Last year November saw the launch of 1Q1 a restaurant, bar and nightlife venue – all set to make an indelible mark in Bangalore. The menu promised some authentic Asian cuisine and spirited cocktails in the bustling CBD area. The sprawling property in the ground floor of the Indian Express building, and the Art Deco architecture of this iconic building resonates the distinguished structure. The restaurant is tastefully segregated into an elegant fine dining area for a relaxed sit-down meal, a high-energy space that houses a stage, an oval-shaped island bar and an outdoor alfresco dining area where guests can sit by the robatayaki grill. The grand sprawling interiors are marked by its regal arches and patterned artworks.
Recently, we were invited for a tasting of 1Q1’s menu, including the Chinese New Year promotion that was running at the time. So, we headed there one fine Saturday, and had the pleasure of being hosted by Chef Mako Ravindran who has conceptualized and curated the menu. And the tasting soon turned into an afternoon of discussing food and travel stories. While gorging on some wonderful food of course.
We started with a Chinese New Year special – General Tso’s Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken, a good start. The first dish – and I have had many renditions of General Tso’s – was one of the best ever. I recommend this be put in the main menu if it isn’t already there! The crispy texture of the chicken, thickness of the stir-fried sauce and the delicate balance of savory over sweet – that made this just right. The Edamame came next to balance out the flavors, these were rubbed and tossed with chili and garlic. Very interesting.
We also ordered a couple of cocktails. Mandarini had a nice oriental ring to it, and with white rum, mandarin and kaffir lime – it was quite a drink. I chose the Chinese Spring Cup, gin and lime with some litchi and cranberry – a good drink for summer brunches! Next up was the Peruvian Maki Roll. Now their ‘large roll’ is more than a mouthful loaded with tuna, fish roe, prawn tempura, cream cheese! This dish was part of one of the highlights of 1Q1 – Nikkei Cuisine. Nikkei is a culinary style that is a blend of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines with its origins in the late 1800’s.
A few dumplings followed – Black truffle edamame and Steamed Chicken Gyoza – were quite good. Some chicken and prawn Robotayaki was also served, the spicy thai sauce was just amazing. The grills have various options of sauces, and vegetarian and non-vegetarian selections available.
The mains were from the Chinese New Year menu – Steamed Pomfret with sesame and soy sauce with Sichuan sauce with rice. The pomfret was beautifully done, easy to take it off the bones and then flip it over. And tasted just as good as it looked. Finally, to conclude the meal we got a tiny bit of Le Coco and Chocolate Fondant. The traditional chocolate lava cake was nice, with the melt in queue. But the chocolate caramel bar with salted caramel ice cream was just as delicious as I remembered it to be from my first visit. And hence, I recommend that dessert – must try!
The Last Word
In summary, 1Q1 was impressive in terms of décor, service, food and drinks. Each dish had its uniqueness, and carried the ethos well through execution. The menu has a range of traditional fare as well as fusion dishes making a good variety. There is a streak of drama in the food and cocktails at 1Q1 – but I like that it’s not just about the drama. Great for watching performances, or catching up with friends over a leisurely brunch.