I was back at Bene at the Sheraton Bengaluru to cover their aptly named seafood festival – In a Shell. Before we started on the five-course meal that was specially designed for the bloggers at the table, the chef for the evening – Chef Hemanth came over and talked us through what to expect for the evening.
We began the evening with an antipasto, Bruschetta. We were offered two types. The first was a slow poached prawn with fresh tomato, basil and garlic and the second was a steamed crab with pickled onion. Personally, I enjoyed the latter more than the former. It had a nice sweet and salty taste and the crab went well with the base. The prawn-bruschetta was alright but the blend of flavor wasn’t as compelling as the crab. The bread-base for the bruschetta was thicker than what I’m normally used to. I’m not sure if this was done on purpose.
|Slow Poached Prawn Bruschetta|
|Steamed Crab Bruschetta|
The second dish for the evening is definitely one of the high points of the evening. Thanks to previous uncomfortable experiences, I've always been apprehensive when it comes to oysters. And I’m sure it’s the same with a lot of people. The chef however decided to reinvent the oyster and served it fried with agrodolce, fennel, onion and peppers. The taste was something completely different and was not something I had expected. The fried oyster made the overall taste more palatable to my taste-buds and I really enjoyed the crunchy layer on the outside. This was well complemented with the fennel and onions that gave a sweetish taste. Kudos to the chef on this one.
We moved on to the Seafood Chowder which consisted of fresh clams, mussels, crab meat and prawns. The one taste that immediately hits you is the fresh saltiness of the sea. While the chowder had a nice tomato tinge to it, I wasn't a big fan. While it is definitely a lot better than some of the other seafood chowders I've had, something didn't click with me. Quite a few of the other bloggers at the table simply loved the soup. I have a neutral verdict on it. I don’t know why.
The main entree for the evening was another mind-blowing dish from the kitchen of Bene. We had two options for the main course. I chose to have the Smoky Pasta and mussels. The dish consisted of smoked linguini with clams, mussels and crab meat. Adding to the taste were tomatoes and basil. The very first bite of this pasta gave me a foodgasm. The smoky taste was simply brilliant and was consistent throughout all components of the dish. I had to try very hard not to grunt in satisfaction. In the past, I've tasted similar smoked dishes where only certain parts retained the smoky flavor. But this dish was perfect. The sauce, the meats, everything had a consistent addictive smoky taste ensuring there was only one taste that came through. The main course was definitely the high point of the evening for me.
Some of the other folks at the table chose the Lobster Ravioli with asparagus, spinach and zucchini. I wasn't able to taste it. That would predominantly be because the pasta I ordered was doing a fabulous tango with the taste buds in my mouth.
Dessert was a simple Walnut and almond tart with vanilla ice cream that closed the meal very well. It wasn't the best dessert I've had from Bene. But I’m happy it did not overpower the lovely smoky taste left by the pasta. The dessert was followed by some lovely cappuccinos.
|Walnut and almond tart with Vanilla Ice cream|
Great meals are made better with great company. Besides the experienced food bloggers at the table, we had the company of Vijayan Gangadharan, the Executive Assistant Manager at the Sheraton Bengaluru. He shared fabulous stories of his food adventures from around the world and thoroughly impressed us with his knowledge of wines. It was very nice of him to spend the evening with us.
The ‘In a Shell’ seafood festival is on till the 25th of June at Bene. I recommend seafood lovers to definitely give this a shot as it’s not your standard seafood spread. My recommendations would be the ‘Oyster Reinvented’ and the ‘Smoky Pasta and mussels’. The taste of pasta still lingers in my mouth and I’m willing to go back and have a big bowl of the same. Another memorable evening put together by the folks at Sheraton Bengaluru. Kudos to Chef Hemanth.