Restaurant Reviews

Chianti (Whitefield)

There is something both disconcerting and comforting that happens when one visits a place after 5 years and discovers both the self and the place to have largely remained unchanged! Well, technically, it’s not the same place, since the Chianti we visited 5 years ago is in Koramangala, and the one I am writing of is in Whitefield.

We usually flip through the menu on Zomato before we visit, and this time after D had pronounced what she was going to be having, we decided to take a look at what we had eaten 5 years ago! And D’s choices were exactly the same – down to her deciding to ask for chicken to be added in the Cream of Mushroom soup!

We got there early on the last Saturday of 2017. Chianti has taken over the space in the Park Square mall that Habanero used to occupy – on the ground floor. The mall, whose food options are now fairly impressive, was relatively quiet, even at 7PM. Lots of wood, some interesting art, a mix of lounge and functional seating all manage to give Chianti a lively and classy ambiance.

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ELVNTHRTYONE

Indiranagar is getting so crowded now that they don’t even have space for vowels, at least if we go by the name of the new bar and kitchen that has opened at the 12th Main junction. Spread across three floors, each styled differently, it even has a simulated golf area. On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, we sat on the lowest floor, overlooking 100 ft Road.

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We began with cocktails – D chose a White Chocobar, and I wanted to try out the 1131 Old Fashion (sic). The first was vodka based with the unlikely combination of green melon, elderflower, and white chocolate. A bit sweet, but potent and refreshing. 1131’s version of Old Fashioned had a few extra ingredients – orange, cinnamon and cloves, but though they were generous with the alcohol, the mix was rather lacklustre.  More

The Druid Garden

Sahakar Nagar’s role in our lives had been limited to being stared at for a few seconds while on our way to the Airport, but The Druid Garden made us stare longer, at least on Google Maps. Some might say that 25 km is a long way to travel for beer, but hey, when it comes to craft beer, we’re nothing if not committed! It did take a while for us to get around to making this trip though. But when the stars aligned – in terms of weather, traffic and Uber fare – we were ready!

Sitting atop a commercial building, the place is pretty huge, and the design highlights it even more with high ceilings and skylights, and multiple levels of seating. Different kinds of seating too – the typical brewery-style stark long benches, bar stools, lounge seating, and the regular functional kind. At 2PM on a Saturday afternoon, the place was crowded, but we got ourselves a nice corner.

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612 East

Being in the vicinity of two favourites – The Fatty Bao and Bombay Brasserie – meant that 612 East, even weeks after it had opened, got a bit of a stepmotherly treatment from us whenever we visited Indiranagar. But one evening, we resolved to go. Since we planned to reach around 6 and leave before 8, we didn’t bother to reserve. Quite a mistake, especially if you want to sit in the terrace section. We were offered a regular table which we would have to vacate by 8, but chose to sit on stools closer to the edge, with our backs to the giant screen – for the view and the lovely evening breeze! This was easily the best part of the experience. In the cab, we had been discussing how in a few months, it would be 15 years since we first got off the bus from Kerala. The setting was perfect for rumination. :)

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The Smoke Co.

During our last couple of visits to Koramangala, we had noticed a Windmills Craftworks – like structure coming up on the Koramangala Club road. Once I even thought I saw vats, and assumed a microbrewery. Alas, it wasn’t, turned out to be The Smoke Co. But then again, among Bangalore’s big picture problems, the reduction of eateries serving beef is a graver issue than the number of microbreweries per sq km. So good news it is.

We had been postponing the visit because visits to Koramangala these days meant carrying trunks – both the traveling accessory and the swimwear. The first for the traffic and the second for the rains! But during the Diwali weekend when Bangalore got itself an 80s throwback and the rain gods were taking the week off, we landed up for lunch, with B & N for company. ‘Blackboard’ specials meet high ceilings meet rich brown decor elements to create a classy and contemporary feel. The scaffolding and tarpaulin are hopefully temporary “accessories”. A zesty amuse-bouche was offered while we decided on what we would eat, and drink.

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Chin Chin

One Sunday, when we wanted to visit a new place but also wanted the comfort of a regular haunt, and were wondering how to reconcile the two, lo and behold, the answer arrived – Chin Chin. No, that isn’t a sound effect, it’s the name of The Biere Club’s new endeavour in place of Mustard & Cress. The seat covers have changed, and so obviously has the menu. The decor has been modified, but everything else remains unchanged.

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Red Rhino

The last time I visited the part of the world called Seegehalli, Uber made it seem like it was a rural heartland and therefore not a place it would operate in. That’s one of the reasons why we delayed the visit. That, and the fact that their brewery took a while to start. During the long weekend in the beginning of October, we felt adventurous and Uber was in a cooperative mood, and we finally decided to make the trip. There’s something about late Saturday lunches and craft brew that’s very appealing! :)

Red Rhino is perched on top of MK Retail (map), taking up a couple of floors. Very tastefully done, with lots of wood furniture and decor, a stage for live music, and an alfresco section, the place gave us a sense of comfort very quickly. It helped that that it wasn’t very crowded. We sat on the upper floor with a fantastic view of ‘rural’ Whitefield. :)

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Pablo’s Gastrobar

That, I thought, was the best way to celebrate the release of Narcos Season 3. And that’s when we landed there, on a rainy Bangalore night, after having passed it a few times on our way back from Phoenix Market City. Pablo’s is right next to Biergarten. (map)

After slushing our way in, thanks to the rain, we realised that the interior resembled that of the swimming pool next door! To be fair, it was heavily raining, and I think the high, tiled roof was under heavy pressure from the evening on. Anyway, it was easy to find a dry place since there were only a few tables occupied. The place is relatively huge, and the seating is actually just benches and bright chairs. The ubiquitous giant screen also exists.

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Oota

That local food in a rustic setting thought? Kill it. Oota is in the same building as Windmills Craftworks (map) and run by the same folks, so while the cuisine is definitely what the name suggests – Karnataka – the setting is absolutely fine dining. The clincher is when they explain the non existence of cutlery with “should be eaten with hand for the complete experience” and let you know that if you do feel uncomfortable with that, they could get you cutlery. In fact, I did see a person at a table nearby wrestling with a Maddur Vade armed with a fork. Sigh.

The ambiance is absolutely classy, with lots of rich wood finish, bright cushions, show lamps hanging from the ceiling interspersed with actual lights, and an annapakshi vessel on the table.

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Bar Bar

Whitefield scores high on beer, but is relatively less awesome when it comes to cocktails. Shizusan was a welcome relief, and we then found out that Bar Bar had opened right next door. The menu seemed very promising and we landed up there one Saturday evening, braving the Kumbh Mela in front of Phoenix. We weren’t early enough to catch the outside-facing tables, but were comfortably placed at a table near the bar. This portion was rather empty, and we didn’t mind the peace. There was no quiet because the sound system was blaring hits. We didn’t mind that either. The decor echoes the grunge look that Social made familiar, but the decor has more fancy elements and yes, better cutlery! 😉

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