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Pan-Asian experience

Cinnabar Redd is a chic Pan Asian kitchen and bar concept offering sushi and more

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.

James A. Beard

CONNOISSEURS IN the twin cities today are at ease with a dal makhni and biryani as much as they are with say Italian pasta or Chinese dumplings. Also, no more are they enthused with fine dining concepts when chic bistros and lounge bars are what tickle their imagination and taste buds. So, a restaurant that brings a pan Asian multi-cuisine fare -- Japanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and more, in a very current global setting with international lounge sounds, is sure manna to the globetrotting geek especially who is familiar with the South East Asian flavours. And the place is called Cinnabar Redd, #6-3-249/2nd Floor (above Fusion 9), 1st Avenue, Road #1, Banjara Hills, Tel: 55777733, 55777744.

"Cinnabar Redd is a pan Asian kitchen and bar concept. The name is derived from cinnabar, the ore that gives the very oriental red, a very uplifting hue," says Shankar Krishnamurthy of Cinnabar Redd. Designed by Maya Shankar and Dinaz Chenai, the restaurant displays a soothing grey and brown setting, the latter hue owing to generous usage of wood. Streaks of red, from the candles, tiles and tablemats, complete the fusion look. While the restaurant (12.30 p.m.-3.30 p.m.; 7 p.m.-midnight) is a smart dining idea, Redd (6 p.m.-midnight) is the retro bar here exuding the hippy 70s look, across the walls to the bar stools, simply red. And for the cuisine bit, "I did a crash course in Blue Elephant the famous Thai cooking school in Bangkok to understand the food better," says Shankar.

The teppanyaki bar in the restaurant with its traditional sit-down concept says it all. Live cooking on steel sheets whips up an appetite for the succulent nourishing platter ahead— Norwegian salmon and mushrooms with coriander butter or bean sprout and tofu tossed with ginger sesame sauce crisply stir fried. "Teppanyaki is a do it yourself meal concept where you can tell the chef how you would like your food— bland, spicy, with or without a particular sauce for instance. The food is cooked till the right consistency. There is a dash of show biz where the chefs are seen tossing the ingredients as they prepare your platter in front of you. It is an art that is developed over a long time. The food is not touched by hand while preparing and not tasted but the salt and spices are just right. Thus Japanese cuisine is exotic and likewise makes the chefs the most expensive ones in the world," explains Shankar.

More from the land of rising sun, yakitori is the Japanese barbeque— succulent chunks of mushroom, baby corn and paneer or chicken and spring onions put on to a bamboo skewer, coated with special sauces and cooked on the charcoal grill. Enter sushi, the staple diet of Japanese— vinegared rice wrapped in smoked salmon, seaweeds, avocado, cucumber and more options, served with Kikkoman sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi, the horse radish paste that is sure to hit you for a moment. For those who despise the idea of eating raw salmon and yellow finned tuna from the traditional sushi and sashimi, the news is that cooked fish is used for the preparation here. "Hyderabad is not ready for raw fish," explains Shankar. Apart from these popular options, sushi majorly, the a la carte fare also holds a complete multi course options from South East Asia --Vietnamese Lettuce wrap appetiser, Burmese Pho soup, Philippine Bunge coconut rice, not forgetting the exotic Chinese Beggars chicken— whole chicken marinated in herbs and wine and cooked in salt dough (needs a 24 hours prior order to prepare), with Date pancake and Jasmine tea, served in suitable traditional crockery such as blue and white Thai porcelain or square sushi plates respectively.

In the Redd bar, do try out the South East Asian snacks and cocktails— Spiced chicken yakitori, gin-based Singapore sling, a rum, cranberry syrup and mango juice concoction Red Dragon or the shooter Japanese slipper. Sake, the traditional Japanese rice brew follows soon, says Shankar. Here is a toast to the flavour that is simply pan Asia.


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