As you step out of the elevator on the 21st floor of the Four Seasons Bengaluru, you hear the clink of glasses and faint laughter from the al-fresco dining area of Far & East.
A slow walk past the waiting area and you see sofas with bright green leaf patterned upholstery, black monkeys with leaves and brass snakes merging subtly in a décor, which is bold and thematically fluid. At the end of the long bar is the first of many ‘Fat Lady’ artworks, a tip of the hat to the Court Fat Lady who emerged during the Zhou Dynasty. A flamboyant lady, vibrant and curvaceous, an antithesis to the slim and slender conventional beauties.
Choose to sit by the glass façade that overlooks Four Seasons Residences and the twinkling lights of vehicles as they flow past on the roads so many floors below. Or choose to sit by the live sushi counter where you can chat with the chefs. The open kitchen format also offers a spectacular view of Chef Atsushi Yonaha and Chef Leong Then wielding the wok, the Yakitori Grill and the giant steamers from which flow a steady stream of dimsums.
The menu is a comprehensive mix of Asian flavours spanning Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines. Our meal began with the familiar but flavourful Hot and Sour Sichuan soup. Among the appetizers the Yum Salmon has bite-sized chunks of the fish tossed in herbs, with shallots and a passion fruit dressing. Tangy flavours that go great with texture of salmon and the crunchiness of the shallots. You can never go wrong with a bowlful of Edamame with a Togarashi dusting. From the Guilin region of China comes the Guilin Fries, seasonal root fries in a chilli sauce.
Each of these make for a range of flavour profiles to go along with the signature Asian cocktails that came to the table. The Tom Yummy in particular – with Vodka, Lemongrass and a hint of Togarashi is good. Ask for Chef Yonahan’s sushi platter and enjoy the thrill of seeing the Volcano Maki roll brought to the table and finished with a flourish, with a torch. Similar to such table culinary drama is the Flaming Duck that is flambéed at the table and carved.
A Chinese specialty is the Laziji Chicken with dried Sichuan chilli peppers and a spicy bean paste. Among the main courses, we indulged in the Vegetable Fried Rice. Each grain of rice well-coated with the sauces and tossed in a range of vegetables, each of which retain their crunch. Paired with the Pepper Beef, it leaves a mild tingling sensation in your mouth from the heat of the pepper and makes for a wonderful meal.
The Floating dessert is a visual delight – it is carried to the table in two bamboo baskets balanced on the shoulder with a pole – very Hanoi street market-like. Amidst the smoke plumes from the dry ice are four bowls – a Matcha Tea Opera cake, a Thai Chai custard, a Black Praline and Black Sesame Praline Choux Pastry, and a tart Yuzu Cremeaux dessert with yuzu leaf. Each dessert takes you through a mélange of flavours making for a grand finish to the meal.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru at Embassy One, #08, Bellary Road, Ganganagar, Bengaluru, 560032
Contact: +91 80452 22222
Opening hours: 6 PM to 11:45 PM
Recommended dishes: Yum Salmon, Guilin Fries, Pepper Beef
Price: Rs 3,500 for two
Noise levels: Mild
Service: Well informed and efficient
All images: Courtesy restaurant