The Shangri-La Hotel opened its doors to Bangalore a few months ago and now offers a range of fine dining experiences, including the specialty Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace. The restaurant serves regional cuisine from many parts of China, with a spotlight on Sichuan dishes, and of course this works all too well with spice-craving Bengalureans.
It’s a long walk down a nondescript corridor to the Shang Palace but don’t fret, because a dramatic, yet comfortable setting awaits you. The subtle Chinese accents and vibrant decor are offset by the theater of spectacular burnished gold chandeliers that seem to run as a theme throughout the hotel.
We were whisked away to one of the private dining rooms in the restaurant, and this we found lets you soak in all the extravagance of the restaurant in a convenient, intimate setting, complete with a powder room and a dedicated personal host for your party. Apart from two private dining rooms Shang Palace also offers alcoves that can work as semi-private dining spaces for groups, and there is a prominent central dining area, the heart of the restaurant.
The Shang Palace kitchens are presided over by Chef Lin Lin Yang, and we learnt that many of his team are Chinese nationals, thus bringing us the real deal – Chinese cuisine without the customary tempering and moderation for Indian taste-buds. The food is authentic, the flavours are punchy and the entire experience is superb.
The bi-lingual menu is extensive and accessible, with items being ranged into easy-to-map sections like Hot Appetizers, Cold Appetizers, Dim Sum, Barbecue and Marinated, and Hot Pot, apart from the customary classifications. Vegetarian choices are plentiful and interesting, and one of the cuisines being served is Chinese Vegetarian. The pricing is very attractive, with the restaurant being focused on giving their guests value for money.
An extensive wine-list, with the ease of ordering wine by the glass, is available, including a few themed mocktails, and they also serve a range of Chinese teas and herbal drinks. We started with a hot cup of tea in a pretty red and gold cup and saucer, and this just melted away the stress of Bangalore traffic, leaving us primed and ready for the spectacular spread that was coming up.
Boiled peanuts (bottom right in the above picture) that had picked up just a hint of sesame dressing, and a little dish of pickled carrots and cucumbers were at hand to nibble on as we waited for the appetizers to arrive.
The Chinese Cucumber Salad (top left) generously dressed in zesty soy, was super crunchy, and this is one thing you can eat a lot of while still saving room for the mains. If you’ve never tried lotus stem, the Crispy lotus stems (top right)is a good option..thinly sliced slivers of the stems tossed in chilli and hoisin, the Chinese barbecue sauce.
The Pan fried mushroom (bottom left) bun that we tried from the vegetarian dim sum menu was filled with an interesting shiitake mushroom mince, this is good if you are looking for a more substantial starter.
For the pork lovers we’d recommend both the dishes we tried. The Roasted crispy pork belly (top in the above picture) was superlative – little cubes of porky heaven, a total delight, from the crackly-crisp skin to the juicy meat inside. Served with fine granulated sugar to dip in, and a dark dipping sauce, these are most likely to be the first item that gets grabbed off its plate! The spectacular crown of Guangdong style roasted pork (bottom) had been marinated and then roasted to juicy succulence, and the colour on the pork was truly magnificent.
The other dim sum that we enjoyed was the traditional Cantonese Prawn Hargau (top right in the above picture) that had all the trademark moist and mellow appeal of a well turned out steamed dumpling.
If you can’t imagine a Chinese meal without Chilli Chicken, then the Chongqing chilli chicken (bottom left) is quite perfect. The judicious addition of Schezwan peppercorns here makes this dish interesting. If you leave these tiny bombs too long on your tongue you are likely to enjoy a true tongue-tingling experience, and this is all we’re going to disclose here :)
The Crabmeat soup (bottom right) with asparagus and egg drop seemed a trifle pedestrian after the explosion of textures and flavours in the other starters, so we dutifully tasted it and then sat back to await the main dishes.
The Hunan style steamed fish (top in the above picture) is not something that would usually feature on our order in a Chinese restaurant, but this preparation is definitely a game changer. The delicately steamed fish fillets, fork-tender and juicy, were dunked in a soupy soy sauce laced with pickled chillies, and we really enjoyed this.
The Roasted Beijing duck (bottom) is another signature dish at Shang Palace. Moist slices carved out of a perfectly roasted duck with the crispy skin intact are served with scallions, cucumber, sweet bean sauce and pancakes. The hostess quickly put together rolls for us using the pancakes, each with a succulent slice of duck, and the accompaniments, and these were delicious!
We’re huge fans of tofu, and found the Mapo tofu (top left in the picture above) excellent. The soft cubes of tofu were offset by a luscious chilli bean gravy, with bamboo shoots and mushrooms adding texture. This went well with the Chinese fried rice (bottom left) that was served in vegetarian and egg-laced versions.
Stir fried Chinese greens (bottom right) are a lovely, wholesome side that diners often miss out on. These were garlicky and tender-crisp, with asparagus, broccoli and pok choy adding their flavours to the dish.
Authentic dishes and flavours, modest pricing and generous servings are all things to look forward to here, along with beautiful ambiance and proficient service. The Shang Palace is going to be our new favourite destination when the craving for Chinese hits, and to be honest, it does hit us on a fairly regular basis. We’d recommend that you reserve your table ahead of time though, the restaurant was packed and busy on the Friday evening when we visited.
Address: Shangri La Hotel, Palace Road, Bengaluru 560052
Timings: Lunch – Noon to 3pm ; Dinner 6:30 to 10:30pm