IZA Pan Asian Kitchen: A Fiesta For Your Palate

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A relatively new addition to Bangalore’s thriving restaurant scene, IZA Pan Asian Kitchen has quickly established itself as the go-to place for, well, Pan Asian cuisine. Don’t come here expecting fads or flamboyance; what they offer is a menu full of vibrant sharing and large dishes where you can tuck into something as simple as Drums of Iza and Hunan Lamb up to Japanese golden curry.

Last month, I went to this chic restaurant for a late supper invite from the PR team. Upon arrival, I found Satish and Azra from the hosting team already there, patiently waiting for me as I navigated through the bustling Bangalore evening traffic, running slightly behind schedule. During an immersive three-hour mingling with the hosts, including Head Chef Ram, I sampled nine courses, two desserts, and two cocktails, earning me some credentials in recognizing superior Pan Asian food and writing this laudatory review of this standout restaurant at Divyasree.

IZA Pan Asian Kitchen
IZA Pan Asian Kitchen

IZA Pan Asian Kitchen‘s interiors exude a refined elegance, striking the perfect balance between chic and charming. Soft lighting casts a pleasant glow, complementing the rich yet understated colour palette. The main dining area is a vision of opulence, with many crown-shaped decorative lights in the middle of the ceiling casting a warm glow over the space below, creating an intimate atmosphere. The open ceiling design on the sides evoked an industrial ambiance that looked both spacious and inviting. The restaurant seating exuded a rustic charm with its combination of wooden stools, steel-framed semi-cushioned chairs, and sturdy wooden tables. The creative use of potted greens as natural barricades, delineating high dining tables and stools, creates a relaxed setting.

Helming the kitchen is the noted Head Chef Ram, whose ambitious menu is a curated anthology of fine classics offering a highly inventive take on Pan-Asian cuisine, fusing flavours and techniques from across the region into beautifully plated works of edible art. Outside of meals, the beverage scene has an extensive selection of beer, cocktails, and beers on tap for soirees that linger into the wee hours.

Blame my indecisiveness on the elaborate and extensive menu, which boasts up to 80 items. Overwhelmed by the choice of options, I handed over the reins of curating the culinary journey to the capable hands of Head Chef Ram. And he certainly lived up to it. TheGlitz has more…

With summer in full swing and beer being the ideal choice, we opted for beer cocktails to cool our bellies and warm up for what lay ahead. It was Jalapeno Mule for me, while Hemant, my good old friend who accompanied me on this trail, called for Witty Kaffir. Satish opted for the Virgin Mojito, but Azra, being a vegan, opted for none.

Witty Kaffir and Jalapeno Mule

Cocktails at IZA Pan Asian Kitchen - Witty Kaffir (Left); Jalapeno Mule (Right)
Cocktails at IZA Pan Asian Kitchen – Witty Kaffir (Left); Jalapeno Mule (Right)

Witty Kaffir, a witty concoction featuring witbier and the refreshing tang of kaffir, pineapple juice, lychee puree, and a dash of lime juice, adds a zesty flavour to the drink. Jalapeno Mule is a lager twist on the classic Moscow Mule. This jalapeno-infused cocktail delivers a spicy kick with watermelon syrup, mint, lime juice, and green tea in every delightful sip.

IZA Pan Asian Kitchen Menu

Singapore Cereal Prawns and Crispy Chilli Tofu

Singapore Cereal Prawns and Crispy Chilli Tofu were presented as starters. Tofu has an undeniable appeal for me. It might be because it has a strong similarity to cottage cheese, or because the gourmet version is bursting with flavours and textures. As I popped the dice-sized tofu into my mouth and surveyed the menu, I knew I’d be spending a lot of time here, plumbing the depths of the many options. The Japanese tofu was deep-fried and sautéed in chilli oil, burned garlic, and crispy chilli, giving it a crusty yet soft texture.

Singapore Cereal Prawns
Singapore Cereal Prawns

The Singapore Cereal Prawns, which were tossed with crispy instant cereal and combined with Singapore curry powder, curry leaves, and fried chilli, were a tad bland. This one was less impressive. We wished the cereal and chilli were spicier and zingier. Nonetheless, both served admirably as appetizers.

Crispy Chilli Tofu at IZA
Crispy Chilli Tofu at IZA

The Uramakki’s

Then came Asparagus and Truffle Uramakki, followed by Shrimp and Salmon Nikkei Uramakki. An inside-out roll with soft asparagus spears and flavorful truffle aioli wrapped in buttery avocado and sushi rice was exceptional and one of the nicest I’ve ever tasted (in Bangalore). Not being a big fan of shrimp, I gave the Shrimp and Salmon Nikkei Uramakki a miss. But the rest gorged…

(Top) Shrimp & Salmon Nikkeo Uramakki; (Bottom) Asparagus & Truffle Uramakki
(Top) Shrimp & Salmon Nikkeo Uramakki; (Bottom) Asparagus & Truffle Uramakki

Tofu Kra Pao Bao and Wild Mushroom & Truffle Dim Sum

How could Dim Sum and Bao get left behind on this trail? Right! Our craving for the OG Bao was met with freshly steamed hot buns loaded with stir-fried tofu, holy basil, and birds eye chilli. Similarly, the wild mushroom and truffle dim sum did not disappoint. The colourful dim sum, in contrast to the ubiquitous white seen and served elsewhere, was a standout. I’ll have to return to taste their other varieties.

Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Dimsum
Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Dimsum

Indonesian Chicken Satey

Not only is the seafood delicious here, but the Indonesian chicken satey is one of my favourite meat dishes. The chicken satey was delicious; cooked in sweet soy sauce and seasoned with chilli and peanut paste, it tasted heavenly.

The Mains: Chicken Chashu Bok Choy Ajitama & Burnt Garlic and Euro Asian Prawns Curry

For mains, Chef Ram served us Chicken Chashu Bok Choy Ajitama and Burnt Garlic and Euro Asian Prawns Curry. The rich curry was a harmonious fusion of European and Asian flavours, with luscious prawns stewed in a coconut milk sauce laced with lemongrass, kaffir lime, and curry spices. It was served with jasmine rice cooked to fluffy perfection. On the other side, the tender chicken chashu, sautéed bok choy, savoury ajitama egg, and crunchy burned garlic chips brought back memories of my time in Singapore. The recommended mains were sensational.

(Top) Euro Asian Prawns curry and Jasmine rice; (Bottom) Chicken Chashu Bok Choy Ajitama & Burn
(Top) Euro Asian Prawns Curry & Jasmine Rice; (Bottom) Chicken Chashu Bok Choy Ajitama & Burn

Sweet Endings

No food journey is complete without a sweet finale. It is the order of the day. We welcomed the much-anticipated Raindrop cake, which was made with tender coconut water jelly, coconut popping boba, grenadine stewed water chestnuts, and coconut milk for topping. Next came Palm Sugar Crème Brulee, a delectable Kaffir lime custard laced with caramelised palm sugar and topped with grilled peach. This was a 10-on-10. The perfect crunch transported me to dessert Nirvana.

Raindrop Cake and Palm Sugar Crème Brulée
Raindrop Cake and Palm Sugar Crème Brulée

(From left Hemant, Satish and Rajeev Mokashi)

IZA Pan Asian Kitchen is a fresh take on Japanese, Korean and Thai cuisine, with the main distinction being that you can enjoy in the heart of Bangalore Overall, a classy sophisticated restaurant offering delicious choices for every palate.

Also Read: Dinner At ZARF, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru

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