Indiranagar

The Teal Door Cafe

First published in Bangalore Mirror

“Cafe with a soul” is how The Teal Door Cafe describes itself, and it does live up to that on at least a couple of levels. The building it occupies is 25 years old and absolutely looks the part as it majestically stands out from the more standard ‘inhabitants’ of a small but busy road at one end of Indiranagar. This was Bow Barracks (for those who have been in Bangalore for a while). (map, you’ll have to make do with street parking) And while great food in itself is a good cause, the cafe does its bit for society too by employing underprivileged women. The highlight of the place, though, is its decor. Across four floors, there are alfresco as well as indoor seating options and several elements have been added to the wonderful red brick interiors to lend it an easygoing charm. The furniture for instance is far from constant – benches to sofas to bar stools to large cushions – but somehow they all seem to fit well together. The soft lighting gives the space an elegant yet cosy air, and if you start paying attention to the details, you’d notice that many of the things you see around are recycled. We sat on the first floor, enjoying the soft breeze from a large open window and it took the grill – made from the parts of an automobile – to remind us that we were here for a meal!

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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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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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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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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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Shaap

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Over the years, the Kerala toddy shop menu has rapidly grown in stature from being mere ‘touching’ partners during drinks to a whole cuisine in itself. Hence you can imagine our delight on seeing an outlet that promises “authentic Kerala shaap cuisine”, especially when it unabashedly calls itself Shaap! Before we go further, let’s get the linguistics out of the way. ‘Shaap’ in this context does not mean a curse, it’s just the way ‘shop’ is pronounced. To be noted that after a trip the ‘shaap’, people are prone to cursing and swearing! The outlet, we realised when we got there, has been refurbished – from its previous café avatar. However, it’s a job that has been reasonably well done. From the signboard that has been done in the toddy shop style, and the thatched coconut leaves on the walls, to the posters (movie quotes and pop culture), the Balarama comics (not Hindu mythology, it’s a popular kids magazine) on the shelf and the use of a non-Malayali labour force, it was absolute Kerala! An entire blackboard-finish wall has been dedicated to the menu, and we couldn’t wait to start!

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The Workshop

First published in Bangalore Mirror

The new restaurants that open on 100 feet Road, Indiranagar seem to be giving a hat tip to the traffic by having an automobile connection in their names. At least, that’s what struck me when I saw our destination – The Workshop – exactly opposite a restaurant called Horn OK Please. The restaurant has outdoor seating, which, if you can get over the blaring horns, does look like a comfortable place to watch the world go by. We chose to sit inside, where, on comfortable sofas or functional but aesthetically pleasing chairs, you can watch the IPL season go by. The wall graphics continue the theme (of the name) by creating a workshop impression out of kitchen utensils and the cooking process. The overall effect is bright and cheerful, and does a decent job of creating a relaxed, casual dining ambiance. The menu offers a mix of café fare and more elaborate dishes from Continental, Italian and North Indian cuisines. With the background of pop from the earlier part of this decade, we decided to begin.   More

Equation – Punjabi by Nature

If we go by the number of eateries found soon as you get down the Domlur flyover on the Indiranagar side, you’d think there is a famine on the other side. To add to Hoppipola, Mainland China, Barbeque Nation, Rajdhani and so on, we now have a Punjabi by Nature as well. We’ve liked the one at Koramangala, but found the Whitefield version  a bit meh. To give it a fair best of three, we decided to try out Equation – By Punjabi by Nature, one Sunday afternoon. (map, it’s in the same building as Linen Club)

It has a couple of floors, and the terrace seating area, I’d think, would be fantastic for a night out, but on a Sunday afternoon when Bangalore was beginning to show its summer self, we decided to sit downstairs. If they’d kept the railing a little lower, we’d actually have a great view of 100 feet Road.

A few of the Zomato reviews had given us the idea that this had a microbrewery just as the others did. I found no vats during our little tour, but still had hopes when I asked the service staff. They confirmed that they didn’t serve craft beer. I cried a little and then asked for an Acharoska. D felt so bad that she asked for a Peach Lassi, not even a cocktail. My drink wasn’t bad at all, the alcohol presence was well felt, though the Achaar was a bit over the top. The Lassi didn’t taste as well as it looked, and wasn’t particularly peachy, literally and otherwise.

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Horn OK Please

First published in Bangalore Mirror

The last thing you need on 100 feet Road Indiranagar is a signage that proclaims “Horn OK Please”, but hey, that’s what the new restaurant and bar is called. What adds to the twist is that it is right below the very musical sounding B Flat & Highnote. (map) True to its name, you hear the place before you see it. As you step out of the lift, you are greeted with the sounds of a Bollywood remix, and that’s one of the décor themes as well. Reworded Bollywood titles – Brosnan in Dabond executed superbly on a corrugated sheet, Rajinikanth in Endiranator and so on. Stallone would punch someone if he was saw ‘Rocky Rocky Rocky Sawant’, but it does deliver the LOL. The rest of the décor – bright an vibrant colours, truck art, lanterns and some of the seating – makes you think of a stylised dhaba. One element that really deserves a mention is the wordplay on the menu – from Palak Dikhla Ja to Skewer ka Baccha to Pathar Late Than Never, the pages are packed with puns that add a fun element to standard dishes.

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Tippler on the Roof

On one of those Sundays when we felt like visiting a completely new place, we chanced upon Tippler on the Roof on Zomato and decided to make a trip to Indiranagar. I think mid-morning trips in Bangalore are also instances of time travel – not only do you cover distances much faster, you also start noticing old buildings and establishments that are usually blocked from view thanks to traffic. Meanwhile, from the address, (map) I figured that TotR had replaced Khaaja Chowk.

I remember Khaaja Chowk having an alfresco section, but there’s a retractable roof now. The layout itself has been completely changed. There’s a stage and some plush sofas next to it. Seating is mostly along the remaining three walls with a few tables in the central space. These are mostly functional seating with a touch of grunge. The walls are where Russia meets pop culture. Star Wars and Breaking Bad posters hang out with Stalin and Communist propaganda. Makes for an interesting mix!

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