It should come as no surprise that the newly opened Shangri-La hotel in Bangalore, would choose to have its crowning jewel – Shang Palace, as one of the restaurants. With a heritage of serving authentic Chinese cuisine for 42 years, Shang Palace ensures its patrons get a taste of Cantonese, Shanghainese, Bejingese and Sichuan flavours. A five star restaurant with a focus on value for money and classic Chinese cuisine, Shang Palace is a game changer.
It’s okay if you walk into the Shangri-La looking at the ceiling rather than the floor. You will see some magnificent chandeliers as you make your way up to the 3rd Floor, where Shang Palace is housed. After a long walk down a seemingly endless corridor, you arrive at an elegant space that is modern but subtly weaves in Chinese elements like gold rimmed plates, Marble vases, bamboo plants and lanterns. Shang Palace offers both indoor and outdoor seating, but the single most impressive space is the Private dining room for 12 people. A large circular dining table with a lazy susan, sofa area and even a powder room, the private dining area is made more elite with your personal host for the evening.
Hot and Cold Appetizers, Dim Sums, Soups, Staples, Barbequed dishes and a section dedicated to vegetarians – the menu is definitely vast. An interesting addition is the Chinese Hot Pot, which is a fun family dining experience where multiple dipping condiments are served alongside a hot broth of your choice. But the single standout element of the menu is definitely the price. Appetizers start at an unbelievable INR 345 and the most expensive item on the menu at INR 2500, is their Full Roasted Beijing Duck carved and served with scallion, cucumber, sweet bean and pancakes. A princely meal for two no longer costs an arm and a leg!
Shang Palace also has a fairly large Drinks Menu, with a couple of Chinese inspired cocktails and an interesting Wine menu that pairs with their signature dishes. If you’d rather stick to something innocuous, they have a fine selection of Chinese teas and herbal beverages as well. If you’re feeling especially inspired, you can even ask the waitstaff to help you pair your teas with your meal.
We had the opportunity to dine at their private dining room, where we sampled signature Shang Place creations, dished out by Chef Lin Lin Yang and his team of Chinese expat chefs. To say the experience was superlative, would be an understatement.
Starting with a cup of piping hot Jasmine tea is always a good idea. Nibble on some pickeld vegetables and boiled peanuts with a sesame-soy dressing as the appetizers arrive. If you’ve never ordered a salad in a Chinese restaurant, the Chinese Cucumber Salad with yellow bean sauce, bananachilli and coriander will change your mind. The Crispy Lotus Stems tossed with chilli and hoisin sauce is a fun vegetarian appetizer and an equally competent accompaniment to a cocktail. The Chongqing Chilli Chicken with wok fried dry red chilli and schezwan peppercorns is a must try – if just for the tingling and numbing effect the peppercorns have on your tongue.
We tried the traditional Cantonese dim sum – the Prawn Hargao and also a pan fried Mushroom Bun, which had an extremely flavorful black fungus and shitake filling. The Crabmeat Soup with asparagus and egg drops failed to incite any excitement, as the final flavors were mediocre.
The Chinese Barbeque section however had us sit up with anticipation and the Guandong Style roasted Pork is what legends are made of. Char Shao marinated pork belly barbequed to perfection – glistening red exterior with a melt in the mouth fatty interior. The show stealer however, was the innocent sounding Roasted Crispy Pork Belly. The Crispy Pork Belly comes in perfect little cubes with a strata of crackling, pork fat and pork meat. No fancy marinade – a light five spice seasoning lets the meat and the skill of the chef do the talking. Hoisin sauce seems like a standard condiment, but what elevates this dish is the little plate of powdered sugar. Take the cube of pork, dip it in the sugar and then the sauce and experience the magic that unfolds on your tongue. If there is only ONE thing you can order at Shang Place – let it be this!
Vegetarian mains like Stir Fried Chinese Greens were expertly executed. The Mapo Tofu tossed with bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms in a chilli bean sauce tastes as fiery as it looks. We paired the Yangzhou Fried Rice with Char Shao Chicken, Prawns and Egg with it and the mild rice went beautifully with the fiery Tofu main.
There are a few dishes that get intricately linked to a restaurant and draw its patrons back, time and again. The Hunan Style steamed Fish is all that and more. Perfectly cooked filets of sea bass placed gingerly in a broth of fragrant soy sauce garnished with delicate juliennes of pickled chillies. Simple Flavours that make such a powerful impact when combined correctly. A beautiful dish that truly exemplifies what 42 years of experience can bring to the table.
Of course we had the Roasted Beijing Duck – it would be a crime to come to Shang Palace and leave without eating a juicy piece of carved duck with crispy skin encased in a lace like pancake with scallions and sweet bean sauce. Pure heaven! We even had the luxury of the hostess expertly rolling out the duck rolls for us, as we greedily wolfed them down.
It’s hard to get excited about dessert when it was Almond Milk Jelly with Papaya. It’s a good thing we had the sublime Five-Spices Ice Cream which completely made eating the bland jelly-papaya combination worthwhile. The Green Tea Ice Cream also comes highly recommended and I’m betting the Matcha creation will rival the Five-Spice one.
For a Pork loving Chinese food aficionado – Shang Palace lived up to the hype. If the crowds on a Tuesday night are anything to go by, I’m sure the word has spread.
P.S. Mood Lighting does nothing for food photography. I hope my writing compensates for the borrowed images. Maybe I’ll update the pics, post a nice afternoon lunch there.
Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru
No.56-6B, Palace Road, Bangalore – 560052
+91 80 45126100
Cost : INR 2000++ for a meal for two.
Valet Parking available.