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EarnesTaster

Caprese , Shangri-La avec Suresh Hinduja

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EarnesTaster    279
 Regally situated high inside the gorgeous Shangri-la hotel, Caprese is an elegant deluxe-quality Italian restaurant with stunning views of the green Bangalore cityscape. Entering and luxuriating in the large high-ceilinged hotel lobby shimmering with gold, beige-'n'-chrome is an experience by itself. The airy restaurant is classily done up with executive-grade burnished wood and plush furniture while huge windows create marvellous views that I have rarely seen in other establishments - overall an excellent venue especially by daylight for that special outing.The cuisine uses high-quality ingredients with a style and level that is a clear advancement on the mama-mia basics. Weather permitting, there's an adjacent al fresco space invitingly and expansively occupying an oversize balcony deck.  
 
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But Caprese's cuisine, since the whole set-up spread-eagled its ambitious wings two years ago, has consciously desisted from post-modern fare - this might soon change. Suresh Hinduja, Bangalore's leading cuisine impresario and a familiar national figure in the specialist circles of cutting-edge gastronomy, hosted a grand luncheon wherein Caprese's eager-to-please staff presented a special six-course meal of cutting-edge Italian cuisine. I had the privilege of being one of the select invited guests. Executive Chef Anurudh Khanna (who oversees the whole hotel's cuisine) and Chef De Cuisine of Caprese, Wasim Raja were assiduous in presenting to us the tastes and insights underlying the food while Resident Manager Rakesh Sethi shared his keen understanding of the industry's nitty gritty. 
 
Chef Anurudh Khanna 
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(L) : Resident Manager  Rakesh Sethi
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Even before the food, I very much enjoyed a wonderful cocktail "Her Hype" by the brightly smiling and talented mixologist Jayandran Anthony, which was a chilled exquisite blend of vodka, chenin blanc and the works, superbly presented in a tumbler-size steel bucket adorned with more designer frills.  
 
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Men At Work : (M) Mixologist Jayandran Anthony, (L) The Don 
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(L) Ila Naidu  (R) Shamira Ajani (Director of Communications)
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The first two starters were a cool confident display of Italian umami - a boutique of mozzarella, tomato and parmesan with cameos by olives and aubergine. 
 
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A surprise Japanese cameo :
 
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Technical acumen then came into play with melting-soft tortinos of mushroom, with mushroom crumble sprinkled over for texture while a burrata sauce formed the white base. 
 
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Good-quality grilled prawns marked the first meaty foray but the star of that plate was a shrimp flan, like a super-soft morsel of frittata. The expert touch of spices and fresh embedded prawns in that little cloud of starch created exquisite echoes of aftertaste. 
 
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The restaurant had a decent sprinkling of guests for lunch but from what I have seen of other city restaurants like Graze and Caperberry, it suffers from the same problem that afflicts all of Bangalore's nouvelle cuisine places - insufficient patronage. There is uncountable money in the city but regrettably, its cuisine-oriented customers are still hesitant to put Bangalore on the international dining map. 
 
Cut to the mains : The vegetarian main of an 'Involtino' was a entry fit for a masterchef competition - so deceptively simple, yet challenging and elegant it was. Thin tender zucchini strips were wrapped around beautifully rendered aubergine in a rich core of fontina cheese, with creamy tomato sauce at the base. It was all so soft and agreeable you could feed it to a baby but it takes a discerning adult to appreciate the quality of its composition. 
 
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Moist, tender Indian seabass had a robustly crunchy crackling-like exterior, with a smooth sauce of saffron blending into mashed potato, my only quibble being that the acidic element needed to slice through those broad savoury waves, was inadequately supplied by lemon foam.  
 
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Deconstruction and stylish reconstitution informed the desserts. "Tiramisu" appeared as a galaxy compressed linearly. The central dark 'sun' was a chocolate sphere encasing the cream, while a long streak of biscuit crumble lined the whole set-up. The next dessert was even more enjoyable - deconstructed lime pie, with sharply tasty swirls of lemon curd intertwined with arcs of crunchy pastry.   
 
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This was a brilliant afternoon, in a glorious venue with special company and confident evolved cuisine. I hope these next gen offerings find a special section on Caprese's existing menu.
 
 
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