Residency Road

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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Bangalore Brew Works

Bangalore Brew Works had been open for a while, but we didn’t want to go all the way there until the microbrewery was up and running. That happened just in time for Oktoberfest and that’s when we landed up there. ‘Up there’ is probably the right description because it’s on the 10th floor. Thanks to that, a fantastic view of the city is on offer for a few tables. The others have to be content with a slightly less breathtaking view, visible if you allow yourself to see beyond the bar counter. The seating is mix of high tables and bar stools, and plush sofas near the bar, relatively low seating in the area that offers the superb view of UB City, and a rather haphazard arrangement of functional furniture in the centre. On Saturday night, there was a DJ playing some very good EDM. Rather loud, I’d add and at least a couple of groups were complaining. :) There’s the mandatory big screen, of course.

We had asked for a table reservation but were told we could just walk in. The place is quite suited to large groups.

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O! Ustaad

This review was first published in Bangalore Mirror. This is a much modified account.

Thanks to the Gateway Hotel, you could end your gastronomic journey on Residency Road with ‘Arre huzoor, wah Taj boliye’. But in case you were wondering how to begin, you now have hope, in the form of O! Ustaad, at the other end. This is right after the St.Marks Road/Residency Road junction and placed under a certain Purple Haze, literally. Here’s a map. (the arrow mark is the right location) Parking should not be too difficult, since you have Hayes Road/ Convent Road also nearby.

O! Ustaad claims to be an ‘asli Indian restaurant’, serving you the best fare from Lucknow to Mumbai and Delhi to Konkan with nazakat and nafasat, but we journeyed from the delight of Wah! Ustaad to the despair of Waah! Ustaad.

This is one of the places where you shouldn’t go by outside appearances, because though the frontage might seem a tad dingy, the interior is bright and peppy. O! Ustaad definitely serves up an attitude and has a penchant for wordplay, judging from ‘Facebhook’ and ‘LaLoo’. The photographs of street food, and an eclectic mix of music from Junoon to classic rock, all add up to a unique character. So much for the mahaaul, now for the real haul.

The menu may not be spread over a lot of pages, but it covers much ground in terms of geography. Kebabs from Lucknow, fish dishes from Goa and Bengal, vegetarian fare from Himachal and Punjab, and Old Delhi specialities, together ensure that both vegetarians and meat eaters are kept happy. Add to this the uniqueness of many of the items and the day’s special dishes and you’ll find that there’s no dearth of choice. Take a look. (click for larger image)

From the 3 starters we tried, the Mutton Kulfi (one of the Day’s specials) was easily the best. The combination of melt-in-the-mouth mutton and a green chilly laden coating made it a unanimous favourite. The two starters we ordered from the regular menu were disappointing. The Pondicherry Bullet Paneer had no proof about the bullet or Pondicherry, and one of my friends had to be pacified as she felt she’d been conned into buying a Paneer Pakoda! The accompanying honey-lime dip didn’t make a good combination either. The ‘famous’ Chicken Salli Kebab was more potato than chicken.

Himachali Dhingri Dhulma Lucknowi Gosht Korma Prawn Malai curry Bengali style Anda Paratha

In the main course, the ones that impressed were the Murgh Khatte Pyaaz, with its unique gravy of vinegar soaked onions, pepper and yogurt, and the Himachali Dhingri Dhulma, with mushroom, capsicum and paneer in a slightly spicy gravy. The Lucknowi Gosht Korma, though decent, was lost in the bargain. The Anda Paratha is definitely worth a try too, and though the Gobi Paratha had an extra helping of chillies, it was still reasonably good, as was the Aloo Paratha. The Prawn Malai curry Bengali style had an excellent creamy gravy which was ruined by the overcooked, rubbery prawns. The Chicken Nasi biriyani, which was another Day’s special, was, as one of my friends put it, Tomato rice with chicken. Somewhere in the kitchen, a cooking oil well has been discovered, judging by the liberal usage. Though the menu lists 4 desserts, which we were eager to try, we were told that they weren’t available. The apple and chocolate pies we were offered instead were both quite avoidable.

The service was quite prompt, and Jitesh, who looks after the Bangalore outlet, did a good job of helping us choose the dishes, especially since the day’s specials didn’t have explanations. O!Ustaad is worth a visit when you’re in that part of town.  A meal for two would cost about Rs.800. Though some of the dishes fell short of expectations, the uniqueness of the menu and a cheerful ambiance should make up for the shortfall. They also have lunch buffets which seemed reasonably priced.

O! Ustaad, Below Purple Haze, 17/1, Residency Road, Bangalore – 560025 Ph: 080 41518147

Wild Spice

Relax. Its the name of a restaurant. :)

We heard about the place sometime back from Balu, and since it was just past the swine flu season, thought it a good time to check out some Coorgi stuff (read pork). The restaurant is located on Residency Road right after the Museum Road junction. (map) There isn’t any parking facility for four wheelers, maybe you can use the paid parking on the Brigade Road extension, 2 wheelers can park in front of Imperial. Its quite  a little hole-in-the-wall and you’re likely to miss it if you aren’t looking for it.

The ambience just about passes muster and the place obviously caters to a regular crowd that really doesn’t mind the peeling wall paint and broken tiles. Its quite dimly lit and there is no air conditioning. But hey, we came for the pork, so let’s get to that fast.

The single page menu begins with a quote attributed to Conficius (sic) ” A family that dines together grows sideways together”. We were obviously in the mood to be living examples. You could choose from roti/chapati, rice – hot snow balls/ rice noodles (though they didn’t have the latter when we asked for it), veg dishes  – dal, beans, rajma, sprouts, pumpkin and even a rasam, ghee rice and its combos (veg/ pork/ mutton/ chicken) whose costs range from Rs.45-85, or the plain rice versions of the same, or even chapati meal combos (Rs.50-75). The menu ends with a few juice options and another quote “For a healthy life, choose your restaurant like you would choose your spouse”.

We ordered a couple of rice rotis, a ghee rice – mutton curry combo, a Coorgi pepper chicken dry and a Coorgi pork dry. I would’ve liked to try a fried fish too, but wasn’t sure if it’d be too much. Hot fluffy rotis, though they took a while, and such awesome pork that D, who isn’t a erm, natural pork eater like me, ended up eating the pig, like a ….. you get the idea. In fact, though the chicken was quite good, it was completely eclipsed by the pork. The ghee rice was the other highlight, reminded me of the stuff I used to hog during college days. Excellent. I didn’t fancy the mutton curry much, though it was coconut based, but D liked it. we had to order a couple of chapatis more and again, it took a while.

All of that, including a mineral water – Rs.15 :D, cost us just over Rs.250. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, stay away, but when in the mood for some good pork, in a college/PG hangout ambience, complete with ABBA music in the background, do check it out.

Wild Spice, #1, Cariappa Bhavan, Field Marshall Cariappa Road (thats Residency Road for those who didn’t know), Ph: 09880381009

Copper Chimney

Judging by our liking for the place, Copper Chimney should’ve been written about quite a while back. Copper Chimney is a restaurant on the 5th floor of Bangalore Central, serves Frontier/North Indian fare. Keeping in mind the lunar surface that is MG Road, and the abundance of one ways in the area, we usually park at Garuda Mall and walk up.

We usually reserve in advance, especially since we like to sit outside. That’s only possible if you’re 2-3, but the seating inside is quite comfy. The fifth floor setting ensures that its nippy outside especially in the winter months. Once it was so windy that they closed the section outside. That’s the only time we sat inside.

So, we started with a Chicken Kali Mirch – “boneless chicken marinated in yoghurt, spiked with freshly pound black pepper, and gently grilled. Awesome stuff, especially if you are the kind who likes the pepper flavour. The mint chutney they gave was superb, went great with the chicken, and we ended up finishing the entire bowl. Lots of pieces so you wouldn’t complain about the quantity either.

For the main course, we asked for a Murg Patiala – “chicken breast simmered in a rich cream sauce topped with sieved eggs”, and deviating from tradition (fish), a Kadhai Paneer – “batons of cottage cheese stir fried with onions and peppers and spiced with freshly pounded coriander seeds and red chillies”, and to go with it a naan, and a tandoori roti. The chicken dish was a tad blander than it usually is, or the starter’s flavours were messing with my taste buds. But the paneer dish was spicy enough.Its only once that we’ve had dessert at Copper Chimney, the rest of the time we were stuffed, and this time was no exception. And so the meal ended there. The service was a bit tardy this time, but nothing to raise a furore over. Yes, I realise I’m quite biased. :)

They’ve quite a few choices in mutton and serve alcohol as well. There are a few ‘hatke’ options of breads too – like Taftan and Kabuli Naan. In essence, a place you must try. Meanwhile, all of the above cost us just below Rs.900. No mineral water this time 😉

The thing that brings us back to Copper Chimney (other than the great food) is the wonderful view (when you take the two seaters outside) of Bangalore’s skyline. It makes you reflect. Food for thought. :)

Copper Chimney, 5th Floor, Bangalore Central, Residency Road. Ph: 080 66111800

Menu and photos at Zomato