Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Café Thulp

My guest at Dakhani Degh shall henceforth be referred to as WickedWitch - no, I"m not turning into a bad boy and neither are my senses leaving the small confines of my head, but that's precisely the name she used to describe herself - wicked witch of the feast, although it couldn't be any more diametrically opposite in description. Well, whatever.

So during lunch at DD, I tell her about my quest to find the city's best burgers, and she tells me that there is this new place about to open near her house in Koramangala called Café Thulp, and it's run by Gautham Krishnankutty of Tai Tai and Asia in a Box fame. And the bait she tossed at me was "You can't finish the burger that he serves". Me, not going to be able to finish a burger? Are you kidding me lady? Well, according to her, her healthy appetite prevented her from eating anything else.

So we make plans to visit the place as soon as it opens, and she calls me and we head to the place, me all geared up to tackle this beast of a burger, this upstart that claims it can beat me down. Once we got there, I immediately liked the aura exuded by the place - in a way, I'm a sucker for nice, bright colours, so I guess it helped in a way that the restaurant was brightly coloured, but that apart, it seemed nice.

A look at the menu actually didn't do me any good 'coz my eyes automatically homed in on the burger section as soon as the menu was placed before my eyes, and all I saw was 'Moos'. If you wondering what's that, well, that's the way the burgers are named... and I saw the biggest of them all, Moos your daddy, a beast containing a 12 ounce beef patty, and Gautham asked me "Would you like some bacon with that?". Do ants like sugar? Do women marry for money? I thought of a gazillion questions that had a one word answer, which matched mine in this case. I specifically asked not to be served the French fries along with the burger but asked them to retain the slaw served with the burger. I know now that I'll be able to finish the fries as well.


Moos your daddy

Another angle of moos your daddy

Ms WickedWitch had a sub, it's name I don't know. You can read a detailed post about Thulp here. We also ordered a Chef's special salad, which had a very nice dressing. To make up for the missing fries, I 'thulped' quite a bit of the salad, which is what gave me the confidence that the fries wouldn't prove to be an obstacle now.

We finished with dessert. I had a Picasso, and no points for guessing why the name. WickedWitch had a rum tart or something like that. And as I mentioned to her, I liked my Picasso better...which isn't saying that the dessert she had was bad - no, it was good, but mine was better!

Picasso

The burger I had here at Thulp will definetly make it to the best burgers list I'm compiling. The reasons I liked it were simple:
  • Bun large enough to enclose the meat and 'stuff'
  • Nicely toasted bun
  • Bottom half of bun not too thin making it crumble
  • Lettuce wasn't a large leaf making me feel like a cow (esp. while eating cow!)
  • Onions in it weren't raw - they were caramelised
  • Burger patty placed on the lower half of the bun without anything between it and the lower half of the bun
What's so special of the last point you may wonder? Well, a good burger has all the other stuff on top of the patty, and the patty shouldn't have anything between it and the lower half of the bun because if the burger had been made right, the juices from the meat need to be absorbed by the lower half of the bun. So full points for construction!

I guess a detailed review is in order, so I won't go into giving the usual gyaan about a place. Stay tuned!

Café Thulp, #998, 1st Main, 1st Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 25487788

Richies

Mr VP and I decided to head towards Frazer Town, specifically to Richies to try their biryani, which is supposed to be fabulous. And it being Ramazan, we expected them to get it right at least on this special day. And we weren't disappointed. We also ordered a half plate of mutton chops, which sadly were a little chewy, and nowhere near the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of the mutton in the biryani.

Mutton Biryani

Mutton Chops

The biryani lived up to its reputation, and both VP and I left extremely content.

Richies, #82 MM Road, After Alibaba Cafe, Opposite Bata Showroom, Bangalore. Phone: 25486696

BM Review: Dakhani Degh

This past week I'd been to a small restaurant called Dakhani Degh, situated well into south Bangalore (Jayanagar T block). This was part of a review for Bangalore Mirror, and the review can be read here. My guests were Suman Bolar, and her two sons Amol and Gaurav. Suman runs a popular blog called Food Travel Bangalore, also known as FTB. I've already learnt a lot from this foodie, and for one, I've actually met a food writer, and a brilliant one at that, so totally worth it.

The food was fabulous - especially the mutton main course dish and the dessert. The rest of the food was very good. Below are the pictures of what we ate.

Salarjung Kabab

Dakhani Sheekh Kabab

Mutton Bharra Kabab

Chicken Biryani

Shahi Dum Murgh

Mutton Mamoos

Khubani Ka Meetha

Food: Very good; although there was a butter chicken dish, stick to the Hyderabadi fare
$$$:Can't get better than this - the bill, for all this, including lemon sodas and lassi came to 1100 only!!!
Service: They take your order promptly, clear the plates promptly. If you expect more at these prices, you're crazy!
Verdict: Must visit, at least for the Khubani Ka Meetha and the mutton dishes
Extra Info: Take a right at Sagar hospital from Bannerghatta road (while coming from Dairy circle). It's after Sagar hospital, on the same road, just before the next traffic signal junction. Take a left at this signal and drive up ahead to find a place to park.

Dakhani Degh, 29/1, 30th Cross, Tilak Nagar Main Road, Jayanagar T block, Bangalore. Phone: 32913033

Pizzeria Romano

P, VP and I had some time to kill last weekend. P and VP were at P's place 'packaging' a few chocolates that P wanted to 'gift' to a select few employees (read to a select few girls). I'd heard of this new pizza place that'd opened up in Koramangala, claiming to serve wood oven pizzas. Sounded good, so off we went for dinner.

We started off with mushroom soups, and mushroom in a garlic sauce, along with a plate of chimichanga rolls. The chimichanga, while being slightly different from what I'd eaten at Zoe's, weren't too bad themselves, while the mushroom in the garlic sauce was good, especially if you're the kind who likes garlic - for whatever reasons, including keeping Dracula away!

This place is all veggie for the time being. They plan to start the non-veg section shortly, and also a cafe below, and since this is a unit of Sprocket, the cafe will be called... that's right, Cafe Sprocket.

Chimichanga rolls

Mushroom in garlic sauce

For pizzas, although I was in a mood to devour as many as possible, my fellow partners in crime had filled their stomachs with biscuits ar Mr P's place before coming, and so we settled for two - a 12" wood fire pizza, called Veggie Supreme (recommended by the waiter) with Thousand Island dressing, and we later had a smaller, 7" or 10" (don't remember) Hawaiian (the pineapple in it drawing our attention toward it).

Undoubtedly, the Veggie Supreme came out top...the thin crust baked to perfection, the dressings, the toppings, the cheese... all in just the right amounts and

Veggie Supreme with Thousand Island dressing


Hawaiian

Food: Very good; they do serve a few pastas as well, but come on, stick to the pizzas - they're divine
$$$: Not expensive - way cheaper than a Dominos, or a Pizza Hut, or Papa Johns, or Little Italy. In my view, the best Pizzas in Bangalore.
Service: Very good
Verdict: If you don't visit this place, you're missing out on good pizzas.
Extra Info: Parking could be an issue if you're in a vehicle that has more that 2 wheels, so either park on the main road i.e. the road before you turn onto 5th cross, or try one of the small lanes on 5th cross.

Pizzeria Romano, #55, 5th Cross, 6th Block Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 25525104

Friday, September 25, 2009

Food Fest @ work

On Wednesday, we had a food fest at work, and everyone from our floor (our team) was supposed to cook something and bring it to work. And obviously, there were some who, well, couldn't/didn't tow the line and so they just bought stuff from a restaurant. Nevertheless, it was fabulous. We had made elaborate plans to ensure that people bring the right quantity, but when plans are made, they bear fruit only when people follow them.

We'd asked people who were bringing rice dishes to plan for 5-6 people, i.e. make enough rice so that about 5 or 6 people can have a proper meal, starters or side dishes should in sufficient quantity to feed 20 people, and likewise with sweets - enough for 20 people, since we could cut them and distribute them among the 45 team members. But when they came the next day, there were some who got enough rice to feed 30 people. And when around 45 people bring food, there sure as hell is going to be a lot, and I mean a lot!

Starters: Pappadums, dhoklas, mixtures, vadas, jaljeera (in container)

Main course: Pooris, parathas, chole (chickpeas), rice cakes, drumstick curry, puliogare

Main course: Lemon rice, veg pulav, avial, a couple of dry curries, curd rice, vadas

Main course: Another angle of the above

Desserts & sweets: My pannacotta is at the back (top left, to the right of the bowl of curds).


Chocolate Pannacotta

I finally made pannacotta! I'd been craving for it ever since I ate it at The Rogue Elephant, and finally, I was almost forced into making it. We had a 'food fest' at work, where everyone from our team was supposed to cook something and bring it to office. I'll be writing about that in the next post. For now, let's just stick to getting it out of the system and publishing what I made, the way I made it :)

Since it was for a team strength of 45 (I didn't make enough for 45, coz everyone was bringing something = I kept the number 15-20 in mind), the ingredients used were slightly more.

Ingredients:

6 packets of fresh cream (200 ml packets)
a glass of water
Gelatin
Sugar
Chocolate sauce

Method:

Make sure the water isn't hot, but it shouldn't be ice cold either, room temperature is perfect. Take a cup and a half of water and add to it around 8-9 teaspoons of gelatin. The formula I used was one to one and a half teaspoons of gelatin for every 200 ml of cream. Allow the gelatin to soak up the water and ensure that it doesn't lump together. Add the cream to a saucepan and start heating it on a low flame. After a few minutes, add sugar (this is as per taste - some like it really sweet, some prefer it not too sweet) and stir a little. Once the gelatin has dissolved, or appears to have soaked enough and is dissolving, add it to the cream and stir to mix well. Add the chocolate sauce (or any flavoured sauce/essence). Once the cream begins to boil, turn off the heat and allow it to cool naturally. Pour the mixture into little cups or into one large bowl and cover them/it and keep in the fridge to set. This should take about 4-6 hours (I left it overnight).

Super! Even my brother liked it, so I guess it did turn out well :)



Thursday, September 24, 2009

BM Review: Southin

This past week I had visited a restaurant called Southin, claiming to serve Chettinad cuisine. The full review can be read here. I wasn't able to click any snaps with my phone, so the ones from the PDF will have to suffice.


Chilly Prawns


Kottu Paratha


Mutton Chukka


Vellore Chicken

Food: OK - some good, some tasted good but lacked authenticity, some average.
$$$: Cheap - seven of us ate, and bill came up to a little over 1800.
Service: Usual - place order, they'll get it.
Verdict: Can visit if you want Chettinad food, but otherwise, there are other options available.

Southin, #56, 1st A Main Road, 7th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 40927887, 40927897

Monday, September 14, 2009

BM Review: Eurasia

Last Friday, I visited Eurasia, since the reviewing of restaurant for the coming week was pushed to Sunday afternoon lunch. My guest was the co-owner of The Egg Factory, who from now on shall be called Mr. Cackleberry. The entire review can be read here.

Some of the pictures of what we ate are below.

Jalapeno salsa

Crostini assortment

Margherita (right half) + Manali pizza

Fusilli with putanesca sauce

Lasagna alla napoletana

Sizzling brownie

Classic Tia Maria torte


Food - Very good
$$$ - Moderately expensive, Little Italy rates. going all out could result in a tab of about 500 per head, but this could vary depending on the size of the group and the appetite.
Service - Decent
Verdict - Must visit if in south Bangalore as it spares you the trouble of driving to the congested city center.
Extra Info - They have valet parking, but even the valet staff end up parking it in one of the side streets, so you might as well park in one of the side streets on your own and walk it up.

Eurasia, #12, 32nd Cross, 7th Block Jayanagar, Bangalore. Phone: 22452202, 22452203, 22452204

The full review is here:

If you heard the words Bangalore, vegetarian, and Italian in the same sentence, you’re sure to think Little Italy, and who could blame you. And yet, jumping to conclusions has proved all of us wrong on more than one occasion. Eurasia, the new kid on the block (7th block, in this case), is a franchise of Little Italy. A look at the menu dispelled any fears of being served the same food as Little Italy. To put it in perspective, the menu isn’t as big as Little Italy’s, but then again, it isn’t entirely Italian, as they have a barbeque and Mongolian section, which according to co-owner Shilpa Muthanna, will start from October 15.

Co-owned by three close friends Shilpa Muthanna, Savita Rao, and Meera noojabail, Eurasia is located in a predominantly residential area, where trees form a canopy over most roads, and has an open (ergo, bright) seating area. While the setting may not transport you to the rustic countryside of Italy, you’ll certainly be at ease, and although the restaurant gives out a fine dining glow, Shilpa says they want it to be a little informal, hence doing away with the table cloth, and replacing the traditional knife-fork-spoon combo alongside the plate with just a fork. My guests for the Sunday afternoon lunch were my friend Yogesh Mokashi, a hard-core foodie and co-owner of the Egg Factory (St Mark’s road), his wife Suman, an HR-executive with Infosys, and their energetic 3-year-old daughter Navya.

We started off with a simple tomato soup for Navya, a jalapeno salsa, a tabbouleh, and an assortment of crostinis. The jalapeno salsa was good —jalapeno chopped and added to a creamy, cheesy mixture served with pieces of toasted bread, and was just spicy enough to make you realise that you’re alive, but not over the board spicy. The tabbouleh salad was nice, but the use of tomato was a little too aggressive, masking the taste of the rest of the ingredients. Finally, the crostini assortment had decent variety and was nice, but nothing special.

An Italian meal isn’t complete without pizza; those who'll scream murder at this because I'm upstaging pasta can cry in a corner. The staff offered to serve us half a Margherita, and half a Manali, which had olives, corn and cheese among other things. It was a beautiful sight - the honey bee coloured Manali against the striking red of the Margherita, and the taste was superb. The fusilli with puttanesca sauce, made from tomatoes, olives and capers, giving it a tangy twist, was good.

Puttanesca means whore’s, originating from the Italian word puttana (prostitute), and one theory states that Sandro Petti, a restaurateur, was down to just the aforementioned ingredients and had to serve a group of friends, who in their drunken stupor, yelled (in Italian) “Make any kind of garbage”, using the Italian word puttana in a contextual meaning for garbage.

The lasagna alla napoletana we ordered was fabulous — a cardiac patient’s nightmare, it was rich with ricotta and mozzarella, but being a vegetarian restaurant, the usual ragù was replaced by a tomato sauce. To top it all, there seemed to be some more cheese on top — presumably parmesan (if they were going authentic), but in the medley of all that we had, it was hard to tell. To round up our meal, we had a flambéed chocolate fudge brownie (aka sizzling brownie), and a classic Maria (a Tia Maria torte). While the brownie was super fresh and was yummy, the Tia Maria is a dish that could be described as one with an acquired taste. Not that we didn’t like it - on the contrary, I liked it a lot, although the liqueur used, the Tia Maria (originally made from the famous Jamaican Blue Mountains coffee beans), was a little too strong, and it's the taste of the liqueur that takes getting used to.

All things considered, Eurasia is a nice place for a meal, one where south Bangaloreans can flock towards when not in the mood to head towards the congested city center. A noteworthy point is that all the portions served were very generous, making up for the price, which is slightly on the higher side, considering this is vegetarian food. A word of advice: skip the antipasti, start off with a pizza, move on to the pasta, and mop up with dessert. Buon appetito!

Corcnucopia

I'd heard a lot about Cornucopia, and that it was co-owned by the ever-inconsistent Robin Uttappa and the mercurial Sreeshanth, cricketers from the Indian team. The menu online looked looked good, and going by what I heard, it seemed like a nice place to try out. The plan has been on for the last 2 months or so, but there's always been something or the other that prevented us from visiting there.

Finally, on a Friday night when Mr P decided not to stay back late into the night at work, we decided to first head out to watch a movie with another old school classmate, MuscledWings. We watched the animated movie 9 and barring MuscledWings, the rest of us liked it. Once the movie was done, MuscledWings went home to see his parents off to Kerala, and so the rest of us headed towards Cornucopia.

Although the restaurant is tucked away in a quiet by lane off Richmond Road, and was part of a home stay called the Bat and Ball Inn, seeing the place empty on a Friday night gave us the chills. Was this a place to try out, or would we have our stomachs going on strike and keep us on the pot over the weekend? We were soon going to find out.

Sadly, no pictures for this post, as my phone was out of action, and the phone I was using temporarily, well, I forgot to remove the snaps from it.

We started off with lime sodas and a soup, a spiced baked vegetable and pasta soup. The soup was nice, and although I liked it, Mr P thought that the spiciness was actually ruining the taste.

Next came the curried mushroom and corn sacks, which were yummy. The veg crostinis were ok, nothing great, and apart from the first time we had crostinis at the Egg Factory, which we loved by the way, we haven't come across good crostinis in Bangalore ever since.

Mr VP and I also ordered a stir fried prawns, which was flavoured in a mixture of cumin, curry powder and olive oil, and it was great. we also had a plate of pan-grilled mutton kababs, which were nice, but a tab bit thin, not meaty enough around the skewers.

For the main course, Mr P ordered a mixed veg moussaka "classique", VP had a grilled pomfret mahler, and I had a grilled chicken breast carson. No complaints with any of the food.

We finally mopped up with an amazing peach cobbler pie.

Food - Predominantly continental
$$$ - Around 500 or so per head
Service - Decent
Verdict - Nice place for a lunch/dinner. Worth a visit.
Extra info - They levy a 10% service charge

Cornucopia, #3, Laurel Lane, Richmond Town, Bangalore. Phone: 41149495, 41738503

Friday, September 11, 2009

BM Review: Ping

Ping! Actually, it's P!ng. Dim sum means “a bit of heart”, and is the name given to a Chinese cuisine which involves a variety of dumpling-like dishes served traditionally along with Chinese tea. According to owner Rajanikanth Manchi, formerly with HP, Ping is derived from a Chinese character ‘Ping’ which means the best, of the highest standard and applies to food, among other things.

The full review can be read here. I'll upload pictures from my phone as soon as I get it back (it's off for 'service'), bear with the screenshot of the PDF version until then (or just buy a copy of today's Bangalore Mirror :) ).

Chicken and shitake cheong fan (top left), fried wonton amuse-bouche (in the glass), nutty nectar (right)


Prawn and cilantro sui mai (left), lotus leaf parcels (right)


Chicken wrapped in banana leaf (left), non-veg platter - chicken skewers, prawn dim sums, threaded crab dumplings with wasabi mayo


The sauces with wasabi mayo (top left)

Cheong fan

Fire cracker prawns with orange-chilli dip

Dim sums part of the non-veg platter

Banana leaf wrapped chicken

Lotus leaf parcel (opened)

Pan-fried sea food noodles

Blueberry tart

Nutty nectar

Mango mousse


Food
- Good, and if you're fine with dim sums, then great!
$$$ - moderately expensive, about 350 to 400 or so per head, if you go all out. This could vary depending on the size of your group and your appetite.
Service - Good
Verdict - Must visit
Extra Info - Turn into the lane next to Sukh Sagar, 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

The full review can be read here:

Dim sum means “a bit of heart”, and is the name given to a Chinese cuisine which involves a variety of dumpling-like dishes served traditionally along with Chinese tea. Koramangala saw a new specialty restaurant, Ping, open recently, specialising in dim sums — over 30 kinds. According to owner Rajanikanth Manchi, formerly with HP, Ping is derived from a Chinese character ‘Ping’ which means the best, of the highest standard and applies to food, among other things.

Speaking of the best, my guests for the evening were Dr Arnab Mukherjee, an Assistant Professor of Economics at IIM-B (at 32, one of their youngest) who’s spent time in Japan and California, and Priya Nair, a six sigma service and quality ‘champion’ with Thomson Reuters. Conceptually, the idea of having a place that directs a lot of its focus on various forms of one type of dish was appealing, and Rajanikanth confirmed that there was a trend of patrons moving towards more ‘starters-based’ meals so that they could savour more during a meal.

We couldn’t resist the dim sum platter, having a variety of meats — chicken, fish, crab and prawns, which were either steamed, fried or grilled. The threaded crab dumplings with wasabi mayo stoodout, with the fish and shitake coming close second, while the steamed prawn dim sum felt doughy, preventing us from appreciating its taste.

We had decided to go all out on dim sums — it’s not always you get to binge on ‘starters’ alone and enjoy it — and so we ordered a few more: prawn and cilantro sui mai, fire cracker prawns, spicy chicken and basil cheong fan, and shitake and green onion cheong fan. The ambiance helped nurture hope of a fine meal amidst conversations about a professor’s life in an IIM and other gastronomic topics.

The fire cracker prawns, served with an orange and chilly dip, was fabulous — the sweet from the orange contrasting with the heat from the chilly, yet blending together with the roll-shaped batter-fried prawns, with the tail sticking out like the wick of a cracker. The sui mai tasted good, but since I knew there were essentially two types of sui mai (Cantonese version, which are smaller, firmer pieces, while the version from the south is larger and tougher), I had hoped there would at least be a mention of it. The cheong fans are more a Southeast Asian dish, and are rolls with rice or rice noodles with meat, covered with a chilly and soy sauce mixture. Texture and taste wise it was nice, although how someone could eat something this flimsy with chopsticks is a mystery to me.

Moving on, we then had a chicken wrapped in banana leaf, and a signature dish called lotus leaf parcels with chicken and shitake. The chicken wrapped in the banana leaf was very good — spicy enough for the Indian palate to appreciate, yet subtle enough to not overwhelm you. The flavour imparted by the lotus leaf to the steamed concoction of sticky rice, chicken and shitake was great, and although the contents by themselves came across as being a little bland, the unique lotus flavour and the aromas alone would be appreciated by any gourmand. We ended our main course with a sea food pan fried noodles, which had pieces of lotus stem tossed in giving it a nice crunchy texture and a unique taste. Unfortunately, the fish in it played spoiler, neutralising the good work done by the rest of the ingredients. The end of the meal saw us being served with little pieces of white chocolate-wrapped paan, which to me is an acquired taste.

Although the dessert section says ‘Dessert Bay’ and made us imagine we’d have a variety of desserts to choose from, the only variety was a multitude of ice creams, and a handful of non-ice cream dishes (of which I liked the blueberry tart).
Rajanikanth mentioned that this menu is still a work in progress, and the plethora of ice creams is primarily to attract the swarms of college students in the area, who’d otherwise end up in a Barista or Coffee Day. Numerically, this meal would get a 3.25 out of 5, but since the icons we use don’t allow a quarter, let’s make do with a 3. I hope that in the coming weeks and months, the Dessert Bay would become just that — an alcove of rich indulgences everyone desires.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BM Review: C'est La Vie

C'est La Vie is the French bistro-esque restaurant of the Seven Hotel on the outer ring road. I'd been there last Friday to review it for the Bangalore Mirror. The review can be read here. Once again, I couldn't take pictures, so I'll have to use the ones taken by the photographer from the Bangalore Mirror, Ranjana, for this post. And thanks to her for the great shots!

The watered down version is here.

We started off with a velouté de champignons (mushroom soup) which was perfect in texture and taste.

A cold dish called gateau de taboulé aux aubergines et tomates confites, which was couscous with sliced of brinjal, tomatoes and capsicum was served, the capsicum adding a mild sweetness to the dish.

Velouté de champignons (top), and a melon sorbet

Another starter we had, typical of the Nice region, was the salad Niçoise, which was a combination of long-grained rice, tuna, sliced eggs, beans, tomatoes, shallots and potatoes.

Steak c'est la vie (left), and salad Niçoise

And finally, a quiche lorraine au poulet, or a chicken quiche.

For the main course, we had a filet de poisson grille (grilled fish),

a poulet Basquaise, which was tagliatelle pasta with chicken in a tomato broth,

Poulet Basquaise

a hachis parmentier au canard, which was a couple of layers of mashed potatoes with slices of duck meat in between, topped with a layer of cheese and then baked,

Hachis Parmentier au canard

steak c'est la vie, which was a moist and juicy cut of the tenderloin (or sirloin, not sure), and a brochette d'agneau, which was basically skewered lamb - like a kabab, only this had cubes of lamb meat, not minced meat.

Quiche lorraine au poulet (top left), Gateau de taboulé (top right), Filet de grille (bottom left), Brochette d'agneau (bottom right), Apple pie (middle)

Apparently, cheese is always eaten after the main course and before dessert. This is because the cheese has a pH value that makes it basic in nature, and this helps neutralise the acidity in the mouth that develops after the main course. We had a platter of Brie, Morbier, and Comté.

Brie, Morbier and Comté

We then had an apple pie (no picture), which was simply amazing, and easily the best I've had anywhere. Along with that, we wanted to have the chocolate pie which we were told was the best, but they didn't seem to have that, so we settled for a chocolate muffin-like thingy.

Chocolate muffin (or cupcake, whatever)

Lastly, a trio of sorbets - mango, melon, and red wine!

Red wine sorbet

Food: Excellent
$$$: Slightly expensive - it would work out to around 500-600 per head (although our bill came a little more - we had a glass of wine as well, so it came to Rs. 3511)
Service: Decent
Verdict: If you like Italian food (I'm not talking pastas, I'm talking about the taste), you would like French cuisine, and C'est La Vie certainly does justice.
Extra Info: While driving from Marathahalli towards K R Puram, the hotel comes on the left side.

All photographs used in this post were taken by and are the property of Ranjana of The Bangalore Mirror.

C'est La Vie, The Seven Hotel, 39/5, Outer Ring Road, Doddanekkundi, Between Marathahalli and KR Puram, Bangalore. Phone: 42627777

The full review is here:

Most Indians would stay away from French cuisine citing 'lack of taste'. They can’t be more wrong. I'd never experienced French cuisine before (unless you call food eaten on Air France 17 years ago 'French cuisine'), and so I visited C'est la vie, the French bistro-type restaurant part of the Seven Hotel, with an open mind and no preconceived notions about French food. The restaurant's manager, Vincent Structure, came to Bangalore 5 months ago from France to nurture this smart, well lit, well spaced bistro-esque restaurant, with pleasant decor - little black slates on the tables showing the menu of the day (like in a bistro), paintings and names of prominent streets of Paris placed the walls. I hoped to get a taste of real French food, and decide first hand if there was any truth in the oft repeated excuses.

My guests for the evening were Vrata Venet, executive director at Raj Hamsa Ultralights, an ultralight aircraft manufacturing firm, his wife Nirmala, and their friend Veronique Sauzay, a French national staying in Bangalore for the last 3 years. Vrata is also a paragliding instructor, and is the brother of actress Kalki Koechlin (of Dev D fame). He pointed out that at French households and restaurants, the fork is set facing down, as was the case here. This is because when Catherine of Medici, an Italian, got married to France's King Henry II in the 16th century, she brought along the fork to France (hitherto unknown in France). However, the fork bore the symbol of the Medici family, an 'M', and the King's mother did not like it staring back at her, and so she turned the fork and made it face down, and the practice continued ever since.

We started off with velouté de champignons, a mushroom soup, which was perfect in texture and seasoning. Along with the soup, we ordered a quiche lorraine au poulet (chicken quiche), salad Niçoise (consisting of tuna, eggs, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and shallots), and a gateau de taboulé aux aubergines et tomates confites (cold couscous with brinjals and tomatoes). The chicken quiche was great, and unlike any other quiche I've had before, with a cake-like texture. The taboulé was a perfect blend of cold couscous and brinjals, with thin slices of yellow and red capsicum adding a mild sweetness to the dish. The etymology of aubergine was deconstructed by Vrata: from Sanskrit vatin-ganah to al-badinjan (Arabic - Arabs took brinjal from India), to albergínia (Spanish - introduced by the Moors), eventually, aubergine in France.

For our main course, we had a steak c'est la vie (beef), a hachis parmentier au canard (duck), a filet de poisson grille (fish), a brochette d'agneau (lamb), and a poulet Basquaise (chicken). Although we tried a variety of meats, we weren't disappointed with any of them. The steak was a beautiful cut from the tenderloin (or sirloin), and was nice and juicy. The hachis parmentier is a classic baked dish with two layers of mashed potatoes with sliced duck meat in between (traditionally minced beef), topped with a layer of cheese (similar to the English shepherd's pie). Named after Antoine-Augustine Parmentier, a vocal promoter of potato as a food source, all its components blended in harmoniously. The simplicity of the grilled fillet of fish was a lesson to all who think that thick, rich gravies are the only ways with fish and other meats. The lamb in the brochette (skewers of lamb) was nicely flavoured, and the poulet Basquaise had tagliatelle with wonderfully juicy chicken in a tomato broth.

Being gastronomic artists, the French eat cheese after the main course to balance the pH levels in the mouth (the basic nature of cheese neutralises the acidic nature of the food), and so that's exactly what we did. A trio of Brie, Morbier, and Comté was eaten before we switched onto the more delectable desserts of sorbets (mango, melon and red wine), chocolate muffin, and apple pie. According to Veronique, the apple pie was better than any she's had in France, while the sorbets were good. A rating of above 4 (out of 5) is certainly on the cards here.

The French have a proverb "Il faut manger pour vivre, et non vivre pour manger", meaning eat to live, don't live to eat. But with such culinary delights, it's hard to fathom which Frenchman came up with that - maybe it was an Englishman!