1Q1 is the new destination for an Authentic Asian experience
Expect a Nikkei cuisine and a Robatayaki grill
At the intersection of Queen’s Road and Dr Ambedkar Veedhi, stands a brand new imposing structure, one that despite its newness, fits right in with its location, the iconic Express building, a long standing Bengaluru landmark. Dramatic arches, painted a deep brick red, catch your eye as you pass by and make you wonder what the inside holds, leaving you with a desire to walk in, through the black doors, emblazoned with the restaurant’s easily recognisable logo. 1Q1, short for No. 1 Queen’s Road, Bengaluru 560001, it would appear, truly does put the ‘queen’ in Queens Road.
The restaurant serves up a sophisticated mix of dishes drawn from Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Korean cuisines, with a special focus on the Nikkei culinary tradition, which is a delightful marriage of Japanese and Peruvian cooking. The luxe interiors are decidedly Art Deco-inspired with striped black and white flooring, cheerful green walls and an ornate chandelier right in the middle of the sprawling space.
Chef Mako Ravindran, part Japanese, part Indian, helms the kitchen. Back by years of experience, the chef comes with a wealth of knowledge that is reflected on the plate. He starts us off with the Chilli and Roasted Garlic Edamame - sea salt, red chilli and burnt garlic combine for a simple yet delicious small plate that has bite and is truly moreish. Their Signature cocktails are also an interesting mix of unusual ingredients. For instance, The Yojimbo blends yuzu and thyme with Gordon’s gin, and The Trilby, peach and saffron jam with Gordon’s gin and sparkling water.
This is followed by the Nikkei Salmon Sashimi with Passion Fruit Leche Tigre from the ‘Salads and Ceviches’ section. The dish uses leche de tigre or tiger’s milk (a lemon-based curing agent in ceviches) with a generous dash of passion fruit pulp, aji amarillo (Peruvian chilli), sweet corn and crisp pumpkin and potato slivers. Best described as an assault on the senses, this dish is a beautiful mix of sweet, tart, salty notes, and crispy, crunchy and soft textures.
We are then treated to a guided tasting of Hamachi and Scallop Sashimi, by the chef. Buttery and super fresh, the Hamachi or Yellowtail, says Mako, is best paired with the Shiso leaf it is laid on. The herb adds a unique flavour of its own to the dish, which can’t quite be pinpointed. Our opinions are divided between citrusy basil and minty cilantro. The Unagi nigiri, made with smoked and grilled eel, is devoured in no time. Our advice: skip the accompanying soy sauce and wasabi, as this is a winner all by itself.
From the assortment of Dim Sums served to us (the classic Hargau, chicken Gyoza and Black Truffle and Edamame), our pick would be the latter, though the other two definitely hit the mark as well. We loved the velvety smoothness of the edamame filling, which when paired with the rich, earthy notes of the black truffle is simply sensational.
The Robatayaki grill is understandably one of Mako’s most loved fixtures in the restaurant. Installed in their al fresco area, the offerings include John Dory, Octopus, Lobster, Red Snapper, Cuttlefish. We are served Baby Octopus in a South American sauce widely used in Peruvian anticucho dishes. For mains, we sample the Lamb Massaman Curry with rice. An aromatic blend of Thai spices, the sauce is thick and creamy and the lamb soft and tender.
The meal draws to a close with the Matcha and Raspberry Ice Cream Meringue Cake, a fitting end to a memorable meal. The dish is a burst of distinct flavours and textures that harmoniously blend together. The pistachio crumb and hazelnut praline offer texture and nuttiness and tie it all together.
Right from the decor to the food to the service, this place is a gem - just the sort of luxurious escape that this side of the Central Business District was in dire need of.
Rs3,000 for two. At Queens Road. Details: 49652864