Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trader Vics: Fine Dining Polynesian Style

Few days back, I was invited for Bloggers Meet at the newly opened Trader Vics restaurant @ Phoenix Market City, the new destination for Bangaloreans. The restaurant is a part of the TraderVics International Chain of restaurants. It is managed in India by JSM corporation who run the Hard Rock Cafe and the Shiro restaurants.  The restaurant launge is  supposed to cater Polynesian food to the Indian tastebuds and from what I saw that day ,I believe its already on its way to success.

From the moment you walk into this restaurant situated in a corner from the malls foodcourt, you will be trasnported into an another world. The ambiance of the resto-lounge with its tiki statues and wooden panelling lifts it up a notch. But this is to be expected in a lounge run by JSM corporation I suppose as I had earlier visited the Shiro restaurant at UB City as well. 

Coming to the food part, the restaurant has an excellent food and cocktail menus. We -I mean the bloggers who had been invited had a blast trying out several options right from the soups till desserts. For the soups we had tried the Tonga style corn bisque - slightly sweet thanks to the vanilla essence and also the spicier Tom Kha veg. I later tried the TV speciality Summer roll with its pickled veggies and Maui Waui dressing and also the veg pyramids. 

The major drawbacks I found with the starters was that the portions were small and they were blander for me unless you always dipped them in  the accompanying soy based dip. !  The summer roll was cold as preferred in summer, bite size but the spices and dressing were not up to the mark as per me.The complimentary starter of lavash bread was completely bland  unless you always dipped/drenched it in accompanying peanut sauce/dip.

But we mentioned about the portions to the staff and  were pleasantly surprised to see the large shareable portions of mains. Our table of veg bloggers had asked the staff for recommendation and we were told about the vegetarian chow mein and other Chinese/Malay dishes. Finally we settled for a Beijing Vegetable chow mein, a fried rice and smoked tofu bowl. The first two made no impact for me as they tasted just like the Indo Chinese food dished out every where whereas the smoked tofu bowl was the winner of the three. 

The bowl consisted of Chinese oven smoked eggplant,bell peppers, cherry tomato with Szechuan sauce served atop seasoned rice - a one pot meal. In one word it was excellent. Still, the drawbacks were, the sauce was slightly sweeter and the smoked pumpkin added to its sweetness.Ditto with the Thai Green Curry that had been ordered. Szechuan and Thai curries are normally spicy and NEVER sweet.May be it depends on the palate.!Also another dish to be mentioned is the Indonesian Vegetable Satay with potato cakes. The dish was served just slightly warm with cold and bland potato cakes and was a big NO-NO. But I might still order/recommend a smoked tofu bowl next time I visit. 

For dessert I went for a  Trader Vic speciality Chocolate Tiki - or a cake like nutty brownie. It was excellent. It actually made other dishes pale in comparison. The other dessert was snowball which was vanilla icecream with toasted coconut and chocolate sauce. To be honese, I found appearance can be deceptive. The presentation of snowball was excellent, but taste was just so -so. On the otherhand the chocolate tiki was definitely the winner. Perfect for a chocoholic.

I also had the opportunity to talk to the chief chefs Rahul and Priyank (who also manages Shiro @ UB City) and got to see the Chinese wood fired oven that they use for smoking. Its definitely different from the tandoor but the smoking was perfect as I had tasted the tofu bowl.

The staff is confident,warm and friendly but slightly less knowledgeable about the food. Lavash was passed off to us as Italian flatbread(!) and would not look beyond the Chinese Mains though  they knew the drinks.Also, our table had ordered two smoked tofu bowls, but only one came and despite telling several times and waiting another 20 minutes, it didnot materialise until I was ready to leave. 

Overall the experience was excellent. The ambience was spot on and full marks to it.There is also an outdoor dining area which was cozy and comfortable The food comes around Rs. 2000/- for two without alcohol. The portions are worth the money paid for. So what are you waiting for? 

Drop in at  TraderVics where decor, food, drinks and service come together to provide you with an amazing experience.

Trader Vics,
Phoenix Market City
Bangalore -48


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