Friday, August 29, 2008


Gin·seng -noun [jin-seng]: any of several plants of the genus Panax, esp. P. pseudoginseng, of eastern Asia, or P. qinquefolius, of North America, having an aromatic root used medicinally.

Gin·seng -noun [jin-seng]: The Oriental cuisine restaurant in Bangalore, part of the Royal Orchid group of hotels.

Birthdays are always nice, and birthday lunches or dinners are even better, especially when someone else is footing the tab. A couple of folks in my team took the team out for lunch to celebrate their birthday, and after narrowing down 3 places, Ginseng was chosen. I'd have loved to have gone the a la carte way (don't I always), but going on a weekday from work always has a few restrictions, and time certainly is one of them. So the buffet it was, which isn't half as bad as I'd be making it out to be right now, but I'd still take the a la carte anyday :)

We started off with the soup of the day, which was a mixed vegetable sweet and sour soup, which all of us agreed was simply amazing. The few who felt a little disappointed that there was just one soup were soon all smiles.

The appetizer spread was pretty decent: starting from the 12 o'clock position and going clockwise, we have some chicken, followed by pomelo fruit, then some pineapple, followed by some very lovely kimchi, wafer fried in prawn oil and finally deviled egg.

For those of you unaware of what a Pomelo is, this is what it looks like.

The spread for the main course was a delight, but sadly some of the food didn't live up to my expectations :( This time, starting from the 11 o'clock position (clockwise), we have stir fried French beans, followed by Thai chicken curry, and some mutton dish whose name I can't recollect now. Then we have the Thai chicken fry (which resembled gobi manchurian), and some fried water chestnuts. And in the middle is some fish, again whose name escaped from my head. The chicken fry (red one, 6 o'clock) wasn't very nice and was a little rubbery coz of the batter it was cooked in, and the mutton didn't seem to have been cooked recently and felt cold and didn't have any 'juice' in it. The rest of the dishes were good, and lived up to the expectations that I had been told to expect at Ginseng.

The dim sums were heavenly. Biting into them, they would almost melt in your mouth. The sesame seed sauce and the pepper sauce as accompaniments were perfect. Nothing to write home about the hakka noodles and the veg fried rice, except that they weren't bad.

And onto the desserts! By now if you've been reading my posts, you'd know that this is the part I love the most. 12 o'clock Kiwi cheese cake, chocolate cake with walnuts, Strawberry cheese cake, something I have no idea about but was filled with Mascarpone cheese, a coconut roll with cream (which oozed oil and tasted horrible), a pastry of some kind and a classic Tiramisu. The glasses in the middle had different souffles in them which were amazing to look at and taste.

After all that I had heard about Ginseng, I'll have to say that although overall I was very happy with the place, especially the ambiance inside and the decor and settings, I was hoping against hope that all the buffet dishes would have been up to the mark and would not leave me disappointed. Well, maybe the next time I come, I'll have to go a la carte and hope for the best.

Ginseng, The Royal Orchid, 1, Golf Avenue, Old Airport Road, Bangalore.

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