A bloggers table at Shimmer and Azure, Taj Vivanta, Yeshwantpur, Bangalore!
Sometime ago, Taj Vivanta Yeshwantpur invited some of us bloggers for an evening with cocktails and Mediterranean food at Shimmer and Azure. I was so looking forward to the evening with company like Swaps, Swati, Natasha, Neha, Suma and some more friends who came along and food from Azure, Taj Vivanta. It was a promising evening. We started the evening at Shimmer which true to its name was well shimmery 🙂
Such a lovely sight isn’t it?
The making of Oliveto
We were given a demo of three cocktails and encouraged to go behind the bar counter and try our hands at it and yes, I did try my hand at making one of them.
The first drink we started with was Oliveto a combination of Olive oil , lemon and egg whites along with Gin. Before it started getting made, we were fearing it will be mayo like. After we had that drink, I thought may be mayo would have been better. Seriously if the balance of the flavors would have been anywhere close to any balance at all, it may have tasted like a good cocktail alas what we got tasted just like mausambi juice, in a weird way.
The next drink up for the demo was Watermelon and Basil Bramble which I was hoping will redeem some of the disappointment we had from Oliveto but unfortunately we weren’t so lucky. This drink, too, was way off the balance mark and it was so strange that two glasses were being passed between several people with no one wanting to finish the drink at all. And Yes, that was another thing I found a little strange, when you invite people for a review you don’t hand over a glass and ask the guests to share.
I would have been fine with less of the drink, may be they should have served in shot glasses if they had constraint on the number of drinks they want to serve the guests but somehow the idea of handing over the glasses to us and asking us to taste from the same, didn’t go down too well with me.
The last drink Rosemary delight unfortunately couldn’t change my mind about Shimmer either. despite the fact that it looked oh so pretty.
With a heavy heart and great expectations from Azure (since I have eaten there once before and quite enjoyed the food and in general, I love Mediterranean food) we moved to the first floor, hoping the food will make us forget the experience at the bar. However, I guess we had all left our lucky stars back home that say since the usually good Azure food was below average in most accounts.
I have to say this was the dish of the day for me, one of the best confits I have had and the tomatoes were so nicely cooked that there was a discussion on the table on just how they managed it and what have they done to it, unfortunately it wasn’t my dish but I did steal a few bites from Swaps who was sitting right next to me.
The beef carpaccio with onion jam and truffle oil was a beautifully plated dish with a good onion jam apart from this. in the starters I liked the Falafel.
The falafels were crispy and crunchy. Maqaali which I found severely lacking in flavors. In fact I don’t think I understood the dish at all. The Shawarma came inside the pitas and was a bit too dry for my liking. Chicken liver on buttered brioche had a good sauce but the liver was chewy, the panko crusted chicken was a dish that didn’t make any impression on me. According to me, it’s a dish that has been placed there to please kids which is perfectly fine. I can actually imagine my 5 yr old son eating it with great relish.
There were also the quintessential Mediterranean dips namely tahini, hummus and baba ganoush. My heart actually pains to say that none of the dips were really outstanding. Yes, they weren’t bad, but a place which calls itself a Mediterranean joint, you certainly expect better.
By the time, the journey to main course had started, I was very disheartened.
I was so hoping for the dish that will blow me away or a dish that will change my mind into writing a stellar review (I hate writing bad reviews). I ordered Baked Prawns and its a sad day when you leave one of the three jumbo prawns that you have been served because they are overcooked and rubbery. I really struggled to finish the two and did because I was really hungry and didn’t want to go back home and cook again. Sadly the fate of others on the table was similar, I saw people leaving lamb chops and tenderloins because either the meat was over cooked or raw. Another dish I was really looking forward to was the Tajine, but as soon as I got to know that it was only served in the Tajine vessel I actually felt cheated, I am wondering how the person who ordered it felt.
And with this we moved to the last course of the day, the course I am so so critical about yes I am talking about the dessert. By this time I had no hopes what so ever and the fact that Swaps told that their baklava was not so stellar last time she came just killed whatever little hopes I had. I have to give it to her because she called that baklava not so stellar, in my opinion, it was BAD.
The beauty of baklava for me is the gorgeous layers of phyllo pastry with the crunch of nuts and a fair amount of ghee/butter. Its the explosion of textures and flavors in every bite that makes baklava what it is. Sadly this had none of it. To be fair to them it had a lot of nuts may be a little more than what usually is there in a baklava but if I had to eat nuts I would fry them in ghee and eat. The warm chocolate fallen cake with organic vanilla ice cream was certainly a little bit of save face for them. It was a decent chocolate cake but it was the ice cream both which came with the cake and which was served as gelato which fell on its face. First I don’t think they were different ice creams at least there wasn’t any taste of flavor difference between them, which is strange since one was the vanilla and other was red wine gelato and two they had big ice crystals in them. So disappointing.
In the end, with a very heavy heart, I have to say that the day had more misses than hits and there were only a couple of items that left mark in my mind. Such a pity that they had a bad day on the day they had invited bloggers for an evening there. I sincerely hope this was just one off day and they get their act together fast.