Located in the very suave mall of UB City in the heart of Bangalore, Shiro , the premier luxury restaurant is known for it’s finest Oriental cuisine and fabulous cocktails. The Zen-like ambiance replete of the dramatic soaring interiors, the serene lighting, cascading waterfalls and charming blend of oriental designs lifts your spirits and transports you to another world altogether. This luxury lounge has a sensuous feel and has been built to represent an Asian Castle, complete with waterfalls, low seating, niche spaces and mellow lighting.
You have a choice of teppanyaki tables or the lush outdoor terrace area to be seated at. The warm interiors beckon too. However, I would recommend sitting out and enjoying the breeze in your hair. Soak in the ambiance, and you will realise that Japanese, Chinese and Balinese elements come together to make the whole dining experience warm and engaging with the Orient.
(Picture courtesy: Shiro)
Shiro provides a mélange of dining experiences. While their everyday highlights are an eclectic celebration of oriental cuisines and signature cocktails, they now have a very interesting ‘Signature Monsoon Menu’ which will be available till the 11th of July.
The special monsoon menu brings together cuisines from Thailand, Korea, China, Malaysia and other countries of the Orient. The idea is for you to enjoy an array of stir-fried dishes that come in tantalizing flavours, as you enjoy the beauty of the Bangalore rains. The spread boasts of an equal number of options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians so if you’re vegetarian, you can breathe easy. They also serve a brand new range of great-looking cocktails to go with all that delicious food. If you’re like me, and you like your share of hic-hics, isn’t that really great news? ;)
Let’s walk around a bit before I take you to our table. This is the breezy outdoor seating area which is overlooked by a cascading waterfall. Oh how I love the sound of water falling.
This is the bar area flanking the outdoor seating area on one side…
…and here are the teppanyaki tables flanking the outdoor seating area on the other side.
(Picture courtesy: Shiro)
While I was clicking away, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of one of the elegant lamp posts there. So simple, yet so beautiful.
We’ve pretty much got the restaurant tour covered now, haven’t we? Time to move on to the most interesting part you think? The food, what else. D-uh!
The Shiro Stir-fry Festival Menu – Vegetarian Fare:
Tofu cubes with spicy Korean bean paste – a very delightful dish with a nice spicy note to it, and since I dig anything with tofu in it, I’d give it a thumbs up. The only downside however, was that the spiciness had a rather raw taste to it, which we even pointed out to the Chef. It was really nice of him to take our critiquing positively.
Next came the Potatoes stir-fried with Chilli sesame sauce. In one word – yummville. When you go here, you MUST order this. It has a spicy note, and a subtle sweetness coming from a dash of honey I’m supposing. And the sesame seeds add a nice crunch to the bite. You’ve heard me ramble on about my tater-affair, so you would guess that I was a little extra partial to this dish, and even asked for a second-serving. Spot on! Yumm yumm.
Next we were served some Mushrooms and Babycorn stir-fried with Thai spices. Another winner and a definite must-try.
Right after this came some Aubergine stir-fried in coconut, basil and chillies. We liked it mainly due to the fact that it was something very very different from your regular fare. Honestly, I’d never seen aubergines being used in oriental cooking before this. I may be wrong, but never. Really. This prompted us to order a second serving, but sadly when we were served this the second time, it was a huge disappointment. The aubergines were not cooked properly, and I went “belch” and pushed it away. For a restaurant that big, I would say ‘please stay consistent’. After all, repeated walk-ins come only when people know that they will get the same delicious fare every time.
Soon after, we were served the Assorted Veg stir-fry with Chilli Mustard sauce. This was good no doubt. However, the mustard was too-overpowering. My gut feeling is that the mustard would have been just right with non-veg fare perhaps. With the veggies though, it was a tad too over-powering for you to go “Mmmmmmm” when you put in your mouth. More like “Errrrr?”. We gave our feedback about this to the Chef, so hopefully they’ve taken it in their stride and mellowed down the mustard by now.
Here’s the last of vegetarian stir-fries and my least favourite. The Hung Shao Green Beans. The beans were neither completely raw, nor were they par-cooked. They were ridiculously floating somewhere in between, and that didn’t do much for my taste buds at all. The sauce had only coated the outside, and when we bit into the beans – tasteless. Thumbs down.
Having pigged on so many stir-fry dishes, I hardly had any room for main course. Nonetheless, I did manage to give it a go, and oh my…we had the biggest star of the day in main course. I would have had to kick myself if I’d given up on one particular rice dish. I’ll let you in on the winner alright, but before that let’s talk about the Spicy Yakisoba with vegetables, aka stir-fried noodles. This was no doubt good, but still nothing quite like the other dish which ended up wooing all of us. You get my point?
Now, coming to the most sensational dish of the meal. Allow me to present to you (*drumroll*) the delightful Green Mango & Jasmine Rice with Tofu. Okay, give me a moment here ‘cos I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Mmmm! Mmmmmmmmm! What? I’m still reveling in the memory of it I say. Stop staring now. Fine I get your point. Let’s talk about the dish. It has that slight yummy sourness from the raw mango, just the right amount. And then there’s the pan-roasted tofu, and thin slivers of red paprika and spring onions adding a burst of spice and pungence here and there . There are also slivers of blanched green beans adding a nice occasional crunch to the bite. And all this combined with the distinct aroma and taste of the sticky jasmine rice has you salivating like a baby. Oh. My. God. Need I say more?
I agree they don’t have much of a choice in the main course for us veggies, but heck, who wants to even eat anything else with this winner around? Take my word and don’t order anything else.
Finally, oh finally it was time for dessert. And the manager had earlier let slip that they had some ‘Chocolate’ Sushi on the dessert platter, so I was flying high already thinking about chocolate nirvana. Did you notice the subtle highlight? ;) Good, you’re learning. The dessert platter also had cheesecake, tarts and some other sweet somethings. The only thing that caught my eye though was the sushi. Of course, I could hear them
calling out screaming my name. So would you, if someone sat these decadent babies in front of you!
So does this bring us to the end of the review? Well, not just yet.
I have a small surprise for you. Remember I mentioned that Shiro has a new range of cocktails to go with their signature monsoon menu? Well, I had the good fortune of being able to work on a small photo-shoot with them. With Shiro’s permission, I’m sharing the pictures from the photo-shoot here with you, so I could tempt you into buying
one very many of these when you visit the place. The Chef was really sweet to let me test-taste all of them as he and the Bartender put these together, so I’ve included a small note after each description to help you make your decision. God only knows how I got lucky enough for not getting a ticket for drunken-driving that day. Shhhh!
Deep Blue Sea – Blue Carucao and Vodka topped with Champagne. I loved this one, not just for the attractive presentation and colour, but also for the little kick it gave me ;). Pretty and Intense.
Dragon’s Eye – Granadine and Vodka mixed with sweet and sour sauce and sparkling water. Mild and nice.
Kiwitini – A Kiwi Martini. Mellow and flavourful.
Cherry Melon Breeze – White Rum with fresh watermelon and cherry juice. Tart and sharp.
Velvet Kimono – Vodka with fresh watermelon juice. Sweet and sour. Goes pop in your mouth!
Having shared my thoughts on all this yummy food and drink, I could not not unveil the man behind it all – Chef Priyank Chouhan. A very friendly and cheery person. He actually took some time off from the kitchen and came over to our table for a chat. We gave him our feedback after tasting the stir-fry menu, and he very smilingly accepted everything we had to say – both good and bad, which was really nice of him. Good sport.
So now that I’ve spoken so much today, and you’ve listened equally much, I do hope I’ve convinced you to pay Shiro a visit before the monsoon menu ends. All you non-vegetarians, they have about 11 stir-fried items on the monsoon menu for you. Isn’t that double the incentive? Pick up that phone then and make a reservation for you and your partner, so you can have a cozy romantic evening together as you enjoy a terrific view of the cityscape drenched by the fuzzy monsoons.
Indulging in the signature monsoon menu would cost you anywhere between INR 300 and 625 (excluding taxes), and its available till the 11th of July.
- What you can expect: Pan Asian, Thai, Sushi/Sashimi, Dim Sum, Teppanyaki, Bar
- Overall experience: 3.5/5 (only b’cos of the inconsistency)
- Food: 4/5
- Ambience: 5.5/5 (How could that be, but yes it is!)
- Music: 4.5/5 (They were playing an incredibly good collection of classic rock numbers the night I was there. Sooo. loved. it. It would also be good if they played some authentical Oriental music. The experience would only get better.)
- Service: 4/5
- Personal favourites: Tofu stir-fry, Potato stir-fry, Raw Mango and Jasmine Rice, ‘Chocolate’ Sushi.
- Average spend for two: INR 2250 (outside of the monsoon menu)
Now that you’ve heard my favourites, it’d be good to know what you liked and what you’d pick as the star dish. Do come back and tell me what you thought of the food and drink there.
Oh one more thing – Shiro has this amazing Sunday brunch for INR 1500 with unlimited drinks from the bar and a gamut of finger-licking-good fare as well. The brunch begins at 12 noon and goes on till 6pm. How cool is that! So the next time you need a Sunday with a difference, you know what to do.
Thank you Shiro team for having us over and PR Prachi Gupta from Avian Media for inviting us on behalf of Shiro. We had a swell time!