Gastropub

Communiti

One of the best things about long weekends is the traffic, or rather the lack of it. Communiti had been hitting my Insta and FB feeds since it opened, and the long Republic Day weekend gave us the perfect excuse to make the long distance trip into town. It’s right next to Taj Gateway on Residency Road and very hard to miss! (map) We got there before 7 on a Saturday night and easily found a table in the al fresco section. If you get the right table, there’s a good view of the road to be had. The decor is typical gastro pub – quirky lighting fixtures, long benches, and so on. Their brewery will start only in March, we were told.

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Tapwater

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Wimpy’s is one of those Bangalore icons that serve as a good indicator of how long one has been in Bangalore. You can categorise Bangaloreans based on whether they were around when Wimpy’s was.  When I gave N the directions (map) to Tapwater, (on Brigade Road) her immediate reaction was “OMG, it’s Wimpy’s!” That iconic outlet no longer exists, I pointed out, and also realised that the new gastropub that has taken its place happens to have a name similar to something that is fast becoming extinct in Bangalore – Tapwater! The name actually seems to come from a key offering – beer on tap, which was yet to start when we visited. The basement location, the wooden benches, the lounge seating in the fringes, the lighting – all attempt a new age hangout ambiance. What kills it quite a bit is the musical hat tip to its underground placement – Pitbull, at volumes – in sound and quantity – to cause permanent damage! It was only fun at some points when the Kabaddi action happening on the other screen seemed to match steps with the music! The most interesting thing we noticed about the place was the crowd – a completely random mix of college kids, elderly families, foreigners, and Malayalis in traditional mundu! We drank it all in before moving on to what we came for – food and beverages.

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Tilt

If Koramangala needed one more addition to its eateries to tilt the balance in its favour, it’s done! Tilt is a gastropub on the same road as Truffles Ice & Spice. There is no valet parking so if you have a four wheeler, you’re probably better off parking in that lot next to Empire, and walking it up. Plenty of space for 2 wheelers though. Tilt bills itself as Bangalore’s first destination gastropub. I know a certain Monkey who might pick a joust over that, but since Koramangala IS Bangalore for a lot of people, we’ll let that pass. When we’d dropped in at Tilt a couple of months back, we had the luxury of choosing our seating at 8PM on a Saturday, but the second time – a few months later, people who walked in at that time didn’t even have a choice of where to stand. The place was packed – the ground floor, the mezzanine seating, and the outdoor option! I get the feeling that a certain Dj TT had a hand in it, but even otherwise, judging from our experience – the food and the general vibe – the place deserved it.

Tilt has outdoor seating and in the indoors section, has a ground and mezzanine floors on two sides. There’s also the mandatory giant TV screen. The interiors include hat tips to music in the form of posters all over, but we wondered whether the grunge look had gone a bit overboard. However, the rest of the experience easily takes over before you start paying attention to the details. ‘Familiar’ is the word that Tilt uses to describe the music it plays, and it was exactly that. A sea change from the 2010-hangover music we heard the first time. It was still a bit loud, but everyone seemed to be having a blast, and that brought the painful realisation that age was not really tilting in my favour!

The drinks menu was under construction the first time with print outs being given to us, but things had changed since then. The first time, we asked for a Sangria and a ‘Crazy Mango’. The sangria was reasonably good and had brandy in it, though measly in terms of quantity but the mango drink (aam panna based) was awesome, and highly recommended. The latter wasn’t available the second time though. The Tilt Kiss (mocktail version) was not bad either, but the Cosmopolitan turned out to be too sweet.

The main menu is an eclectic mix of various cuisines, with many fusion twists. In addition to the regular menu, there’s also a bar snacks menu. The first time, we tried Oriental stir fried pork sausages. The sausages had lemon grass and soy glaze, giving it an excellent hot and sweet flavour. The second time, a rainy night menu meant that we had to try a soup. The Broth of leeks and charred Za’atar flavoured chicken got a few points just for the unique presentation, and the mildly spicy soup didn’t disappoint on taste either. We missed the German snail sausages in the dish, but the Pork Cocktail sausages and the superb sauerkraut seasoning quite made up for it. Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles was up next – grilled seafood, mushroom ceviche, crisp Basil chiffonade chicken with chlorophyll mayo and Peruvian bread. We found squid, prawn, and fish; the mayo deserves a special mention for the flavour it lent to the dish. The Old Monk Chicken crispy chilli hot wings has been a favourite and continued to be everything it promised.

Technically, the mini wharf burgers are part of the bar snacks menu, but given we were a few drinks down, we tilted it towards the main course! I was warned that their appearance was deceiving and they’d be quite filling. I think there is some tasty truth in it. The Fusilli in creamy pesto with mushrooms was thick and creamy but might have felt a little ignored in the company of meatier dishes. Capriscisico calebresse was our pizza of choice, mostly thanks to its name dropping among ingredients – ham and bacon, to be specific. But the thin pizza was only average, though quite filling! For those interested, there is also a Man vs Burger championship that’s always on! The Penne Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo was quite creamy and tasty. The quantity was also decent. The ‘Interpretation of Kozhi Porichathu’ took some more time and the presentation was quite fantastic. The dish itself was only average. The chicken could have done with a little more cooking, and the Beurre blanc seemed to be made of coconut milk powder and that took away a little bit. 

 

For dessert, we asked for a Gianduja hot chocolate souffle which had fried chocolate biscuits and a chocolate vanilla creamy ‘soup’. That took an inordinate amount of time. Apparently the chef had forgotten about it! Thankfully it was worth it. The two chocolate components beautifully complemented each other in terms of texture and flavour. During the second visit, we chose the Chilled strawberry bisque and the Crème Brule. (sic) The former also had pistachio quenelles and ricotta cream, which complemented the strawberry flavour but couldn’t really elevate the dish. The Crème Brulee was crunchy and custardy, but the custard was a little too hard.

 

For about Rs.1500, you could share a drink, a non veg starter, a couple of main course dishes and a dessert. (Inclusive of taxes and service charge) Tilt has a lot of things going for it – good food, energetic vibes and from a few experiences, superb music! What it can work on are the details eg. dog-eared menu cards, and probably some character – something that for instance, Monkey has oodles of. If they do, there’s nothing that stops the establishment from going ahead full tilt, even amidst the gastronomic abundance that’s Koramangala.

Tilt Gastropub, 99, Ground Floor, 4th B Cross, 5th Block, 1st Main Road, Koramangala Ph: 25530520

The second visit has been chronicled on Bangalore Mirror.

Monkey Bar

Bangalore’s first Gastropub has been a hot topic of discussions for quite a while now, so we thought we’d monkey around a bit too. We used the now standard replacement for Saturday dinners at ‘hot’ properties, and dropped in on a Sunday afternoon.

In case you remember Taipan (no branches) on the Richmond Road – Wood Street junction, it’s gone! And Monkey stands in its place. The road is a one way and you’d have to approach it from the Brigade Road end or do a right-left-left from Richmond Road via Castle Street. The map is here. Parking on the street, so park where you get space, and don’t wait till you see the place!

The place was packed when we got there, and we thought we’d have to wait, but we realised that if you dig deeper, you’re bound to be rewarded. The basement has, in addition to a few tables, a pool table and Foosball. The posters, a story continued from the dining area above, are quirky and fun and have advertisements, movies and so on. The soundtrack is awesome and every alternate song was a favourite – Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Free Fallin’, Iris, One of Us, and so on.

It’s a gastropub, so we had reasons for looking forward to the food. The menu doesn’t disappoint, it’s completely about monkeying around with dishes, and those small plates, though they take it literally, ensures that you are spoilt for choice.

There was a Tom Yum soup around, so we had to have the chicken version. Spicy, flavourful and a perfect appetiser. In terms of solid food, we started with the Chilli brain and the Tiger Beef. The brain dish consists if 3 cutlets, and if you’re really a spice fiend, you’d only be just okay with it. The ace in the sleeve though, is the bottle of Blair’s Jolokia on the table. From the time that D discovered it, our spice wants were taken care of. The Tiger Beef didn’t need any external help though, with chilli paste, galangal, lemon and peppers. The bowl was small, but this one is highly recommended.

 

We debated whether we should try another starter, but in the end, the combination of burger + chocolate won out. The Brownie Cookie Shake reminded me of the Horlicks/Maltova chocolate versions, and was quite thick, though not as much as say, the Chocolate Room ones. The price is comparable, but the quantity is lesser. The MoBar burger, has bacon, so we pardoned the Rs.440 price tag. French fries come in a cone and the arrangement is quite cute. For desserts, we had the Chocolate XS Cake, though D wasn’t convinced of the flourless part. I was too busy gobbling it up and the ice cream with it. We’ll go back for some of those main course dishes that we simply must try out.

The service is helpful, but don’t expect an eat-and-dash experience. It is laid back, and by design. The food does take time to appear, but is usually worth it. With the charges and taxes, the bill came to just over Rs.1650. Drop in for a menu that’s completely different from what you get elsewhere in Beantown. Eat, drink and if in the mood, play ball downstairs. :)

Monkey Bar, 14/1 Krishna Manere, Wood Street, Ashok Nagar Phone: 080 41116878/9