Sriracha—A New Pan-Asian Restaurant Where Food Meets Art
We start this one, with a question. “How many Pan-Asian restaurants are there in Bangalore?” 3000, 4000? And how many amongst them would you swear by? 10, 20? You might be thinking where are we going with this, but, this is the exact question that popped into our heads where we booked a cab to get to Sriracha—a new contemporary Pan-Asian restaurant at UB City serving select delicacies from places like Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore. “Will this space be any good?” we thought, (given that six out of ten restaurants in the city serve Asian food) as we darted through heavy traffic. But this fairly new space definitely had some tricks up its sleeve, and we knew it the second we entered.
Sriracha got us from the get-go, the interiors were subtle, the seating area looked comfortable, with an alfresco area to choose from (please don’t judge the place by the ‘look and feel’ tab on Zomato, it’s actually great). The menu is short and well crafted, thanks to Chef Vikas Seth and his crew, it has everything you would look for in an oriental menu—from sushi to baos to noodles, soups, desserts, and more. And speaking of interiors, there is another décor aspect that adds to the dining experience—the wall murals! It’s highly unlikely that you will pass through this gigantic work of art (of a girl) without noticing it. Dubbed The Girl With The Dragon Noodle, this illustration created by artists Agni Janakiram and Gaurav Basu, adds so much depth to the place. It illustrates an iconic Pan-Asian imagery with a contemporary twist. “The composition is a dreamy landscape decorated with numerous quirky characters. Our main character is the “Girl with the Dragon Noodle” and her attire evolves into the Dragon that also forms the “S” shape, throwing a reference back to Sriracha,” the duo point out (you can read more about the artwork here). That with all the dimly-lit lights and the buzzing of people made us love the place the longer we spent time. Another thing that caught our attention (and an important one at that) was the fact that there was no sign of loud music. So, five points to Sriracha! Since that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the food, shall we?
We started our multi-cultural food experience with a salad named Sriracha’s Som Tam, a green papaya salad. What made this one interesting was the fact that it was prepared right in front of us by Chef Seth, as he added house recipes like green papaya, chillies, green beans, cherry tomatoes, their in-house sauce, a dash of lime and then pounded them together in a wooden mortar and pestle. The end result was a light salad that was tangy, sweet and spicy. All the ingredients were in right proportions and this instantly raised our hopes for other things to come. Fun fact, the Som Tam comes from the ethnic Lao people living in present-day Thailand. It’s also eaten throughout Southeast Asia and is known in Cambodia as Bok L’hong. (A few things to note here, is that all the dishes on the menu have a long history behind each of them). We were recovering for the foodgasm when we were offered the Oriental Pot Roasted Chicken and Banana Blossom Salad, a meaty, non-vegetarian salad that had pot roasted chicken mixed with bean sprouts, crispy onions, spiced peanuts and a lemon chilli dressing, served on a banana blossom. The chicken was tender, and all the other accompaniments had a bite to them in right quantities. The dish was balanced really well and creatively plated too.
After that, we moved on to the Dim sum section. From there the chef probed us to try the Char Siu Roasted Chicken Dumplings served with a Spiced Ginger Dipping Sauce and the Wild Mushroom Purple Dumplings that was accompanied by the Chilli Soy. And they both came with distinct personalities. While the Char Siu came wrapped in a beetroot-flavoured covering, it had things like wheat and potato starch, chicken mince, oyster sauce and fresh red chilli. The Purple Dumplings, on the other hand, was crafted using red cabbage juice, wheat and potato starch, and came with a wrap that was purple in colour and had ingredients like shitake and button mushrooms as the filling. They both had a thick aftertaste to them probably because of the potato starch and they were juicy and well-cooked on the inside.
But the best (from the menu) had to be their Sushi(s), for sure. They have a variety to choose from, and we were suggested the Crispy Philadelphia Uramaki, and oh my God was it good. The dish came with items like smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado and cucumber, rolled into perfection. “Wait, did you say cream cheese?” Yes, cream cheese! Apparently, cream cheese goes really well with smoked salmon, and it did, for sure. Also, we could taste all the ingredients equally—key for a well-made sushi. We also found out that they do a few versions of this classic dish here. And as Chef Seth points out, “Some are modern interpretations of the principles of making Sushi, but the texture and taste play is akin to the original.” So if you call yourself a Sushihead, give this place a try.
The appetisers did not stop there; up next were the Togarashi Dusted Sriracha Prawns that came with Homemade House Screaming Mayo, and the Pandan Leaf Wrapped Spiced Cottage Cheese with a Coriander Chilli Soy on the side. These dishes are star-marked in the menu for a reason, and when we sampled them we knew why! They were (both) bustling with flavour, the prawn was textured, well-cooked and crunchy, while the cottage cheese was melt-in-your-mouth soft! Full points for them too.
After that, it was time for the mains, and we could not wait. First up, was the (chicken) Khow Suey— a classic like Khow Suey doesn’t need a makeover or an introduction. However, the Khow Suey at Sriracha comes with a small variation that can help you create your own little perfect food story of the day. In a nutshell, you can build your own with ingredients like coconut milk, lemongrass, coriander, soft noodles, fresh veggies and a lot of accompaniments and option like peanuts, finely diced chillis and more. It tasted delicious and was packed with flavours that we rarely see at Pan-Asian restaurants. This dish originates in the mountainous area of Shan State in Myanmar and surely makes for a filling and a delicious meal. Second in line was the Banana Leaf Wrapped Grilled Fish–Catch Of The Day/Basa. This also is a must try here. The fish was steamed to perfection and when it’s mixed with the sweet basil Thai chilli sauce, roasted spiced peanuts and steamed buns, it turns into a gastronomic rage monster!
We put an end to our dining affair with desserts like the Sumatra Dark Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Cream and Crushed Peanut Tuile, and the Seasonal Fresh Fruits and Jello laid over Malaysian shaved ice. Quite frankly, these are the dessert you need after a hearty food fest. The Sumatra Dark Chocolate Mousse was rich and not overly sweet and the mousse had a nice texture, while the Fresh Fruits and Jello was something new for us, but since we love fruits of any kind, we loved the dessert too. We never really focused on the drinks because we wanted a good food experience and we got that for sure. But if you like pairing your food with drinks then they have a nice selection of cocktails, mocktails and wine to choose from.
This place will definitely make you rethink the way you look at Pan-Asian cuisine in the city. The menu is tight, well-crafted, and the dishes come with a lot history behind them. Further, it’s good to see a restaurant focus on all the aspects of dining than just food—like the interiors, the cutlery, the plating and more. So, it’s safe to say that this place pretty much nails it. Most importantly, all the dishes here have their own character. Go and experience this space for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
Location: 204, 2nd Level, 4th Floor, Comet Block, UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, Lavelle Road
Meal for two: ₹1,500 for two people (approx)
Phone: 91 8041755366; 91 7022422473