First published in Bangalore Mirror under my more famous pseudonym 😉
In the steel and concrete drabness that goes by the name of Outer Ring Road, it takes a sense of irony to name a mall Soul Space Arena! But maybe there’s hop, my Malayali mind thought, when I heard that a microbrewery had begun operating there. That’s how we landed at The Brew and Barbeque. To be honest, I didn’t really have a good feeling about this- the last time we visited a microbrewery operating in a mall on Old Madras Road, we had a very bitter experience! But to be fair, once you step inside, it’s easy to forget the mall environment. Part of it is to do with the spaciousness, the place is huge. The simplistic furniture – mostly bare wooden tables and functional chairs – allows efficient usage of space, making it seem even more roomy. A DJ and a giant screen to complete the pitcher!
In what is a departure from menus I’ve seen recently, the place has a fairly simple, small and what one might call an unambitious menu. What it smartly does is focus on dishes that go well with a mug of beer. Speaking of that liquid, there were three kinds available, and we asked for samplers. The wheat was what you’d call barley passable! The lager was much better in terms of flavour and feel. The red ale was milder than what I expected but likeable enough. The other kind of drink we tried was a mango lassi, and while it tasted fine, the flavour was packaged mango and not any real fruit.
The Asian Chilly Chicken was the first starter we tried – it didn’t try to be adventurous, and did the spice job it was supposed to do. In stark contrast, the Afghani Murgh tikka was an exploration of flavours. Only mildly spicy, relying more on the superbly cooked chicken and flavourful marinade, this was a fantastic dish. Ok, quick booze & brains question – if a dish is called Prawn wrapped chicken, what would be on the outside – prawn or chicken? Ha, got you, the prawn is inside. That apart, everything was fine – creamy and well cooked. A most curious incident happened with our Stuffed Mushroom order – either the kitchen forgot about it, or they were guilty of consuming the other mushroom dish on the menu – Magic Mushrooms! It arrived just before desserts and was completely not worth the wait!
The pizzas are given top billing in the menu, so we tried a couple. Both thin crusts, the Paprika pizza turned out a better bet than the Bbq Chicken. Most of it had to do with the pineapple in the latter, a little too much and made it more sweet than it should have been. The B&B salad turned out to be surprisingly good – fresh vegetables with a very tasty lemony and sweet dressing. The B&B Chicken Steak wasn’t bad either – well cooked chicken with a rich, flavourful sauce. The mashed potato could have been a tad better though. The Thai Curry with steamed rice was the final dish we tried. The red curry was creamy with perfect coconut and lemongrass flavours.
At Rs.200, it almost seems like one is being penalised for ordering desserts in a microbrewery! Out of the six options on the menu, only three were available. The Tiramisu got the flavour reasonably right, but failed on the texture. Heaven’s Door sounded like a dessert that would knock it out of the park, but we were clearly undeserving souls since it turned out to be a brownie with ice cream!
A couple of beers and a 3 course meal for two would cost about Rs.2000. There were definitely a few issues – the beer didn’t exactly raise the bar, the mushroom order was a fiasco, and after a while, there was no water in the restroom! The last is not exactly the best scenario in any place, let alone a beer joint! But the food did make a good impression and the service was friendly and quite enthusiastic. All things considered, the place deserves more cheers than jeers.
The Brew and Barbeque, Soul Space Arena Mall, Doddanekundi, Ph: 080 65377733
P.S. It’s been 7 years since I started writing for Bangalore Mirror. This is restaurant review #77, and the last.