BENGALURU:Dining at Bengaluru’s latest Pan-Asian restaurant - Shizu San Shophouse and Bar - is more of an experience rather than just another great meal. The name itself - Shizu San - refers to a fictional traveller or collector of maps, who has travelled across the Southeast Asian countries to collect local recipes from the various shophouses.
What is a shophouse, you ask? The story dates back to 18th century Southeast Asia, which was marked by colonial rule. Travellers from the West made their way to the commodity and spice-rich Asian countries and found respite in these shophouses, which were, in layman’s terms, opium dens and brothels. When the colonists left, the locals turned these into eateries, catering to the working-class, and serving home-style, comfort food.
Holistic, spiritual vibe
The first thing that strikes you when you enter Shizu San, is the gorgeous Tree of Life - lush creepers that hang from the ceiling. These were incorporated into the décor wishing prosperity and positivity to anyone who sits underneath. The décor itself is minimalistic, with no in-your-face dragons and red and gold motifs that are common in Asian restaurants. With an outdoor bar, dim lighting and their signature cocktails, an evening out at Shizu San is perfect for this monsoon season.
Too many options,too little time
If you were to say that diners are spoilt for choice here, it would be a serious understatement. The menu at Shizu San is massive (confusingly so, some might think) and picture-heavy! With delicacies from several countries, options in food and drink are endless. The cocktails are unique, and Shizu San has managed to even put an Asian twist to some signature ones. For example, the classic Lynchburg Lemonade usually made with whiskey, sugar syrup and lemon is recreated and called Saigon Lemonade, which has ginger ale for the sweetness and an Asian fruit yuzu for citrusy zing. The traditional Old Fashioned has sugar, orange rind, cherry, soda and bourbon and it has been renamed Genie in a Bottle, in which tamarind candy replaces orange rind.
The Hattori Hanzo is a treat to the eyes and the tongue - this delicately flavoured drink changes colour because of the presence of the butterfly pea flower. If you’re a fan of the iconic Thai Tom Yum Soup, you must try One Night in Bangkok. This very hard-to-put-down cocktail has the same flavours as the Tom Yum Soup - lemongrass and kaffir lime - but in the form of a cool, refreshing drink.
Those looking for something non-alcoholic can go for the Ok Lah, made with orange juice and kaffir lime; or the Iced Milo Milkshake - the Southeast Asian equivalent of Bournvita.
The food is elegantly plated and comes in large portions - so do remember to visit when you’re famished. Dig into some dimsums to start with - the Poached Chicken dumplings are a big win, as they come with their own tangy broth. For the vegetarians, the delicately flavoured Shitake and Black Mushroom dumplings are ideal. From the sushi bar, give the vegetarian Sriracha Blush or the traditional Rainbow Maki a try. The Asian Watemelon Salad is ideal for summers, and the Penang Laksa Lotus Stems are the perfect, crunchy accompaniment to your meal.
Seafood lovers can try the Otak Otak - a mildly flavoured piece of kingfish steamed in a banana leaf, or the Black Pepper Lobster, the latter we found to be not very fresh. The Buri Bop Tuna is the kind of comfort food you crave for when you’re down in the dumps - mildly spiced rice with the meat of your choice. Shizu San also has one bowl meals, like Ramen and Khao Suey, perfect for those looking for a quick bite.
When you dine at Shizu San, make sure you leave room for dessert. We especially loved the Tender Coconut Cheesecake and the Green Tea Tiramisu, but with the large slices they plate up, sharing is caring is the best mantra to adopt.
Grab a quick bite or enjoy a leisurely meal at Shizu San Shophouse and Bar in Phoenix Marketcity, Whitefield.
Approximate Cost for two: Rs 1,800