Thursday, March 10, 2016

Restaurant review - Shizusan, The Asian Bistro - Phoenix mall, Pune

Ambiance - ***1/2
Menu - ****1/2
Taste - ****
Service/Price - ***1/2
Overall - ****
Shizusan!!!
The bistro takes its inspiration from its mascot’s - Shizusan’s - explorations across China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea & Malaysia. The ambiance is simple and not in your face, which is a good thing. Menu is interesting. It takes you through Shizusan's journey and also has sketches of the dishes in the menu - that helps in deciding what you want to eat. Good thinking. Half a point just for this. The number of items in the menu is huge! Since I had gone there for tasting, there was a preset menu of some of their best dishes. Tried most of them. Here's the feedback on them -

DIMSUMS & DUMPLINGS
Veg. Selection
  1. Edamame, Petit Pois & Truffle Oil (S) - A light green pocket and a lingering wasabi aroma Рd̩licieux! Japanese soul; French flavour. --- 3/5. Needs more flavour
  2. Crystal Vegetables (S) - Translucent dumplings with the freshest carrots, squash and crunchy pokchoy --- 4/5. Beautifully translucent. Good taste
  3. Vegetable Chui Chow (S) - Pouches of tofu, mushroom and roasted peanuts served with chilli oil --- 2.5/5. Too bland
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Prawn & Chive (S) - Inspired by Malaysian food stalls  – tender prawn and minced chives with a pickled green chilli relish --- 4/5. Needs more spices
  2. Poached Chicken (S) - Money bag-shaped pockets of minced chicken, ginger, chestnuts, and pokchoy; Served in a tangy broth --- 4.5/5. Excellent
  3. Lamb Suimai (S) - With a filling of minced lamb, leek and coriander - some serious flavour packed into one dish --- 4/5
  4. Shizusan’s Chicken Soup Dumplings (S) - Dumplings filled with steaming hot broth of minced chicken and shiitake mushrooms. Make a small tear with your chopsticks (or fork) and then sip, slurp and savour! --- 3/5. The hot broth was good. Delicious in fact. But the dumpling itself was, meh…

COLD SMALL PLATES
Veg. Selection
  1. Shizusan’s 17 Ingredient Signature Slaw - Pickled red onions, salted plum dressing coupled with my secret ingredients --- 4.5/5. Excellent, inspite of being veg ;)
  2. Vietnamese Watermelon Salad - Fresh radish, mint, cilantro, feta, toasted almonds in a nutty chilli and garlic soy dressing --- 3/5. Would have preferred a more fresh taste
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Tuna Carpaccio - Topped with chillies, lime, Thai fish sauce, crispy onions and burnt garlic --- 3.5/5

HOT SMALL PLATES
Veg. Selection
  1. Pepper Garlic Mushrooms - Tossed generously with Thai holy basil and Shaoxing wine --- 4/5. Nice mix of flavours
  2. Chilli Celery Cottage Cheese - Cooked with Sichuan peppers and dried red chillies --- 5/5. Best veg flavour of the evening. Just fantastic
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Malay Style Chicken Satay - Marinated in galangal and lemongrass with the hotness of bird’s eye chilli --- 3/5. Too average and safe compared to other dishes
  2. Baby Back Ribs - Flavoured with our homemade barbecue sauce and signature spice rub --- 5/5. Now this definitely was the best non-veg dish of the evening. Succulent. Spicy. Perfectly cooked

SUSHI - (8 pieces to a plate)
Veg. Selection
  1. Sriracha Blush - Wholesome avocado, cucumber, crispy jalapeno and cream cheese --- 4/5
  2. Asparagus Tempura - Crispy asparagus centre covered in nori and a black sesame crust --- 4/5
  3. Quinoa Maki - Pickled veggies and seaweed complemented with wasabi peas --- 3/5. The idea of using Quinoa is good. But it just doesn't work that well
Non-Veg. Selection
  1. Dynamite Shrimp - A delectable shrimp tempura centre topped with Sriracha mayo --- 3/5. Needs more flavour
  2. Mud Crab Salad - A sweet and tender core with ponzu, prawn, tobiko and baby mayo --- 3.5/5
  3. Rainbow Maki - Tuna, salmon, crab stick, cucumber, tobiko --- 3.5/5. Good presentation. Tastewise, it was ok

SASHIMI - Assorted Platter of 9
STEAMED BAOS
Veg. Selection
  1. Crispy Portobello - Cool minced cucumber accompanied by Sriracha mayo and jalapenos --- 4/5 though it was a little tough to eat
Non-Veg. Selection
  1. Pulled Chicken Bun - Succulent chicken cooked in an Asian BBQ sauce plus caramelised onions and slaw --- Did not taste
  2. My PBJ Bao - 12-hour braised pork belly topped with a hot jalapeno slaw --- Did not taste

Entrées
Veg. Selection
  1. Stir Fried Oriental Greens - Fresh coriander, light soy and crispy garlic gravy --- Did not taste
  2. Trio of Mushroom & Asparagus - Shiitake, button and oyster mushrooms with galangal, basil and baby garlic --- Did not taste
Non - Veg. Selection
  1. Steamed Thai Fish - Marinated in garlic, chilli and lime dressing. Spice meets tang in this combination --- 3/5. Needs a stronger dressing
  2. Pattani Lamb Chops - With the lip smacking Thai flavours of fresh green peppercorn, ginger and basil --- 3.5/5. Well cooked. Taste ok
  3. Minced Chicken Kaprow - Thailand’s popular staple fare cooked in red chilli, galangal and young garlic --- 3.5/5. Nice and spicy. But chicken was a little over done

CURRY BOWLS
  1. Thai Green Curry
    1. Veg --- Did not taste
    2. Chicken --- Did not taste

RICE
  1. Hot Stone Rice - Watch as I take this classic dish and transform it on your table right before your eyes! --- 3.5/5. A little (very little) bit of theatre to the process. Tasted fine but the rice wasn't cooked through

NOODLES
  1. Phad Thai Noodles - My take on the very popular sweet–spicy flat rice noodles --- 4.5/5. Spicier than most phad thai noodles that you get at other places
  2. Chilli Garlic Noodles - For those who want to play it safe and spicy --- Did not taste

DESSERTS
  1. Peanut Butter Pie - Topped with chocolate ganache and roasted peanuts --- 4/5. Very… peanutty :)
  2. Lychee & Date Wontons - Crunchy and sweet golden brown wontons with vanilla ice cream --- 3/5. Idea is good. But didn't get a taste of either lychee or dates
  3. Tiramisu Asia - Green tea sponge, coffee dust and creamy mascarpone, a recipe from the modern bylanes of China --- 4.5/5. I don't like tiramisu. But this was quite good. Definitely best of the three

DRINKS
  1. Apple based and watermelon based mocktails were fantastic. Orange was ok.
  2. They don't have alcohol license yet. But they expect to get it in another month.


Service was very good and efficient. There was a little lull in the middle but that's expected considering the restaurant was full and we were a very picky bunch. Sukhmanjeet did a fantastic job of tending to our table. And he knew well what he was serving. That's very important. Thank you.


Price, what do you expect? Of course it's high. The premium being charged is for the extra efforts they have taken to tweak the dishes and making them more exciting. I would say, go there once. At least. After that, decide based on the increment that you get this year… 


Shizusan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato