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Eastern dishes travel South



Shiok: serving the fine flavours of Asia in a quiet ambiance

SHIOK FAR-Eastern Cuisine is a new fine dining restaurant and cocktail lounge on CMH Road, the prime commercial district of Indiranagar. The word Shiok (pronounced "shi-oak") is a Malay slang word that roughly means "yummy", "comforting", or "pleasurable" food. Having opened in December 2003, the restaurant serves authentic South-East Asian food from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and China. It fills the market for both a genuine fine dining restaurant in Indiranagar as well as an authentic Asian food restaurant in Bangalore. Given the rising popularity of Thai food in Bangalore in the recent years, the city is ready for a restaurant serving the hearty flavours of Asia. Some of the specialties of Shiok include beef rending, which is a festival dish of Indonesia, with beef chunks cooked in fragrant spice paste and coconut milk for over two hours till the beef is left with a thick, dark brown sauce clinging to the meat. A fragrant rendang can be smelt from a long way off. Char kway teow is another dish popular in the street-side stalls of Singapore, which is broad rice noodles stir-fried with fish cake, prawns, and calamari in a mixture of sweet soy sauce and a chilli-shrimp paste. Chinese pot-sticker dumplings is another delicacy which involves a combination of complicated cooking techniques, creating an interesting texture contrast. Drunken beef and fruit and shrimp salad are the other Thai specialities. The latter is an unlikely combination that only the Thais could think of. Fruits of contrasting flavours, textures, and colours are tossed in a salad dressing of chillies, lime juice, and fish sauce. This mixture is then tossed with blanched shrimps, crushed roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and mint leaves. Singapore laksa, on the other hand, is a glorious curry soup from Malaysia and Singapore. This meal-in-one soup consists of rice noodles, fish cake, juicy shrimps, fried tofu, and bean sprouts over which coconut-based curry gravy is poured. Shiok is the only restaurant in Bangalore serving authentic laksa.

Apart from the main restaurant that can serve 60 people, Shiok also has an elegant bar lounge with over 30 seats and specialises in serving affordable cocktails. Cocktails start at Rs. 135 and even the ones using imported liquor cost only Rs. 175. The lounge has a wide selection of wines, including wines from Chile, Australia, and Germany. Shiok has a foreign liquor licence and serves fine spirits like Chivas Regal, J&B, and Black Label as well.

The ambience of the restaurant was designed to give people privacy and comfort. Managing Director (and Executive Chef) Madhu Menon, who switched careers from IT to start Shiok, was frustrated with crowded, noisy restaurants, where people had to rub elbows with the other tables and listen to 10 other conversations. The Shiok lighting is soft and indirect, and most of the restaurant is divided into private dining booths with candlelight, giving patrons the chance to sit down and slowly enjoy their meal. The lighting is completely customisable and can be turned up or down to create the appropriate ambience for any special occasions. The combination of authentic Asian food, warm ambience, and location (there is abundant parking opposite the restaurant) makes Shiok a good location for a special meal.

Shiok Far-Eastern Cuisine is on CMH Road, Indiranagar. Ph: 51161800.

TINA GARG

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