Friday, 30 October 2015

All day dining at b Cafe, Shangri-La, Bengaluru

Shangri-La doesn't need any introduction but if you are not aware then they have opened their second property in India and the lucky city is our Namma Bangaluru. One of the finest hotels present in India, I was delighted to be part of their soft launch and the launch party. This time, I went for a review at their all day dining restaurant, b Cafe.

Located in the heart of the city, Palace road, Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru offer diners an array of authentic cuisines in some of the most spectacular settings in town. B-café is an all day dining restaurant at the lobby level featuring individual ‘open-theatre’ cooking stations and à la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a lively, fun atmosphere. People can enjoy fresh, inventive dishes prepared à la minute by a team of international chefs from Italy, Japan, China and India, so basically you dine with the chef's :)

The staff is ever smiling, making your stay at the hotel or dine at the restaurant very pleasurable. The variety of food offered at b cafe is amazing, something which I haven't seen much in Bangalore. Chef Antonio Tardi, Executive chef says you can name any dish and you will be served. Chef Tardi along with Chef Rounak was all set to present us with their selection of lip-smacking food. While we waited for the food to arrive, we were munching on Mezze platter, where hummus, labneh, mohummara, taboulleh was served with assorted pita bread

I refreshed myself with 2 mocktails during my entire dining experience.

First came ‘Yonaha’s Sushi creations’ and the presentation with spectacular - Prawn Tempura sushi, cucumber and cream cheese sushi, carrot nigiri and Asparagus maki roll were neatly placed in a small bamboo casket, served with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. All were cooked well and it had the right moisture.

Next was ‘Winter greens chef creation’. It had a baby beet, orange segments, goat cheese and arugula salad tossed fresh with olive oil dressing and shaved parmesan. As Chef Rounak mentioned, arugula tossed well and mixed with right ingredients can be enjoyed as a meal. yes, the baby beet and orange with parmesan did not make the leaves taste bitter, in fact it enhanced the taste of the salad.

Next came 'Dim sums', chicken and pumpkin in non veg, shitake mushrooms in veg, both were served with soy chilli and dragon chilli sauce. Nothing fancy but aren't these supposed to be enjoyed when stuck to simple creation?

I skipped the Orange and Campari Sorbet as it had liquor but for those who had, they enjoyed it while it cleansed their palate.

Well cooked lamb is always my weakness so when Roasted Slow cooked lamb leg, stuffed with spinach and cheese came, I had my expectations built up, especially after having such good food already. The lamb was marinated with house spice mix of herbs served with baby vegetables and rosemary jus. The meat was tender, the spices were just right which gave me my star dish of the night. I could another helping of it, if I did not have to eat anything else. Chef Rounak, job well done.

I did try a taste of Baked homemade potato gnocchi, with cherry tomato and buffalo mozzarella. It was good but I was happy my lamb :) In between, I also had a tasting of pani puri which was served at the chaats counter, how could I miss it?

The last dish which came was Zaffrani murgh dum biryani which was served with mirchi salan and raita, homemade garlic pickle, cabbage pickle, lotus stem pickle and mango pickle. First about the pickle, I liked the collection, lotus stem pickle was my favorite followed by garlic pickle. The biryani was cooked well, the rice was moist, the chicken had the spices on it, none of the spices over powered the other, the spices were evenly spread across the entire biryani and lastly the aroma was tempting enough to clean the bowl of this delish main course. I can return to b Cafe for this biryani.

How can you finish a meal without a dessert? So Dark Chocolate fondant served with Blue cheese and pear ice cream. Delicious and extremely filling dessert which looked tempting enough too. Right balance of taste and looks, must-must try it.

The variety to offer is more and by the look of it, I couldn't think I would ever cover the entire spread. For the kid in me, I did have cotton candy before I left with a smile on my face and tummy being full. This was my second visit to b Cafe, but first time I actually tried the spread which is offered. My fist visit was a brief visit and I had chosen a la carte.

The various live counters at b Cafe can be seen below.

If you are looking for a restaurant to satisfy your taste buds for cuisines like chinese, asian, indian, japanese, salads, chaats, desserts, etc then b Cafe is your destination. They are aptly priced throught the 7 days of the week but the spread increases on a Sunday so I'm waiting to head to b Cafe on a Sunday to try their other offerings. By now if you are hungry, then head to b cafe :)

Monday, 19 October 2015

Pizza trails at California Pizza Kitchen

The world is on your plate again at California Pizza Kitchen, fondly known as CPK. Pizza trails is back with 10 different pizzas from different countries for a month long festival. I was honoured to cover this festival again at CPK, Indiranagar outlet which is my favourite outlet too.

After a hectic day, all I need is good food to unwind. Stepping in for dinner, I started my evening Kiwi Mojito which had fresh Kiwi’s, lime and mint. The cocktail version of this had Bacardi which was enjoyed by others. For a refreshing drink, I preferred Kiwi Mojito. I also tried Blue Horizon and Melon Duo. Melon duo had watermelon and musk melon mixed but musk melon overpowered the taste and I did not like the mix. Blue Horizon was another refreshing drink with a blend of crushed lychee, orange juice and lemons with a splash of ginger ale and blue curacao.

Tried all the 4 starters from the festival menu. Starting with Charmula fried fish which were Charmula marinated fish fingers served with lime cream sauce. I enjoy fish fingers a lot. For veggies, they have an option of Harissa fried cottage cheese which was served with ranchito dip. The name clearly says that it is Harissa marination. I preferred fish over cottage cheese.

Next was Lebanese grill chicken, which was grill chicken in a Lebanese style chili marination. This should be had with ranchito dip. I expected this to be spicy but it wasn’t. Mexican veg wrap was last appetizer served which was my favorite. A Mexican inspired wrap with fajita spiced vegetable served with their homemade green chili sauce. The taste of the wrap was superb and the green chili sauce added to the spice.

It was time for pizza’s to flow in. It was a tough decision to choose few pizza’s out of the 10 available pizza’s, but left the choices to the manager whose recommendations always work for me. Started with Romesco Pizza which had Romesco sauce on crispy thin crust dough topped with roasted peppers, zucchini, green olives, cherry tomatoes garnished with chopped parsley. I have had Romesco pizza earlier which was my favorite during my last visit and this was a different version to it with more ingredients, nevertheless I still liked it.

Non veg pizza had to be next so it was Zesty meat ball pizza which had zesty chicken meat balls on a crispy thin crust with spicy marinara sauce, basil, jalapenos and cherry tomatoes. This was pleasantly different but not spicy as I had expected.

Peri peri pizza was next which is highly recommended. A traditional crust which has a South African twist with mushroom peri peri sauce topped with bell peppers, black olives and cottage cheese finished with cilantro. After a dose of jalapenos and cherry tomatoes in earlier 2 pizzas, this was refreshing with different spices and surely became my favorite for night. Actually every pizza is different and has a distinguish taste, but Peri peri pizza was a delightful change from the pizza’s served during the night.

The last one was Verdure pizza, I was very hesitant to try this one as it was topped with arugula leaves, olive oil and parmesan cheese with some exotic vegetables on homemade pizza sauce. As you know arugula leaves are bitter and I did not want to try it after an awesome peri peri pizza. But to my surprise, I liked it as the entire bite of the pizza actually balanced the taste and it was truly different.
The veg pizza’s at CPK have always been different and always been my favorite so non-veggies, do not skip tasting the veg pizza’s here :)

Time for desserts, which one shouldn’t ever miss at CPK. The festival menu had 3 desserts at offer. First was Banoffee bombe which was the best dessert of the night. One shouldn’t miss it and I hope they get this on the main menu as it is irresistible.

Some more presentation on the banoffee bombe could just add to the delight.

Second was Epiphany, a moist cake with californium almonds, topped with dates and whipped cream and chocolate fudge sauce. This did not live up to the expectation, it basically did not have any taste, till the last bite I was figuring if the entire cake had any taste or not.

Last was Enigma, which had multi layers of mascarpone cream, sour cherries, silk dark chocolate mousse and crispy granola served in a jar. This dessert was sweet and the sour cherries and crispy granola in between broke the monotony of sweetness. It was a refreshingly different dessert.

So enjoy the pizza trails and many other appetizer, dessert, cocktail and mocktail to offer on ‘The world on your plate’ menu from 15th October 2015 to 15th November 2015. Do let me know if you find any other pizza interesting which I should try :)