HSR Layout

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

Napoli Bistro

First published in Bangalore Mirror

After the World Cup, a bite of Italian could mean a lot of things, but in HSR Layout, there aren’t really a lot many options. That probably explains the crowd on a Saturday night at Napoli Bistro. ( Having said that, HSR continues to surprise me each time with its growth spurts!) Street parking and a flight of stairs take you to a well-lit floor with views to the busy 27th Main road. (map) The faux brick wall, the framed art and the functional, elegant furniture all add a semblance of character to the place. We got there just in time before the place filled up. The menu is all Italian and seemingly extensive.

There is no dearth of starter options – soup, appetisers and a host of salads – though there is a clear skew towards vegetarian. On a chilly Bangalore night, a soup is a great way to begin a meal, and that’s exactly what we did. The description doesn’t offer a lot of explanation and simply states ‘Non Veg’. The risk turned out to be worth it and we got a delicious, creamy yellow soup (pumpkin was the guess, but turned out to be carrot) with chicken sausage slices. The Napoli Pesto was a tasty dish too – toasted bread with a tasteful signature pesto. The Chicken Quesadilla – standard tortillas stuffed with diced chicken – wasn’t really the best we have had. Quite savourless and a bit too greasy.

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Grill Maximus

D sulked when she heard that I’d gone to Grill Maximus for lunch with friends, so this was really a firefighting exercise. The first visit went quite fine, so I wasn’t really complaining. The restaurant is in HSR on 17th Cross – the road opposite McD. (map) It’s a fairly wide road, so parking is not a major problem. Judging by the crowd, the place seems to be a favourite, but we reached before 8, so we didn’t have trouble getting the table we wanted.

The menu is a mix of Arab and Continental, with a smattering of other cuisines – most importantly a supposedly special Biriyani. During my earlier visit, we had tried the guava based Peru Pyala and found it to be quite good, but since Bangalore was at its windy best, we opted for a Spicy Seafood soup – D, that is, since seafood is allergic to me and tries to escape really fast. I had to make do with a Kibbeh. The soup was tasty (sigh) but the fried lamb meat balls and the dip proved to be an exercise in blandness.

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For the main course, I recommended the Kafta Meshwi, despite the meh experience with lamb. During the previous visit, I had also tasted the Lahem Meshwi, Chicken Charmula and the Charcoal Grilled English Vegetables. Except for the last, the sauces were similar, so I opted for a Creamy Rose pasta (chicken and penne)  The Kafta Meshwi’s pepper mushroom sauce turned out to be spicy and tasty, only slightly marred by the somewhat more-than-normal rough texture of the minced lamb skewers. The pasta was a disappointment, thanks to a capsicum overdose. This was unfortunate because the sauce was quite good. We’d thought that we’d test out the biryani if we had space, but we were reasonably stuffed and therefore opted for desserts. I did check out the Biryani (pic on Instagram) on another visit, and it was reasonably okay, except it had no pickle, raita, gravy etc on the side! The cake of the day wasn’t available for the day, so we chose the Znoud el Sit. It wasn’t chocolate based so needed to be stellar to elicit any kind of praise. Unfortunately,  it didn’t even fit the description on the menu. (wasn’t creamy on the inside!)

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The service was reasonably prompt, except towards the end, by when the place was full. The wallet was lighter by about Rs.1300. Some of the dishes we had weren’t so great, but it’s quite decent for at least one visit.

Grill Maximus, Shop No:450, 17th Cross, 4th Sector, HSR Layout Ph: 08197939437