For a long time I had been wanting to go to Ginseng restaurant at Royal Orchid Hotel, Old Airport Road, Bangalore as I heard they serve the best oriental cuisine in the town. But I was a little concerned about the pricing as it is on the expensive side. So when I heard that Food Lovers Bangalore magazine has come out with Food Lovers Gourmet City menu at 31 of the finest restaurants in Bangalore including Ginseng, I knew I had to surely try it out as it has best gourmet cuisine available at affordable set menu prices. My uncle who was in town decided to accompany me for the dinner which was a good decision so that we could order 2 varieties of set menus which could give us an option to try out 2 different menus at the same time. For just Rs.1199 (excluding taxes) you get an elaborate 3 course meal for non-vegetarians and for vegetarians its even less at just Rs.999 (excluding taxes). If you just wish to have a 2 course meal, the cost for non-vegetarians is Rs.999 (excluding taxes) and for vegetarians is Rs.899 (excluding taxes). A 2 course meal itself is very filling and enjoyable but I would advise you to go for the three course menu including the dessert as its got a very amazing taste which you must not miss out!
The first dish we tried out from Appetizers was the Gai Pad Gapaw which is juicy morsels of chicken tossed with hot Thai basil. The chicken morsels were very tender and succulent and we enjoyed eating it but I think maybe it would have been more better if it was a bit more spicy. Of course according to the thai standards the food was perfect and reminded of my time in Thailand when I tried out street food. The garlic sauce that it was served with, complimented the Gai Pad Gapaw perfectly well and tickled the taste buds.
Next Appetizer we tried was the Xin Jiang Lamb which is tender slivers of lamb cooked with red chilies and sprinkled with toasted cumin seeds. I would say definitely this was the best dish of the evening. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the spiciness of the dish was just to my liking. The cumin seeds added a very interesting flavor to the dish which was already having the wonderful flavor of the chilies which it was roasted with.
In the meanwhile we meet Executive Chef Sudhir Nair who talked about how Ginseng specializes in Oriental Cuisines from Thailand, Malayasia, Singapore, China and Japan. He mentioned that Food Lovers Gourmet City menu was carefully created by him to include their most popular dishes and some new dishes like Wasabi Ice Cream which would give a person a flavor of the Orient in an affordable set menu price. It was not the first time I was eating something which was created by Chef Sudhir Nair. He was surprised when I mentioned to him that I had seen him cooking at the Four Seasons Wine Tasting and Barbecue Cookout.
We asked Sudhir Nair for suggestions on main course dishes to try out. He mentioned Caramelized Roasted Pork Belly served with a side of Bao was one of their prized creations and also suggested Hainanese Chicken served with Buttered Ginger Rice. I tried out the Roasted Pork Belly. It was a little different from what I expected but was much more convenient to eat. It was small cubes of Pork in creamy red sauce with some Bao which is a type of dough which is fermented well and to be eaten with a gravy. I did not enjoy the Bao too much but liked the Pork very much.
My uncle tried out the Hainanese Chicken served with Buttered Ginger Rice. The sauces served along with this complimented the grilled chicken which might be a bit raw to the Indian palate but was perfectly matching with the street food I had in Hong Kong. The buttered ginger rice was the perfect accompaniment to this chicken but maybe I felt a gravy was missing in this combination.
Finally it was the time for Dessert and we wanted to experiment so we ordered for Wasabi Ice Cream and Tender Coconut Ice Cream. I liked the pungent yet sweet taste of the Wasabi Ice Cream but I might say its only for bravehearted who would love to try out a different taste! Tender Coconut Ice Cream was much milder and agreeable to the palate except for a lingering taste of coconut oil.
Even if you are a vegetarian, you don’t need to despair as the menu at Ginseng has a lot to offer for you too like the Pan Grilled Tofu in Teriyaki Sauce. It is served with Japanese Sticky Rice and is mouth watering as the Tofu is fresh and juicily succulent.
All said and done, it was a steal for the price specially when you get to try out different dishes at a very affordable price thanks to the Food Lovers Gourmet City menu. I would advise 2-3 of you to go together so that you can try out a variety of dishes by ordering for 3 different sets of the menu. What would usually cost you around Rs.5000-6000 to try out these dishes will cost you just about Rs.3500 now. See the following video to get an understanding of what Ginseng has in store for you if you want to go for the Food Lovers Gourmet City menu.