Restaurant Reviews

Broadway Gourmet Theatre

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Even as recently as a decade back, going to HSR required a strong stomach, because very few roads even had streetlights! But times have changed. These days, I’m finding it difficult to digest the fact that more new eateries are opening here than in the neighbouring restaurant paradise (and our favourite) Koramangala! Broadway Gourmet Theatre is the latest attraction. (map, you’ll have to make do with basement/valet parking – a very helpful security guard!) The signage is bold enough to make it visible from afar, but for the kind of showbiz character the restaurant has chosen to have, we found the ambiance a little underwhelming. It isn’t as though the space is unrefined or cramped, it’s just that we expected a little more flair and grandeur. There is one way in which it redeems itself though – an outdoor section that offers a splendid view of not just HSR on one side and the busy Sarjapur Road on the other, but the greenery of the army land across the road. We spared a thought for the jawan guarding the compound border, probably sitting on duty for most of the day in the shade of lush trees, even as we prepared to do our duty and sample what the restaurant had to offer. Food, after all, knows no boundaries!

The elegant looking menu is an eclectic mix of various cuisines and we intended to try out as many as possible. Our original choice of Indonesian soup wasn’t available, thankfully so, because its replacement was the well presented Magic Mushroom soup. Though our hopes of ‘magic mushroom’ went up in the smoked porcini, the deliciously thick soup that also had button mushrooms and truffle was exactly what a wintry Bangalore night demanded! We did wonder why exactly the tender chicken stick that came with it was called a solder though. The Labneh Patty that followed was creamy awesomeness. The soft cheese, made from strained yogurt, was the melt-in-the-mouth variety and the patty’s crust provided just the right texture. The pork dish we wanted wasn’t available so we decided to swim with the tide and ordered a Tawa Grouper. The fish fillet had a chilli masala that provided an excellent contrast to the milder fare we’d had thus far. More

Vietnamese Kitchen

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Even without demonetisation there are times in a month when one feels the lack of currency, and ATMs aren’t really of much help. On such occasions, the stretch of 80 feet Road in Indiranagar after you take a left at the bottom of the Domlur flyover can be a source of comfort (food) thanks to quite a few small eateries on your left that serve decent fare. The double use of ‘left’ in the previous sentence wasn’t a coincidence, it’s because the pricing here is very socialist! Vietnamese Kitchen is one such space, and despite its name, a lot of its food remains comfort Chinese at heart. (map) That’s not to say it doesn’t serve Vietnamese dishes, but it’d be wise to temper your expectations in terms of authenticity and setting. As I told my dinner guests, if you take ten steps from the door, you’d hit the kitchen! But there’s a charm about the tiny place, and they have used the space well – functional yet elegant seating, warm red lamp shades and a wall that’s completely covered with a collage of life in Vietnam.

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Koramangala Social

Yes, I know, I’ve already written about Whitefield Social, so what really is new? Well,  it’s Koramangala, and we welcome any chance to go back to our ‘native place in Bangalore’. When we heard a Social had opened, we just had to drop in. Koramangala continues to change rapidly, and we notice it even more in our quarterly/biannual visits. Meanwhile, when I heard my friends describe it, I thought they must have taken some independent bungalow on 80 feet Road, but this was near Starbucks in an otherwise (except for Social’s own signage) unspectacular building. (map) But once inside, it is evident that in terms of ambiance, this is easily the best Social in Bangalore yet. It is quite bag, spans two floors and offers much better seating options than the other two. There’s also a lot of greenery around, and that includes the bar area as well. We visited during Halloween, and the staff was dressed for the occasion. The service itself, was thankfully not horrible, and we actually liked it more than the other Social outlets – Church Street folks are clear that they are doing humanity a service by taking orders, and Whitefield people tend to be a little too laidback every once in a while.

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Pulimunchi

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Given the dearth of seafood options in Indiranagar, it shouldn’t be difficult for a restaurant serving coastal cuisine to mussel its way in. That’s perhaps what prompted a Sadashiv Nagar original to seek new shores. (map, this is above Beer Cafe) The fabulous décor does a fantastic job of reeling you in as soon as you enter the place. The elegant and comfortable chairs and benches, the photos in distressed frames, the wall art, the tastefully selected floor tiles and lighting, and my favourite, the tiled roof that recreates the charm of an old world home, are all elements that provide the perfect ambiance for the cuisine being served. Given that we had a lot of ground, and water to cover, we began in right earnest.

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Farzi Cafe

Such was the hype around the opening of the place, that it seemed like our farz to drop in. Given that it meant going to Bangalore, we delayed it a bit though! meanwhile, bad wordplay aside, somehow, the word farzi had come to denote ‘fake’ in my mind, but in this context, I had connected it to Persian. However, as per their website, the connotation here is “creating an illusion”. Gotta say that with it being perched on the top floor of the UB City mall, the connect (illusion – UB – Mallya) was rather funny.

We tried to reserve for Saturday night a day before, but apparently the tables were all reserved, so we shifted the plan to Sunday. The place was packed by the time we got there, and folks were being turned away. Lesson – make a reservation. Most of the tables are around the large bar, and that’s where  we got ours. High tables, with bar stools. If you don’t like those, it might be a good idea to specify that when you reserve. They have more standard seating too, but these are mostly with a higher seating capacity. Speaking of illusions, there is quite a lot of mirror play, giving the illusion of size, and with those lights, it must make a pretty picture at night.

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Delhi Highway

My first brush with the restaurant was more than a month ago, when I noticed its construction happening on 12th Main, Indiranagar. The style immediately made me think of Mughal architecture, and thanks to the jam I was stuck in, I had this morbid thought of a memorial for someone who had given up on life while waiting for the traffic on the road to clear! Because c’mon, there was no way another restaurant could be opening on this road! But I was wrong, a few weeks later Delhi Highway opened its doors, (map) and promptly deceived me again – the smile on my face as my mind conjured up the vision of a Butter Chicken was wiped off when I saw the green dot next to the name.

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Biergarten

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Whitefield might have its share of infrastructural woes, but in the meanwhile, the number of microbreweries opening up in the neighbourhood means that someone is at least raising hops! The beer would be available only in early September, we were told when we visited Biergarten, (map) but we are used to waiting in, and for things, in Whitefield, so we weren’t surprised. Sooner or later, things will hopefully get bitter. The place covers a fairly large area – at the centre is an alfresco section, with long tables that are perfect for the shared table concept of a conventional biergarten. Surrounding this, but a level above, is a mix of seating options – bar stools, plush sofas for lounging, and functional seating. The bright lights and the green glow give a lively feel to the place, the music is upbeat and the overall ambiance is quite relaxing. The courteous and accommodating service also helps.

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The Whitefield Arms

Another microbrewery in the neighbourhood is always welcome, but hold your horses, the brewery will only open in October is still not open. We couldn’t, so we visited back in August, one Sunday afternoon. The place can be accessed from inside the mall as well as through a tiny path between VR and Phoenix City Malls. There’s outdoor and indoor seating. The theme is colonial – the crest, and the dishes in the menu – though the seating is a little more modern. Wood is the primary element in the seating – benches and chairs – though the section inside does have a few plush sofas. The weather was pleasant, with a nice breeze, and the inside seemed like a refrigerator, so we chose to sit outside.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster

First published in Bangalore Mirror

In a world where zealots prescribe diets instead of deities, the Flying Spaghetti Monster appears in the skyline as a beacon of hope. For those unfamiliar with the subject, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the deity of the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” or “Pastafarianism”, a legally recognised religion in at least three countries, in addition to being an internet phenomenon! 100 feet Road, Indiranagar, (map) has now been blessed by its presence, (rather, a restaurant inspired by it) and if there’s a deity that can reduce the traffic on that road (which happened the day we visited) it must indeed be a powerful one. This was manifested once again during our dinner – we had the place to ourselves when we got in, but by the time we left, the faithful had filled up every seat available. This, on a Friday night, without the influence of alcohol! Glory be to FSM!

The ambiance is in keeping with the soberness that a faith requires – no fancy use of colours, just wood, well placed lighting, and comfortable seating that allows one to reflect on the menu, take a note of the insatiable desires of one’s appetite, and humbly appeal to a higher power to satisfy those cravings. The menu however, revealed the playful nature of the deity – “substitute bacon with bacon. ha!” (Pasta D:33), even as it strengthened one’s faith – “Vegetables are interesting, but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat”. By now, all we wanted to do was partake!

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The Open Box

It’s not often that we venture so far away from our native country – Whitefield – but the visuals of The Open Box, and its fusion menu, were enticing enough to drag us all the way to St.Marks Road. On reaching there, we realised that it was the same place that Spiga used to occupy. We were big fans of Spiga when it used to be in a house on Vittal Mallya Road, but the second version really didn’t live up.

We walked in close to 1 on a Sunday afternoon, and easily found a place. But if we had been late by half an hour, I think we’d have had some trouble getting a table. The space is separated into about 3-4 sections. The lower floor has some seating near the entrance itself, and the bar separates the remaining area into two.There’s also some seating upstairs, but it didn’t seem open. The furniture is functional-cool – I particularly liked the swivel chair I was seated on. There are some fun decor elements, and that extends to the plating devices too. Not to mention the goofy ‘Nintendo joystick’ posters in the loo! A pool table and a gigantic world map (made with artificial turf) add to the character. We found quite a mixed crowd there – at least two sets of older people having a get together of some sort, and many groups of much younger folk as well!

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