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Bento Boxes at OKO

Tuesday, October 06, 2015Me! In words

There are some weekends when all you want is a lovely meal without having to put too much of thought into what you are ordering. Those are the days when a pre-fixe menu is exactly what I would like. We were recently invited by The Lalit Ashok to sample their Champagne Bento Box at OKO. This is available all through the week for lunch only, making it a great option for those working meetings as well. 

I have always loved the interiors and the expansive outdoor canopied seating of OKO. Having visited the restaurant multiple times at night, this was the first time we found ourselves here in the afternoon. We were guided to our table indoors and the view from up here was a beautiful Bangalore skyline, with the clouds and the sun playing peekaboo. Of course the skyline could have done with a lot less buildings, but then that's the price of "development".

The Bento Box menu offers three main options of Thai, Chinese and Japanese - each of these has a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian  box that you can choose to go with. With your meal choice comes some Sula Brut. We were enough around the table to choose a non-vegetarian option of each cuisine. The meal was further enhanced with a sashimi and sushi platter.

 While we wait, the amuse bouche of crisps with a sweet and spicy chilli
dressing made for a nice palate cleanser

 The meal was accompanied by Sula Brut

  This is the adorable little pot of light soy that was served along side the Sushi and Sashimi platter. Next to it you see a glass with what is called OKO water - chilled water steeped in cinnamon. A refreshingly lovely take on life's most important beverage.

 The sashimi of Mackerel, Salmon and Tuna were fresh and evenly sliced. They were placed on an excessively large bed of seaweed and julienned carrot. I can never tire of sashimi and these were as fresh as they get. There was also Nigiri sushi of prawn, egg and white fish. The little brown hoods were omelet pouches with sushi rice. There was also some vegetarian maki sushi. All of the sushi were very well rolled and tasted great. What would have elevated this platter to another level would be some great presentation techniques. 

 And then each of our Bento Boxes came about. They come in beautifully laminated black boxes that are engraved. These are opened with a flourish at the table. Here you see the Chinese box with Ni Mong Tang Hai Xian - Lemon Coriander Soup (in the closed soup box that I unfortunately forgot to shoot when open), Xiao Ji - Chicken dumplings, Szechwan La Jin - a Chicken with Chilli, Wuxiang, Yang Rou - a Lamb Stir Fry and Vegetable Fried Rice. Dessert was the Date Pancake with Ice Cream. A fragrant and flavorful meal, this box, like all the others that followed was steaming hot and was perfectly proportioned for a person. The dumplings were moist and the soup very aromatic and strong on the lemon. The chicken in chilli and the lamb stir fry were great accompaniments to a rice that could stand on its own. The date pancakes, were not overly sweet and closed this box wonderfully.

 Date Pancakes with Ice Cream
 The Thai box had a classic street food special, the Por Pia Chae - Thai Style Vegetable Spring Rolls, Som Tam, the raw papaya salad, Tom Yum Kai - Chicken Tom Yum Soup, Kaeng Kheow Waan Kai - Thai Green Curry chicken with Khao Mali - Jasmine Rice. Dessert was another classic - the Tab Tim Grob - water chestnuts with shaved ice in coconut milk. This box is the ideal representation of standard Thai meal offering. The Spring Rolls and the Tom Yum Soup nailed it in terms of flavours, aroma and textures. The Som Tam did not pack enough of a punch for me, but then I am sure a restaurant of this nature has to think of the larger audience. The Thai Green Curry and Jasmine Rice are comfort food at its best. Do not miss the little sauce in the center that packs a sweet and sour flavour.

 Tub Tim Grob

 And then the Japanese Bento Box - Again a great selection for anyone looking for a classic Japanese meal. The Miso Soup has that depth of flavour which is so integral to it. The Spicy Salmon Roll Maki Sushi is a crowd pleaser. It is the Maguro (Tuna) Tataki that totally hits its for a sixer. The fish has been treated with respect and is a pleasure in every bite. The Chicken Teriyaki goes perfectly well with the Gohan, sticky rice. Desserts are not really a thing in Japanese food and so a lovely platter of cut fruits rounded up this meal. 

 The fresh fruit platter to round off the Japanese Bento Box

  If you are looking for a quick meal that is clearly representative of a cuisine, then OKO's Champagne Bento Boxes are for you. All Bento Boxes come at Rs 999 + taxes for the non-vegetarian box and Rs 899 + taxes for the vegetarian.

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