Anglo Indian

Bow Barracks

The good news is that you don’t have to go as far as Kolkata. There is no bad news. A little away from our regular Indiranagar haunts is 2nd Main, near the BDA complex. The last time we were on this road (On Double Road, take a right just before you hit Old Madras Road when coming from the CMH Road direction) was years back, and that restaurant has been replaced by a safer Punjabi outlet. In fact, the road now sports several food options including Chettinad, Punjabi and a few others! The map as well as the menu can be found on Zomato. Parking for 2 wheelers is easy and there are lanes around for 4 wheelers in case you don’t find space in front of the restaurant. A brick building with a doorway that makes you feel as though you’re entering a home. :)

The interior too has a cosy feel to it with just the right amount of buzz. We chose the less crowded 1st floor and by the time we left, that too was fairly full, and people were being taken to the next floor. I think that’s where it ends, but can’t be sure. In addition to the splendid ambiance, watch out for the knickknacks. The clock, the old kind of switches, some wonderful photographs on the brick wall, all add to the personality of the place.

 

The menu has Anglo Indian, Continental as well as Indian sections, but we were clear in our intent. We were even reasonably sure of 3 out of 4 items we planned to have, but we still needed to decide the 4th. As we sat debating that, an amuse-bouche made its way to the table. A fig with vinaigrette. I popped it in without giving it much thought until the flavour explosion hit me – tangy and sweet at the same time, with a crunch that will definitely make you sit up and pay attention.

We started with the Pantheras – the beef version. The beef mince was superb, and the crumbed, deep fried crepes wrapped it up very well indeed. But what made us completely forget to add that lime twist was the sauce that came along with it. In terms of taste, it reminded us of a local favourite – sauce that came with the Delicacy momos – but this one was more suave! For the main course, we ordered the Khow Suey – Chicken, and in the battle between the Fish Moilu and the Chicken Ball Curry, the latter won. We also ordered Coconut Yellow rice to go with the curry. The Khow Suey is a favourite and they did complete justice to it – the Anglo Indian rendition doesn’t really vary from the original Burmese and the coconut milk, noodles, cumin, turmeric etc with the help of a twist of lime made up an excellent mix as always. The Chicken Ball curry also has coconut milk flavour in the background, but it’s only to add that little extra to the tomato base (consistency and taste) and to the chicken mince that is made into koftas. The Coconut Yellow rice – basmati – worked beautifully with the curry and for our Mallu palates, this overdose of coconut felt just divine! :) )

 

We were almost full, but the bread pudding had already booked itself space, though it was more mind and spirit than body! Served with mild custard sauce, I felt it could’ve been slightly less watery. But thankfully, it didn’t take away much from the taste. An excellent meal in a perfect setting! The service was prompt, helpful and altogether smooth. The meal made us poorer by Rs.1276 (including a service charge) but it was thoroughly worth it. This one goes into our favourites, and with so many more dishes to try, we’ll raid again soon!

Bow Barracks, 618/1, 2nd Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar. Ph: 42072555, 9739601015

The Esplanade

Koramangala meets Calcutta at  The Esplanade, a restaurant serving Bengali (traditional and Anglo Indian contributions) and Continental cuisine. This lies between China Pearl and Vicky’s, on the one way connecting Inner Ring Road with the road from Forum to National Games Village. (refer either of the two links for a detailed route) You’ll find it on the right, a few buildings after the Unilet showroom. Parking shouldn’t be too difficult to find. Don’t be misled by the dark, vacant ground floor, the restaurant is on the first floor, and the entrance is through a small door that you might miss at first glance. Check out some great posters of the Calcutta that was, on your way up.

We reached at half past seven and easily managed to get a cosy table, that gave a nice road view, but you might want to reserve if you’re planning to go after 8.30.

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French; sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek; soy sauce makes it Chinese; love and divinity make it Bengali.” so said Pandit Ravi Shankar, according to the menu. Also as per the menu, The Esplanade tries to amalgamate the indigenous Bengali cuisine with the European influence that was acquired during the pre independence days. A modest tribute to famous restaurants, like Peliti’s and Firpo’s, that dotted the original Esplanade.

The place doesn’t serve alcohol but has quite a few mocktail choices, including a Regent Rave, their version of an aampora sharbat. But the chilly Bangalore weather made us skip that. We’d have liked a soup but there seemed to be only a couple of options (veg, non veg soups of the day) so we decided to go for a starter – Paddo Pataye Kasundi Murgi, which is “a perfect mixture of chicken and raw mango mustard steamed in a lotus leaf parcel” Unless you have a huge problem with the mustard flavor, you’ll love this spicy, tangy mix. A plate has six portions, perfect for a group of 2-3. The Chicken Kabiraji, meanwhile, is in my watchlist. There are quite a few veg options and even some salad options. They give you papads while you’re waiting.

For the main course, you could choose from a range of Continental stuff, with plenty of veg and non veg options – chicken, lamb and sea food. We, however, decided to explore the Bengali dishes. The beginning of that section rivals the Bay of Bengal in terms of the aquatic life represented – at least about 25 sea food dishes!! From this humongous set of options, we chose the Elish Machher Roast , “boneless hilsa roasted in grill topped with spicy tomato gravy and served with steamed rice” From the relatively small selection of chicken and mutton dishes (4 each) we selected the Esplanade chicken curry, “a contribution by the Anglo Indian community to Bengali cuisine”  Thanks men ;) Ok, before you grass eaters mutter, you have over a dozen choices too.

To go along with that, you could choose rice (steamed or two veg options or the elish pulao, which I have earmarked for later use) or bread options. We ordered a basket of loochi (poori for our limited consumption purposes :) ) which had 3 of them, so we also ordered a Tinkona Paratha, “whole wheat bread roasted in ghee”. You could also try a hinger kachori or a hathh roti.

We began with the loochi, the chicken curry was quite good, but the fish stole the show, its combination with the steamed rice is finga lickin good. Yes, I did do that. If you’re calorie conscious, leave your consciousness at home, that fish dish had an entire container of ghee devoted to it. If I hadn’t seen the desserts beforehand, I might have placed a repeat order. They also gave us amshotwer(sweet mango) chutney, which offset the effects of the chillies i had munched.

And thus we reach the last (but never the least important) page in the menu. In addition to the regular Bengali desserts – rasgulla, rasmalai and mishti doi, there’s also chhanar jilipi, fried natun gruer ice cream, tia maria mousse (though the last two weren’t available) and Mishti Chaanar Paturi, “sweetened and flavoured homemade cheese roasted in grill”, which I ordered. D ordered a Baked Rashogolla, “tiny rasgullas baked with thickened milk and topped with dry fruits”. It actually turned out to be one big rasgulla. Unfortunately, though the desserts weren’t too bad, they didn’t live up to our expectations, especially after our experience in Koramangala’s other bengali restaurant – Kolkata.

All of the above cost us just over Rs.1000. I’d recommend a trip to the place, preferably after skipping a meal, since you’d be tempted to eat a lot. You could also try the weekday lunch buffet priced at Rs.215, and get a valid excuse for sleeping in office. :)

The Esplanade, #151, KHB Colony, 1st Floor, Koramangala 5th Block. Ph: 40927878/7888

Menu and Photos at Zomato