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No fusion and confusion here


Stylish interiors and comfy furnitue at the Monsoon.

WHEN ONE walks into the Park Hotel, M.G. Road, what strikes the eye is its lavish interiors. Sitting in the lounge, one also notices that the reception, the lounge, and the 24-hour restaurant - Monsoon - all occupy different corners of a single large room.

The restaurant is not barricaded for there are no walls, railings, or plants to define its confines. Instead, strategically placed furniture mark the boundaries. Another unusual thing that catches the eye is the diagonal seating arrangement at the centre of the restaurant.

Unlike the other chairs and tables, the furniture in this particular section are all particularly tall, reminding one of a pub. "This is for those who come without a partner. This arrangements helps them talk to their neighbours and gives an informal feel," say the people at Monsoon.

Monsoon serves coastal Indian and South Asian cuisine. So, one can see a variety of cuisines that includes some of the popular Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Japanese delicacies.

The speciality of the food is that it is "pre-plated" says the executive chef, Abhijit Saha. "It means the entire dish, with its accompaniment, comes in a plate." The other unique feature is that the chefs pay a lot of attention in presenting each dish in a creative way. "This is because food is first feasted through the eyes," explains Mr. Saha.

For starters there are a range of soups, Siam rolls (vegetable and glass noodle spring rolls), sam tam Thai (raw papaya salad), and so on. The menu features what they call "Innovative Cuisine", which is a collection of special dishes, created specially for the Monsoon.

This list includes hot beans crab on a base of glass noodle salad, eggplant and tofu in light soya garlic sauce that is served with a vegetable curry and basil flavoured rice.

The best part about the seafood served here is that it is devoid of its strong sea odours.

The chef recommends sushi and chicken yakitori and salmon teriyaki (in the Japanese section). You can also opt for kababs, main Indian course that is served with appam, Kerala parotha, or basmati rice. For the vegetarians, it offers mirchi aur baingan ka salan, Kerala vegetable stew, the char-grilled vegetables, and smoked cheese and presto in a sesame bun to name a few.

The menu is changed every six months to "provide the regulars varied cuisines and tastes". And the chef assures you that you will be treated to cuisine that "is not available elsewhere in the City".

Mr. Saha, who has "engineered the menu", says that he chose dishes that would suit the Indian palate. "Every ingredient for the non-Indian cuisines are imported," he says with pride. He observes that the Thai cuisine is popular with most Bangaloreans. "That may be because most of the ingredients and the tastes are similar."

Monsoon does not believe in fusion food, but tries its hand at "creative cuisine as the former can only lead to confusion." But they do serve food with unconventional combinations.

This restaurant offers a breakfast menu, lunch and dinner menu, tea-time menu, and a night menu, each offering a unique variety.

For the desserts, the chef recommends warm chocolate mud cake (a cold chocolate ball, filled with some hot chocolate), caramelised apple or banana parfait, or date fried wantons with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Food for two here would approximately cost Rs. 500 upwards. The Park Hotel can be contacted on 5594666.

SHILPA SEBASTIAN ROMELES

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