Sushi for a Rock 'N' Roll Lunch

Zen at The Leela Palace has on offer a delectable range of sushi till March 20.

Published: 12th March 2016 05:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2016 05:40 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Sushi is said to be an acquired taste. When we headed to Zen, the pan-Asian restaurant at The Leela Palace for a sushi tasting, we were warned that we might not like the dish. On the contrary, Chef Panchai’s platter of rolls only had us craving for more.

The Sushi Festival, on at the restaurant till March 20, has on offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian sushi rolls, apart from a sashimi platter.

We started our meal with a steaming bowl of Tom Yum Kung, a spicy, tangy Thai soup with shrimp. The strong lemongrass flavour stoked our appetite for the main course.

A platter comprising Rock and Roll (avocado rolls wrapped in tuna and salmon) and three kinds of nigiri (sliced raw tuna, salmon and scallion over pressed vinegared rice) was then served to us.

The Rock and Roll was a delectable explosion of flavours with crunchy avocado, while the nigiris were equally tasty. The platter of sashimi – slices of scallion, octopus, salmon, yellow tail fish and tuna with wasabi – was also surprisingly flavourful.

The fish at the restaurant tasted very different and we wondered why.

“We source them from Japan,” said Chef Panchai. “Fish in India are fibrous and cannot be cut into such thin slices,” he explained.

Ebi Cracker Roll (prawn tempura and kappa roll with jalapeno), Crispy Tuna Roll (shichimi crusted tuna roll with spicy mayo), Salmon Tartare Roll (salmon and scallion tartare with tanuki) are among other dishes on the menu.

The vegetarian options include Crispy Avocado Roll (with avocado and tanuki), Spicy Vegetable Californian Roll (with takuan, carrot and asparagus), Spicy Crispy Vegetable Rainbow Roll (tempura rolls with smoked bell pepper), Vegetable Caterpillar Roll (avocado, vegetable tempura, cream cheese spicy mayo with tanuki) and Crispy Asparagus Cream Cheese Roll (with panko-fried asparagus).

Chef Panchai, who specialises in Japanese cuisine, is from Thailand.

“I walked into Pan Pacific Hotel in Bangkok one day and asked if I could train as a chef. Fortunately they were shortstaffed then and they took me in. I wanted to learn Thai cuisine, but ended up learning Japanese,” he said with a laugh.

He worked at The Taj in New Delhi for three years before coming to Bengaluru. A delight to talk to, he regaled us with stories of how he cooked tandoori chicken for his family back in Thailand as we enjoyed our sushi.

After the main course, there was dessert – Tub Tim Krob, a dish made of water chestnut cubes, litchi and coconut milk. It was the perfect way to end a filling meal. 

The vegetarian rolls are priced between Rs 600 and Rs 650, while the seafood rolls range from Rs 900 to Rs 1,100.

The sushi and sashimi platters are priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,000. 


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