Mexican

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

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

Rolls United

No, its not a post on my stomach, and the consolidated er, six pack. Rolls United is a restaurant in Koramangala 1st block. You can find the map here. (its actually at the corner where the road takes a natural right, when coming from the 1st Block junction). Parking shouldn’t be too difficult since there are many side lanes nearby. Note that its on the same road as Cafe Thulp, so don’t look to the left. Distraction would be easy, as our friend Eveline would agree. :)

The ambiance is pleasant and unpretentious, and somehow conveys a homely warmth. Of course, I am a bit biased because in the roll of honour (‘rolls united’ in various languages), there’s a separate panel added at the end for Malayalam. 😀 I must admit that I always thought the place was only about rolls, until I read a few Burrp reviews. It is a lot about rolls, but as the menu (below) would suggest, there are other things that play a role too. This is the home delivery menu (below – click for larger image), and in addition to this, they also have quite a collection of mocktails. (You can find that here  – page 7 onwards)

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Though the reviews at Burrp had mentioned large portions, the soups and starters were too tempting for us to ignore either. We started with a Cream of Chicken soup, which was so good that I think it worked on the soul too, as some book titles would suggest. It was very creamy, with a sweet tinge to it (coconut cream/milk?) and loads of chicken chunks and mushrooms. I think its the best we’ve had in a long time. Up next was the ‘Quesadilla con Pollo’, which is ‘baked cheese dish with chicken and bell pepper, served with sour cream and salsa’. Another good choice, though 1 slice (out of 4) had a goeey base. The sour cream complements the taste, though I felt it could’ve been more spicy. The salsa didn’t help on that front either, but the dish is good enough to still warrant a try.

For the main course, we ordered a Siberian Pelmeni, “Russian favourite pasta poaches with the mixture of mutton and chicken that melts in your mouth together with the spicy paprika sauce and original Russian salad” and a Surf & Turf, “stir fried fish rolled in an egg sheet”. The former seemed to be the Russian version of momos, and while it did indeed melt in the mouth, it was a bit too bland for my taste. The sauce served was definitely not paprika. The fish dish was much better, mildly spicy, and was served with french fries and vegetables. The fries weren’t that great though. I have a feeling that we chose perhaps the wrong dishes. All of the above cost us a little less than Rs.500.

I’d still ask you to give it a shot. The soup was excellent, the starter was good too, and there are enough choices in the menu for you to experiment with. The service is very good, maybe you could ask them for a bit of help in selecting the right stuff. They also have executive lunch combos, which, on paper, looked like great value for money.

Rolls United, #15, 1st Main Road, 1st Block, Koramangala. Ph: 41314847

Menu at Zomato

Ambrosia

No, not the food of the gods, actually far from it, its a restaurant in Koramangala, serving global cuisine. Pretty easy to find, its on the Intermediate Ring Road just after the Sony World junction (when coming from the Indiranagar side) opposite Vision Express.

Though we hadn’t reserved in advance, we managed to get a good seat when we reached there around 8pm. The place did get full by around 9 though. The ambience is pretty good, with very comfortable seating. The menu is a mix of cuisines from several countries, with flags placed beside each item to point out its place of origin. There’s quite a good selection of appetisers with options of veg, chicken and sea food (crab, squid, prawns), priced between Rs.145-275. There are also about half a dozen options of soups and salads each, again a decent mix of veg, chicken, lamb and sea food options, priced at Rs.85-125 and Rs.165-245 respectively.

Then there are flambes, which are supposed to be the specialty here, priced between Rs.255-395. Also available is pasta (veg/sea food/lamb at Rs.225-255). Other main course dishes include Chinese/Thai stir fried options, enchiladas, fajitas, North Indian gravies with roti/naan/parathas/rice options etc. We also found a couple of regular Goans – Xacuti and Cafreal. The place also serves alcohol, though there didn’t seem to be a lot of options.

We started with a Bortsch soup, ” a traditional Russian broth with lamb chunks, tomato, beetroot, carrot, beans, grean peas, cauliflower and cabbage, topped with sour cream. We were told that it was a thick soup, though ‘broth’ indicated otherwise. When we asked for a ‘by two’, we were told that that couldn’t be done, but we could be given an additional bowl. I’m trying to figure out whether its some old Russian custom – the state serves one portion, and we have to share. Anyway, the soup was quite good, so we didn’t complain that it was actually a broth, and not a thick soup.

For the main course, it turned out that both of us had selected Mexican dishes. Must be the subliminal effect of swine flu. I asked for a Chicken Enchilada, “rolled tortillas topped with homemade smoked ranchero chilly sauce with cheese, served with refried pinto beans, sour cream and Mexican rice”, and D ordered a Pechuga Pibil, “roasted chicken marinated with achiote chilli served with Mexican rice, salsa and tomato sauce”. The food was only just decent, and the quantity was not really sufficient.

Though the dessert options included a drunken banana flambe and a bitter chocolate mousse, we made different plans for dessert.

And now came the most exciting part of the dinner – billing. After about 10 minutes of subtle signalling, and then 5 minutes of tactics just short of SOS flares, finally we managed to convey that we’d like to pay and get out. Then, after waiting for another 10 minutes and more gesticulating, someone came to our table and asked us whether we had ordered our main course. When we again conveyed that we had survived the food, and just wanted to pay and leave, we were told that the bill would come ‘just now’. By now, we’d begun to wonder whether the bills needed to be sent to Russia and Mexico to be verified before being given to us. After another 5 minutes, we were told that the printer was not working and that was the reason for the delay. Though we weren’t too thrilled at that, we felt quite proud that a printer had been dedicated for our billing – since at least a couple of other tables got their bills, paid and left while this entire exercise was happening!! Finally, we got the bill…. with a couple of foreign objects, in adddition to the ones we had ordered. When we pointed that out, the guy actually tried to remind us of the buffalo wings and coke we had consumed!!! In turn, I reminded him that I wasn’t Aamir in Ghajini. He realised his mistake and we got a revised bill, this time without the soup. ‘From Russia with love’, I thought, but it was their way of apologising. I insisted on paying, and was told that printing a new bill would take more time!! And I thought the joke/urban legend ended with ‘The russians used a pencil”!! We finally just added the soup price to the bill, paid and escaped.

All of the above cost us just less than Rs.700, and a Saturday night.

Maybe it was just a one-off case, but all I’ll say is that while the immortals may have all the time in the world and beyond for ambrosia, we have a finite lifetime, so we plan to stay away from this place.

Ambrosia, No:52 B, 100 ft Road, 4th Block, Koramangala. Ph:40940101/2, 9740391194

Indijoe

No, not the one on Airport Road- the one made famous by what I consider is the one of the best value-for-money lunch buffet in the city. They have recently opened an outlet on Old Madras Road. To reach there, go down OM road towards KR Puram. After crossing Big Bazaar (on your right), you’ll see RMZ Infinity on the right, would be difficult to miss it with the Mc Donalds M neon. That’s where you’ll find the new Joe. :) Among other things in the same complex/mall(?), there’s a food court, a Subway, a CCD, Beijing Bites, Pathankot, Hakka (Mainland China).

Though we called for reservations, we were told that they don’t take reservations on weekends, which seems to be becoming a trend these days. Anyway, with all those options above (and I’m sure I’ve missed a couple) that drive would be worthwhile, i guess.

We got there by around 7.45 and the place was about 75% full. The IPL could explain the crowd at this relatively early hour. You could either sit inside or on the lawn /road facing vernadah. We chose the outside since it was surprisingly more quiet (again thanks to a raucous IPL cheering crowd inside). The ambience inside is a replica of the other Indijoe, and the menu seems to be a truncated version of the same.

We ordered a non veg combo and a chicken satellite sizzler. The non veg combo consisted of chicken pyramids (er, mini samosa like 😉 ), chicken tenders, mozzarella in carrozza (the taste was worth the spelling), dynabites (these guys know their branding – bread pakoras 😀 ) and spicy chicken wings. The non veg combo is a good way of having a little bit of a lot of things. It actually gives you a feel that you have eaten a lot, and tasty things at that. Dont mistake the red sauce they serve alongside for the normal tomato variety, this one is special, if you are the spicy type. They also give a mustard based sauce, that made me change my impression of mustard in general. The different stuff on the platter also gives you an excuse to try the different sauces one finds at Indijoe – tabasco, worcestershire, and something called HP sauce (wonder if its a tribute to a similar sounding organisation’s office nearby 😉 )

The chicken satellite sizzler has grilled boneless chicken with mushroom sauce, with sauteed mushroom garnished with cheese and fresh cream. Yes, and fries. The stuff was good, except that the mushroom was almost charred. We would give the benefit of the doubt to the cook, since the match was evenly poised around that time. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. The good part is that even with all the above, it didn’t give us a bloated feeling, so we decided to plod ahead with a ‘Chocolate Decadence’, that, according to the menu was a four storey high chocolate avalanche. In looks, it lived upto its name, but the secret is that its a lot of fluff :) Though it was quite good, it’s no match for those monstrosities one gets at Frescoes. Now, thats chocolate.

The service is quite good. We got the food very fast. But i think he didnt expect us to have the dessert, so he’d already got the bill made. Indijoe, I’ve always felt, is the least snobbish of the BJN array of eateries, and this one lives up to that image. All of the above cost us about Rs.600. If you don’t mind the longish ride (for anyone not around Indiranagar and its surroundings) a visit would be worth it.

Indijoe, RMZ Infinity, Old Madras Road. Ph-41113377/3553