Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Vietnamese Collection - BENJARONG

                   The Vietnamese Collection - BENJARONG

  A cuisine which is simple and yet heart warming. Getting to know the best flavors in a simple form and features a combination of five fundamental taste elements. Each dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.

Being a home chef and used to the spices this was just a bliss. Every ingredient had its flavor run over the dish. It was indeed an invite that no one can ignore, to taste the best of Vietnamese from their very own Chef Nguyen Thi Nao has flew down from Vietnam to take us on an exotic culinary journey via Thailand. Nguyen has been associated with famous cooking shows on TV and radio channels in Vietnam.She has displayed her excellence by participating in Guinness Vietnam Record 2013, for ‘The Most Soup/Noodle in a festival’.  

Benjarong is a part of Oriental Cuisines Private Limited (OCPL) was originally founded by foodie, professor, restaurateur and entrepreneur -M Mahadevan in May 1994 under the name of Chaitanya Gourmet Splendour Private Limited. It was later renamed Oriental Cuisines Private Limited in March 1997.

    The interiors will take you back to the simple wood work. 

              The Awards and recognitions and list is big :-)

Apart from all this the place is with dim lights, lovely wood work and lovely music. We also got to meet and have a smal chit chat with Aji Joseph who is the corporate chef of OCPL and Chef Ramkumar who is the Brand chef of Benjarong took us through the entire idea of Vietnamese festival.To start with we were servered with Iced Coffee which is known as "Ca phe da or cafe da" and must tell you beinf a #Coffee Addict this was just what i was looking for. Just amazing and marvelous taste it was here is the video of how it is made and a small recipe of my own :-)

Vietnamese Iced Coffee:

    2 Tablespoon Sweetened Condensed Milk
    2 oz. Espresso
    Pour the sweetened condensed milk in a glass. Add the hot espresso and stir to combine.
    Taste and adjust to preference. Add ice and serve.

I couldn't have enough of the coffee and with that comes on the table was this amazing Wafers and Dip :-) We bloggers went gaga over it. 

Banana Blossom salad with tofu
Banana Blossom salad with tofu

We almost had the dip with each and every dish, just awesomeness.The Dip was made up of basil, mint, coriander, garlic and salt to taste. Later from the menu we were served salad which was again beautifully presented Banana Blossom salad with Tofu and Banana Blossom salad with Chicken. My very time of time of tasting Banana Blossom and i must tell you its was cooked to prefect, Light & crispy at the same time. Not being a fan of Tofu i still loved the way it was served in the salad. Banana blossom (or banana flower) is popularly used as a type of vegetable in Vietnam, especially in the Central. You find this flower as a side vegetable that goes with a lot of dishes in Hue cuisine like Bun Bo Hue, Bun hen (clam noodle), com hen (clam rice), and spring rolls. It’s considered to be a cool vegetable that is preferred to consume in the summer.

Banana Blossom salad with Chicken
Banana Blossom salad with Chicken

Next on the table was Vietnamese fresh shrimp spring rolls dipped in fermented bean sauce and mixed pickles served with Five spiced Vietnamese fish skewers and BBQ honey chicken skewer, You check the review about this on Rumana's blog. For Veg, Crispy water chestnuts with spring onion, Water chestnut was sweet and light and the spicy sauce served along with it added the dash of spice in the dish. Chef had bought along with her the rice paper which is used for the rolls, they are soft and filled with fresh veggies.

Crispy water chestnuts with spring onion

Vietnamese fish skewers and BBQ honey chicken skewers

Crispy water chestnuts with spring onion

And it was time for the bomb of flavors to burst - the famous 'Pho' soup. Vegetarian Pho noodle soup. If your a fan of tasting every small ingredient and enjoying its flavor then this is the one. A sip and you can almost taste mushroom, carrots, onion, tofu, Shitake, and the broth will warm your heart. The veggies were just cooked to perfection wherein it melts in your mouth along with the flavor.This actually is a meal on its own as its served with noodles. You can call this as a One-Pot Meal. 

Stir-fried glass noodles with crab meat

The Highlight of the evening - Stir-fried glass noodles with crab meat and Stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables. Crab Meat - I always wanted to try being a hardcore veggie and i am glad i did get a chance to do. The meat was so soft and tasty which had got no smell of any sort. As my friend quoted -"A veggie couldn't refuse but taste this dish". This says it all :) Stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables also had some tofu added. The taste of every vegetable was evident in a bite.

Stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables

                            Tangy Watermelon & Virgin Mojito

  Between the flavors still missed the coffee and hence wanted to try something to overcome that :-) And so came in the Tangy Watermelon and Suman's Fav Simple Virgin Mojito

Caramelised tofu in Claypot
Caramelised fish in Claypot

The Main course also had Caramelised fish in Claypot and Caramelised tofu in Claypot was also served. Another excellent Vietnamese cuisine, simple at presentation but high on flavors garnished with spring onion and red chillis. This is actually cooked in the same pot ans served HOT. Fish and Tofu were cooked well and coated with sauce which was sweet, salty and spicy enhancing the taste.

Have you tasted Sticky rice? Here is something interesting we got to taste - Green mung bean sticky rice that was  served with Vietnam chicken gravy in coconut gravy and Potato Curry. Interesting was the flavor used was moong dal interesting isnt it?  With the Curry it was prefect. 

Here comes the Last part of the tasting - STRESSED .. Confused? He He read it the other way around - DESSERT

Baked mung bean cake
Crystal steamed banana cake

Baked mung bean cake with ice cream served with fresh chopped fruits And A baked gram cake is surely healthy but this was a little hard but less on sweetness. These desserts are made in a particular way in Vietnam and people living there are not sweet tooth.The texture and complexity of the dish was eye-pleasing.

My first ever tasting of this cuisine made me realise that we dont need masalas to bring out flavors, Vietnamese food is less on spices compared to our Indian cuisine.

A great conversation with Chef Ram & Chef Nao on Vietnamese cuisine and their ingredients gave us more knowledge on the same.

Flavours of Vietnam has started in Bangalore from 23rd July 2014 and will end on 10th August 2014. 

Cost :

The price of each dish ranges between Rs. 250-500 each. 


Iced coffee, Pho soup and stir-fried glass noodles with crab meat. They have tried and brought the very best of Vietnamese taste here in bangalore.


Benjarong: #12/1, Ulsoor road, Ulsoor, Bangalore.


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Bike Boutique - Giant Starkenn In Bangalore

                              The Bike Boutique !! 

Yes you heard it right - The Bike Boutique

 Boutique - Where you go with just an idea of what you want to buy and come out with an amazing costume for the occasion. This is the generation where we want everything according to our taste and preference isnt it?  Let that be a simple design or the background color we spend most of our time choosing the best. 

    Now apart from clothing and Hotels we have someone who has made their way to Bangalore with their unique and amazing product which is very well known - Giant Strankenn Cycling World with their first ever store in Bangalore is at Indiranagar which is 3,200-sqft showroom.

Its one of a kind store and i would rather call it a Boutique coz all you need to have is a thought of owing a high end bicycle and the rest the store helps you find your new love. 

Gone are the days where we there was only high end motorcycles or cars. Giant brings in the revolution of high end Bicycles with Propel Advanced SLO- with a price tag of Rs 10.59 lakh and manufactured by Giant-Starkenn – is the costliest bicycle you can purchase in Bangalore! It’s the same bicycle used by the Giant Shimano team in the Tour de France and by champion biker Marcel Kittel unveiled on the opening day.

          Pravin V Patil, MD and CEO of Starkenn Sports

Pravin V Patil, MD and CEO of Starkenn Sports right after the launch of Propel Advanced SLO, walked us thru and  explained each and every corner of the store as to how it works. 

I also spent some time talking to Gautam Dalal, VP of Marketing and Brand Management

   Gautam Dalal, VP of Marketing & Brand Management

Giant, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer has successfully opened its second large “Giant Starkenn Cycling World” after Pune. Starkenn Sports Pvt Ltd, the sole distributor and authorized marketers of Giant brand, introduced the biggest bike experience center in the cityspread showcasing some of the firsts like bike simulator, bike spa, bike fit, bike library, bike café and a huge range of bikes from Giant’s stable. 

“The city accounts for nearly 6,000 units or 20% of the segment’s 30,000 unit annual sales,” said Pravin V Patil, MD and CEO of Starkenn Sports.

 The Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 Design is something to be talked about. Fearther light bike which can be lifted with one finger. 

 Giant also came up with bikes exclusives to Women - LIV. The colors are just amazing will tempt you to pick one up and ride it home.

 The bike range spans the entire spectrum of off-road, X-road, folding bikes, city bikes and on-road for men, women and children.

 The most impressive was the special Bike Spa which is for all the brands other than Giant for a nominal price. So in short its a one stop shop or as i say Boutique :-) for Bikes.

I was totally impressed with the focus towards the employee satisfaction also, apart from amazing customer service that they provide. The staff is friendly and would guide you through every step. Giant Strankenn has also been indulged in a lot of group activities which keeps the bikers motivated. 

You must visit the store once if you are panning to invest in a high end bike for yourself. And i am sure you would walk out with a bike of your choice with a broad smile. 

Giant Starkenn Cycling World: HAL II Stage, 100 ft Road Crossing, 12th Main Road, Opp Lakme Saloon, Indira Nagar, Bangalore 560008

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sanctum 1 year Special Anniversary Launch Menu

          Sanctum - 1 year Special Anniversary Launch Menu 


Photo credits to sanctum


A beautiful outdoor & Indoor seating, they cater to the laidback ladies lunch siesta and at the same secluded business luncheons with business enabling technology and executive assistance of prompt service and quick attention. With all this the Sanctum is also known for its musical relevance in the city of Bengaluru inviting renowned international and local acts for periodic gigs.

Fun, Food & Friends:

    The wonderful evening where we got to be apart of an amazing menu launch by Sous Chef - Joaquin Albarreal Sanctum

 Being in Bangalore for almost a decade I am not sure how i missed this place. As this is one of the best tapas bar i have visited, which serves quality food and head Bang Music. Coming back to food, I got an opportunity to taste the new menu which was set by the Chef and trust me it is amazing.

We Bloggers start the evening by few cocktails & I enjoyed the " All Time Special " Which had Cucumber slices with London Dry Gin. It didnt give a strong taste of alcohol but was smooth in every sip. 

All Time Special

And after few minutes we were served the first dish from the menu " Broccoli and Almond Espresso "  with every sip on to your palette you will taste the creaminess from the espresso and Small bites of almond. To go with the espresso we were served the toasted bread with cheese and Broccoli as topping. It was just prefect !!

               Broccoli and Almond Espresso


Between all this wonderful tasting the music played was just awesome. It perfectly blended with the evening and journey towards the next dish continued. 
It was time for the starters and for Veggies like me the chef had something different in stored for us. It was " Grilled Aubergine and Wild Rocket " in which the Aubergine was grilled to perfection and gave a sweet taste at the same time Rocket leaves are mixed with balsamic vinegar to cut the sourness of the leaves. As i am not a big rocket leaves fan i found that it didn't cut the sourness and actually gave a bit more bitter taste.

Grilled Aubergine and Wild Rocket

And so its was time to order another cocktail and hence went for " Jamaican " Which was a blend of Bacardi, Malibu, Fresh Mint and a hint of Citrus oil to give that Kick.


 In a few minutes we were served the Main Course which was " Beer Infused Grilled Chicken "  Though being a veggie i got to taste the Mashed potato and i was truly in love with it. it was creamier and made to perfection once again. The presentation of the dish caught a lot of eyes as well. 


                 Beer Infused Grilled Chicken

And we were served with 2 most wanted dishes in Sanctum - Beer Infused Grilled Chicken and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil.

It was Heaven for me to taste the most creamiest Risotto ever, totally Loved it. 

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil
And the bloggers were also served " Grilled Salmon " 

Grilled Salmon

Here comes the masterpiece of the chef. His very own creation and truly marvelous- " Sunny Side Up ".

The White Chocolate Mousse as the base and Liquid Mango Sphere on top, its's the ultimate combo that you will ever taste which is served along with apple fries and strawberry ketchup. 

Meet the Chef:

Executive Sous Chef - Joaquin Albarreal all the way from spain. 

23 years old Joaquin after completing 2 years of training in the culinary school of cooking and working as C.D.P in Kennebunk (Maine, E.E.U.U) Is mastering the art of Spanish Tapas and molecular cuisine. Joaquinis now the Executive Sous Chef of Sanctum, delivering the best in traditional Spanish recipes with an Indian Twist.

And a short video in which the chef talks about his menu, the food, his experience. 

Joaquin Albarreal


And the evening ends with loads of conversations, fun, drinks with the fellow bloggers. Thanks to the Team of Burrp for extending the invite and for me to be a part of this wonderful evening.

The Bloggers
Myself, Rumana and the Chefs


Phone - 080 61344907 
Address: Sanctum Residency Road, Bangalore, India
Reservation recommended

 My Verdict:

Food : 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Drinks: 7/10
Service: 9/10

Cost:1400 Per Person

Chef has given a lot of detailing and tried his best to get Spanish and Indian taste together. I totally loved the Set Menu except the Rocket leaves :-) The Risotto was just amazing following up with his creative dessert. Value for money and Entertainment guaranteed .