Shizusan Shophouse & Bar, Lower Parel
Now before we say anything, try saying Shizusan 10 times fast. Had a good laugh yea? Now to more important things; this place is has a menu that will make your mouth water and want to make you try everything! Huge space, huge menu and crafted cocktails Shizusan is the newest Asian joint to hit the every increasing Lower Parel market. We were invited here so lets how things went!
The Place and Concept:
Located slap bang at the entrance of Phoenix Mills, its opened up where Anita Dongre had her shop before. You will still need to go through the security check of the mall and only then can you make your way to restaurant. This is an entire section of the mall, that used to be a warehouse before, thus the basic design has been kept the same. Its two storeys tall with the kitchen being on the first floor, Sushi bar on the ground and the main bar on the top floor.
Whats this whole shop-house thing doing you ask? Well the basic design and concept is inspired by the 18th century shop-house boom during the colonial era in South East Asia. Shizusan’s story unfolds in their very own shop-house concept; Restaurant downstairs; a home converted into a bar upstairs and a menu that pays homage to the dishes you find in establishments across South East Asia. Creative interiors, abacus inspired staircase, chrysanthemum murals and dragon-flies hanging from the roof a lot of thought has gone to designing the place.
Firstly let us say thank f*cking God, Mumbai is coming up with more restaurant concepts than bars, because frankly bars have just filled up the city and f*cked the culinary scene. Moving on, this menu is huge! Yes they have a photographic representation of a lot of their dishes, irrespective of that the menu comprises of Sashimi, Maki Rolls, tapas, Starch items, Curries and Desserts from all over the South East.
We started off with the vegetarian Sriracha Blush Maki roll that had a fried Jalapeno filling, Prawn Hargao dumpling with its perfect crescent shape and fresh Prawn filling, Water chestnut and Chive dim-sum with a green outer coating and a Chicken Xiao Long Bao. Now a Xiao Long Bao is generally made with Pork mince, filled with a cube of pork stock in its gelatin form and then steamed. Thus giving its characteristic ‘soupy’ filling along with the Pork fat, but here since the meat was Chicken and the Xiao Long Bao was hot AF, we had to wait for sometime to consume and by the time we’d eaten it, the stock had been absorbed by the meat and there was barely any ‘soupy’ filling.
What followed was Pulled Pork and Jalapeno steamed Bao which was the highlight of the meal. It was juicy, messy, meaty, sweet and spicy and the Bao base in general wasn’t very thick which a lot of restaurants do. Our appetizers were unusual vegetarian items which included Lotus Stem and Red Pumpkin.
Now we know that Lotus Stem is quite a prominent ingredient in south east Asian cuisine but to toss it in a Laksa and coconut based dry sauce was amazing! Also being a Sindhi it got a few extra points. The Red Pumkin (or as we call it BHOPLA!!) was tossed in a Kung Pao base sauce, although its in their main course, they made it for us as a starter. Top marks for creativity and taste, not only that all of the above are totally gluten free!
For drinks we had a sparkling wine Sangria and a Jim Beam based cocktail called Saigon Lemonade with Yuzu and Ginger Ale. Spot on with the cocktail, but the sangria could be worked upon. Well after sampling so many tiny plates it got really difficult to have a proper main course so we stuck to an all in in one Korean Burri Bop. This is a kind of complete meal with Egg fried rice, Chicken and a Koream Gochujang sauce poured all over. It is served in stone bowl call a Burri Bop, which is heated to considerable temperature. This is done so that the rice at the base get a little burnt and gives it a different crisp texture. Overall a good light dish.
Should you visit Shizusan? Yes, F*ck yes, but one visit most definitely wont be enough. At least 3 visits and then maybe you’ve had everything on their menu which is a good thing for the restaurant. They are also bringing in the ‘Yum Cha’ concept of unlimited dim-sum and various teas in the afternoon 3-7 pm slot, which will be followed by a Sunday Brunch (might take 4-5 months.)
Value for Money: NA
(The BombayFoodies were invited for a tasting at Shizusan, irrespective of that, honest views and opinion have been given.)