And so before I decided to 'pay them a visit', I checked up on the net and came across their website, and was impressed by the layout and the content. When I came across the menu, there was only one thing that ran through my mind: either this place is an undiscovered gem of a restaurant serving classic Mediterranean and Italian food, or it's another wannabe in a long list of wannabes. After calling them and finding out where exactly it was on Brigade Road (it's on the 3rd floor of the building soon after Joseph's Commerce college, in the same building as South Indian Bank), I made plans to go there on Saturday night.
Mr P and Mr VP joined me there. Mr P was held up a little due to the infamous Bangalore traffic, so while Mr VP and I waited, we were extremely impressed with the setup. Bistro has an open roof top seating arrangement as well as indoor seating. We started off the evening with Virgin Mary's (yeah, yeah, I know, Saturday night and no alcohol? Well, we're responsible citizens and don't drive after drinking). We started off by sitting outside, high above the noisy Brigade Road traffic with a view of St. Patrick's church sipping on our Mary's and without a doubt, the Virgin Mary's here are the best we've had anywhere so far. It's tangy, it's sweet, it's a lil spicy, and also salty with the salt around the rim of the glass. It's a drink that'll get all the taste buds in your mouth into action in a subtle way and prepares your palate for the evening.
It was a pretty chilly night, and after switching seats from the open to the inside, we knew a soup would do wonders, and so we had a Mexican veg soup, and specifically asked them to make it moderately spicy. The best part about the Bistro is that on the menu, there are no selection of soups available, and under the heading Soups is a line that says "We would be glad to cook up anything for you". How confident is that!
The china used here is of top quality and extremely well thought of, and the soup was served in a wonderful dish, and not some run down bowl. Along with the soup, without too much deliberation, we settled for the Bruchetta platter and a Caroza (which is Italian bread sandwiched with pesto and buffalo mozzarella).
The Bruchetta platter had an excellent assortment of toppings for the Bruchetta, which included olives, mushrooms and cheese, tomatoes and cheese, and one with some green paste which I'm not too sure of (which tasted good). The photos were taken after we took a couple of the Bruchettas and a Caroza because they were so appealing that I forgot to click away as soon as they arrived at the table. The caroza tasted great. The mozzarella gave a very slight salty taste which complemented the taste provided by the pesto. Although Mr VP couldn't taste the mozzarella, there weren't any complaints from Mr P or from me.
For our main course, I ordered a Paella Matador, which is a Spanish dish consisting of green mussels, prawns, squid rings and fish with long grain rice, herbs and saffron. Ask any good chef and they'll tell you that eating involves four of the five senses, and the sense of sight is as important in relishing your meal as are the senses of taste, smell and touch. When the waiter brought the dish, I realised that we had probably hit the jackpot with this place. The presentation was very nice, and I have to say it's one of the better presented dishes I have had. Also, the quantity was a lot, and if I have to say that it was a lot, then trust me, it was a lot, irrespective of whether or not we had a Virgin Mary, the soup, bruchettas and the caroza.
Mr VP ordered the BBQ veal chops. I had never tasted veal before and I have to say the veal served here was very tender and juicy. Also, the barbecue sauce used wasn't the American barbecue sauce, but and Indian one which tastes much better than the American one (so says Mr VP, and I'll take his word on that...he is any expert on such matters).
Mr P ordered a mock meat steak, which was a soy based steak. I think this was the only 'disappointment' of sorts in the evening because although the steak tasted good, Mr P was a little disappointed that the steak was more like a big cutlet with soy and other vegetables ground in! But hey, when you're a vegetarian, you can't crib about your food not being like this or like that especially if it's trying to imitate meat (I don't think Mr P would take too kindly to that). But I'd like to add that Mr P didn't 'complain' as such and ate his food like a good boy :)
All in all, if I have to rate this place against some of the other joints serving Mediterranean and/or Italian cuisine, I'd have to say that this place comes up tops. In quality (and quantity), ambiance, decor, and taste of food, this places matched Sunny's (Vittal Mallya Road), and where it probably beats Sunny's is on pricing (they're probably the same, but psychologically this place just felt better). I won't say that it's low cost, but it's the average fare for any restaurant in Bangalore that serves up food of this quality. The staff were friendly and weren't the bossy, uptight type, and won't unnecessarily bother you with too many questions, but at the same time won't forget about you until called for. That fact that they're a chilled out bunch was exemplified when a large group trooped in with half a dozen kids around the ages of 5 and 6. While the older people got down to sitting and talking (adult stuff, I assume), the kids were running all over the place making quite a racket, and they weren't once reprimanded by the adults or the staff (much to our..., well, what should I say, it would be unfair to get upset at them...they're kids after all). But one thing I'm sure of is that we've definitely decided to visit Bistro again, and I'm eagerly waiting for the second trip.
Food: Very good.
$$$: Moderately expensive, around 400-600 per head depending on what you have.
Service: Very good.
Verdict: Must visit if you like continental and Mediterranean food.
Bangalore Bistro, 74, 3rd Floor, Sumera Towers, After Eva Mall, Opposite St. Patrick's Church, Brigade Road, Bangalore. Phone: 41131616, 25571616