Sunday, November 30, 2008

Copper Chimney

After a tumultuous 3 days from Wednesday night to early Saturday morning, Mr VP and I decided to go out for lunch to Copper Chimney, a Mughlai restaurant on the 5th floor of Bangalore Central. Inevitably, we got around to talking about the attacks in Mumbai, and about the government is never pro-active but always reactive towards incidents. But that's for the other blog, Shetty's Take, not here. But trust me, even writing this seems like a Herculean effort right now, and I don't think this will be the best piece penned down by me (or typed out, whatever).

As soon as we entered the place, I liked it. Nothing spectacular, but just the fact that the bar looked nice, and the furniture looked strong, and everything around us was spic and span made me feel good about this place. And the fact that they allowed the two of us to sit at a table for 6 was even better!

We always wanted to try out the biryani at this place, and so decided to go easy with the rest of the food. We started off with a chicken soup, which wasn't a creamy variety and tasted pretty good. It wasn't too thick or too thin, and that made Mr VP happy, since he doesn't like creamy soups, or ones that are too watery or too thick.

We followed up the soup with a plate of achari murgh tikka, which was perfect - just the right amount of spiciness to whet the appetite and prepare us for the biryani.

The dum biryani was something very different. For one, it's fragrance was wonderful. What's more, it wasn't too sticky or greasy, and after eating it we didn't feel unnecessarily full, as usually most places add a bit (quite a bit) of soda to rice items and that tends to fill you up pretty fast. Although not too full, we decided to skip the breads and go for dessert, although I'd heard that the taftan, a kind of naan bread, was supposed to be wonderful here.

For dessert, I ordered something called a Muzaffar, which was something like a rabdi, with some crispy thingies sprinkled on top (that they could have skipped, because it didn't feel too good in the mouth). Otherwise, this was a very nice dish and I quite liked the taste.

Mr VP ordered a malai firni, and I kept eying his dish until finally he said "I can't finish it" and I gobbled it up with glee. It was really good, and the first time I'd had it.


I think I'm going to visit this place again sometime, although it would be in more pleasant times (hopefully).

Food: Good (one of the better north Indian dining places)
$$$: Moderately expensive
Service: Decent
Verdict: Visit if in the vicinity

Copper Chimney, Bangalore Central, near Mayo Hall, Bangalore. Phone: 66111800, 66111900

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Café Y

This little café tucked away off Hosur road near Bangalore Military School (on the side road near Prestige Elgin) is one of the few treasure troves of Bangalore. It so happened that the traffic around Langford Town/Shantinagar was pretty heavy, and I remembered that Café Y is supposed to be around here someplace, and so I decided to park and look for the place and hop in for an early dinner. Although this place is on a street that's pretty heavy when it comes to traffic during peak hours, it's interiors and decor and more importantly the colours used inside certainly transport you to Enid Blyton's Toyland...it's almost akin to a toy house, like Noddy's, with bright colours like yellow and orange.

The menu primarily comprises of European, especially Italian, with a good variety of choices for both vegetarians and the meat eaters. There are soups and salads, sizzlers and pastas, and a section for kiddies. They also have a separate menu card for Chinese, which I didn't try. I started off with a minestrone soup,

which was good. But the stand out feature here was the accompaniment of two pieces of bread in a basket and some small cubes of butter in a small tray covered with a lid! This was a first for me anywhere, so I was pleasantly surprised, and tucked away into the soup, and polished it off with the bread and butter.

For my main course, I didn't want to try anything meaty, and so settled for something that I thought wouldn't be too large - a veg lasagna.

Boy, was I wrong! Once the lasagna arrived and I started digging into it, not only did it taste heavenly, I also realised that there was quite a bit to finish! I had a good book with me and so I ate leisurely, while the staff were content watching Tom & Jerry as there weren't any other customers at quarter past 7. By the time I finished my lasagna, I didn't think I had any space left for dessert, but I had seen a blueberry cheesecake on the menu, and so just had to have one - so a blueberry cheesecake it was.

The portion served was large, and I don't think I've ever had a cheesecake that's tasted this good in a long time. At 100 bucks for a cheesecake, this one is well worth the money, although I'm certain I've had similar cheesecakes at cake shops for slightly less. Nevertheless, this place is really nice and perfect if you don't want to end up shelling out more than 500 bucks for a complete meal similar to what I ate. The ambiance inside is nice, and although they do have a couple of tables outside, I'm not too sure if people would fancy those at night with vehicles zipping outside the compound (but I could be wrong).

Food: Pretty good
$$$: Not very expensive - in a group, you'd shell out around 300-400 for a complete meal.
Service: Decent
Verdict: If in the area, do visit for some nice Conti food.

Café Y, 2/2, Langford Road - Eagle St intersection, Langford Town, opp. Prestige Elgin, Bangalore

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fiorano Ristorante

This Italian restaurant, named after the municipality in the northern part of Italy (south-west of Modena), in Koramangala promises and delivers authentic Italian fare, and how! From the outside, Fiorano looks like a winner...just the kinda place that could sweep you off your feet, let alone the imaginary date you plan to bring some other time. But once we stepped in, I felt a bit deflated. The walls were all white and there was nothing on 'em...not one painting, not a single piece of...anything. I'm not sure if they were under partial renovation or what, but the wall on the far side of the restaurant had patches of cement all along. I'm never a big critic of ambiance - or me as long as it's a clean place I'm good, but even I had to mention this.

Mr VP, Ms WeightConscious and a friend of hers, let's call her Ms LiberalBong for the time being, headed towards this place on a rain soaked Sunday night (when India were playing England at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and most of the city was glued to their TV sets). After making ourselves comfy, we ordered our respective poisons from the drinks menu. And so it was a glass of Grover La Reserve (red wine), a Pina Colada, a Kiwi Martini and a Green Apple Martini that we settled for. Actually, Ms LiberalBong wanted to have an Baileys Irish Cream, but that wasn't available so she settled for a Pina Colada (I apologise for not taking snaps, I forgot). Since we were at a coffee shop before we came here, we settled for only one appetiser - a Crostini Misti, which was little crostinis with toppings of salmon, prosciutto, and chicken. While the others found it oily, I loved it! Mr VP also said that there was something in it that his stomach didn't agree with, but I guess there was an uneasy truce signed between the two parties.

For our main course, we stuck to pasta: Penne, spaghetti and fettuccine. We had two dishes with Penne: Penne al Amatriciana

and Penne Mushroom & Cream.

While the former was a dish with garlic, Parma ham and tomato, the latter was a cheesy, creamy sauce with mushrooms. Both were good, but the Parma ham was a super hit with all my friends. The spaghetti dish ordered was a Spaghetti Alla Carbonara,

which was spaghetti with eggs and ham, and lastly, the fettuccine was a Fettuccine Alla Siciliana,

which had a bologna-type sauce. All the dishes tasted heavenly, but again, there was a complaint - this time Ms LiberalBong, who thought the spaghetti was a little too oily for her liking.

All in all, I enjoyed the meal thoroughly, although I think I'm echoing only my sentiments and not a collective opinion. On a rain-soaked night when India won the ongoing ODI series against the visiting Englishmen 4-0 with 3 more dead rubber games remaining, 'twas a nice meal to finish off a nice, rainy weekend.

Food: Very good
$$$: Expensive (around 600-800 per head)
Service: Pretty good
Verdict: If you like Italian food, you'll like this place (also see review on Via Milano)

Fiorano Ristorante, 63 5thA Block, 100 Feet Road, next to Sukh Sagar, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 25534231

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Ugly Duckling

I'd heard a lot about this new place on Millers Road, and was quite intrigued by it's name and the fact that it served Greek and European cuisine piqued my curiosity enough to make me want to try it out. The restaurant is owned by an Indian and a Danish national, and it's named after Hans Christen Andersen's famous story, because both owners are big fans of the author. Visiting this place was also a first of sorts, not only in terms of the cuisine, but also because I got to meet a new friend, whom I shall christen Ms SpunkyFunk.

The interiors of this place are pretty decent, and the wall is full of paintings which I thought gave the sense that they were trying hard to establish a European connections, while Ms SpunkyFunk thought it was, well, for lack of a better term, pointless! And although we did not see a single picture or showpiece of a duckling (let alone ugly), there were several frogs with different instruments, which Ms SpunkyFunk loved and wanted to take home.

And so on to the food. We both ordered a round of iced teas

and for appetizers, Ms SpunkyFunk ordered an egg mimosa,

which was very similar to deviled eggs, and the only thing I didn't like too much about it was that it had raw onions (I prefer them caramelised). I ordered a fish croquet, which was crumb fried and served with a dip.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Ms SpunkyFunk is a lacto-ovo vegetarian, so I had to eat the fish on my own (I wasn't complaining).

For our main course, Ms SpunkyFunk ordered an aubergine moussaka,

which she said wasn't quite the way a moussaka was supposed to be. Well, she's travelled all over Europe, and was quite right in her assertion that a moussaka ought to have a slightly more runny gravy of cheese. I had a Prawn Souvlaki, which consisted of skewered prawns with a bed of rice along with a spicy marinara, and it tasted pretty good.

I did, however, have an issue with the skewered prawns - they were skewered with tooth picks, and I had a bloody hard time getting them off using just the forks, and so had to use my fingers and get them a little messy.

For dessert, despite my initial apprehensions, Ms SpunkyFunk talked me into having a Ferrero Rocher wedge, which turned out to be really very nice,

sinfully chocolaty, while she had a passion fruit gelato sorbet,

sorbets being her favourite form of dessert anywhere, even over ice cream! The sorbet tasted amazing, and is something I'm going to have for certain the next time I come here. Sunday was a cloudy day, just the kind of day I like - no sun, slight drizzle and a little nip in the air. Add to that a nice lunch with a beautiful and extremely chatty person - sweet!

Food: Good
$$$: Moderately expensive
Service: Could have been better
Verdict: Can certainly try once

The Ugly Duckling, 71, 5th Floor, Sona Towers, Millers Road, Benson Town, Bangalore. Phone: 22375982

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Rogue Elephant

Mr P's away to the US on work, and so it was only Mr VP and I who set off to this place called The Rogue Elephant. I don't know why it's called that, and sadly, I couldn't ask the owner why it's called so. But tucked away behind no.119 next to FotoFlash near the Ulsoor lake is a quaint and quiet little place with just 6 tables and a whole lot of plants with a quintessential backyard look and feel, serving Italian/European cuisine. Thankfully there aren't too many who know of this place as yet and so Mr VP and I were able to get a table as soon as we walked in. The menu is little limited, but I can assure you that every item on it is awesome!

The owner was a nice gentleman who took our orders and explained about the dishes while taking the orders and while serving them. We started off with customary lime juices

and the soup of the day, which was a cream of tomato,

and it was perfect - not too thick, not too thin, and not too sweet. Along with it, we had the special salad of the day - a savoury pannacotta with caramelised figs in a balsamic vinaigrette reduction,

which was a first for me in terms of taste, and it was quite light yet delightful to taste. Also as part of the appetizers was a 'just like crab meat' with a garlic mayonnaise.

This was the first time I had even heard of this, and it's actually fish that is used to replicate crab meat, and just for the effect, a crab claw was added. The garlic mayo perfectly complimented the dish.

For the main course, we had another special, seer fish medallions in a mildly spicy Putanesca sauce

and a herb roasted chicken with a mild lemony sauce

along with mash and beans. Both the dishes were good and even at the end of the meal, I certainly didn't feel heavy, which usually is the case after you eat a north-Indian meal.

We finally rounded up lunch with a sweet peach pannacotta for dessert,

and I have to say that I think pannacotta is my new favourite in the dessert section. A point to note is that this place is open only from 12 to 5 and closes after that, so lunch is the only option here.

Wonderful location in the backyard, away from the traffic and noise, great food and atmosphere and conversations with friends...sigh.

Food: Very good.
$$$: Moderately expensive (around 400 or more per head)
Service: Decent, prompt
Verdict: A must visit if you love conti food.
Extra Info: Come to FotoFlash and look out for the Ambara board. Enter the compound, and go to the back of the building through the garden.

The Rogue Elephant, No 119, Annaswamy Mudaliar Rd, Ambara Complex, Ulsoor Lake, Aga Abbas Ali Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Egg Factory...re-redux

Seriously, I just can't seem to get enough of this place, and any and every time I'm in the vicinity and it's time to eat (when isn't it?), I meander towards this place like a gondola heading downstream with the current. I started off with a fresh lime soda and decided to try out a pasta dish this time, since the owner, Yogesh, had suggested it when I visited the place the first time with Mr P and Mr VP.

So a penne Alfredo with cilantro pesto and eggs it was. This order is also served minus the eggs for those inclined to stick to flora at all times.

The pasta was indeed as good as any pasta I've had anywhere (save for my own cooking, which would beat even the pasta at Fiorana hands down any day ). The quantity was sufficient, the pesto wasn't too oily; in short, just perfect. The garlic bread at the side along with the order really complemented the dish and there was nothing that I found lacking at all. And to round things up, the owner, Yogesh, came and sat with me and we had a nice chat about Bangalore, food & beverages, the economy and how it could (would) impact the F&B industry and what not.

I rounded off my lunch with a poor knights of Windsor for dessert, something that I've always had when I've come here (except when I came for breakfast with my brother). And it was just as good as it was when I first had it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TGIF

Finally I get to go to the famed TGIF, and it didn't matter at all that I happened to be there on a Monday. And surprisingly enough, there was a pretty decent sized crowd even for a Monday evening. Ms BakeAcake had asked us to be there for her birthday dinner (her birthday was on the 31st), and as usual I was there first, and soon was joined by Ms WeightConscious and her boyfriend...well, let's just call him Saucy :) Soon everyone but Mr P were there, and so we dove in for what seemed to be an interesting night ahead.

Now the interiors of TGIF are more or less similar to another restaurant here called Indi Joe, with an almost retro American look and feel inside, and the loud music and the look of the bar gives you the impression that they're also trying to make it look and feel like a pub where the patrons would have to speak in higher decibels to be heard over the music being played.

Since the happy hours were still going on and we would get a free drink with every ordered drink, we started off with orders for a White Russian,

an ultimate Long Island Ice Tea,

and a Blue Martini.

Since Mr P said he'd be late, we started off with our appetizers. A plate of chicken wings was ordered

along with a plate of Fried Mac & Cheese.

And since I'm still on my quest to make a list of the ten best burgers available in Bangalore, I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger.

Everything was good, from the drinks to the food ordered to the speed at which our food and drinks were served to us. My ultimate Long Island Ice Tea was served in a glass the size of a cauldron, and it's the most potent Long Island Ice tea I've ever had. I mean this baby was mean! Not even halfway through my drink I could feel the room starting to spin a little, and standing up was something I did not want to even think of. However, of the three drinks ordered, the martini was the strongest, but since it didn't measure to even half the quantity of the Ice tea, it was a no contest. We later ordered a Manhattan, which is a Jack Daniel's whiskey with Vermouth and Angostura bitters with ice, and a Pina Colada.

For dinner, I continued on the burger trail (which turned out to be a mistake). I ordered a Jack Daniel's burger, which has a 7 ounce patty (and I said mistake because it turned out to be the exact same as the Bacon Cheeseburger, only difference being this one was served with the JD sauce and the patty was bigger. Sigh!),

Mr VP and Ms BakeAcake ordered a Jack Daniel's Chicken which they were going to share,

Saucy ordered a Sirloin steak,

and Ms WeightConscious ordered a broken noodles pasta (penne) with tomatoes, basil, olives, mushrooms and cheese.

Well, everything was good, and I don't think anyone was disappointed (except for me a tad). Since both my burgers were more or less the same, and the bacon cheeseburger had only 2 strips of bacon, unlike the bacon burger I had at Millers 46 during Mr P's birthday, I felt the guy making the burger got it wrong. It was good, but since there was so little bacon, and the JD burger was a larger replica of the bacon burger, I was a lil disappointed. What's more, the bacon was really salty! I mean, maybe if it was eaten with the bun and the patty and all the stuffing it would have been ok, but I love to take a bite of my bacon before I tuck into it and this thing was salty to the core, like it came out of the dead sea or something.

That apart, the other dishes were fabulous and the JD sauce was simply phenomenal. The service was quick and we never felt like we were let down on any front, and I'm willing to let the burger incident pass (I may still have some of the alcohol swimming inside my head). This place is a little heavy on your wallet, but if you enjoy American comfort food and booze, then once in a while, it certainly is worth it.

Food: Pretty good
$$$: Expensive
Service: Decent, prompt
Verdict: If you like American food, and alcohol, pay a visit once a couple of months or so
Extra Info: Happy hours are till 2015 hrs - buy a drink and get another glass of the same one free

TGIF, Carlton Towers, Old Airport Road, Bangalore. Phone: 25210570, 25210571

Monday, November 3, 2008

Casa Del Sol

After a lot of deliberation, I finally agreed to go to this place. I'd heard it wasn't all that great a place, and with Harima's one floor above, Mr VP and I were both tempted to go there instead of here. Well, Mr P was insistent enough to get us into this place, and so Casa Del Sol it was. The place is nice and very spacious, and the decor is simple, but hardly Spanish. We were informed that the Sunday brunch consisted of unlimited alcohol which included wine, beer and Sangria (a Spanish drink consisting of wine, brandy, orange juice and fruits) to go along with the buffet laid out. Fair enough we thought.

And so we started off with a glass of sangria, which all of us agreed was nothing more than a glorified fruit punch, and the alcohol was noticeable only when the liquid slid down our throats; we got a very slight tingle of the alcohol only after we 'concentrated' to detect it.

We then had the veg stew soup, which tasted good, but didn't seem to have anything 'solid' in it. So I spooned in a couple of spoonfuls of mushroom and broccoli from the salad table nearby.

The starters were served to us at the table itself, and the noteworthy ones were the lamb balls (trust me, it's not what it sounds like) and the mushrooms, while the paneer and the chicken were not too bad either.

The sangria kept us company while we finished the starters, and once that was done, we ordered a round of beer: and would you believe it, Fosters, straight out of the bottle.

From the salad counter, we got a mixture of spiced pineapples, cinnamon apples, cheesy potatoes, Thai chicken salad, Tuna pasta, and a mixture I made using walnuts, spicy mayonnaise and cheese (which tasted amazing).

For the main course, I served myself the seafood paella, and I immediately realised that the rice used was not the kind typically used for a paella or the flavouring was off, when compared to the awesome paella I had at Bangalore Bistro. The chicken roulade was bland, while the fish in white sauce tasted good. I didn't have the Mexican rice that was there since I had served myself the paella, but had a helping of the ricotta & stuffed capsicum, which all of us agreed didn't have a very nice texture.

There was a pasta counter where we could get 'make' our own pasta as part of the buffet, and upon hearing that, Mr P and I went ahead there, only to realise things weren't as good as thought. There was only spaghetti and some funny coiled pasta, only two basic sauces (red and white), and the pasta wasn't anything great either.

Dessert time! And as usual, I wasn't disappointed with the desserts, although I was hoping for a little more variety.

The lemon mousse was very good, while the two cakes that were there were good too. And to wrap it all up, we decided to go with a glass of red wine.

Well, according to Mr VP, it tasted like the toilet water from the Air Force Command Hospital (I don't know when and why he tasted that, but whatever), and Mr P and I too agreed it wasn't the best we've had, although I didn't mind it. It certainly wasn't a sweet at all, but it wasn't as disgusting as Mr VP made it out to be.

So all in all, the food at this this place was average. There was enough food and booze for the Rs. 725/- we paid per head (all inclusive), but I'm certain we won't be going back there in a long time. And to the owner of the place, all I can say is "Por favor, este no Español" (excuse the Spanish if it's grammatically wrong).


Casa Del Sol, 131, Devatha Plaza, 3rd floor, opposite Bishop Cotton's Boys School, Bangalore. Phone: 51510101