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.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fusilli with ... a lot of things

Saturday night...what a night to cook. P's busy at work, VP's ... sleeping I guess, I don't know, and the party I was supposed to go to at another friend's (from school) house just got canceled, and so while on my way back after doing a restaurant review (coming up soon), I stopped to purchase a few things to go with a packet of fusilli that's there at home.


Whenever I cook chicken, especially with pasta, I'm usually big on using a lot of veggies, especially colourful ones. I guess I missed out on something green in colour :)


I surprised myself this time by using olive oil to fry stuff - usually I reserve my olive oil only for drizzling on meats for marinate or on pizzas.

I found this pack of chicken sausages that looked good, and so that was what I used to keep the brother happy (he's a big chicken fan - not too big on any other meats).










One potential area of improvement - think before cooking. I should have added the chicken into the pan (first), and then followed it up with the veggies. That way they'd have remained a little crisp, like an actual stir fry. I made the same mistake with the next dish (next post).

The end product was very good. No specific name - tomato puree was the primary 'sauce', with the rest of the veggies making up the rest of the matter.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wanley

I've probably visited Wanley about 20 or so times since it opened a couple of years ago, but I've never made a entry in my blog about the place. Sad. The fact that I've been there 20 times should suggest that there's something about the place that I like. Actually, there are a couple of other reasons as well. So let's go about the reasons first. Firstly, Chinese food (alright, Indianised-Chinese, with MSG I suppose), but when we say Indianised-Chinese, that automatically translates into a low cost-large quantity affair.

If you've read my earlier posts, you'll know I'm not big on 'ambiance' and 'atmosphere' and 'service' - as long as the place is clean, and I can see what I'm putting into my mouth, and as long as the wait staff come and take my orders promptly and can tell me what is what, I'm good. Wanley is clean, the service is prompt, and although they try to give you the 'Chinese' experience by having a few lights inside red shades, it's not all that dingy, and neither is it shady. I've seen quite a few 'high society' folks (going by the way they dress and speak and carry themselves about in public) come and enjoy a meal here.

The food. Is great. Compared to a Chungs or a Chung Wah, my usual formula (or criteria) of the ratio of price to quantity is met and satisfied hands down. The service is prompt, and the wait staff can tell you what is what on the menu, which usually helps when almost everything sounds the same! :)

An additional piece of information, purely subjective, is that I think Wanley has the best roast chilly pork among all the 'Chinese' restaurants in town. I used to think it was Delicacy, covered in my last post for Bangalore Mirror, but Wanley I think edges past Delicacy on this one.A little birdie told me that the roast pork served at the original Chung Wah (near Symphony theatre) is truly brilliant. So until I get a chance to check it out for myself, Wanley will hold the title for roast pork.

Chinese joints are a dime a dozen in Bangalore and I'm sure everyone has their favourite, usually in their neck of the woods. And so I won't be asking you to travel across town to eat at Wanley, but if in Indiranagar, do drop in if in the mood for some Chinese.

Wanley, 421, Sree Krishna Temple Road, Indiranagar 1st Stage, Bangalore. Phone: 25253463

Monday, November 2, 2009

BM Review: Delicacy

I've hit a 100 posts! Woohoo! I'd visited Delicacy on Wheeler Road Extension to review the place for Bangalore Mirror. The review can be read here.


Complimentary Fried Wontons


Singapore prawns


Chicken steamed momos


Roast chilly pork


Chicken in pickle chilly sauce


Nam Prik pork


Manchow chicken fried rice

Delicacy, #97, Wheeler Road Extn., Cooke Town, Bangalore. Phone:41250055

Dinner at BakeACake's house

Ms BakeACake invited P, VP and I to her house for dinner, where she and I would be involved in the preparation of the dinner. So once I was done with work, I drove down toward her office (which was on the way to her house) , picked her up, and we went shopping for what we needed. Once that was done, we got into the serious business of making the Bolognaise, and also a white sauce (a la Alfredo) for the spaghetti that we'd bought.

We also mixed some minced garlic with butter and applied it on a loaf of bread, and then put that through the microwave oven.
Garlic bread, our style

Proportions be damned, we just went about adding stuff in quantities that 'seemed' and 'felt' right. The result, though, shocking as it may sound, was fabulous.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Penne Alfredo