Monday, February 22, 2010

TGIF

It'd been a loooooooooong time since we visited TGIF, and what better day to go than on a Friday! We'd initially planned on going to some place where we could have a meal with 500 bucks (totally, for all 3 of us), but eventually ended up spending 1200 bucks each!!! I hope this spell doesn't continue too long or I'll be broke soon. Since we got there during the happy hours, we would get a drink free for every drink ordered, so we ordered a mojito and a blue something (which was basically vodka).

Mojito


Blue Something (Vodka)

P being a veggie, there weren't too many options available, and very few seemed interesting, and so he ordered a plate of loaded potato skins. These weren't as good as the ones we had at Woodstok - these had only cheese in them.

Loaded Potato Skins

I ordered a Jack Daniel's Tower, comprising of shrimps, ribs, and chicken with the JD sauce and it was superb. Apologies for the quality of the snap, but if you've been to TGIF, you'd know that the lighting there is weird and not very conducive for taking snaps unless you have a flash, and I didn't want to make everyone around aware that I'm taking pics with my phone

Jack Daniel's Tower (shrimps, ribs, chicken)

P then ordered a South-West Potato something, which was potato wafers with jalapeno, cheese and a couple of other things tossed in to make it tasty. This was far better than the potato skins. This option was from the happy hours menu, which we'd completely missed looking at while placing the initial orders.

South-West Potato something

For the main course, I noticed that there was a new burger on the menu, South-West burger, that was a beef patty with jalapeno, cheese, and tomatoes. It tasted OK - I guess I'm picky now coz I refer the burgers at Thulp simply because of the fact that they constructed perfectly. Here, the patty was dry, and it had lettuce below it, so it wasn't on the lower half of the bun, and the worst part was the bun was started crumbling half-way through the burger.

South-West Burger

P & VP shared a cheese dish whose name I can't remember now. It seemed pretty good.

Cottage Cheese something

VP got conned - when I say conned, I mean a waiter came up and goaded him into having a tequila shot. That cost us 400 bucks! For that tiny amount...geez man.

Tequila shot

Once we were done with the meal, we sat outside TGIF to allow things to settle in our stomach,s and we were joined by a rather nice looking and well mannered dog. She sat by our sides, wanted to be petted, and even knew how to shake hands with us.

The dog outside TGIF


Friday, February 19, 2010

BM Review: Ruh

This week I visited a restaurant called Ruh on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) to review it for The Bangalore Mirror. The review can be read here.

The restaurant serves Mediterranean and Indian food. We stuck to the Mediterranean section. My guests were Vrata Venet (who was also one of my guests at C'est la vie), and a couple of his friends: Eric Vicario, a Spaniard, and Olivia Godeluck, a French national, both living in Bangalore, who've started a company called Karavel Consulting for Spanish and French SME companies that wish to start businesses here.

The pictorial tour, along with some additional info is here:

The al-Harira soup, which had shredded lamb with cinnamon, lemon, and a touch of honey, was superb.

al-Harira soup

Sangria, which had peaches in it, was liked by Eric and Olivia.

Sangria

Vrata had a glass of one of the Indian red wine varieties.

Red wine

Patatas Bravas, or spicy potatoes, served with a nice salsa dip.

Patatas Bravas

The evergreen hummus, along with pita bread and pita chips.

Hummus

We ordered a Spanish omelet, but what came out, according to Eric, wasn't a Spanish omelet. "It's a nice nouveau dish, but the real deal".

Spanish Omelet

The spinach croquettes weren't as big as Eric thought they'd be, and certainly didn't look very appealing, and they were pretty fair when it came to taste.

Spinach Croquettes (yes, I know, they don't look too appealing)

The non-vegetarian mezze platter had hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, pita chips, little samosas called samosi, kibbeh, little buns filled with minced meat, and chicken.

Non-veg mezze platter

The vegetarian moussaka was nice, with the vegetables cooked nicely and seasoned well. Vrata and Olivia thought they were a little aggressive with the pepper, but that didn't spoil the dish and it was still very good.

Veg moussaka

The seafood paella was a disappointment of sorts - not in terms of taste, but authenticity. What was served to us wasn't a paella, but a risotto! As a risotto is was pretty good (although I'm not sure cheese goes well with seafood), but a paella it certainly wasn't.

Seafood Paella (turned out more like a risotto)

The albondigas, or Spanish meatballs, were served with a spicy tomato sauce, and were served on a bed of rice. For the Indian palate, this tasted good, but the guests thought it was a little too spicy for their liking.

Albondigas, or Spanish meatballs, in spicy tomato sauce

The tiramisu could have used a little more sprinkling of coffee powder on the top, but otherwise it was good - mascarpone and Marsalla were both present.

Tiramisu

The baklava, a thin pastry made of sheets of phyllo dough, filled with nuts and honey, was nice, although it did feel a little dry, but not adversely.

Baklava


**Note from the writer (me)**: A couple of friends went to Ruh on Valentine's Day, and from what I heard, there were several people at Ruh on that day, more than what they could handle, and so the service suffered, and so did the food. This review was a based on experiences 5 days before V-Day.

Food: Very good, especially the Lebanese, Arabian, and Moroccan. Spanish needs a little work, but it's still good.
$$$: Around Rs. 500-700 per head without drinks.
Service: Good.
Verdict: Definite must visit.
Extra Info: The ambiance is wonderful. Although I don't have pictures of the restaurant here, I'll be sure to get them during my next visit. The restaurant is located on the Outer Ring Road (ORR), very close to the Sarjapur Road-ORR junction. If coming from Sarjapur Road, turn onto the ORR, and once you see the service road, get onto it and go ahead till you cross a petrol bunk. It's a little ahead after that.

Ruh, 912 & 913, 4th Floor Terrace, Ganapa Towers, Outer Ring Road, Bellandur Village, Varthur Hobli, Bangalore. Phone:42022727/37, 9845175777

Monday, February 15, 2010

Zheng

So after the near miss of Zheng on Friday night, Sunday night we decided to go to Zheng. As if the weekend wasn't bad enough for me (in spite of having Friday and the weekend off, I had to be at office), things took a turn for the bizarre on Sunday night. We were supposed to meet at 8. VP called saying he'd be late 'coz he was stuck in Malleswaram, Saucy and Ms WeightConsious too were going to be a little late, and so I was waiting outside for P to come. Finally, Saucy and WC came, but no signs of P. We waited till 9 and then went inside.

Once seated, WC looked over at the counter, and who do we see there eating - P! He'd been waiting for us inside! Aaaarrgghhh!!! In any case, he was almost done with his dinner and so the rest of us, while waiting for VP, had a few drinks. Surprisingly, they didn't have Long Island Ice Tea on their cocktail menu! That was indeed a surprise. Saucy didn't like his mojito, claiming that it didn't have enough mint and lemon in it, while WC said her cosmopolitan was like cough syrup.

We didn't fancy any of the starters and were pretty keep on trying out the Mongolian barbecue section, and so that's just what we did. VP and WC had a Teriyaki sauce bowl, VP with rice, while WC had it with Hakka noodles.


Rice with Teriyaki sauce and chicken and veggies


Hakka noodles with Teriyaki sauce and chicken and veggies

Saucy had a smoked mustard BBQ with lamb and hakka noodles. His dish was really good compared to the Teriyaki thing.

Smoked mustard BBQ with lamb and veggies

I had rice with a Kublai BBQ bowl with shrimps. This was also very good and it was tough to decide which was better between this and the one Saucy had.

Rice in Kublai BBQ with shrimps and veggies

Kublai BBQ with shrimps and veggies (as above, being put on my plate)

For desserts, since P was in early, and was done by the time we decided to stop waiting outside and went in, he first had a lychee pudding. He didn't like it, in fact he hated it, so did the others, and even I, with a high threshold, didn't like it too much - I think the texture of pudding doesn't go well with lychee, and there was a strange coconut flavour coming that wasn't in place. This thing should go off the menu immediately. When it came to our turn to have desserts, VP had a banana toffee, pieces of banana deep fried and served with a syrup. This is nice. I decided to go traditional, and had a Hong Kong street food dessert called Sago Float, which was sago balls with mango and lychee jelly with coconut milk. I actually liked it, and thought it was good. However, if you don't like the flavours mentioned, then stay away from this dish.

Banana Toffee

Sago Float

Lychee Pudding

Food: The Mongolian BBQ food was very good. The cocktails were not great and they need to get their act straight there. Desserts were a 50-50.
$$$: The Mongolian thing costs 300 for veg, 350 for chicken and lamb, and 400 for fish and shrimps. The a la carte menu is the usual slightly high end price list, which would probably come to around Rs. 500-600 per head (without drinks).
Service: Good, but slow. Actually, courteous, but very slow.
Verdict: I'd like to go back just for the Mongolian thingy, and maybe try something from the a la carte menu if it seems different.

Zheng, Blu Petal, Jyothi Nivas College Road, After Jyothi Nivas College, Bangalore.

Khawa Kar Po

P, VP and I were supposed to go for dinner at this new place called Zheng, part of a new business hotel called Blu Petal. Zheng boasts of a Mongolian barbeque (apart from the Chinese cuisine). And so We reached the place and it took us a bit to find the place (we weren't quite sure where 'Jyothi Nivas Road' was - whether it was the small road on which the college was actually located, or the main road where Ping is located). So eventually we found it on the small road where the college actually was. While waiting for VP to come, P and I saw a lot of other small joints that we'd never been to before.

We then suddenly came up with this:

P: Let's have a roll here, at this roll joint.
Me: No way, I don't wanna fill myself before the Mongolian barbeque.
P: Let's go there some other time... we'd never come back to this area to visit these small places. Now that we're here, let's do them.
Me: OK, the logic sounds good.

So we waited for VP while munching on rolls at a small place (next to Cuppa). Once VP came we told him the change of plans and once we finished our rolls, we headed down the street towards a Tibetan restaurant called Khawa Kar Po (don't ask me what it means). We decided to skip the usual Chinese stuff (OK, not all of it, but most of it).

We started off with soup (P and I): a clear veg soup for him, and a Pc's chicken soup for me (which had a lot of egg yolk in it, I was told). We also ordered a plate of chili beef, chicken steamed momos, a lahping, which was like Malaysian flat noodles in a spicy sauce.

Veg lahping

Pc's chicken soup (this was a meal in itself)

Chili beef seemed inviting, but turned out to be really spicy. I know it says 'chili', but this was a little too much.

Chili beef



Veg clear soup (some kind of clear soup, although it doesn't look very clear)

The next thing we had was something very Tibetan - shabbakalay. These were little round thingies filled with either vegetables or meat, and then deep fried.

Veg shabbakalay

The chicken momos were the most familiar of the lot - in terms of taste and knowing what to expect. However, the taste of the dough wasn't the smoothest, and could have been much better.

Chicken momos

I was full, and didn't want to eat any more as we were planning to go to Corner House for strawberries and ice-cream, but P wanted to eat something more. So he ordered a veg dish with glass noodles (the name eludes me now). When it came, we saw it, and I threw my hands in the air and said "I'm not eating that - just the sight of it makes me full!". A bowl full of noodles and veggies, and if that wasn't enough, it was spicy as hell, as in outrageously spicy. You'd do well to ask them to reduce on the spices next time...they seem a little trigger happy with the chilies. I wonder if it was because they figured us to be south Indians and stereotyped us into the usual 'spicy food loving people' category.

Veg glass noodles

Food: Decent
$$$: Rs. 295/- for all this. Figure it out.
Service: Prompt - they take your orders and can tell you what is what. If you're expecting more, go jump.
Verdict: Not a bad option if you're around that area and want to have a quick, cheap lunch, although I must admit, if you're fussy, better go to Chung Wah or Popsies.

Khawa Kar Po, Opp. Jyothi Nivas College Gate, Jyothi Nivas College Road, Koramangala, Bangalore.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cafe Thulp

After 10 months in Germany, Ms WeightConsious came back to Bangalore. We met up over the evening at Thulp. VP and I inquired if they could make the Teriyaki burger (even though it wasn't on the board as the day's specials), and they said they could. What was interesting was the the reaction of the guy who took our order. He came back saying:

Thulp Waiter: Yes, the chef said he would be able to make it.
Me: Great, we'll have two then [one for VP and one for me; P and WeightConsious were having something else]
TW: Two??? [eyebrows raised] Let me check!
All of us: Huh? [laughter]

In any case, they were able to make two teriyaki burgers for us, although they weren't like the one I had when I visited the place to review it for Bangalore Mirror (that one had sauteed mushrooms, etc., while this one didn't). It was grilled with Teriyaki sauce. None the less, it was good.

Teriyaki burger


Tom Kha soup (or some soup of Tom)


Fries with garlic and cheese


Zorba the Greek (veg sandwich)


Chucky something (chickpeas sandwich)


Hammy hears a who (ham sandwich)


Her face got in the way


There's my structure