Wednesday, July 18, 2012
A couple of Sundays back, I was at The Park Plaza for brunch. Invited. Normally, I don't take invites from restaurants to visit their place and then 'blog' about it - there's always the credibility issue. However, in this case, I reasoned with myself that a brunch cannot be 'fixed' or 'be made more special' for me. I was right.
The Park Plaza is in Marathahalli, near the multiplex (on the same side). The hotel houses a 24 hour coffee shop called The Melange, a North Indian/Mughlai restaurant Zafran (single 'f'), a Chinese restaurant Shao, and a lounge called Gadang. I particularly like the name chosen for the lounge because the word 'gadang' is a word from my mother tongue Tulu, and basically is used to refer to a local liquor shop. Of course, I didn't ask as to whether that was the case here because I was drawn into Melange like a moth toward a ... no sorry, like a bee toward a colourful flower.
Melange is a huge place, with both indoor as well as outdoor seating. My friend and I chose to sit outside, but that was probably not the best decision in spite of the fantastic weather. The wind was on a rampage, knocking over some of the live grills that were set up outside, and on other occasions toppling over the caps some of the chefs had got on their heads. But it was fun to see in a nice way.
We started off with a laksa that was part of the Asian section along with steamed momos. The laksa had a nice dose of coconut milk and I was sold! The noodles and meat in it was nicely married in the dish along with the veggies. However, I didn't think the dish was spicy enough - given the colour of the laksa, this certainly was not the rempah-based laksa (Sarawak laksa), and it didn't have enough sourness from tamarind for it to qualify as a asam-based laksa (Penang laksa). Given the colour, I'm guessing they were going for the Penang laksa, but I can't be certain. Nonetheless, if you're the kind you enjoys a Tom Kha soup, you're bound to enjoy this, but if you're looking for the real deal, I'm not so sure.
Beside the usual starters like salads, there were also a few neatly laid out amuse bouches that made for a very nice picture. The prawn amuse bouches were really very nice, and the lamb was fantastic - creamy in texture, with good amount of seasoning to bring out the flavour of the meat. Amongst the salads, the carrot salad blew me away simply because of the way it looked (first), and then because of the taste and the fact that is retained a crunch but wasn't hard at the same time, making it easy to eat with a fork. There were also some cured meats - ham and the like, and those were very nice as well, including the melon + ham combo.
The steamed momos that came in, chicken and prawn, were also quite nice, although the shells were a little on the thicker side. However, since they were steamed right there, I'm guessing the shells had to have a slightly thicker 'bottom' to ensure the entire things holds and doesn't crumble and disintegrate.
Starting from top left, moving clockwise: Pasta salad, German potato salad, Mexican carrot salad, and aubergine & broccoli salad
Prawn, lamb, and prawn again
Prawn amuse bouche, all lined up
Chicken (left), and prawn momos
The spread for the Sunday brunch is extremely extensive and very impressive. There was a counter where a chef was making pizzas and you could choose the toppings, while another counter had pastas. The are where we sat outside had a tandoor for tikkas for kababs, a burger stand, as well as a huge Weber grill where jumbo prawns were being grilled. The pizzas were decent, although I wish they hadn't been so stingy with the meat toppings.
As part of the brunch, you also get to have cocktails, and there are some really nice cocktails - not your usual run of the mill types - available here. 'Sweet' cocktails are perhaps easy to make, most usually involving the addition of some syrup like grenadine or curacao. However, try one of the spicier cocktails and you'll be in for a treat, especially if you go in for the Indian Mule, a gin-based cocktail.
Indian Mule (left), and a whiskey-based cocktail along with another gin-based cocktail
I was torn between trying out the tandoori stuff, grilled prawns and burger (all outdoor), and the indoor food that included biryani, rice, and fish curry. Pastas were going to be left out. Eventually, the rice dishes and Goan fish curry won. No regrets. The biryani was spot on in terms of taste, how well it was cooked, and the salan with it was also quite brilliant - a little spicy, tangy, tasty...yum! The Goan fish curry though could've been a little spicier, given that Goans toss in a fair amount of chillies into their curries. All in all, quite a good meal, one that I took a couple of days to work off on the treadmill.
And then there were desserts! Oh yes, I'm not done yet! There was a whole shelf of desserts to choose from, and just looking at them made my stomach want to go on strike, protesting against the stuffing that it was being subjected to. However, better sense prevailed and I did have some desserts. While the creme brulee wasn't up to the mark (it was in a shallow dish, so the caramelized sugar was a in a larger proportion when compared to the custard below. However, the two kinds of creamy deliciousness that I had...they had me hooked. I don't remember what they were called, but they were lovely. I also caught sight of some pretzels (shaped in a manner to resemble the hands of a monk in prayer).
Blueberry & lime
Namashkar, I am pretzel!
Overall, a very satisfying experience and totally worth the drive from where I stay. A few tweaks here and there can be done so that everything is ship-shape and that should certainly get people coming back.
$$$: The Sunday brunch, with alcohol is Rs 1600 + taxes...worth it.
Verdict: Worth a visit at least once, and if you live close by, then whenever you feel like gorging on food on a Sunday.
Hotel Park Plaza, 90/4, Outer Ring Road, Munnekollaly Village, Marathahalli, Bangalore. Phone: 080 49094909