In tandem with The Crown’s season 2 trailer launch, Queen’s Road coronated its own ruler on November 5. Bow down to chef Mako Ravindran, who sits at 1Q1, a new palatial restaurant that’s all arches and stained glass windows. Here, he expertly combines Japanese and Peruvian flavours in a set of specials, the results of which prompt his subjects to proclaim– “chef Mako rules.” Sometimes with a hashtag.
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Situated at the end of the Indian Express building, 1Q1’s headliner is clearly the oval-shaped island bar and an ostentatiously long list of cocktails.
Matcha Gin Fizz, foamy and green like a smoothie, is a delicious way to trick yourself into thinking that you’re living well. In a Trilby, gin is infused with saffron, resembling a a glammed-up lemonade; while Zokuro with vodka and iced pomegranate needs another boost of booze to go from juice to jock. Right on cue, the in-house mixologist Talli arrives to top us up. Note: the cocktails cost almost Rs 650 each before taxes.
The menu mostly spans Japanese, Korean and Chinese food and is long, so we simplify things by picking one dish from each small plate section. Elegant, translucent skins cling to sweetly seasoned prawns in the har gau dimsum basket. Sticky and tart, gojujan lamb chops shine through, but the measly meat to bone ratio means there’s barely enough to go around. Tuna ceviche is a great example of chef Mako’s love for Nekkei cuisine (an amalgamation of Peruvian and Japanese food), which fills up a page of specials here. This ceviche, plated with silken avocado, crunchy mango and a kick of ginger is a grand ode to texture.
Bell The Katsu
Unlike cocktail and appetizer listings, the mains are few, much to our relief, but less fantastic. Limp yakisoba noodles with chicken for instance, perk up only with a hit of chili sauce from the dimsum platter. In Katsu Donburi, you have to wade through way too much seaweed, which overwhelms the delicate flavours in this big rice bowl with egg and pork cutlet.
At the end, we’re not sure we’ll change our alliances from Misu or Yauatcaha, but we’ll definitely keep the side door open for chef Mako’s matcha-raspberry meringue, where a pandan-coconut milk pannacotta has just enough sweet to put 1Q1 in the line of succession.
Getting there: 1, Express Building, Queen’s Road, Infantry Road, call 08049652864. A meal for two with three cocktails costs approximately Rs 5,900.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
This review was conducted by Anjana Appanna, a city based writer and voiceover artist.
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