12th Main

Bombay Brasserie

I suspect I’ll have to lunch/dine out pretty much every single day at least for a month if I have to keep up with the number of restaurants that are opening in Indiranagar. One of the most prominent places that have sprung up in Spring-Summer 2017 is Bombay Brasserie. No prizes for guessing that it’s on 12th Main, though on the side closer to 80 ft Road. (map) I think they must have hit a wall trying to find space on the other side. (The Dravids stay there. #getit 😉 )

Anyway, we landed up on a Sunday afternoon without a reservation, mostly because they wouldn’t take a reservation. It was crowded as expected, and we were told that there would be a waiting time of around 45 minutes. I pictured myself braving the Whitefield-Indiranagar traffic on another weekend, and immediately expressed my deep appreciation for the short waiting time. But the lady at the reception was absolutely ‘crabby’ – tough countenance but total softie inside, since we got the table in less than 20 minutes! And that too, a lovely swing from which one could see the road. The decor consists of what is now becoming a standard – quirky furniture and showpieces (that Remington typewriter!), and a white-teal-blue colour scheme. But this has been done really well, with plenty of well arranged seating space, giving a lively yet relaxing vibe. I’m sure it looks even prettier at night.

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Hangover

First published in Bangalore Mirror

It’s not often that you see a Volkswagen van on the first floor of a building in Indiranagar. That, requires a Hangover. Inspired by Thai cocktail trucks, this is one of the bright spots in the latest addition to Indiranagar’s pub scene. (map) The ground floor seems a little drab compared to the first floor, which thanks to the van, chalkboard and some fancy lighting creates a peppy ambiance.

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One Night in Bangkok

First published in Bangalore Mirror

If you’re looking for a travel post, stop! ONIB is the name of a Bar & Grill in Indiranagar, run by the folks behind Plan B and Mother Cluckers. Reaching Indiranagar 12th Main is only marginally easier than getting to Bangkok, so we wanted to make sure that our trip wouldn’t be wasted, and tried to reserve a table. But that, we were told, wasn’t possible. Visa on arrival, just like Thailand! Street parking it is, all the very best!

A sliding door and a thick black curtain lead you into a relatively small seating area, though they have used the space really well. At 7.30, we had the place pretty much all to ourselves. That meant we could really look around, after adjusting to the darkness, at what’s being positioned as India’s first Thai dive bar. The Buddha statuettes, the Muay Thai wall painting and the menu itself easily take care of the Thai part, but I think the place is a dive bar more in spirit than in actuality, judging by the prices and the décor. The bar stands out like a beacon of hope in the otherwise dim lit ambiance. Despite mostly high seating – wooden chairs – the place somehow manages to give out a plush feel. The stylish dinginess, together with the DJ’s groovy playlist based on 80s music ensures that the place has the potential to become a favoured neighbourhood joint, probably for a crowd older than the standard pub/lounge set.

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Mamagoto

In the war of cuisines on Indiranagar 12th Main, Asian is very close to complete domination! I chanced upon Mamagoto when I visited that part of the world and decided to drop in for dinner the same day. We reserved a table and that turned out to be a good idea, judging by the waiting crowd. It’s on the ground floor of the same building as The Humming Tree. (map) I think they have valet parking.

Apparently, the conspicuous yellow door, (which seemed a little resistant to push) is a sort of signature across its outlets in Delhi and Mumbai. The decor inside is bohemian hangout meets underground pub. I quite liked the graphic art that adorned the brick walls, especially a tiny one that I think was a take on The Last Supper. The chairs we sat on reminded me of the ones in government offices – Breuer chairs, though there are some plush sofa options as well. I could smell lemon grass, though I also caught a whiff of sea food, probably because I am extra sensitive to that! More

The Fatty Bao

On a Saturday, when we wanted to do more than just monkeying around, we climbed a few more floors to get to The Fatty Bao (map) We had reserved a table for two, and even though most of the tables were empty, we were rather firmly asked to take a specific one, just like we were told not to go upstairs because it was full. One of the tables we asked for remained empty until about five minutes before we left. Oh, well. Despite all that, I quite liked the ambiance – fun and relaxed with a dash of quirky.

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While the decor has a panda domination, the ‘Monkey’ flavour is evident in the menu. There are quite a few interesting cocktails to choose from – I asked for the Mandalay Bay, and D wanted a Bora Bora. The jasmine tea in my drink was refreshing and worked really well with the vodka and ginger beer. The other drink was quite a melange – gin, coconut water, vodka and passion fruit – and it was difficult to get one dominant flavour. But that also made it quite a lively drink! More

Mother Cluckers

12th Main Indiranagar now rivals Koramangala in terms of cuisine diversity! Mother Cluckers belongs to the Plan B family and pretty much rules the roost in terms of popularity in the area. (map) I was told that finding a table among the dozen options available would be near impossible. But we were early cluckers and got a spot, near the ‘hippie entrance’. In about half an hour, the place was packed. Not surprising, since it’s not a really large space. In case you don’t get lucky, take your drink and spend some time in the smoking zone beside the entrance. They have made the most of the space – rustic brick walls adorned with plaques and posters that sum up the commitment to clucking good food. The glasses, tissues and even the menu show the lineage quite clearly – Plan B. The dim lighting (though they have done a fantastic job of ensuring tables are well lit) and a general informal ambiance and decor make it a perfect spot to unwind in the evening. That’s despite the mildly uncomfortable wooden park bench seating. The music went everywhere from ‘Walk of Life’ to ‘Summertime Sadness’, and the decibel levels don’t really encourage a lot of clucking.

One gigantic menu, one side of which is occupied by solids, and the other by liquids. The focus is clearly on bites that can go with drinks, which does make eminent sense given the place’ intent. We decided to test out the standard stuff before the specials. The Long Island, despite not skimping in alcohol, fell rather flat. The Caipirovska didn’t have as many illustrious ingredients, but was a much better drink – smooth and refreshing. The obvious choice for me, from the house specials, was Chutney Mary – a mix of vodka, guava juice, and spices. I suspect the ‘spices’ were chaat masala, but the drink is fantastic, if you’re the kind who doesn’t mind the drink being ‘hot’. Also, it does set the tone for the food. From “The Clucker’s Arsenal”, we asked for the Fiery Clucker, boneless chicken, grilled and marinated. Tasty enough, but surprisingly, despite the name, it turned out to be relatively less spicy than the other starters we tried. The Chilli Fried Pork, on the other hand, did live up to its name, and is only for those who can handle the heat! The Beef Chili Cheese Fries occupied the middle ground, with the cheese tempering the spiciness of the beef. The bacon with sausage, was exactly like all things that have bacon – great! The crunchy prawns were true to the name, and though the batter was bland, the mildly pungent dip made up for it. It was also a good respite from the spice assault! This is not really the best place for herbivores, but the Stuffed Mushrooms are totally worth a try, thanks to the delicious cheese and spinach stuffing.

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The mains options consist of burgers and a reasonable selection of other dishes. We started with the Pandi Burger, probably the most unique one in the list. Instead of the patty, there’s spicy Coorg pork, with a zesty tang to it. They have a crab burger as well, in case you prefer a sea adventure. The Smoked Spare Ribs is another dish that stands out from among the spice crowd! The marinade is sweet and only mildly spicy, with well cooked meat. Yet again, there was a pleasant veg surprise, this time in the form of Baked Eggplant, with a healthy dose of cheese and a tasty sauce.

The menu doesn’t display desserts, so we had given up hope, until one of us noticed the board outside with four options! We chose the Banoffee pie and a Chocolate cheesecake. It’s counterintuitive to go to a pub for desserts, but you’d be forgiven in this case. Spectacular stuff and a sweet mother clucking end to a meal!

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A meal for two would cost around Rs.1500 (Inclusive of taxes and service charge) – a couple of cocktails, a non veg starter, a main course dish and a dessert. There are only two things that can bring tears to your eyes – your preference for veg dishes (if any), and the spice levels in pretty much all the dishes. If you’re fine with that, and a hoarse voice that comes from shouting over the music, you’ll completely enjoy the place. The place is built for carnivores who enjoy their drinks. The rest of the world would unfortunately have to go cluck itself.

Mother Cluckers Bar, 957, 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar Ph: 9886092625

The Humming Tree

Indiranagar was definitely the area we wanted to be, but The Humming Tree was a second choice. We’d called up Loft 38 earlier in the day for a reservation, but they said they weren’t taking any and we should just walk in at 7.30. We did, and walked out at 7.31, because they were fully booked. Very professional! So we sulked our way to The Humming Tree, which was the other place we’d considered. Thankfully, the place was near empty when we reached and we could easily get the seat we wanted – glass facade facing the road. Oh wait, the restaurant is on 12th Main, (map) exactly opposite I & Monkey, on the 3rd and 4th floors.

The place definitely has character, and has been modeled with music events in mind. Funky decor that includes posters, a mishmash of furniture kinds, foosball and spaces that give you privacy with the right amount of buzz around you. I didn’t agree much with the music early on, but I ain’t that young no more! :)

The night was perfect for a soup, but they didn’t have any on the menu, which, unlike the pretty one you see at Zomato was just a group of printouts living together on a clipboard. We were just in time for the last Happy Hours order (< 8PM, on weekends as well!) and chose a red wine Sangria. Some of the beers listed on the menu were not available, and that was quite a downer. There was beef among the starters, so that decision was easy. The Sangria came quickly enough, and was really good. Just the right amounts of fruit, ice and alcohol and not measly in terms of quantity. The Beef Piccante was a little cold by the time it got to the table (wonder why) but it was spicy and had well cooked meat, and we really enjoyed it.

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For the main course, we asked for a Gnocchi with creamy pesto and chicken, and a Pork Burrito, which won against the Goan Pork Sausage Burger. The Burrito had braised pork, cheddar cheese, lime rice, beans, salsa, sour cream and onion and the flavour bursts ensured a good dish. The Gnocchi proved a great complement of sorts, thanks to its subtle flavours. We wanted the Chilli Chocolate Cake for desserts, but that wasn’t available. The next choice was the Dark Chocolate and Almond Mousse Cake. The texture wasn’t really mousse – it was a different kind of moist soft – but we liked it.

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All of the above cost us a little over Rs.1850, inclusive of all tax and charges. By the time we were through, the place was really packed, and it was easy to understand why. Excellent ambiance, good food, prompt service. We’d definitely like to visit again.

The Humming Tree, 949, 3rd Floor, 12th Main, Indiranagar, Ph: 9886651373

Red Fork

For some strange reason, these days we’re more inclined to Sunday breakfast-outs than Saturday dine-outs. Though a beer brunch has been the standard, we decided to give that a break one weekend and try out Red Fork, for more healthy options – bacon and such. 😉

Red Fork is in the same premises as (the new) Daddy’s Deli – here’s a map to help you. Park in one of the many side lanes that spread out of 12th Main, and walk up. Helps build appetite! At noon, we just about managed to find a table from the indoor and outdoor options. The menu is on blackboard(s) and is usually a marginally different version of this. The ambiance is pleasant and peppy, and the owner (I’m guessing) is extremely helpful. The decor is functional, includes a lot of quotable quotes, and reminded me of an elegant home – especially the shelf units.

From the beverages menu, I asked for a Kahlua Coffee and D ordered an ‘Indian’ tea. The coffee came in a wine glass and drew suspicious glances from the tables nearby, especially when I added the sugar! :) D’s Indian tea had a cardamom flavour and was in a kullad. Pretty much two ends of the spectrum.

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We oscillated between the ‘Big Breakfast’ and the Breakfast Pizza and finally, the latter won. The other dish we decided to check out was the  Eggs on Kheema. We had chosen the soft bread option for the ‘Pizza’,  which had bacon, a tomato based sauce and a poached egg! Quite tasty, though the soft bread obviously began getting soggy pretty fast. I loved the flavourful eggs on kheema – in terms of looks, this was closer to a pizza than the other dish. Since we had some additional space, even after considering desserts, we decided to try out the Mini Lamb burgers. Good choice, I thought, with excellent patties, cheese and a tinge of mustard. A good time to note that the Big Breakfast, which were being consumed all around was quite a looker – especially that mini frying pan, that seemed straight out of a kid’s kitchen set! For dessert, we asked for a chocolate mousse, and it was quite good, the quantity just right for two people who have hogged reasonably well!

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The bill came to around Rs.1350, and that seems reasonable enough for the location and quality of food.

Red Fork, #59, 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Ph: 41154372/5/6

Habanero

..is a kind of chili pepper, which can now be found on 12th Main Indiranagar. In fact, they have named an entire restaurant after it! 😀 (they have also been around for a while now in Whitefield) It’s almost exactly opposite I & Monkey. Parking was a little bit of a mess, and it was surprising how there was basement but that was only for the gym upstairs! So you have to use one of the side lanes.

We had reserved a table for 8.45, but we were warned that there could still be some waiting time. Fortunately there wasn’t, and also good that we did reserve, because there were several groups of people waiting outside for a table all through our meal. The restaurant is on two floors, and has a smoking section too. We got a table on the upper floor with an oblique view of the road.

We had checked the menu on Zomato earlier, but had decided to select the dishes when we got there. The Breaded Chicken Tenders seemed like a good thing to start with and apparently, a Sangria pitcher was available for Rs.999, and that’s how we began. Even without the Sangria, there was quite a buzz about the place – music, conversations, and a general bustle. The starters arrived very fast, as did the Sangria. The slight blandness of the chicken was compensated for by the dip. Nothing spectacular, but did the job. The Sangria pitcher was about 4 glasses, but had more ice than we would have liked. The drink itself was quite good though.

For the main course, we were pulled in two directions – burger vs pasta – after we decided we would try the pizza anyway – Chipotle Chicken. The pizza looked small, but that turned out to be quite deceiving once we started eating it. Spicy, grilled chicken it was, and the sauce added an extra bite. The burger won finally, mostly thanks to the green chilli presence. This one turned out hot in more ways than one – pretty to look at, and with a solid chilli and pepper presence.

   

The only problem was that we were stuffed and had no space for that Mud Pie I so wanted to try. All of the above came up to Rs.2200, which was not really bad at all, considering the cuisine, location and quantity. I would definitely visit again, especially because there are quite a few things I want to try out – the Turkey & Bacon burger for one. The service was prompt, helpful and cheery

Habanero, 948, 12th Main, Next to ICICI Bank, Indiranagar, Ph: 41692109

I & Monkey

D wanted to write this post owing to the title, but my super power is admin rights for this blog. Ha! A rainy, slushy Bangalore night tried to make a monkey out of us, but we stuck to our plan, though it did mean that we  looked like wet monkeys when we arrived at the restaurant on 12th Main Indiranagar. (on the left, when coming from the Sony Center signal on 100 feet Road) Parking – 12th main and those side lanes, you should be fine. If I’m not mistaken, this building used to be the former cricketer Prasanna’s house! Not surprising, the owners would want this to be a money spinner too, like their other venture – Windsor Pub. 😉 We had a reservation, and I didn’t say this aloud so we managed not be thrown out, wet shorts and all. :) Classy lighting, well placed tables and foot tapping music makes for a great ambiance in spite of the mandatory LCD screens.

Thanks to the reviews we read online, we had a rough idea of what we wanted, though we couldn’t find a menu online. I managed to take a few snaps of the menu, something I’d promised myself I wouldn’t (and rely on Zomato) But there seems to be some perception that the menu is limited. The snaps would prove otherwise. (click for larger image) They also have a well stocked bar and an extensive wine list.

  

  

  

Though we were drowning under the choices, we asked for a special (not on the regular menu, seems to be a week’s special) – Momo Pork Wopper and very uncharacteristically, and greedily added a second starter – Chargrilled Chicken Fillets. The latter was only because the one we really wanted – the Shikari Style Veddi Erachi was not available. They offered us a close equivalent but that was a more regular dish, so we passed. The pork momos were quite tasty and steamed well, though we’d have liked the sauce to be a bit more spicy. The chicken fillet also had a ‘gunpowder’ filling, which actually ended up adding more texture than spice to the mix. But it’s worth a shot. :)

  

For the main course too, we were spoilt for choice, and it was quite fun to read some of the dish names too – goes well with the quirky name of the restaurant. After much deliberation, we decided to order the Calangute Chicken Bafath. It comes with appams/sannas and as you can see, we chose the latter. The sannas turned out to be quite good, and the gravy, mildly spicy, turned out to be one of the coconut milk based ones that we have a strong liking for. There are many many more dishes which, at least on paper, sound really good, so while this one was quite good, I’d urge you to be adventurous. :) We debated desserts, but there was nothing that really made us sit up and take notice.

The service is helpful, but does tend to go a bit overboard. For instance, in our feedback form, we said more dessert options would be great. The person who took the order immediately came back and started an extensive survey on what we’d like!

The meal cost us just over Rs.950, inclusive of service charge and tax. Slightly on the higher side, but worth the occasional visit.

I & Monkey, 968, 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Ph: 40923656