80 ft Road

Vietnamese Kitchen

First published in Bangalore Mirror

Even without demonetisation there are times in a month when one feels the lack of currency, and ATMs aren’t really of much help. On such occasions, the stretch of 80 feet Road in Indiranagar after you take a left at the bottom of the Domlur flyover can be a source of comfort (food) thanks to quite a few small eateries on your left that serve decent fare. The double use of ‘left’ in the previous sentence wasn’t a coincidence, it’s because the pricing here is very socialist! Vietnamese Kitchen is one such space, and despite its name, a lot of its food remains comfort Chinese at heart. (map) That’s not to say it doesn’t serve Vietnamese dishes, but it’d be wise to temper your expectations in terms of authenticity and setting. As I told my dinner guests, if you take ten steps from the door, you’d hit the kitchen! But there’s a charm about the tiny place, and they have used the space well – functional yet elegant seating, warm red lamp shades and a wall that’s completely covered with a collage of life in Vietnam.

collage1 More

The Warehouse

First published in Bangalore Mirror.

The Island has turned into a Warehouse, (map) and the refurbished outlet now sports a casual bar look and feel. An open bar and extra seating that takes complete advantage of Bangalore weather, a basement area that aims to give an underground tone, a stage on a higher level to host special events, and a basketball court (!) all contribute to a very energetic vibe. Apparently the place turns into one massive club on weekend evenings. The seating is a bit skewed towards larger groups but that’s probably because the audience they want to cater to typically hang out in herds. The walls have an industrial look, complete with exposed bricks and warning signs, which accentuates the name of the place and its underlying theme. The music is upbeat and I got quite a few dirty looks from the rest of the group for using the spring seat to good effect!


The bar was well stocked on paper, including a few standard cocktails.  A few beers though, were unavailable. I tried a Pain Killer, usually a rum based drink, but this one was Whiskey and one of the best I’ve had. It wasn’t stingy on the alcohol but managed to balance it out really well. The LIT was also quite heady. The Spicy Margarita used chilli powder for spice and the drink in itself was just about fine.



Serafina sounds like a fantastic super villain from the Marvel universe, but this is about a restaurant in Koramangala. (map) I think I could easily associate charming or pretty if I had one word to describe the place. The brick walls, decor, furniture, lighting and the fantastic music (classics, played at just the right sound for one to enjoy it and yet have a conversation without a megaphone) lend it a touch of classiness. They have seating on two floors inside, and an alfresco option that faces the 80 feet Road. On a pleasant Bangalore evening, we chose the latter.



The Local

Originally appeared in Bangalore Mirror.

If, in Koramangala, Jimi doesn’t give you enough of a high, perhaps you should try a stairway to heaven, led by messaging on a steep flight of stairs. Subtext apart, there’s a new watering hole in this part of town, or rather, a ‘terrace drinkery’, that goes by the name of ‘The Local’. (map) The logo sets the tone quite clearly – it is inspired by a bottle cap. If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, perhaps the messaging on the stairs will. It’s too long to recount in entirety, but the message is that this is a place that celebrates the ordinary, and all the kinds that make up a great hangout. The talk is easily backed up by the relaxed ambiance. Quirky is going mainstream, but The Local’s décor is certainly a candidate for tastefulness. An assortment of seating options – indoors and al fresco, featuring a motley group of chairs, stone benches, and surprisingly, greenery in the heart of Koramangala! Add to this, beer served in ceramic mugs, the little blackboard menus, offers like Tap Tuesdays and Tequila Thursdays, it’s easy to imagine an evening spent lazing around. And then there’s the music! We started the evening with classics – As Time Goes by, Uptown Girl and so on, quickly moved on to New York City Speed and such, and ended the night with everything kids listen to these days!

When the drinks menu occupies as much space as the food on the menu, it does seem like a good start. It gets better when you figure that they actually do have the stuff. There’s no end to the number of pubs which have Hoegaarden and Asahi on the menu, and on the menu only! However, their in-house specials are nothing out of the ordinary. We asked for a Strawberry Margarita and it arrived in the form of a Strawberry Martini! Someone at the bar was definitely having a few *hic* cups. They did offer to replace it though, after we pointed it out. The starters took a long while to arrive. The Veg platter which had Paneer Tikka, mushrooms, cauliflower and Basil Haryali Kababs. The last was an easy winner, since the tikka was only average, the mushrooms rather insipid and the cauliflower suffered from a mustard overdose.


The good news had been that the Chilli Beef had arrived first, the bad news was that it forgot to cook itself! That was unfortunate because the flavours were really good. The Portuguese Patra in name and appearance was similar to the Parsi Patra ni Machchi, but this one had a chicken version too. Wrapped in banana leaves, this was easily our favourite starter and was well complemented by the peanut based dip.

The main course options consisted of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta and a few steaks. We began with the Meat Lovers Pizza, which was a chicken, pork and cheese extravaganza. They did play their parts well, but the pizza itself was burnt. The BELT was our favourite mains dish, the acronym (and the dish) being made up of bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato. Despite the ingredients, the sandwich was light, with subtle flavours. The Penne Alfredo (we had the veg version) was only average though the cream sauce promised much. The Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers sounded quite interesting – bell peppers stuffed with cheesy rice, served with baked apple and red wine sauce. It looked quite the belle too, red and green bell peppers looking pretty in the company of the apple. But looks proved deceptive, the dish wasn’t great, the barely cooked rice being the chief culprit! We were in the mood for desserts, but they didn’t exist!


For about Rs.1800, you could share a couple of drinks, two non veg starters, and a main course dish. (Inclusive of taxes and service charge) The Local makes no pretence to being a fine dining destination, and bills itself as a ‘my kind of place, come as you are’ hangout. The décor, music and the general buzz manages to do that quite well, but it has a long way to go in terms of the quality of food served. If the general idea is only to lounge around in Koramangala with beer and sides, and in a relaxed atmosphere, you won’t be disappointed. But if the expectation is more than casual ‘drinkery’, then the terrace might fall short.

The Local, 467, 80ft Road, 6th block, Koramangala, Ph: 2550 5119

Cheers Coorg

The review was first published in Bangalore Mirror.

I knew that Shillong is called the Scotland of the East, but Coorg is apparently called the Scotland of India. However, what amazed me more is that in terms of my culinary mapping, I associate both of these places with pork, and that is something that Scottish Highlanders have an aversion to! Thankfully Cheers Coorg’s menu doesn’t have Scots in mind as the target audience. But long before the menu, the ambiance does a good job of conveying the restaurant’s character. From the funky tablemat that gives you an introduction to Coorg, its heritage, culture and cuisine to the various décor elements that line the wall – including photographs, sketches and even a couple of guns, Coorg is all over the place. Meanwhile, to get to the place, you can follow the map here.

The menu, presented in the form of a compact clipboard, also tries to give a sense of character. For instance, there is a “Real men ask for their drinks” line in place of a bar menu, but unfortunately the spirit is limited to words as the license is still a couple of weeks away. This proved to be a recurring theme.

We began well with both versions of the Nalla Malu Kanni soups – chicken and mutton, and a Mutton Bones soup. The Mushroom Coconut soup we wanted to try was not available. The Mutton Bones soup was spicy, with the pepper making its presence clearly felt, but though it was a fine soup, the Nalla Malu Kanni soup, with its mix of a mild sweetness and a peppery kick delivered slightly later stole the show.

The menu is skewed majorly towards appetisers, so it was a difficult task to choose the representatives from each kind of meat. The Chilkana Pandi triumphed over its peers and turned out to be an excellent choice. The pork was well cooked and the onion and green chillies based masala also had a touch of sourness courtesy the vinegar. The Chicken Fry in Green Masala had tender chicken in a spicy masala made of green chillies, coriander and a hint of mint. Mutton was represented by Khaima Unde, minced mutton balls. The meat was bordering on tough, but not a complete disaster. Aquatic life made it to the table in the form of the Kachampuli Fish fry, though the tamarind was a name only presence, and the only discernible flavour was that of the pepper.



The alfresco area on the first floor was nearly full by the time we were ready for the rest of the meal, and that meant the main course took a while to get to the table. The Pandi Curry was a mandatory choice but failed to deliver, with a poorly diluted gravy that was rather insipid. The only consolation was that the pork was well cooked. The Chicken Curry also did not impress with its coconut based gravy. Most of the vegetarian gravies were unavailable, and from the options we asked for a Kumbala (pumpkin) Curry. Mildly sweet, it was just about average. We tried out most of the ‘accompaniments’ – Kadambuttu, Noolputtu, Paaputtu, Akki Otti, Sannas and Neyi Koolu (Ghee Rice). The Kadambuttu and the ghee rice were the pick of the lot. The former had an excellent consistency and the ghee rice was different from the standard fare with a mild sweetness to it. The Paaputtu was a tad crumbly, and the Akki Otti was an XS version!



When we asked for the Dessert of the Day, the only option other than the Ice Cream, we were told that it was Caramel Custard, not really the Coorgi dish we had expected. So we decided to end the meal with juices and coffee. The Passion fruit juice and the Filter Coffee were not bad but the Kaipuli (bitter orange) juice was the clear winner.

For about Rs.1200, you could share a soup, a non veg starter, a non veg main course dish and a couple of staples, and a dessert. (Inclusive of taxes and service charge)

Cheers Coorg has nailed the ambiance, and features a unique cuisine, but they do have some way to go in terms of the quality of food, before we can truly say cheers!

Cheers Coorg, #29, 80 feet Road, Indiranagar , Ph: 080 41219555

Biryani Pundits

Sometime back, while on a Natural Ice Creams (map) expedition in Koramangala, we found that an iconic Koramangala food spot had gone missing – Sonakshi Sharma’s Family Restaurant. In its place was Biryani Pundits. Though we did visit soon after, missing out on the Biryani among other small things, I decided to wait for an official review in Bangalore Mirror before I published it here.

It’s located in Koramangala 1st Block, near Sichuan. Usually it’s easier to park in Indiranagar and take an auto, but you can try your luck in one of the side lanes. You’ll have to climb a flight of narrow stairs to get to the seating area.

Take a look at the menu on Zomato. If you’re up to it, you can mix and match with the Chettinad, Tandoori, North Indian, and Biryani that’s available. There are also value-for-money priced, ‘legit’ combinations available. As you’ll notice, the menu doesn’t have a starter section, but there are more than enough items in the ‘Fry’ ‘Tandoori’, and ‘Daily Specials’ section that can serve the purpose quite well. In fact, with Quail 65, Prawn Sukka, Crab Soup, Fish Cutlets etc listed among the day’s specials, there was much lip smacking. Unfortunately, none of the items in that section were available, and that left about a dozen ‘Fry’ and a few Tandoori options.

The Chicken 65 was the pick of the starters, boneless, succulent and quite spicy thanks to a chilli paste. The Lamb Liver Liver Fry was just a shade below, and though the masala couldn’t be termed spicy, it had a flavourful zing to it, helped by the green chillies. The Pundits Special Chicken just about passed muster with a masala that seemed to be a ‘ghee roast’ wannabe, but without the ghee or the texture. The Paneer Chilly turned out to be a disappointment and the least spicy, with the Paneer in a guest appearance and corn flour and capsicums hogging the limelight. Though the chicken was tender, the Chicken Tikka Boneless was quite bland, despite peppery attempts.

The Chicken Wheat Parotta Koththu is quite famous as a street food and Biryani Pundits does a good job with it, not being stingy with the chicken, and with a slightly spicy and consistent masala featuring ginger garlic, chilli and turmeric flavours. The Lamb version was not so fortunate with the masala, as some portions were too salty. But here too, it needs to be mentioned that there was an ample proportion of meat. One of the drawbacks of an enthusiastic service was that they brought the entire set of dishes at the same time, despite the order having things like appams , Wheat Parottas and Biryani, which really need to be served hot. I expected the egg appam to have an unbroken yolk, but that was not to be. However, it did a good job otherwise, making a good combination with the Lamb Curry , which was the only item that redeemed the main course. The meat was tender and juicy and the gravy, while not overly spicy, had a piquancy about it that made it a favourite. The Chicken Pepper Masala was a also quite a dud, with no sign of the pepper. The Wheat Kerala Parotta obviously lacks the fluffiness of its maida counterpart, but is still a safe bet. The same can’t be said of the Veg Lbabdar, which somehow tasted all wrong. An extremely dominant tangy flavour made the dish quite unpalatable. Much was expected from the Special dosa, priced higher than the egg appam, but it was just a roast dosa, which could barely hold on to its crispiness. But the biggest disappointment was the Pundits Special Chicken Biryani, special because it used kababs, but the masala made only a fleeting appearance. Also mildly irritating was having to ask for the raita and the brinjal chutney that were supposed to be given along with the dish. And when they did appear, it didn’t make much of a difference either. The other disappointing aspect was the non availability of dishes. To feature items like ‘Lamb Head Masala’ and ‘Quail Biryani’ on the menu and not have it is gross injustice, and enough to convert carnivores into cannibals.

The menu does not have a dedicated section for desserts either, and our only hope was the ‘traditional sweet’ promised with the biryani. That turned out to be another item we had to ask for, and when it did arrive, the jamun was a tad too sweet and syrupy.

For a restaurant that has Biryani in its name, Biryani Pundits have quite a way to go before their offering delivers some dum.  Some of their dishes are quite good, but the unavailability of items doesn’t really help their cause.

Biryani Pundits, No:1018, 1st Main, 80 feet Road, Koramangala. Ph: 8880050001

Barbeque Factory

Remember El Tablao, the Spanish restaurant on 80 ft Road? Well, in case you have second thoughts about a new cuisine when you get to the building, climb to the next floor, and you reach Barbeque Factory, which serves Indian cuisine. Here’s the map, if you aren’t familiar with Koramangala. There’s basement parking, so you aren’t troubled much on that account.

The ‘factory’ makes an appearance only in the name, and there is no specific theme to the restaurant. The kid area, not always found in Bangalore restaurants, is worth a mention. The interiors manage to exude warmth though, and  you could enjoy a view of the busy 80 feet Road below. There’s Buddha painting too, in case you need to feel even more elevated. :)

The menu begins with a veg shorba and fresh fruits, and quickly moves into a collection of kababs – five each in veg and non veg. We began well with the Cream of Tomato soup, mildly spicy and flavourful. The boneless Fish Tikka, though not Zaffrani as indicated in the menu, was cooked to perfection, and the group’s favourite starter. The Mutton Seekh, again not part of the day’s menu, but seemingly a replacement for the Boti Kabab, was a close second. The Shikampuri kababs lacked the slightly crispy exterior, though the mutton version was slightly better than its veg counterpart. The Murg Tikkas were also not the best we’ve had. The obvious indicator of the kababs’ quality was that, despite the unlimited offering, only the fish tikka and the mutton seekh made it to the second round of kabab consumption. Chaas is served throughout the meal and before we enter the main course, there is a Honey Paratha interlude. The Honey Paratha was appreciated for a well managed sweet-salt combination.

The main course consists of rotis, a selection of veg curries and a non veg curry and a choice of veg/chicken biriyani. Neither the Aloo Mutter nor the Dal Tadka showed any inclination to enliven the meal. The Biriyani was totally ignored as it was quite dry and lacking in masala too. The finale was a collection of three desserts and Badam Milk. Thankfully, though commonly found fare, the Gulab Jamun, Semiya Kheer and even the Badam Milk ensured that the desserts section was well represented. The meal ended well with slices of mango presented, for a change, in a cocktail glass and an excellent maghai paan.

Friendly staff, but they were quite clueless about what they were serving. They also needed a couple of reminders for getting us a kabab refill. The owner was around though, and he could be seen going to every table and courteously soliciting feedback.

The prix fixe (set menu) has the vegetarian version priced at Rs. 399 and the non vegetarian at Rs. 499, both inclusive of tax, and introductory. Alcohol is available only in the form of wine. The selection of kababs varies on a daily basis. While this might seem value-for-money and Barbeque Factory does have a few things going for it, the location has no dearth of gastronomic choices. The restaurant should probably focus a bit more on the food if they want to ensure that people baar baar barbeque.

Barbeque Factory, Lotus 612/1, 80 feet Road, 4th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560034, 41505325


This review was first published in Bangalore Mirror. Since there was mush room for improvement, here is a revised version.

Shimoga is now quite known, even to non Kannadigas, thanks to the chief minister who currently serves Karnataka. Now, if you’ve been curious about the kind of food that is served in Malnad, of which Shimoga is a part, Kukkare is the place to consider. From coastal and Malnad delicacies to Chinese and Tandoor, Kukkare has attempted the multi cuisine route to please all, but the Malnad food is what you should drop in here for.

Kukkare is above Pizza Hut, near the IBP petrol  pump on the way from Sony World Signal, Koramangala to National Games Village. Here’s a map to get you there. Parking can be done in one of the many side lanes nearby.

One flight of stairs takes you to the restaurant. The ambiance is a mix of contemporary design and traditional art. An entire wall is dedicated to Waqrli paintings, while the other side overlooks the bustling 80ft road. The seating is comfortable, but the colours alternate between sober and bright. So long as you don’t question the connection between the Judas Priest you’re listening to and the Malnad delicacies you’re having, you should be just fine. And of course, there’s the obligatory LCD television tuned into the day’s IPL match.

‘Kukkare’ means mushroom in Malnad, and the idea is to provide a range of cuisines under one umbrella. The menu begins with the restaurant’s unique proposition – Malnad and coastal delicacies, but soon moves into the tried and tested multi cuisine genre. So, soon after you encounter the Kane Fry, you will also meet Chilly Chicken, Tandoori Prawn and Caramel Custard too. The advantage of this is that you have plenty of options in case you want to mix and match a new cuisine with comfort food. A couple of masala drinks also add some spice. You can take a look at the complete menu on Zomato.

The Kukkare Special Dum Ki Murg proved to be an excellent starter, stuffed with spices and dry fruits, and complemented by a chutney that reminded us of ghee roasts. But given its quantity, it would work better for a large group. The more common Mutton Kheema Cutlets were quite good too. The only disappointment among the starters was the Anjal Tawa fry.

In the main course, the name meant that the Mutton Bengaluru was a dish we had to try, and it didn’t disappoint with its almond based gravy. But the Naati Koli Saaru, which promised a lot on paper, with its coconut milk based gravy and homemade spices didn’t really deliver. There was a garlic flavour that dominated the Molake Kaalina Saaru and worked against it.

All the rice based items delivered — the Shavige (vermicelli) and Akki roti were good though they were upstaged by the Kaai Kadubu (rice and coconut dumpling) and the Neeru Dosa. The Masala Butter Milk was quite good, if you like spice and the Masala Soft Drink is worth a try, considering it is more flavourful than the regular Masala Cola. The dessert section was probably the biggest downer. There weren’t any unique options and the Pineapple Soufflé and Kheer fell way short of the mark.

The costs are a tad above average, but considering the unique cuisine, it is worth it. The service was quite prompt and stuck to the 20-minutes-to-serve rule mentioned in the menu. Mohit, part of the management team, insists on feedback if he’s around. Drop in at Kukkare if you want to check out the interesting Malnad cuisine.

Kukkare, #478, N.A. Chambers II, 80 Ft Road, 6th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore -560095. Ph: 41102032  www.kukkare.com


This review was first published in Bangalore Mirror, and you are permitted to read further only if you promise not to LOL, because this happens to be a veg restaurant! Gasp! Those of my meat eating friends whose ribs aren’t being tickled and who can empathise, don’t worry, I compensated by refusing to meet vegetarians and following a meat-only diet during the rest of the weekend. 😉

NH8 is on 80ft Road Indiranagar and this map should tell you how to get there. The Bata showroom above which it is located is a good landmark. While on maps, for the geographically challenged, the map on the restaurant’s signboard outside informs you that the National Highway 8 connects the country’s capital New Delhi with its financial capital Mumbai, and on its way passes the State capitals Gandhinagar and Jaipur. Ok, geography lesson over, now you can take your eyes off the road and focus on the gastronomic journey.

The idea is to present the cuisine of the different cities traversed by the NH8 highway. The menu is still in the introductory stage, and they plan to add more options soon. For now, what is available is a thali with unlimited refills. From the tiny waiting area outside to the entire decor inside, a good attempt has been made to do justice to the geographical theme of the restaurant. Perhaps the only thing that sticks out is the gigantic TV screen, but then, that seems to be a hygiene item in restaurants now. The seating is of two kinds – low floor and regular, and the cushions are bright and comfortable. The staff also follow the theme with their colourful pagdis.

The welcoming ‘Padharo Sa’ section with Chaanch and Jaljeera is followed by the savouries (Farsaan) that included the dhokla, Batata vada and Masala Bati among others. The main course (Aarogo Saa, Jeemo Saa, Rice) consists of gravies – dal, gatta, kadi and to go with it Naan, Roti and rice. There’s also a Moong Dal Khichdi and a variety of chutneys. The road ends with desserts in the form of burfi and Lapsi. There are more items on the thali on weekends as compared to weekdays. You can see the menu at Zomato.

We started with the Paneer Kalimirch Tikka, and the Haryaali Aloo, both of which turned out to be excellent. Despite its companions being fancier, the Batata Vada was also appreciated. But the Khaman Dhokla was spongy enough but very dry. The line bewteen starter and main course is blurred since the items land on your plate at rapid speeds.

The Dal-Bati was mildly spicy and good enough for multiple helpings. The Gujarati Kadi was sour, sweet and spicy and was much in demand. But clearly, the winner was the Jaipuri Gatta with its rich, thick and spicy gravy. The Gobi Masala turned out to be too spicy and lacking any other flavour. The Marwari Kadi was also too bland, and lacked the sour, tangy flavours associated with it. The Aloo Tamatar Rasawaala didn’t leave any good impressions either. Meanwhile, the Marwari Chaanch keeps you good company throughout the meal. Among the desserts, the Coconut Burfi was the pick of the lot. The Marwadi Lapsi, made of broken wheat, was found to be lapsing, quite a disappointment.

The high speed delivery mechanism of one dish after another could overwhelm you, but if you let that pass, the service would rate as one of the best you’d have encountered. With smiling faces, they insist on serving you more and more and when you’re finished, pleasantly ask if everything was to your satisfaction. The finishing touch is in the form of the handwash, which moves away from the regular fingerbowl to a person pouring the water for you to wash your hands.

The thali is priced at Rs.199 on weekdays and Rs.249 on weekends. (Fri-Sun) If you happen to be a vegetarian, this place is obviously worth a visit. Even if you’re not, drop in for a unique experience delivered in a most hospitable manner. The way to a man’s heart is a highway, and that’s not the ghee talking.

NH8, 710, 3rd Floor, Above Bata Showroom, 80ft Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore – 560008. Ph: 42076575


A neon with that number has been blinking at us for a while now, whenever we use the 80 ft Road in Koramangala, and since it also contained words like ‘steak’, ‘grill’, it didn’t require a lot of convincing for us to drop in. This is right next to Chandni Chowk (can someone explain to me the mad rush there every weekend?!) and on the top floor of the same building as 13 Spices. (map) Parking is not much of a problem if you’re there before 8.

Rooftop restaurants most usually works for me, and 898 was no different. Some nice tiled roofing and screens to close the sides means it’ll be okay even if it rains. For now, the screen that hogged all the attention was an LCD one. They have an interesting decor, confirming that kitsch is back. Different kinds of chairs, even those indoor standalone swings, and our table was a chest at some pint of time. A fish shaped wooden board, large mirrors, interesting lighting, you get the idea…

There was a good breeze too, as we sat looking at the menu. Mostly steaks, with some mocktails, and a couple of Thai soups thrown in. (click for a larger images)

We started with a Cream of Coconut Milk – Chicken. No by-twos were told, isn’t that against Bangalore culture? A watered down version of the Tom Kha, and a bit too diluted for my liking, but quite flavourful, and they were genrous with the chicken. We then got ourselves a Beef Satay. Quite well done, and the peanut sauce that accompanied it was better than usual.

For the main course, we ordered a Chicken Lasagna (ugly photo) and a Chicken Garlic Pepper Steak. I haven’t seen a lasagna served like that, but in terms of taste it was quite decent. D said the steak had a strong chicken smell, but again, it delivered in terms of taste. Neither were phenomenal, just about decent. We also ordered a Chocolate Martini (I’m still wondering why it was called that). It reminded me a lot of the old Joy/Dasprakash ice creams.

The bill came to over Rs.950. The ambiance was quite decent, though there was something missing about the food. Nothing bad enough not to drop in at all, but… The service is a bit slow, but it’s quite a relaxing place, so you probably won’t mind.They missed an item in the billing, probably teething troubles, though it has been over 2 months.

898, No.898/4, Opp IBP Petrol Bunk, 80ft Road, Koramangala 6th Block, Ph: 9844005050