If you're wondering what the word 'Thulp' means, then you haven't grown up in Bangalore, or if you did, then, well, you obviously were oblivious to all the slang that was used by a vast majority of us. Thulp is a word used to describe a good beating, but contextually it can also be used to describe binging on food, much like another quintessential Bangalore slang expression, "belting food". So having grown up listening to this word in and out, it's small wonder that Chef Gautam Krishnankutty (of Tai Tai and Asia in a box fame) chose this as the name of his latest venture. Along with Padmakumar, the two have given Bangalore just what was missing - a good place for sandwiches and burgers in a bright, colourful café, which although isn't open air, is extremely cool and breezy and feels just as good as any other open air café, if not better. Oh, and you could also pick up a book from the book shelf to pass time.
Burgers and sandwiches are the kind of food that almost anyone and everyone would like, which is why they've both evolved into various shapes and sizes, and make use of different types of bread, from Cubans to Falafels, shawarmas to subs. Although the sandwiches are the more traditional, classic varieties, Thulp offers them along with their better known cousin, the burger, with different fillings. The burgers here are only beef - the authentic hamburger. In fact, Gautam and Padmakumar had several lengthy discussions over whether there should be a chicken or a lamb burger as well, but Gautam's diktat won over with essentially one point - without beef, it ain't a burger (scores for authenticity).
Fellow Thulpers & grub:
My guests who helped me thulp some food at Thulp were Sunil D'Monte, a free lancing techie, and Ujjwal Vijayakrishnan and Nikita Vasan, both commercial pilots. Ujjwal and Nikita had a couple of shakes - a Boston cooler and a Snicker blizzard, both of which were good. We opened with a chicken satay called 'bird on a wire', a prawn ceviche-like dish called 'Prawnic healing' and chicken momos called ‘steamy critters’. The prawn starter was OK, but the satay was very good, bearing all the hallmarks of a good chicken dish - soft, juicy, and flavourful. The steamed momos were the best of the lot, in terms of taste, texture, and overall feel-good factor.
For the mains, Sunil and I were hell bent on having the burgers, and so a regular beef burger, aptly called ‘Moo’, and one of the Chef's specials for the day, a Teriyaki burger, were ordered. The daily specials, written on a blackboard, usually include an Asian touch. We also had a penne arrabiatta with grilled chicken, a peppery Yakuza, and fish-n-chips called 'A fish called Wanda'. To try one of the sandwiches, I ordered a Chinese barbecued pork sandwich called 'Pigs on the wing'. If creativity with the names is something where Thulp scores high, then taste is where they take it a step further. Nikita and Ujjwal liked their fish-n-ships and the peppery steak respectively, and the penne arrabiatta was also good, but we struck gold with the burgers - right from the 'assembling', down to taste.
Deconstruction of a burger:
A good burger, apart from having a well-flavoured and properly grilled patty, also depends on what is placed where between the sliced bun. Yup, the any-which-way method doesn't apply here. The patty has to always be placed on the lower slice of the bun to allow any juice from the patty which may run out (and a good burger should always have juices running out) to get absorbed by the bun. Above the patty comes the cheese (should be optional), tomatoes, caramalised onions - this is where most burgers fail as they give raw onions (yeeuuck!), and lettuce. At Thulp, the burgers come with shredded lettuce. Having a whole lettuce leaf there makes it difficult to eat, and also makes me feel like a cow, not something I particularly look forward to, especially when I'm eating cow!
We were quite full at this point, but dessert was a must. For dessert, an apple pie with ice cream and a hazel nut mud pie were ordered for, and duly polished off in no time, the mud pie being the superior of the two delicatessens. As Ujjwal said at the end “It was a me‘moo’rable meal”, a pun on the use of ‘Moo’ to describe the beef burgers. Go now and thulp some burgers; it's a 'moo'st try.
Cafe Thulp, #998, 1st Main, 1st Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 25487788