Shitakke, the new Pan Asian fine dining restaurant in the city, serves a mean fare. But it's a long ride before you get to sample that
The spelling might upset puritans, but the two-week-old Shitakke shows promise where it matters the most in the kitchen.
If you were hot on Club Nero, the busy lounge bar on St Mark's Road which exists no more, there's one more reason to visit Shitakke. The owners are the same.
There's been a spurt in fine dining restaurants in the city of late, and one often doesn't know what makes them adopt that tag.
Is it just the ambience and the service or is there something else that makes them a cut above the rest? If it's the customary 'small portions,' along with everything else, then Shitakke, by no stretch of imagination, is a fine dining restaurant. For their portions are more than generous.
But their service certainly is upto the mark, and the ambience is just what one needs after a long ride through the dusty ring road, especially if it's marked by bouts of car sickness, like it was for us.
A Hyderabad-based interior designer has worked wonders with the space that wears a pronounced Far East look with brown cement murals on the walls and a giant Buddha with a rice bowl on his right hand at the centre, where the buffet is laid out.
Chilly Winglet Chicken
Shitakke has a lunch and dinner buffet for R 334 that has more than 10 dishes including two vegetarian starters, two salads, a vegetarian soup and two kinds of desserts. And like most places, they change the menu every day.
The Japanese menu is currently under construction and will be ready in 10 days. So the menu presently features Thai, Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian cuisines.
Yum Woon Sen, the popular Thai salad and a cabbage salad, are the first dishes that catch your vision. The Chilly Winglet Chicken and the Salt and Pepper Potato with chilly flakes, both part of the menu, provided a great start to the meal.
We skipped the sweet corn soup in the buffet, opting for the Tom Yum instead. While it was perfectly flavourful and enjoyable, it wasn't an authentic Tom Yum. The characteristic lemongrass flavour was missing as was the coconut milk that many places use.
What was afloat instead was chunky pieces of tomato, perhaps used to incorporate the sourness. There was nothing wrong with the soup, but it wasn't Thai enough.
The Cha Cha fish from the buffet however, to borrow from John Keats, was a thing of beauty. The dry seer fish preparation was seductive and fiery and matched the brilliance of the Winglets. But we didn't fancy the Lamb in Oyster sauce owing to its confused taste.
An Oriental spread is incomplete with tofu, and there it was in a chicken preparation with a mild sauce, that was just right when paired with the Burnt Garlic Rice. For desserts, we had the Chinese Pineapple fritters and vanilla ice cream.
Full marks to them for including fritters instead of the overexposed darsan which every Chinese joint serves up shamelessly, for the lack of a smarter alternative.
But Shitakke doesn't serve Chinese tea which they absolutely must. Satisfied with the buffet, we thought of venturing out of it to see what the dishes in the a-la-carte menu were like. There are lots to choose from.
The carnivores in us were on a mission: to sample every kind of meat they had. The first arrival was the Hot Cala Rings (Rs 295), a squid dish in chilly bean sauce.
Although the squid with bell pepper works as a refreshing accompaniment, we've had better calamari rings. The Mud Crab in Black Pepper Sauce (Rs 395), would have tasted so much better if the sauce wasn't so overpowering.
The crab was fresh, but its taste was a tad lost in the sauce. Ditto for the Pan Fried Prawn in Chilly Plum Sauce. If it's king prawns that a restaurant is using, shouldn't it show it off rather than hiding it in a dense sauce?
Shitakke primarily targets the IT catchment, right opposite the mall, and hence prices are most competitive for a fine dining restaurant.
As for the mall rats, it's a good option if they are up for a leisurely meal and want to give the pizza chains and fast food joints in the food court a timely break. A nip here and a tuck there, and Shitakke would be where it should - right on top.
WHERE Shitakke, 6th Floor, Bangalore Central Mall, Outer Ring Road, Bellandur
CALL 49029555/ 9844426834
Meal for two Rs 1,000