A perspective from the roof of the world

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Since 1975:Shangrila Restaurant on Brigade Road is a landmark of sorts.— Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Since 1975:Shangrila Restaurant on Brigade Road is a landmark of sorts.— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Shangrila Restaurant on Brigade Road opened its doors way back in 1975, and is a landmark of sorts here. Serving authentic Tibetan food along with popular versions of Chinese and Thai cuisines, Lhasa Dolma, the owner of the restaurant for the past 15 years, brings her knowledge of oriental food to her loyal customers.

Up two flights of stairs to the entrance, customers are welcomed by an imposing Tibetan gong flanked by warm Tibetan motifs on stained glass. Every inch of the interior is decorated tastefully, drawing inspiration from the Namdroling monastery in Bylakuppe.

The restaurant is perfectly placed near the many night clubs that the area is known for; co-owner Tsetin Norbu tells us that students and partygoers come here to fill their bellies before a night on the town. Sumi, a regular, confirms this.

The most popular dishes here besides the obvious rice and noodles are the pork preparations offered in three variants — chilly, Szechwan and Manchurian, each spicier than the other.

The pork ribs are the most ordered item on the menu here, and these generous chunks of meat are sautéed in the sauce of your choice. At Rs. 170 for a plate of up to six pieces, it is an excellent side dish that goes well with chilled beer. The chilli roast pork is another sublime dish (and in the opinion of this reporter, a must-try).

On the off chance that the food doesn’t fit the bill, the well-stocked bar is sure to lift one’s ‘spirits’.

Chugging on

Another interesting item on the menu is the steamboat soup. Meant for four people, it is served in a large heated vessel, complete with a choice of meat, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and ‘phing’ (glass noodles).

The restaurant ensures that the least amount of MSG is used in their dishes to retain the original taste of the ingredients as well as keep the food healthy.

The service at the restaurant is swift, up to the mark and hospitable. Raju, who has been waiting tables at Shangrila since its inception, recollects how the restaurant was a haunt for military trainees and college students, who would stay on well beyond meal hours.

Vegetarians are taken even more seriously at this place, and have plenty to choose from; the authentic Tibetan dishes are a great option as they offer a variety of delicious veggies that are spiced to bring out their original taste.

If you are fortunate to visit the restaurant on a Tibetan holy day, you will be welcomed with special decorations and dishes you won’t normally find on the menu.

Shangrila on Brigade Road is a popular place to eat at before a night on the town