Most reviewers focus on both the place and the food when writing a review, ensuring that each has a small mention. At Shiro, both the food and the restaurant are such imposing entities on their own that they cannot do with just a small mention.
As you walk into Shiro you know it is not your run of the mill restaurant. The contrast from Hotel Samrat is baffling – the sight is a rare thing. You walk into a three-tired 10,000 square feet restaurant designed to perfection. You can see lofty versions of taste in the form of Buddha statues imported from Indonesia.
Who doesn’t know Chef Vikas Khanna? Chef Khanna is an award winning Michelin Starred celebrity chef and restaurateur. We all know him from the famous TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York but belongs to Amritsar.
Shiro provides a twist to their existent and much loved menu as they associate with the leading travel channel Fox Traveller for their show “Twist of Taste” hosted by Chef Khanna.
Chef Khanna’s menu is legendary and should not be missed. The menu and the ambience makes Shiro not just a nice restaurant but an experience delivered through dishes which are sturdy, yet delicate; served on perfectly presented plates, in a high-ceilinged room with Zen-inspired interiors.
To cook this sort of food, you have to know what you’re doing. The Coconut and Lemongrass Soup with Rasam Powder (₹265) was surely the work of a master chef. I don’t like coconut, I surely don’t like the flavour of lemongrass and rasam is my least favourite South Indian concoction. How a mix of these three could be so silken and delicious was bewildering to me! The texture of the soup was perfect, it tasted delicious and was perfectly exquisite.
Next on the list was Xacuti Masala Grilled Rice Paper Roll Chicken (₹430), it tasted like a lightly spiced salad which gave my palate a whole new experience.
I went for a piece of the Vegetarian Dim Sum which gave its non-vegetarian cousin the Chicken Dim Sum a serious run for its money.
And then there was the Steamed Fish with Malabar Curry Spices, served on a big Lotus Leaf. It costs ₹635 for two, but would serve three. The fish was served to us by the perfectly knowledgable serving staff who explained to us exactly what it contained. Finally, I dug in and it just melted in my mouth. The curry spice is known to be overpowering but the fish had still managed to keep its identity.
There were other interesting things on the menu: Crispy Tofu with Tamarind Chutney (₹390), Tuna and Chicken Sushi – the best Tuna Sushi around, Panko Crusted Prawn Rawa Fry (₹535) in true coastal style. Only a Chef as great as one with a Michelin Star can make Tofu taste so divine.
The main course Kerala Style Prawn Curry with Thai Red Curry Paste (₹720) went beautifully with Lemon Fried Rice with Peanuts (₹455). If I ever tried to make prawns as deliciously soft and delicate as this, my kitchen would be covered with inexplicable debris. I would be found weeping in a corner, covered in curry and paste (and I know I can cook!). The Prawns were a magnificent piece of work and were perfectly marinated with a flavourful and sweet thai red curry paste.
They finally brought us all the desserts on the menu. We were lost in cream, chocolate and cheesecake. Consuming all those calories becomes our shared endeavour.
The Mississippi Mud Pie, Trio of Cheesecakes, Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, the chunky Chocolate Cheesecake with Ice Cream and finally a rich chocolate cake to celebrate the success of Shiro at Times Food Awards 2014. Shiro is the “Best Bar with Dancing” and I’ve gotta visit Shiro on a weekend to check out the amazing wall that turns around and converts into a DJ Deck & Music Station – how fascinating!
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