Our last experience of a Japanese meal was that traumatic penultimate episode of Mozart In The Jungle (we’ll miss you!), all subtle gestures and high-key heartbreak. However, it’s been a week since this new bar - named for the Japanese for ‘wind’ - has opened, and we’re willing to bet more people have already been to Kaze than actually watched Mozart In The Jungle.
Kaze has the address, the height, and all of the city’s twinkling lights. Any #FloorTest on this baby will throw up only one result: reflective. All that scrubbed-clean, shiny newness sits prettily over most of CBD, glinting off the pumps and oxfords of Bangalore’s beautiful people. In this most casual of cities, Kaze has a dress code, which requires, among other things, to keep gentlemen’s toes covered. (There goes every ‘youngster’s party’ we have ever attended for a start-up bro in this town.)
Spanning an entire floor, Kaze’s big draw is a dimly lit bar in the breezy outdoors which doubles up as a lounge. Sumimasen: the sake isn’t here yet. Instead, house cocktails start us off several timezones away with something called ‘Killed in Mexico’: tamarind, tequila, elderflower liqueur and coffee. Brought alive with the added dose of tequila, the drink finds an uncanny way to balance the tamarind and coffee. It won’t quite bring Trotsky back to life, but Maestro Rodrigo might approve.
‘Elevated Flower’ with gin, Cointreau and hibiscus is a throwback to Cosmos, fittingly for a drink coming back into fashion. However, we have to cut the floral sweetness of the drink with an Asahi, a dry Japanese beer, which is really more our speed, anyway.
The food is, alas, a bit jet-lagged. Kaze’s twist on crispy chicken with salt and pepper turns out to be cold and uninspired, though pink sichuan peppers add a fun kick. Thinly rolled sake sushi, with a diminutive bulb of salmon arranged in the centre, falls just short of being bite-sized. It’s left to pork pot-stickers to do the evening’s heavy lifting. These gyoza are made of tightly packed minced meat, wrapped in flour, pan seared, delicately glazed with chili and sesame: little works of art to go with the light show of the place.
Returning from a stroll around the terrace , we’re greeted with lamb rendang curry - Kaze’s menu has, we think, the ambitions of imperial Japan? - and sticky jasmine rice. The tender chunks of lamb and baby potato in the curry fulfil every hankering for texture, dark, glistening and hearty. A miso ramen we didn’t order shows up, but is too warming and inviting to send back: topped with kamaboko, a cured fish amalgamation, the light broth delicately flavours chunks of chicken and ramen. The mix-up in the order means that we have to miss out on what we’re told is their signature, pan-roasted chicken breast with edamame ragout.
No mind: we’ll have to climb that tower again soon to work off the final act of this meal, simply titled Chocolate, a concoction of seven textures made with white, dark and milk chocolate, super-silken with little crunchy love notes to cocoa. Blink over a spoonful and those lights in the distance might almost be Tokyo.
Getting there: 909, SKAV, No. 1, Lavelle Road, call 08029652640 for reservations. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 6000.
Accessibility: Elevator in the basement leads straight to the 21st floor. One step up to enter the restaurant.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
This review was contributed by Anjana Appanna, a city based writer and voice over artist.
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