Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Woodstok

I hadn't carried lunch to work on Monday, and so I decided to try our this new place that'd opened up called Woodstok. I found the place easily enough thanks to Google maps (working in Indiranagar for the last 5 years also helped), and since I was alone (yes, I'm the strange breed that can enjoy my meals alone as well - I had a nice Roald Dahl book for company actually), I knew I wouldn't be eating too much. One look at the menu confirmed that this place was almost a copy of Zoe's, although the prices at Zoe's are a less compared to this place. I was hoping to have a below 200 meal, but I knew that wasn't going to happen.

To start off, I settled in for a French onion soup. Traditionally made from beef broth, I didn't even bother asking the staff if it was indeed beef broth or not, because just one spoon down I knew it wasn't beef broth, but vegetable stock. The soup though, was nice, and the caramelised onions in it gave a hint of sweetness to it, along with the a dollop of cheese (wasn't sure what cheese this was specifically, but who cares - I love cheese in all forms).

French Onion Soup with the 'croutons' on the side

For my main course, I saw a beef burger on the menu, and I didn't need to look any further :)

Beef Burger

The burger was actually pretty good, although, if you go purely by construction of a burger basics, this one would probably fail. The cardinal sin of putting the lettuce on the lower half of the bun and the burger patty on top of it was done here as well. And the burger wasn't the soft bun type - either this was a different bun, or they done something to it to kinds get it to be stiff. The burger patty though, was superb. Nice a juicy, it came with a large serving of fries, slaw, and a spicy salsa.

These guys have a 10% service charge, so I didn't tip. I really hate this practice of adding that in the bill - even if I felt that the service was extremely good and would want to tip more, I wouldn't if I saw a 10% service charge already levied.

I'll reserve my verdict for another visit - I don't I had enough to rate the place. The soup was 120, the burger was 180, and with taxes and their 10% service charge, it came up to 370. So much for a sub-200 meal!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BM Review: Catch Marine

Last week I'd visited a new seafood restaurant in Indiranagar for Bangalore Mirror. The review can be read here.

The pictorial review is below.


Roasted Mushrooms and Tortilla soup


Cioppino


Captain's Platter (Calamari, Sole fillets, Mussels, Prawns)


Louisiana Seafood Combo


Nasi Goreng Combo


Lamb Chops Combo with Prawns and spring vegetables


Lamb Chops Combo with Prawns and mashed potatoes


Tiramisu


Chocolate Volcano

Food: Good, but nothing amazingly different from other seafood restaurants for what they charge
Service: Good
$$$: Expensive... our bill came to Rs 4500 for 5 people (including VAT + 10% service charge)
Verdict:Food is good, but overpriced.

Catch Marine, #760, Above Van Heusen Showroom, 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore. Phone: 41122303/4

Shiok

Last weekend we went out to watch the second part of the Twilight saga (remember the first part, where I said it was a joke) called New Moon. But this time, before we went for the movie we decided to catch dinner at Shiok. We'd never visited the place since it moved out of CMH Road to the inner ring road the foot of the flyover. Since we were in a hurry (P & VP were late as usual), it was a quick affair, with us reaching the movie about 5 minutes late.

On a night that India were actually going to go on and beat Sri Lanka in the second T20 match, it also surprisingly drizzled outside (effects of the cyclone near Chennai), we started off with soups: Broccoli, tofu and mushroom, along with a chicken and celery soup.

Broccoli, tofu & mushroom soup


Chicken and Celery soup

VP and I had a plate of calamari with pepper and a plate of chili beef. The beef was cooked perfectly. The calamari was a little bland, but the sauce it came with made up (and coming to think of it, calamari can never really be infused with spices because of its rubbery texture - I'm not certain but that's my educated guess). P ordered a plate of tofu or corn I guess (don't quite remember coz we were in a hurry remember).

Calamari with pepper


Tofu Something


Chili Beef

Once this was done, we split a Thai red curry with a bowl of rice (we being P and I, while VP was still munching on some calamari).

I didn't feel what we had was enough to conclude about the place (but rest assured what we had was very good), so I'll defer my usual ratings after another visit.

Shiok, #96, Amar Jyothi Layout, Inner Ring Road, Domlur, At the foot of the flyover, Bangalore. Phone: 65715555, 65716666

Monday, December 14, 2009

Burger burger burning bright

I'm becoming some kind of burger fiend. Every time I'm in a position to make something at home, I inevitably end up making a burger. This time as well it was chicken (I really wish someone can tell me where I can pick up bacon from), with some caramelised onions and grilled red peppers (capsicum).





Minced chicken
Salt
Pepper
Soy Sauce
Sugar
Garlic
Onions
Capsicum (red peppers)

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Form the patties. Heat oil on a pan/skillet and start frying the patty. Add the soy sauce and sugar along with the garlic and allow the patty to cook in the sauce for a while. Serve with the caramelised onions the grilled peppers in between a toasted bun.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quiz On The Beach

This might interest many of you. I received an email from the TAPMI org. comm. for this quiz, so feel free to participate, or spread the word, or both.

Is the possibility of a recession giving you sleepless nights? Do you feel like taking some time off and chilling out? How does a visit to a beach sound? Or would you like to involve yourself in some serious quizzing? What if you were offered the chance of doing both at the same time? Sounds interesting???
T. A. Pai Management Institute’s annual B-School fest, Atharva invites you to participate in the Quiz on the Beach (QOTB) to be held at Kaup Beach, Udupi, Karnataka. QOTB is held on the shores of the magical Arabian Sea with an old British built lighthouse serving as a backdrop. So pack your bags and come down to Kaup Beach for some serious fun!!!

Quiz Flavour: Business Quiz
Host: T. A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal
Quiz Master: Mr. Avinash Mudaliar
Date: Saturday, 9th January 2010
Prize Money: Rs 40,000-First Prize
Rs 20,000-Second Prize
Registration charges: Rs 1500/- per team
2 Members make a team
Open to Corporates (Team members can also belong to different companies).

Please check out the links below for further details:
http://www.tapmi.org/atharva/

For further Clarifications contact:
S. Gopinath : 09742353966
Nikitha Shetty : 09686007000
E- Mail: atharva.tapmi@gmail.com

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BM Review: Albert Bakery

Last Sunday, I'd been to Albert Bakery (to review the place for Bangalore Mirror), one of Bangalore's oldest bakeries (more than a 100 years old). And here's an interesting piece of information: it's owned and run by a Muslim family, not a Christian family. In fact, it was Nawab Jaan's grand father who started the bakery (Nawab Jaan is the current owner). The politics at the time of the British Raj was what probably resulted in it being christened with a Christian name (from what I gathered after talking to the owner). The review can be read here.

A couple of the snaps that I took are here:

Chicken Roll (not your typical roll - a larger puff)

Cocktail samosas and mini chicken burger


Albert Bakery, #93, Mosque Road, Next to Barista, Frazer Town, Bangalore.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BM Review: Saffron

I'd been to this new place called Saffron in Koramangala to review the place for Bangalore Mirror this past weekend. My guests were Santosh Gowda and Suhas Cadambi, but engineers from RV and avid quizzers (which is how I met them) and also hard-core foodies. The review can be read here.

Below is a pictorial description of what we had with the summary at the end.

Reshmi kebab

Achari Paneer Tikka


Mutton Seekh Kebab

Shammi Kebab

Boti Kebab

Navratna Korma

Keema with Egg

Mutton Qorma

Peethi Poori

Mutton Biryani

For the below three, one is rabri, one is kheer, and one is phirni. You guess which is which :)






I gave the place an equivalent of 2.5 out of 5, primarily because the mutton dishes weren't up to the mark, but otherwise it was OK, nothing special.

Food: Decent
$$$: Moderate; our bill came to a touch over Rs. 1800 (they have a 7% service charge)
Service: Decent
Verdict: Can visit if in the area
Extra Info: It's on the road where Lazeez, Thulp, Kabab Magic and Rolls United are...in fact, it's just after Rolls United (on the other side of the street), and before Nous Systems.

Saffron, #5, 1st Floor, 1st B Main, 1st Block, Koramangala, Jakkasandra Ext, Bangalore. Phone: 41317579

Monday, November 30, 2009

P!ng

Finally, P decided to come out on a Saturday after almost a month working weekends as well, and I also got to know that the guy has put in his papers. Hope everything works out well. We went and watched the movie Twilight, and I won't say the movie is good, although P & VP said it was OK, I thought it was almost funny - I mean a vampire can't look into his microscope becasue he can't read the thoughts of a girl??? Gimme a break! The pricing for the tickets on weekends is akin to robbery, so that didn't help the cause.

After the movie, we decided to head towards P!ng (that's Ping), a restaurant that specialises in dim sums. I had reviewed this place for Bangalore Mirror earlier, and I must say that there are certain improvements in terms of the taste (subtle differences in taste, which I had pointed out the last time I was here). Kudos to Rajanikanth and his team for going ahead and making things better. They've also added a few more dim sums to the menu, and the entire menu itself looks swankier now.

VP and I split a Miso soup, while P had a P!ng special veg soup, as the Miso, although vegetarian, is made from fish stock.

Miso Soup

We had six starters: Shanghai steamed chicken momos, some veg momo with spinach and tofu, banana leaf-wrapped chicken, firecracker prawns, grilled button mushrooms, and a Chinese steamed bun (whose name I can't recall now). All were wonderful. The banana leaf-wrapped chicken and the firecracker prawns were as good (if not better) as when I came here for the review. The mushrooms and the bun were also very good. Service was good as well, and we didn't have to wait unusually long for the food.

After stuffing ourselves with starters, we just settled for a simple pineapple fried rice along with a stir fry called 8 treasure something. Not too heavy on the stomach because we wanted to have desserts.

Desserts from the Dessert Bay were fantastic. A lot of work seems to have gone into the menu since my last visit here.

Knock Out

Kahlua Tiramisu

Kahlua Chocolate Mousse


Food
- Very good
$$$ - moderately expensive, depending on your appetite. We have large ones :), our bill came up to a little over 2300 with a 7% service charge. But then again, we had 6 starters, 2 main course dishes, and 4 desserts, so do the math.
Service - Very good
Verdict - Must visit
Extra Info - Turn into the lane next to Sukh Sagar (opp. E-Zone), drive up ahead and park anywhere on the left where you see others have parked.

Ping, #130, 1st Cross, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 41521773

Friday, November 27, 2009

BM Review: Ambrosia

Last weekend I'd been to Ambrosia to review the place for Bangalore Mirror. The review, with some pictures taken, is below. I gave the place an equivalent of 2.5 out of primarily because they claim to be fine dining, but fell short in a few areas. However, purely in terms of taste, the food is good.

Greek mythology is very similar to Hindu mythology – many Gods, many tales. Ambrosia, sometimes called the food (or the drink) of the Gods, is often depicted as conferring ageless immortality, much like amrit, or nectar, in Hindu mythology. So when a restaurant calls itself Ambrosia, I naturally thought they’d be serving Greek or Mediterranean food.

To set the record straight, Ambrosia doesn’t serve Greek food alone, it serves food from all over the world – I guess since every civilisation has had its own armada of Gods, there would be several, and so Ambrosia tries to please people from every culinary walk of life. Ambar Mitra, the CEO and one of the 5 directors of the place said the idea was to enjoy myriad cuisines under one roof. The dishes on the menu have a flag next to them indicating the part of the world they’re from. One thing that straight away popped into our minds was: with such an extensive and diverse menu, what’s going to be their signature?

Gautam Krishnankutty and Padmakumar, co-owners of Café Thulp, have seen their fair share of culinary delights from around the globe. Gautam’s lived in California, and is a trained chef in Thai cuisine, and was the genius in the kitchen at Tai Tai, while Padmakumar (PK to near and dear) has been in Mexico for close to 16 years before coming back to Bangalore, where he met Gautam and started Thulp. I was thrilled to have them as guests, taking time off from work on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Crab-stuffed mushrooms

The pita bread in our mezze platter (Greece) could certainly have had more ‘body’ to it (seemed too thin), but the hummus (creamy with the right amount of garlic and olive oil), the tzatziki, and the baba ghanoush dips were as good as any I’ve had. The crab-stuffed mushrooms (fusion dish) were nice, but the salad that accompanied the dish actually offset the taste. The batter-fried squid rings (Spain) with the tartar sauce were good, although the batter did lend a peculiar taste to an otherwise wonderful squid. The Caesar’s salad (USA) was simple and nice, and although it said it had Romaine lettuce, it was quite clearly iceberg.

Hummus, Tzatziki, Baba Ghanoush

Caesar Salad

Calamari Rings

We were reminiscing the old days of Bangalore, and the menu here reminded Gautam of the old Peacock hotel on Residency road and Caesar’s on MG Road, especially with dishes like Chicken Diane. Our main course consisted of chicken enchiladas (Mexico), a flambé dish of beef with mustard sauce (France), and a xinxim (Brazil), which is a stew of chicken and prawns, with coconut and peanut sauce, served with rice. The staff was keen to push the flambé dishes forward, so I guessed this could be their signature dish (confirmed later by Ambar). The flambé is done by the chef next to your table. Gautam wanted his beef medium-rare, but one piece was well done, while the other was slightly medium. Also, beef and fish steaks are never served with sauce on them – the sauce should be served by the side as an accompaniment.

Chicken Enchiladas with refried beans and rice

Xinxim

Flambé

Making the beef with mustard sauce after the flambé

Beef with mustard sauce

PK’s enchiladas were served with refried beans and rice. The refried beans weren’t mashed enough and were hard as opposed to soft and creamy, and PK didn’t think the tortillas tasted right either (I’ll take the word of someone who’s lived 16 years in Mexico). However, a newbie to enchiladas would have loved the dish (like Gautam and I did), but going by authenticity alone, it lost a few points. My xinxim was surprisingly the best of the dishes. The chicken and prawns were cooked nicely, the stew well flavoured, and the coconut used was fresh, and all the flavours blended well in the mouth.

For desserts, we tried a tiramisu and a flambéed banana (flambé certainly is their thing). The tiramisu was bad – hard, to the point where you wonder if it’s Mascarpone cheese or cream that’s inside, or something else. In their defense, it’s not made in-house, but it’s still something to be worked out. The flambéed banana, on the other hand, was simply fabulous – in taste, preparation, and presentation. If one weren’t concerned too much about authenticity and just wanted good, tasty food, Ambrosia would certainly score. However, since I have to critique the place, I think I’ll have to say it comes up short in a few areas, primarily because they claim to be fine dining, but with some effort they can certainly get better.

Tiramisu

Drunken Banana - another flambé

Food: Good, but not fine dining as they claim
Service: Very good
$$$: slightly on the higher side (they claim fine dining, remember?)
verdict: If it's fine dining you're looking for, then this place falls short in a few areas. Taste wise, the food is good in general, barring a few things here and there.


Ambrosia, #52B, 100 Feet Road, 4th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 40940101/102

Monday, November 23, 2009

My attempt at a stir fry

With a lot of stuff (ingredients) leftover from the previous evenings dinner, I decided to finish off everything by making a stir fry - or something like that anyway. As I had mentioned in the earlier post, and dry chicken preparation I make will usually have a lot of vegetables, and this time was no different. Whenever I make such stuff, since there's no recipe I'm following, I just go with instinct (and thus far it's not let me down) when it comes to quantities.







After this point, I added a little soy sauce, a little vinegar, and some sugar as well.
















Needless to say, I loved it, and more importantly, so did my younger brother, who's a very fussy eater otherwise.