Restaurant Reviews

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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Brewklyn

In the recent past, whenever we look at “newly opened places” on Zomato, Kalyan Nagar is quite the dominant player. While I am yet to ascertain the exact difference in coordinates between that place and Kammanahalli, given that we’re in Bangalore, it’s probably just a difference on what side of the road one is on! Kammanahalli was mostly nothing when we used to stay in Cox Town a decade ago, but soon after we shifted back to Koramangala, the place started sprouting restaurants and that too varied cuisines! We still hold that grudge and that, plus the thought of having to cross Tin Factory, have kept us away from this part of the town. All we did was look at it guardedly on our way to the airport and back. It was the microbrewery that changed the equation.

And thus we headed to Brewklyn fairly early on a Saturday evening to beat the traffic. (map) I really liked the area – seems well planned, and in the context of eateries very well sorted! The same building has a Barbeque Nation, and across the road, we could see Korean, Chettinad and steak cuisines! Brewklyn is on the 4th and 5th floors, and since we found a nice road-facing spot on the former, we didn’t bother going upstairs until after we finished our meal. On a relative note, I found the ambiance downstairs a little more gastropub (despite the graffiti and the pool table) and the upstairs section more like a brewery. Downstairs, you could seat yourselves on some plush seating inside or like us, watch the skyline on bar stools outside. The view was fantastic, especially so since we reached around dusk.

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Shizusan Shophouse & Bar

The plan originally was to go Irish House or Social, but as we entered Phoenix Market City, we noticed a new signage. A quick Zomato search showed me a menu that was very, very appealing! So, after business as usual at the mall, we headed over to Shizusan on the food court floor. At 7 PM, we had no problem finding a table. We contemplated sitting outside, but the one seat that offered a good view of the mall was already taken, so we decided the well lit, very pretty indoors was the better place to be. The seating is largely functional, though the chairs do exhibit a sense of aesthetics. The greenery on the ceiling is unfortunately unreal, but thankfully doesn’t really take away from the effect.  There’s some very elegant art at one corner that brings out the cuisine theme, and the only sore thumb in this entire set up are the table tops, which reminded me of very old restaurants. I refuse to believe there is anything related to the theme at work here!

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Hoot

It absolutely was, and it had nothing to do with the food, service or anything that you’d normally judge a restaurant/pub on. Normally, nothing would get me to visit Sarjapur Road, but hey, microbrewery. That, and its photos on Zomato making it look like the sets of MTV Grind! (who remembers?)

Truth be told, the ambiance was quite good. Poolside would have been perfect, but we were told that the section wasn’t open because there was a rain forecast. We’ll get back to this. We got ourselves a table near the bar. The crowd was extremely mixed – fresh-out-of-engineering-college gawking kids, middle aged families, Sarjapur’s Page 3 equivalent, living ads of  Malabar Gold, probably businessmen, and so on. Hoot 1 – crowd. Not enough children though, so I didn’t have anyone to make faces at.

As we waited for our friends, we decided to get ourselves some beer. Out of the five craft brews, only two were available. D ordered a Saint Martin Abbey Triple, which was described as “liquid gold served to perfection”. After we tasted it, the only thing I was left wondering was whose liquid gold? Ugh! I had asked for the other available beer – Saint Martin Abbey Dark, which was described as “an uplifting experience”. This one delivered on the promise, only because it is easy to uplift anyone who has tasted that Morarji Desai prescription known as Abbey Triple! Our friends arrived by then, and after tasting both, decided to order wine an cocktails. No Rose wines were available, and no Bira, so the poor souls settled on Tuborg and a Blood Orange & Mint cocktail. My friend described the latter as Rasna with a hint of Vodka. The rest of us missed the hint.  More

Bloomsbury’s

Sometime back, we were super happy to see gastronomic progress happening in a building near the BMTC Depot in Whitefield. (map) Galito’s and Cold Stone Creamery were quick to start reperations, and we now regularly make up excuses to visit the latter! Bloomsbury’s looked very promising but had been holding out, until we began seeing lights inside around April. Side note – I think the same folks are behind all three, because it can’t be a coincidence that outside of Bangalore, all of them operate only in Kerala’s tourism hot spot – Lulu Mall. Though all three seem to be international franchises, I’m guessing that like most good things in life, these ones too have some Kerala connection. 😀

Bloomsbury’s proposition is a boutique cafe and artisan bakery, but let’s just say that from a menu perspective, you will have enough to choose from. In fact, that is quite a problem because you’ll find it difficult to preserve appetite for desserts. But we’ll come to that in a bit, because the decor is worth a shout out. Spread over two floors, the brick walls with chalkboard and illustrations, the cute teapot lights, the plant holder bulbs,  graffiti and the plush seating, all lend a lively yet cozy feel to the place. The staff do their best to make you comfortable too. For instance, when we asked to sit upstairs, we were told that it wasn’t open yet. Later, one of the other service staff let another party sit upstairs, followed by my cold glares. That last item was caught and they were nice enough to let us take a little tour upstairs, and move our food there if we wanted to. But we liked the area downstairs better.

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Dhaba by Claridges

We had spotted the place during our visit to Sly Granny, and liked the look of it, so at the very next opportunity – which happened to be our anniversary – we decided to drop in. (map) It was also the first day of my new job, so it turned out to be a double celebration. At 7 PM on a Monday we had the place all to ourselves, at least for a while. In fact, I think we disturbed their prep meeting! We really liked what they have done with the decor – it’s bright and has classic Dhaba signs and messages, some of the seating is inspired by classic vehicle interiors, the music is absolute Bollywood, and even the loo continues the Dhaba messaging. The thing though, is that it is all done classily – Dhaba fine dining all the way.

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