Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BM Review: Aioli

In the month of December, VP had told me that there's a new place called Aioli that's opened up close to where he lives, and a few days when he was home alone, he'd visited the place for dinner and absolutely loved the place. So one day when I had journeyed to his place (trust me, when you travel from BTM layout to that halli of his called Kamanahalli, that IS a journey!), we went to Aioli for lunch, and I liked the place myself and thought it was a fit case for a review. So the review given here will be a combined review of sorts - dishes from both visits will be under the spotlight.

The first time we went there, and since it was just the two of us, we ordered a plate of chicken wings, and for the main course he had the prawns with rosemary dunked in olive oil served in a terracotta dish while I had the Moroccan lamb chops. For desserts, we had a pot of happiness (made from hung yogurt), and grilled pineapples with chocolate sauce.

The chicken wings tasted really nice, and the smoky taste from grilling them over a charcoal fire was superb. However, the usual levels of spiciness that of these wings was enough to get my nose running, so you'd do well to tell them to serve them to you a notch or two lower with respect to spiciness - 'medium spicy' as we so eloquently say in Bangalore (probably India).

Chicken wings

For the mains, VP decided to go in for the prawns with rosemary in olive oil. Olive oil is the only oil VP can have without his stomach going for a toss. Now the thing with rosemary is that it's one of those herbs that either you like it or you don't, and if you do happen to like it, then it's very easy to start disliking it. Too little of it and you'll wonder what the big deal if, and too much of it overwhelms the dish to the point where you'll wanna push the plate away and rinse your mouth with water or something. So the time when Prash had visited alone, I think they'd got the amount of rosemary right coz he loved the dish, but his time around, he said it was 'OK', and both of us felt the rosemary was a touch higher than what we'd have liked. Also, I'm not sure, but some of the prawns didn't seem the best in terms of taste, although I couldn't be certain if this can directly be attributed to the rosemary, or something in the prawns themselves.

I had the Moroccan lamb chops. Though the snap isn't the best I could've taken as it doesn't show sufficient amount of flesh on the chops, suffice to say that they tasted good - well flavoured with herbs, and accompanied by some herbed rice. You can ask for pita bread, fries, or rice for the carbs, although the herbed rice was more Indian-esque than Moroccan, but it served its purpose well.

Grilled prawns with rosemary in olive oil

Moroccan lamb chops

For dessert, the pot of happiness made from hung yogurt seemed a good one, and along with that we decided to have a plate of grilled pineapples with chocolate sauce. The pot of happiness was nice, but a lil too sweet for my liking, while the grilled pineapples were quite good, save for the tutti-frutti that's added to the top.

Grilled pineapple with chocolate sauce

Pot of happiness

The review that I wrote for the Bangalore Mirror can be read here. During the review, we started off with a plate of chicken wings, and this time around, I made sure I asked them to make a little less spicy, and it turned out to be a good thing. Along with the wings, we also ordered a plate of hot dogs with salsa rossa (and later we ordered another plate of the same). The hot dogs came on skewers with a few grilled veggies - the standard lot of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and the likes. These turned out to be quite a hit at the table, hence the repeat order. The final starter was a baba ghanoush, a creamy, flavourful mush of brinjal served with one of the softest baked breads I've ever eaten. Order this dish just for the sake of the bread that's served with it - bliss!

Baba ghanoush

Hot dogs with salsa rossa

With the starters out of the way, we worked our way through the menu for the mains. We ordered the Moroccan lamb chops (again), the Jamaican jerk chicken, two fish preparations - sear fish in lime aioli, and another one with a red-chili marinade, and a vegetarian dish comprising of stuffed peppers and tomatoes.

The lamb chops were just as good as they were the first time I came - well cooked, sufficient meat, well flavoured, and a good number of chops. The jerk chicken tasted good and was nicely cooked, although I thought the jerk flavouring could've used a little more of the Scotch bonnet pepper (a key ingredient in jerk seasoning) - or whatever pepper they were using in their jerk seasoning. The stuffed peppers was just plain insipid and boring, and I don't think we got to see,hear, taste or smell any of it after it came to the table.

Jamaican jerk chicken

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes

The two fish dishes were instant hits and were the highlights of the meal that evening (in the main course). The fish were fresh, the marinades perfect, the cooking done just right and the taste was quite superb. A point to note was that the red marinade didn't seem to be very Mediterranean, although I could be wrong since I don't remember everything that went into it. Midway through the meal I realised I wouldn't be satisfied with what I'd eaten (quantity - I have a deep stomach) and so I ordered a Turkish doner as well. Click the link to see what it actually is, and for the lazy, it's very similar to the Arab shawarma, where meat is sliced off a vertical spit and filled into a bread pocket/made into a roll. This was nice, but could've be better in terms of adding a mayo-based sauce or something since the meat was getting drier by the minute.

Sear fish with lime aioli

Sear fish with red marinade

Turkish doner

For dessert, we had three dishes, of which, sadly, only one was good, while the other two were, quite frankly, bad. So let's start with the bad - the chocolate somethings, made from powdered chocolate and set in the shape of hearts. Taste and texture wise, this just didn't do the trick for any of us. The other dish that could've been good but ended up being not so great was the crème brûlée. The top wasn't fired crisp, while although the inside did try to make up for it, it was falling short of the mark in terms of texture. The one saviour for the desserts was the panna cotta, which was neither too sweet nor too hard and did manage to salvage a little for us after the meal.

Panna cotta

Hazelnut creme brulee

Chocolate something

All in all, a very nice place, good concept, and although it actually isn't a near smoke house, the grill house part of it does make it seem a viable option for a good meal once in a while.

Food: Very good
$$$: Rs 500 - 600 per head for a full meal
Service: Good, but could use a few more hands on weekends
Verdict: Must visit if in the area

Aioli Bbq and Grill Smoke house, #409, 1st Floor, 5th Main, 2nd Block, Kalyannagar, HRBR Layout, Bangalore. Phone: 42984259

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