At the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, all day dining restaurant Cafe Mix offers diners an array of international flavours. Under the guidance of its head chef Bo Sorensen, the restaurant’s “Shayan Quarter” a la carte menu fuses distinctive Asian cuisine and a welcome combination of casual comfort food and fine dining techniques. Cafe Mix also offers full buffets complete with a dessert station adorned with Executive Pastry Chef Anna Polyviou’s creations.
We were greeted with a cultural twist on the usual Cafe Mix buffet at the Shangri-La Hotel’s A Taste of India Food Festival (23 to 27 November), in collaboration with one of Sydney’s most renowned leaders in Indian cuisine, Manjit’s.
Bright, floral arrangements surrounded the restaurant and decorations reflecting the Maharaja era combined to elevate the opulence of Indian traditions and the fun of Bollywood style. With a mango lassi in hand, we were transported to an extravagant traditional Indian feast courtesy of Manjit’s chef de cuisine Varun Gujral and Shangri-La’s Sorensen.
On display were a variety of dishes most popular across the many regions of India. The Sikandari Raan (roasted lamb) spoke to the culinary flair of central India. The tangy Prawn Malabari displayed the tropical influences of southern India. And the ever-popular Butter Chicken not only represented northern Indian’s grasp of rich, delicious flavours, but it also spoke volumes of the Gujral family’s own recipe – passed down since the 1940s.
Cafe Mix was also sure to include its much-enjoyed extensive fresh seafood buffet as part of the selection for the food festival, ensuring there was something to impress everyone’s tastebuds.
The dessert selection featured a number of subtle sweets and zesty options – enough to leave each diner satisfied that they had covered all the bases. Authentic desserts included Gulab Jamun and Halwa among others, although I must admit that my favourite of the sweeter options for the night had to be the mango lassi (which was also offered with Malibu for a cheekier spin). I adore smoothies and this “Desi” style mango variety was no exception.
All in all, the Shangri-La Hotel’s Cafe Mix and Manjit’s brought together an exciting celebration of Indian cuisine that was hard not to enjoy. I’ve always loved butter chicken, but it was great to be able to try some of the other popular dishes that make Indian food so passionately adored and celebrated by its people and those lucky enough to get a taste of it.
Those keen for a taste of Cafe Mix can dine at the restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner, while those eager to experience authentic Indian cuisine can visit one of the Manjit’s restaurants at Balmain or along King Street Wharf.
Shayan Quarter @ Cafe Mix
Shangri-La Hotel, 176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks Sydney NSW
Phone: 02 9250 6206
Manjit’s @ The Wharf
King Street Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW
Phone: 02 9279 3379
360 Darling Street, Balmain Sydney NSW
Phone: 02 9818 3699