Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Touché Diner

Technology has touched our lived in so many ways that a majority of the technology and the advances that let us get through a day with relative comfort is taken for granted. With the coming of touch screens, it was only a matter of time before this was incorporated into a restaurant's menu/ordering system. The idea was mooted by several people a long time ago, and I guess it wasn't a surprise that we actually are seeing this being implemented. Bengaluru got its first touch screen restaurant, rather appropriately (and obvious) named, Touché Diner.

Located on 100 Feet Road Indiranagar near the 12th main signal, the restaurant is mysteriously shrouded in black and dark shades inside - to enable the almost unearthly glow from the touch screens to 'light up your world'. The tables are large, as one would expect, and depending on the seating capacity per table, there are suitable number of touch screens on the table. Once you place your order, the order is sent to waiters who carry Samsung Galaxy tablets and they confirm the order before transmitting it to the kitchen.

The food, sadly (well, sadly for me), is a hodge podge of dishes from multiple cuisines as diverse as chalk and cheese. My fear with places that are 'multi-cuisine' is that there isn't much consistency and so far my fear has been well founded. 6 of us visited Touché diner for lunch, and while they did have the option of an executive buffet, we chose to go a la carte, for again, I'm of the opinion that the a la carte food is always better than the buffet food. You'll have to excuse the quality of hte pictures - hadn't carried my camera, and the camera on my phone is normally quite bad, and lousy under poor lighting conditions.

The Manchow soup, apart from being spicy, didn't have anything else and was just pathetic, while the roasted tomato & zucchini soup was tangy but quite insipid. The potato-leek soup was an absolute winner for us all - creamy, well flavoured, and smooth. It reminded us of a favourite - the cream of mushroom.

Manchow soup

Potato & leek soup

With the soups out of the way, it was time to munch on some of the starters. The spare ribs in a Tex-Mex sauce were quite a revelation - well cooked, succulent (could've been a bit spicier though), but my only grouse was that we were given only 3-4 ribs...for Rs 365.


Another angle of the ribs

The fish skewers were also quite decent and thankfully the fish was cooked just right. The flavours used here were quite delectable, and Mr. VP actually ate everything on his plate.

Fish skewers

The Waldorf salad didn't seem very exciting (poor lighting in the restaurant results in uninspiring looking dishes), and when it came to the palate, either it was genuine mistake, or common error usually committed, but where was the basic seasoning??? You don't have to marinate the salad in salt & pepper, but PLEASE SPRINKLE SOME. Yes, for the salad. For any salad. Especially if you're primary dressing consists of mayonnaise. The Insalata de flowers - a mixture of red and yellow peppers with corn was quite nice to look at on the plate and pretty decent on the palate.

Waldorf salad

Insalata de flowers

The best veg starter we had was a dish whose name eludes me now (and I can't seem to find it in the menu here). It consisted of buffalo mozzarella cheese along with tomatoes and basil, and a drizzle of a dressing with balsamic vinegar, and it was quite divine.

For the main course, I went ahead and had the lasagna Bolognese, and although this was a spin on the classic spaghetti Bolognese, it was quite simply superb. The ground beef was fresh, and the lasagna was cooked just right with the right amount of cheese - loads of it! Also, in my opinion, this was a healthy spin on a classic dish, the kind of experiments that should be tried out in restaurants so that gourmands can get to experience something refreshingly different. Why limit experimentation only to the bedroom?

Lasagna Bolognese

On a previous visit, I had indulged in the pork chops on a bed of mashed potato along with an onion and sage sauce. The chops were succulent and the sauce was quite brilliant - excellent use of flavours that complimented the potato's bland taste.

Pork chops with onion & sage sauce

The fish sizzler we had was OK, but I am a purist and hate sizzlers, so perhaps the dish was actually good, but I'll still go with 'just OK'. The mushroom risotto was nice if you like cheesy risottos. Although bland (it's one of those dishes you have for 'subtle flavour'), this risotto was done quite nicely.

The veg shaslik, like all veg shasliks I've had all my life is small restaurants, was nothing great, with a few veggies and paneer skewered on sticks and served with herbed rice.
Veg shaslik

Another angle of the veg shaslik

The penne Arrabbiata was nice, but nothing to write home about - a dish if skipped, well, let's just say you wouldn't be missing much. The presentation of all dishes served here is given special attention. Very nicely done.

We didn't opt for dessert as we were quite full, and so left it at that. Given what we'd eaten, the portions, the taste, and the overall experience, I think Touché is a touch, or several touches too expensive. It's all very well to enthrall the guests with gizmos and technology, but this is a restaurant, and you can't shy away from the primary responsibility of serving good food. For 6 of us, the meal came up to a almost Rs 5400 (all inclusive, with a 10% tip). For this kind of money, I think any guest should get to eat absolutely authentic food, which sadly, isn't the case here. Not only was the meal not a 100% authentic to the cuisines served, some of the food is good, some OK, some plain bad, so they'd do well to improve on the kitchen front. 3 stars is a bit of a stretch actually, but what the heck, nobody's perfect right?

Food: OK. Pork and fish dishes good. Rest are average or poor (for the money charged)
$$$: Very expensive. Almost 700-800 per head for a full meal.
Service: Decent
Verdict: Can visit once, but for the money charged, the food needs to be a lot better.
Extra info: Presentation of dishes is very nice.

Touché Diner, 3rd Floor, #762, Above Reid & Taylor Showroom, 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore. Phone: 30412940 ext:107

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