This Fine Dine In Bengaluru Serves Some Authentic Japanese
Image Credit: Pradeep Rao/facebook

My expectations were high when I walked into the massive and towering five-star hotel in the centre of Bengaluru called The Conrad Hotel. Having heard many good reviews from my peers in Bengaluru city, I was looking forward to a gastronomical experience par excellence. Conrad, a renowned international chain of hotels, is expected to wow its guests with excellent food and beverage offerings and varied cuisines. On the lobby level, it has three restaurants; a multi-cuisine all-day dining restaurant, a speciality Indian cuisine restaurant, and Mikusu, an Asian restaurant serving Japanese, Thai, and Chinese Cuisine. 

My Companion for the meal was a celebrity chef and one of my culinary mentors, Chef Nimish Bhatia. Being a Bengaluru resident, Chef Nimish helped me explore some exciting places to eat in the city, and the same quest led us to the much-talked-about Conrad hotel. We decided to explore the Asian cuisine restaurant, Mikusu. Being a lover of Asian flavours, especially Sushis and Dimsums, I was most excited about this meal. 

As we entered Mikusu, the ambience and décor made the first impression. Live Kitchens, Sushi and Sashimi station, different sakes and gins on display, and the view of a Dim sum stuffed and sushis rolled. Our appetite was lit up upon our first glance around the restaurant. Perfect lighting for a wonderful lunch and the greenery outside, swaying to the breezy Bangalore weather, convinced us of our choice of restaurant. 

As we sat down and started sipping on the customary offering of Jasmine tea, we glanced at the menu, and Dim sums were the first choice our eyes set on. Prawns, Seabass, and Chicken were our choices of Dim sums, rolled and steamed live in front of us.  The Chef’s artistic work of preparing each Dim sum, shaping it into petite balls with designs only begins once we order, ensuring freshness and taste. Served along with various dips and sauces, namely Black bean, Sweet Onion, Sweet Chilli, and Spicy chilli with black pepper, and we tried each of the Dim sums with different dips, enjoying the varied flavours presented on our table. Seabass and Prawns Dim sums were an instant hit on my palate as I tried them first. Chicken Dim sum, too, was fantastic; however, its flavourful dips and sauces make the whole charade of flavour amalgamation play a flavour riot on our palate. The pan-seared crunchy Baos were next; this time, the stuffings were Asian vegetables. Chef Nimish Bhatia instantly approved the soft bread-like texture of Baos. And we got into a discussion praising the cuisine and deciding the dishes to try next. 

If you visit Mikusu, Sushis are a must-try. Secretly, my love for Sushis brought me to Mikusu in the first place, and the same love made me convince Chef Nimish to try Mikusu over the other options we were contemplating for dining at. A platter full of Sushis and Sashimis and the sushi rolls topped with the delicious Japanese mayonnaise was all I was asking for to call this meal a comfort meal for myself. And the platter was exactly how we expected. The key to well-prepared sushi lies in many factors. The quality of the ingredients, be it the rice, Seaweed, fresh seafood, the chef’s skills of rolling perfect sushi, or his knife skills to slice up the fish correctly. All these culinary elements came together perfectly, and we enjoyed it with soy, wasabi, and Gari (Pickled Japanese Ginger). While I was enjoying the variety of sushis, with Tuna, Salmon, seabass etc., Chef Nimish praised the delicious avocado and cream cheese rolls, citing the popularity of sushis, which, although originated in Japan, is a popular culinary phenomenon worldwide. Maki, Uramaki, and Nigiri are authentic sushis you can enjoy at Mikusu alongside the Californian and Boston rolls. The Mikusu experience platters will have rolls, sushis, and sashimis, all for you to try, all presented artistically as a pleasure for your palate and eyes. 

Talking of the Chef’s Knife skills, a key element of Japanese culinary art, trying a Tuna Carpaccio is a must. Thin slices of tuna, served in chef’s special dressing, were a delight on the palate, wowing us with its texture and the zingy flavourful sauce, a perfect combination to indulge in as we prepared our palates for the main course. 

Asian flavours were on their finest display as we tried the combination of Wok fried noodles and steamed seabass in black bean sauce. Well-cooked Chinese cuisine dishes seldom disappoint, and the flavours of the black bean sauce were perfect for enjoying the seabass. Noodles with vegetables and egg and scallion rice accompanied our meal. Chef Nimish also appreciated the Chinese dishes in the same breath as I did. Stir-fried chicken with vegetables and the uniquely prepared charcoal grilled teriyaki salmon made for the rest of the main course. The grilling of the salmon was commendable, giving it the perfect texture depicting the authentic cooking style on a Robatayaki grill, which is one of the USPs of Mikusu. Enjoying the Main course at Mikusu, we could not help but discuss the diverse options of Asian cuisines on offer, the eye for detail of the culinary team, and the courteous and attentive service. Chef Nimish and I continued with culinary discussions as we sipped on a refreshing and fizzy pomegranate mocktail with our Chinese and Japanese cuisine main course. 

If, by this time, we were missing any flavours from the key Asian cuisines on offer at Mikusu, it was Thai. So, we went for the obvious choice of the ever-popular Tab Tim Krob for desserts. After trying it in Thailand, my palate was yearning for the flavours of coconut milk flavoured with Pandan leaves and crunchy water chestnuts. Sweet, nutty, and creamy, the Tab Tim Krob was the perfect ending to our delicious experiential lunch at this Fantastic Asian cuisine restaurant that the food and beverage team of the Conrad Hotel must be incredibly proud of. 

Throughout the meal, Mikusu’s chef Inder, courteously helped us plan our meal, sharing insights on the cuisines and restaurant’s concept. Director of Culinary Chef Prasad Metrani also visited us; it was an insightful conversation. Chef Metrani has been incessantly developing newer culinary concepts at the Conrad hotel. With great pride, he explained the various activities happening at Conrad, especially in the Food and Beverage space. Periodically different themed menus are curated at the Conrad hotel. From celebrations of festivals like Onam, Christmas etc., to celebrating the treasures from the sea with their ‘Crab and Lobster Nights’, an expansive Sunday brunch at the caraway kitchen (All Day Dining Restaurant), an experiential regional Indian cuisine restaurant called ‘Indian Durbaar’, for which Chef Metrani is most excited, developing a menu from the royal cuisines of India, which he promises would leave the patrons awestruck, by the sheer diversity of Indian cuisines. With the same excitement, he explained the sustainable culinary practices followed at Conrad Bengaluru, with a special mention of their support of Agroecology. And just when we started speaking about vegetarian food and the responsible sourcing of agro products, in walked one of my favourite celebrity chefs of India, the ever-adorable Chef Vicky Ratnani. Chef Vicky, at that time, was at Conrad Hotel, collaborating at their fantastic lake view alfresco restaurant Tiamo, where Chef Ratnani took over the kitchens for five days, and a celebratory and an elevated Italian Californian limited edition menu was on offer. Meeting Chef Vicky Ratnani was another highlight of our visit to the Conrad Hotel. Learning about the success of the collaboration makes us expect more of such exciting endeavours at Conrad under the visionary leadership of the Director of Culinary, Chef Prasad Metrani. 

The Fantastic dining experience at Mikusu left an indelible effect on our palate, and the few hours spent amongst the talented food and beverage team at the Conrad convinced me that each visit to Bengaluru commands a visit to this culinary gem of the city. And whenever I visit, something interesting is cooking up at the Conrad. 

Sidharth Bhan Gupta, Founder of 361 Degrees Hospitality, is a Hospitality / Food and Beverage / Restaurant Consultant, Travelling across India on a Cultural and Culinary Exploration.