Friday, May 15, 2009

Blue Ginger

Blue Ginger at the Taj West End
Blue Ginger is probably one of the most romantic dining destinations in Bangalore. Set on an island surrounded by dense green foliage, gurgling streams, lotus ponds and frangipani trees, this outdoor restaurant serves up delectable Vietnamese delicacies in the warm, flickering glow of candle-lights and flaming torches.

Located in the 100-year old Taj West End, this delightful place offers delicacies from the North and Central regions of Vietnam. I had already decided to try one of their degustation menus. As I sipped on a Chilean red, I noticed the chic decor around me: large Vietnamese urns, silks, leather ottomans, and stone tables - all arranged around the open kitchen. Seeing me alone, my thoughtful waiter decided to do something about it: he placed a large goldfish bowl on my table, beaming widely. "Now you have a friend to share the evening with", he said.

Blue Ginger at the Taj West EndHe was back soon with platters of wafers and my soup. The prawns in a lemon-grass chilli lime soup was tangy, hot and refreshing in the cool night air of Bangalore. Pune has been unusually hot this summer, and the pleasant weather here was a welcome change. The soup was followed by an excellent Mango and Apple salad with poached shrimp, cashewnut and mint. Crunchy, tangy and even more exciting than Thai papaya salad which I also like.

Soup at Blue GingerNext came the starters, three of them on a plate in small portions. These were the highlights of my meal togight. The Scallops in Black Pepper, Garlic and Oyster Sauce was brimming with taste and the mix of textures on my palate was delightful. The Grilled Prawn in Lemon Grass and Chilly was milder but very good too. The Grilled Chicken with Cinnamon Marinade was very interesting and unusual.

Starters at Blue GingerThe entrees began with the Sauteed Lobster in Salt, Pepper and Garlic. I was amazed by how fresh all the sea-food here was; they probably fly them fresh every day. The King Prawn in Tamarind Sauce was nice and tangy. The Honey-Glazed Lamb Shank in Chilly Oyster sauce was oh-so-yummy and succulent, the meat flavorful and falling off the bone easily. The Stir Fried Chicken with dill, dry chilli and turmeric was a more ordinary end to a great meal.

Degustation Menu at Blue GingerSoft noodle with seafood, an egg and crab-meat fried rice, and a stir-fried vegetable fried rice accompanied the entrees.

Chocolate Mousse at Blue GingerI finished off with a Chocolate and Coffee Mousse along with a platter of fruit cut in fancy shapes. Great experience, would be even better if I had some company (no offense intended to the pretty little goldfish!). Blue Ginger is an expensive place but one which can make those special occasions really come alive.

Blue GingerBlue Ginger is owned and run by the Tan family in Vietnam, known for their upscale Ho Chi Minh City restaurants. In addition to being home to Blue Ginger, the Taj West End is a wonderful hotel for a short stay. A British colonial exterior coupled with rooms in low-slung wings in the middle of lush green gardens gives this hotel a resort-likel ambiance and quietness in the middle of this bustling city.

Taj West End
Taj West End
Taj West EndMy room had slatted windows, a quaint spiral staircase leading to the bedroom on the upper level with a sloping roof. With its interesting restaurants and rooms, this hotel could be a great weekend getaway.

--Related Posts --
Vietnamese Restaurants: Slanted Door, Bong Su
Posts from my Vietnam trip: Arriving, Moments, Cruise, Dinner.

20 comments:

RennyBA said...

One can really tell there is romance in the air - so beautiful and what a treat: my mouth is watering.

My fave would be Soft noodle with seafood, but then again; I'm a Norwegian :-)

Happy Weekend!

beaverboosh said...

Hey Shanatnu, how do I get a job like yours?

Zhu said...

I like the atmosphere of the place!

The chocolate mousse caught my eye... and these plates are just too good to be true!

Shantanu said...

@Renny: After a relatively long vacation in Europe, I am back on the spice trail now. The seafood at this place was unusually good.

@beaverboosh: Well, you could move into India for starters. :)

@Zhu: I liked the plates too.

Lakshmi said...

I agree with you..its one of the most romantic beautiful places..do let me know next time when you are here..I live pretty close by

MEGalomaniac said...

The Taj West End is truly one of Bangalores iconic jewels. From the days of Paradise Island to the recent renovation to Blue Ginger it is magnificient. Nice to see pictures from home and one of my favourite restaurants. The degustation sounds awesome, this will be on my to-do list for my Christmas break when I'll be back in Blore.

Do try Harima at Devitha Plaza, Residency Road if you have'nt next time your in Bangalore. Superb Jap cuisine. You are sure to love it.

Plus, Abhijit Saha, former exec. chef Park Hotel, is trying his hand at molecular gastronomy - Caperberry, do check it out, would love to see/ hear your take on it!

Cheers, cant wait to see more of your travels!

Shantanu said...

@Lakshmi: Will keep that in mind next time I am in Bangalore.

@Meg: Thanks for the pointers. That's useful information for me.

goldensparks said...

Hi Friend.. Interesting Post.. Keep up the good work.. Will drop by your blog often.. Do find time to visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care.. Cheers mate!

Vancouver, Canada said...

Really Great Blog Shantanu! So glad i came across it!

Sandy :)

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

my my

Aathira said...

Every time I come here... so feel like travelling and having a good time in what ever I do :(

*Blue Ginger tagged for special dinner upcoming!

Shantanu said...

@goldensparks: Welcome here and thank you for leaving a comment.

@Canada: Thank You.

@ Harekrishnaji: :)

@Aathira: I am sure you will make your dreams come true...soon! :)

Rajesh said...

I agree with you. At Taj the food has always been good. I had dinner in the restaurant the one inside and the food was amazing.

Shantanu said...

@Rajesh: Yup, I have another post coming up on Masala Klub - the 'other' restaurant.

Selba said...

The food looks delicious.. :)

Vamsee said...

That was mouth-watering. I only wish we had such restaurants in New Bombay. I miss Vietnamese food!!

Nice pictures too.

Aarti said...

Hi!Being a banglorean (currently a punite though)Was curious to know if this restaurant is newly opened in taj? had been to taj gateway sometime ago i.e when i was blore.Liked the ultay tava ki roti and kheema..the ultay tava ki roti just melts in your mouth...you can try that too..

Shantanu said...

@selba: Thanks!

@Vamsee: Me too, but I get some in the Bay Area which I visit often.

@Aarti: This is in the Taj West End not the Taj Gateway. The West End is on Race Course Road and is larger. The Gateway does have an excellent Coastal Cuisine restaurant that I have also blogged about earlier.

Indraneel Majumdar said...

Shantanu, the executive chef of Westend till very recently used to be Sandeep Kachroo, a classmate of mine from way back. Very talented and now exported by the Taj people to Bentota, Sri Lanka and a pity that he has moved out of full time chefgiri!
But, he earned his big time spurs with Blue Ginger and the food, as you nicely explain, is the same!

Shantanu said...

@Indraneel: Welcome here! And thank you for sharing this information.