken. I finished with the Tsukuni to let the taste of kaffir lime destroy the bland avocado!
On offer in the Meat section was Asian Barbequed Pork ribs, Grilled Lamb Chops and Tenderloin Medallions with Soya Shiitake Butter. Oh I wish, I wish I hadn’t overindulged in the earlier sections! We were quite full at this point and would have done injustice to the meat course had we ordered it. I peeked into other diners plates and they looked like they were enjoying it, so let’s just conclude that they were palatable.
(L-R: Chocolate Volcano, Tiramisu)
Now because I was full you would assume I didn’t order dessert. Well, you were wrong! Shiro makes an amazing Chocolate Fondant called ‘Volcano’ and it would have been unfair to my stomach if we din’t eat it. We cut it open and out oozed liquid gold. (That’s what the Mayan’s called Chocolate!). So yes, we polished that off! We also ordered the Tiramisu, but it clearly could not hold a candle to the Volcano.
So what’s my take on the festival? The menu is designed to be a careful accompaniment for your drinks and seeing that Shiro is more popular as a lounge bar, this fulfils the requirement. The dishes on offer might not be authentic Thai, Malay, Chinese or Japanese but the Asian influence is unmistakable. The Chef has definitely tried to cater to the popular palate and there’s nothing wrong with that! You rather have a happy customer who wants to come back, than offering exotic dishes just for shock value. On the whole, for me it was an evening well spent (though a Martini would have definitely raised it higher!).
The Grill festival is on till the 16th of December and available both for lunch and dinner. So hurry if you want to catch some yummy grub. Hopefully, the most popular dishes make it into the main menu and then I can have Tsukuni, whenever I want!
2nd Floor, UB City Mall,
Vittal Mallya Road,
Ph: +91 80 4173 8864
Parking: In the Mall
Price Point: Grill Menu from Rs. 300 onwards. Excluding taxes and Service charge .