Asian Bangalore restaurant reviews

1Q1 Kitchen and Bar

Friday, March 02, 2018ruthdsouzap

If there is one thing Bangalore restaurateurs have a lot of - it is the ability of doing things with a flair. On the block for a while now has been 1Q1 - an Asian restaurant - that promises not only good food, but an excellent experiential bar, a lounge space (both indoor and semi-outdoors) and a nightlife spot that was sorely needed in that part of town. We were invited to experience the space a little while ago. 

Housed in the Indian Express Building, lending it a regal setting to begin with (and making me oh so jealous of the folks working in the building), 1Q1 derives its name from its address - #1 Queens Road, Bangalore -01. So with that mystery out of the way, let me take you past it gold gilted wooden gates and into the restaurant. Stepping into 1Q1, you are going to take a minute to take it all in. What you see in front of you is a massive expanse of a restaurant, with a double (or possibly triple) height ceiling. Multiple forms of seating allow for a varied kind of dining experience. Something to suit every kind of diner who walks in. 

To begin with, you have the regular table and chair affair for that proper sit down meal. Separated by freestanding dividers, you next move to a series of low profile seating and tables that are placed in a line by massive bay windows. This is a flexible space where things can be moved around to allow for a live band to perform. The end of this low profile seating spells the beginning of a massive bar - done up in a classic style, reminiscent of a salon but amped up. Behind this bar, you step into the semi-alfresco seating area that is large, also is the smoking area.

Now to balance out a space as large as this, you need a good food and beverage menu to work with. And from the looks of things when we were handed the menus, there is no shortage of either. It was going to be a long afternoon of eating and drinking and we had come prepared. 

 To start things off we asked for the Devil's Tail - Grey Goose with Thai Red Chilli and Litchi Juice for me and Berry Grappo - Stolinchaya Vodka with imported grapes with homemade orange peel and rosemary syrup. I loved my drink primarily because it combines alcohol with spice, which is my favorite way to drink at any given point. The drink was well balanced in terms of the sweetness from the litchi juice and the spiciness of the Thai red chilli. The Berry Grappo, with its homemade syrup was another sweet drink, quite similar to my drink, coincidentally and was nice. Whether the imported grapes really made that much of a difference to the drink is debatable. 

 Since we had Anoushka with us and she is an eternal fan of a good Prawn Tempura, that is what we ordered for her, along with a portion of sticky rice and miso soup with tofu. The Prawn Tempura was done to light crispy goodness and the dipping sauce of light soy with scallions the perfect accompaniment. 

Sushis were rolled out next and we started with the Rainbow Roll. Rolled into neat roundels and just the right size in terms of mouthfuls, the seafood was fresh as were the various roe used to top off the roll. We also had the Lava Roll that packed quite punch with its hot sauce topping. The selection of sushi is quite extensive and so if you are looking for some, here you go!

Lava Roll

Now Nikkei cuisine has been taking the world by storm and its not really easy to come by some really well done dishes that are a tribute to the form. Having really fresh seafood to start with is essential and so when this Nikkei Salmon Sashimi with Passion Fruit hit the table, we took a few minutes to gaze the dish over. One would think that dousing good fish with passionfruit is not such a good idea, but that is where being open to new textures and flavours is so important. This dish packed a range of textures, each one complimentary to each other - from the smooth firmness of the salmon to the very well done Leche de Tigre (Tiger's Milk) marinade all of which balanced really well with the sweetness of the passion fruit and the crunch factor that came from the sweet potato bits that are a generous part of the dish

 At this point we had another round from the bar. The Aces Wild - Cinnamon and Apple infused Jim Beam with brown sugar, mint and lime. You have to hand it to the bartender, at this meal, all our drinks were very well balanced. And the infusion of cinnamon and apple not overpowering as it sometimes can get with the enthusiasm to do something different. For a person like me slowly moving into the whisky world, this was a nice cocktail to nurse. 

Sashimi came up next and we had some really fresh Tuna Sashimi come to the table. These slices were much thicker than those I have normally encountered and I did ask about that. I was told that thicker slices have a better bite to them and are preferred. While the tuna was extremely fresh and the sashimi great to have, I personally prefer slightly thinner slices.

Now a first for me was the Scallops Sashimi - served up with daikon and on a shiso leaf, it reiterated why I have a deep love for scallops. And these were fresh as can be. And now moving into the slightly heavier starters, we dug into the Siam Beef - succulent slices of beef tossed in a sweet and spicy Thai basil sauce and a generous touch of basil. The sauce had that pleasant stickiness to it, and a touch of dried chillies which added to the flavour as well as the texture. A good dish with the drinks this one was. 

 Siam Beef

Another drink to hit the table was the Smokin Jazz - Gordon's Gin, Smoked Cinnamon stick - Smoked balsamic vinegar and elderflower syrup. This one has some flair going for it. The cinnamon stick is fired up (you could perhaps ask for it to be done at your table, very instagrammable the whole thing is) and then placed into your drink, smoky side down. It adds a very interesting layer to the drink which stands distinctly against the Elderflower syrup. 

 This was perhaps my favorite pick of the afternoon meal, The Tuna Ceviche with Aji Amarillo - this has small hunks of tuna in that tangy Leche de Tigre along with some spicy Peruvian chilli sauce infused with coriander oil. Topped off with a sliced Aji Amarillo chilli, this dish brings multiple flavours to the mouth. The freshness of the fish being the hero here. 

We then went through a series of dimsums beginning with the Chicken Gyoza. If you like dumpling and sui mai, then there is quite the collection here to choose from. Think of ordering the Chicken Gyoza Scallop Sui Mai or the Crab Meat Dumpling or even the lovely and crunchy Vegetables and Chive Dumpling. Each one of these are packed to the gills, do not crack on the chopstick journey from bowl to mouth and come with dipping sauces that are not one-mix-fits-all. And if you want something really sinful, the Edamame and Black Truffle Dumpling is a must-try. The restaurant also offers a sizable selection off the Robatayaki and the Octopus stands really tall but if you want to go with something safer, then the lamb is a good bet.

 Vegetable and Chives Dumpling

 Scallop Sui Mai

 Crab Meat Dumpling

By this time there was minimal space for just one of the main course dishes and that was the Miso and Mustard Glaze Spare Ribs from the Robatayaki. The Ribs have spent a good while marinating in a signature Miso and Japanese Mustard sauce. The meat could easily be teased off the bone with just about any of the cutlery on the table. With the drizzle of scallion and sesame seeds, the play of textures and flavours was a good one. 

The restaurant offers an interesting range of gourmet coffees and a lovely on available on the day was an Espresso Orange Coffee. Infused with orange rind, this made for a good way to end the meal. You can choose from hot and cold coffees and teas and even some like the Asian classic of Thai Cold Coffee of the Cafe Latte.

Despite feeble protests, desserts were brought to the table and both these were as pretty as a picture on a plate. The Japanese Cheese Cake with Raspberry Sorbet served up with a raspberry coulis and sorbet and some pistachio dust and the Matcha and Raspberry Meringue Ice Cream Cake which was a meringue ice cream cake of Matcha green tea and Raspberry with some hazelnut praline, pistachio crumble and a caramel biscuit on top. Were they as delicious as they looked? Yes they were, with all the various flavours and textures coming together beautifully. 

 Matcha and Raspberry Meringue Ice Cream Cake

1Q1 has a lot going for it, from its space, to the interiors to the vastness of the menu. A subsequent visit turned out to be a good one as well. With the aim to maintain consistency across the board for the long term, 1Q1 will definitely be able to make a mark for itself in Bangalore's burgeoning food market. A meal for two here is approximately Rs 2500++. 

Address: #1 Express Building, Infantry Road, Bangalore
Phone: 080 4805 0101
Accepts Cards: Yes
Serves: Alcohol, Pork, Beef

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