Phone: 080 30571234, 080 30571520
Address: The Leela Palace, 23, Old Airport Road, Bangalore, Karnataka India
Time: 12 Noon – 3:30 PM, 7:00 PM – 11:30 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 3,500
Cuisines: Thai, Japanese, Chinese
Facilities: Wheelchair Accessible, Full Bar Available, Valet Parking Available, Outdoor Seating, 4/5 Star, Indoor Seating, Table reservation required, Kid Friendly, Smoking Area, Wifi, Brunch
Zen: The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road, Bangalore: Decor
You walk through the lush gardens of the Leela Palace to reach Zen, sitting gazebo-like amidst the greenery. The white and black interiors are elegant, with marble floors and sleek lines. There’s also seating on the patio.
Zen: The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road, Bangalore: Food
Zen has changed over time, beginning life as a specialty Japanese restaurant. Now, it serves Pan-Asian, and the menu is more compact and easier to navigate than I remember. I sat down to a tasting here, grazing through small portions of the Zen signatures crafted by Chef Abhijit Chavan Patil.
There was Tom Yam Goong to start with, spicy as it should be, fragrant with herbs and with shrimp and mushrooms. Then, Pomelo and Water Chestnut Salad, in a delicious sweet-hot dressing, with yam bean and peanuts adding to the many textures. The filo shell it came in was redundant; it would have been perfect on its own, a pile on a plate. My pick of the Nigiri and Sashimi would be the Sake Harasu Nigiri, the salmon belly rich and fatty, the rice perfect. The chef anoints it with soy sauce at the table.
The Pan-fried Gyoza, filled with chicken and prawn, served under a fragile, crisp net that shattered at a touch, was another winner. The Wok Fried Crisp Squid with Chilli Oats and Curry Leaves comes as an Insta-friendly plate. The squid was fresh and tender, but I found the sweet element in the oat coating distracted from the seafood.
We ate a flawless Thai Curry with jasmine rice after this, but the best was yet to come. This was the Kagero Yaki Steak on a river stone grill, flambed with Cognac, table-side. I was utterly impressed with the flair and pride with which the young manager, Kanish Kaul, served this up. There it was – juicy, buttery slices of meat, atop the searing grill scattered with garlic slivers that were turning golden and aromatic. They serve house-made sauces with this extravagant dish, but it didn’t need any anointing.
There was soothing Tub Tim Krob to round off the near-perfect meal, during which we drank a very pleasant Vijay Amritraj Viognier by Grover.
It had been a long time since I had so enjoyed eating out. The impeccable and genuinely warm Leela service contributed to it.
Plus & Minus:
You won’t find much to complain about at Zen. Be prepared to pay five-star prices for this luxury dining experience.