Address: 998, 1st Main, Koramangala 1st Block, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Time: 12 Noon to 10 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 550
Cuisines: Thai, Asian
Facilities: Home Delivery
Asia In A Box, Koramangala, Bangalore: Decor
Asia in a Box has been well known to Bengalureans, especially fans of chef-restaurateur Gautam Krishnankutty’s distinct style. Earlier only available for delivery, it has now been relaunched to include a dine-in format. I went to the Koramangala outlet, which was Cafe Thulp and continues to serve the popular burgers alongside the pan-Asian menu. Don’t look for frills; it’s a purely functional space, befitting a restaurant where the entire focus is on food. You can’t always dine off water features and vertical gardens, right?
Asia In A Box, Koramangala, Bangalore: Food
I’ve long admired Gautam’s approach to food — his ability to source top quality ingredients, to use them with respect and deliver large, honest, bold flavors. These skills are on display in the latest version of Asia in a Box, too. Corn and Radish Cakes may not leap out at you from the menu, but these Yum Cha staples are delicious — a combination of soft center and crisp exterior, served with a tangy tamarind chilli sauce. The Char Siu Pork is some of the best pork you’ll eat in town, the meat tender and buttery, glazed with a dark, rich sauce. The Ikan Bilis I tasted next took the intensity of flavors to another level. Dried salted anchovies were fried to a crisp and tossed with chilli paste, roasted peanuts and spring onions. Crunchy, spicy and briny, it was the perfect rainy day platter.
The salad selection has unusual, tasty offerings for vegetarians. I loved the Green Plantain Salad — cubes of plantain are fried and anointed with soy sauce, lime, chilli and coriander to create a simple, but flavor-packed Thai favorite. The Pho is listed under soups, but could easily be a whole meal. I had the Smoked Beef version and it was perfect — from fragrant broth with its hint of star anise, to silken noodles, tender slices of meat and a mound of crisp bean sprouts and herbs crowning it all. You should go to Asia in a Box for the Pho alone.
My main course was Slow-cooked Beef Rendang and Rice. The Indonesian classic was perfectly executed, infused with the aroma of lemon grass. For vegetarians, I would recommend the Stir-fried Watermelon Rind; yes, it’s the rind of the fruit, cooked with Chinese cabbage and garnished with fried cashew-nuts. The rind lends a mild sweetness to the dish that’s packed with textures.
Only the Dan Dan Noodles fell short of excellence. I found overwhelming the combination of burnt chilli oil, Sichuan pepper, sesame paste and soy sauce in which the noodles were tossed.
Asia In A Box, Koramangala, Bangalore: Service
Service is quick and efficient. Asia in a Box is also on various delivery platforms and this is a great option when you want to order in.
Asia In A Box, Koramangala, Bangalore: Plus & Minus
This is exceptional Asian fare. But you must appreciate strong, intense flavors to enjoy the experience.