Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BM Review: Pepper Café

Some time back, I had visited Pepper Café on St. John's Road to review it for the Bangalore Mirror. I had taken along the Keppelmeisterin from the Peppa Zzing visit, her fiancée, and a couple of her friends along. And what a wonderful time we had! The review for Bangalore Mirror can be read here. Below is the review for the blog.

When the phrase multi-cuisine starts to sound like the nails across a blackboard, perhaps it’s time to explore, or better, switch to, a newer phrase – Eurasian cuisine. Pepper Café does just that, and luckily for Bangalore, it does so with some verve and panache. Situated on St. John’s road, next to Lavanya theatre, this casual wine-and-dine joint (at the time of writing this, I was told that wine would be introduced shortly) certainly knows how to ensure the satisfaction of the guests.

We were a group of 5 carnivores, with no inhibitions when it came to food. We started our meal with some iced teas. Five people with good appetites meant that we ordered five starters. Again, at the time of writing this, there was only one soup on the menu (we skipped it), and so ended up ordering a plate of beetroot hummus, a plate of Italian chicken bites, fish risoles, Caesar’s salad, and the chef’s special salad.

I love a good hummus and I love beetroot, so a naturally sweet beet in the form of a hummus seemed to be quite a treat - and it was. Soft, creamy, sweet, with a hint of garlic along with olives in it not only made it good, but a first for me with the use of beetroot. The chicken bites were seasoned with herbs and came with a sip that seemed like a mixture of mayo and a 1000 island dressing. The chicken was cooked well and it retained its juices.

Beetroot hummus


Another angle of the beetroot hummus


Italian chicken bites

The fish risoles were crumb fried portions, and came served with a salad and tartar dip. Again, quite beautifully done in terms of taste and presentation.

Fish risoles

On to the salads. I’m of the opinion that apart from fresh, crunchy ingredients, a good dressing makes for a good salad. And luckily both criteria were met in this case. What blew us away was, however, not the Caesar’s, but the chef’s special salad. Comprising of feta, lettuce, tomatoes, olives and jalapenos with a tangy dressing, not only was it refreshing, but it was a treat on that sunny afternoon. The Caesar's salad too was good, but there's nothing to write home about.

Caesar's salad


Chef's special low fat salad


Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil

For the main course, we stuck to some old favourites and some fancy creations that are part of the menu. Grilled lamb chops with tabouleh and mint coulis, basa fillet with cajun spiced crab, Vietnamese lemon chicken, a beef steak with mashed potatoes and veggies, and an Aqua pizza - no points for guessing that it had seafood on it.

Once again, all the dishes ordered were spot on in terms of taste and presentation, and the only grouse we had was that we weren't asked how we wanted the steak - rare, medium, or well done. That aside, the lamb chops and the tabouleh were done nicely and complemented each other, while the beef steak was served well done (but once again with a stainless steel knife...wonder why people don't give proper high carbon knives) and tasted good too. The Aqua pizza came with a thin crust, and the seafood toppings were fresh, and it was baked nicely with a nice drizzle of olive oil on top to give it a nice glossy sheen.

Aqua pizza


Grilled lamb chops with tabouleh and mint coulis


Beef steak with mashed potatoes and veggies

The basa with cajun spiced crab on top of it was quite easily one of the tastiest fish dishes I've eaten. Fresh, well flavoured, and the cajun flavoured crab added a different taste and texture to the dish that was well accepted. Lastly, the Vietnamese lemon chicken seemed to have received the most accolades, but the chicken itself, in my opinion, didn't seem that special (it was good, not great), but the condiments that came along made for a good dish.

Basa with cajun spiced crab


Vietnamese lemon chicken

For desserts, it was a bit of chocolate overload. Apart from the brownie, which was quite superb in taste and texture, the other other two cakes (chocolate based) were merely blah.

Brownie with ice cream


One of the chocolate desserts


The other chocolate dessert


Food: Very good
$$$: For a full meal with something to drink, starters, main course, and dessert, around Rs. 600 per head.
Service: Good, but dishes could take a while to arrive
Verdict: Certainly worth a visit
Extra info: Parking for cars may be an issue since St. John's road near Lavanya theatre is a little narrow. Two wheelers can park in any of the side streets.

Pepper Café, # 9, St. John’s Road, Near Lavanya Theatre, Bangalore. Phone: 4113 0000

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Karthik,

Great blog and nice photos to illustrate the review.

But, one question? Do you order all this food and manage to finish it all? Or i assume you might go with a large gang...

:-)

Anonymous said...

Visited Pepper Cafe last week and was highly impressed. Being a frequent traveller and foodie - the food here meets much more than international restaurant standards anywhere else i have eaten. Would recommend this place anyday and Bangalore is privilidged to be able to sample such culinary delights locally without having to travel far. I would have loved to meet the chef if i had a little more time. Must try their Pizza & steaks and lamb chops.