Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cream Centre, R.A. Puram

The Wee One was in town and the cause of much excitement. Deciding that it was time to celebrate, ‘the family’ decided to venture beyond Saravana Bhavan and headed towards Cream Centre. Johnny and I got there at 6:45 to beat the queue and promptly found ourselves at the fag end of a large one (6:45!!). They have a cute little waiting area with a play area for kids and wooden seats for the rest. They also have a tattoo artist who seems to be a big hit. By the time the rest of the crew arrived, we were seated.

After wading through the vast menu we placed our orders. The Cheese Nachos arrived first and were consumed at lightning pace. The nachos were submerged in a bed of cheese and topped with capsicum. I think tomatoes would have added a nice flavour. Despite the extravagant amounts of cheese, this wasn’t one of my favourites (Vini loved it though). The Onion Rings get great marks on presentation and quantity but a little salt would have made it taste great too. The Patties were my fav starter. The fried cutlets were served with a spicy chole which was yumm!!


In the Indian section we ordered the aloo and methi paratha and both were surprisingly good. The flavour of methi was not overpowering and the accompanying dal was a big hit with me. We also ordered the massive puri channa. Be warned that this dish is very oily. They serve this with generous quantities of spicy channa which I loved.

On the continental side, we ordered the Spicy Italian Pizza. This has a crisp, thin crust and loads of cheese. Herbs and sundried tomatoes complement all that cheese and I quite like this dish. We also ordered the Penne Arabiatta. This classic dish was nicely made but was nothing extraordinary. The pasta had a strong garlicky flavour and some found it a little too spicy. Frankly, I think their Indian fare is better and you would be better off sticking to that.


To end the meal, we ordered the Sizzling Brownie. Cream Centre’s version is a fitting successor to the one at NSS (Want to know more about that? Click here). Hot chocolate sauce poured on a rich dark brownie topped with ice cream & nuts. Drools. Be warned that this dish is super hot and could burn your tongue (Exhibit A: Me). I wish they would add a little more ice cream though.

The ambiance at Cream Centre is prett­y decent (if you discount the loud families and the louder kids). The special effort taken to preserve an existing tree was much appreciated and added a special charm. The service was a little slow but that could also be due to the fact that the place was bursting at the seams. The quantities here are fairly generous. Troubling Sister 1 did some celebrity spotting and we all shamelessly gawked. Cream Centre has one tiny little loo and there was a large queue outside it. They really need to do something about that.

I liked Cream Centre, specifically the Indian food here. It isn’t overly expensive or pretentious and I intend to revisit soon.

Pricing: Rs.250-300 per person

Location: No 55, Second Main Road, R.A.Puram, Chennai Landmark: Near Park Sheraton

Phone: 42815777

In other news, read this: http://www.hindu.com/rp/2010/12/05/stories/2010120550070200.htm


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dewberry's



To celebrate Banker Madam's old age (and propelled by the good reviews that this place has received) a bunch of us descended on Dewberry's. The restaurant is located in the backyard of a bungalow in Mylapore. The outdoor seating is pretty and the lights at night add a nice touch.

We decided to skip the starters and head straight to the main course. The service at the place was a big disappointment. It was incredibly slow and the waiters were a little clueless. Dishes got mixed up and there was much confusion. Some of the items arrived so late that others were almost done with theirs.

The basil was not at all discernible in the tomato and basil pasta. It was very peppery and the sauce was just OK. The Pasta Garden jalapenos was another let down. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. The pasta needed more salt and the flavour was very forgettable. While there was a hint of spices in the sauce, a little more definitely needs to be added.


The Chicken Siciliata continued the trend. The chef seems to have been a little too free with the pepper that night. The sauce was bland, low on salt and I strongly recommend that you give this a big miss.

The two dishes that we did like were the double cheese lasagne and the Paneer Brazilia Sizzler. The sheets of cheese and veggies in the lasagne appeased our taste buds and the sizzler had a nice spicy flavour (thankfully, salt and pepper were added in the right proportions). Neither dish was mindblowingly good but they were pretty decent.



The crepes at Dewberry's are definitely its saving grace. 'High on Hawaii' was fruity crepe topped with honey and syrup. The presentation was great and the accompanying fresh fruits were a big bonus. The Valentino crepes were my personal favourite. They had a lovely apple-Cinnamon stuffing with a thick layer of strawberry youghurt on top. The crepes were nicely cooked and avoided being oversweet.



A special mention to the Chilly Twist drink here. The drink consists of green chilly on ice and is sure to add a zing! to your meal. Some might find it a little too spicy but it is definitely something to be tried at least once.



The loo here is OK but I think that a restaurant of this kind should definitely do better than just OK.

My problem with Dewberry's was not that the food was bad but that it was very average and forgettable. Yes, there were notable exceptions and some of it was good. However, for the prices that it charges, the food needs to be consistently good. I definitely don't want to spend Rs.500 in the hope that this might be the chef's (and my) lucky day.

The crepes at Dewberry's will probably lure me back (and the fact that it has garnered good reviews from many others) but till then it rates as just average in my books.


Pricing: Rs. 400 per person
Location: #6/29, Rajasekaren St, adjacent to Van Huesen Showroom Mylapore, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai. Phone: 28473439

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Pasta Bar Veneto: T.Nagar

This place recently opened its doors on Burkitt Road in T.Nagar and the eager foodies that we are, we thought we would explore it. Big thanks to Ashwin and Khulali for responding to my last minute distress call.
The first thing that struck me about the place is the decor: Simple, elegant and understated. (Thankfully absent are the red and gold which seem to have caught the fancy of too many restaurants) White walls, comfortable seating and French windows dominate the place. The French windows open out to a lovely uncovered, entertainment area in the middle where bands can perform. The band that was playing the day we visited was top-notch and definitely enhanced the dining experience. You can also enjoy some hookahs with the music. They even promise stand up comedians in the future.
Well, we were ready to see if the Pasta Bar would live up to the expectations and ordered a host of things. The vegetarians may want to start off with the Bruschetta di Pomodora. The tomatoes seasoned with garlic and olive oil give a light, fresh start to the meal. If you are a fan of mushrooms then the Bruschetta di Fungi is a good choice. I recommend that the non vegetarians order the Lamb Polpette. The light flavour of herbs, spices and cheese complemented the tender meat perfectly and this was one of our favourite dishes. The chicken version of this also available and was pretty decent too. We also tried the Sesame Chicken which consisted of crumb fried chicken strips with a sesame flavour. While the sesame flavour was unique, the chicken was a little chewy.
In the main course, we ordered the double sauced Primavera Meditranae which tries to blend the goodness of the cheesy and the tomatoey sauce. The flavour of the dish was definitely different. It may not be to everyone’s liking but it is worth trying once. This pasta is also rather heavy. The Lasagne di Pollo was good and I loved the fact that the flavour of the cheese didn’t overpower the dish. The taste of the minced chicken and the herbs was distinctive. Our favourite entree was the Stuffed Chicken. The chicken, bell pepper, basils and mushrooms were lovely and the entire dish was excellently grilled. If you are a chicken person, then I recommend this dish wholeheartedly. There are a host of pastas, risottos, raviolis and other dishes to order from.
Marching on to our favourite part of the meal: the dessert. We started off with the Tiramisu. It was light, spongy and creamy. However, it needed a little more of the coffee kick and therefore fell short of being amazing. The mango cheesecake is best avoided. The cheese was sour, the mango flavour was ordinary and the entire dish had a very stale feel to it. The true star of the meal was the Mississippi MudPie. Rich, gooey chocolate with a crumbly walnut-chocolate base managed to convert even the sceptics amongst us (Read: Ashwin). If you do go to the Pasta Bar, do not leave without tasting this MudPie.
Be warned that the service at the Pasta Bar is not great. It’s a little lazy and slow and I am still waiting for my Mojito to arrive (any second now!). The seating also appears to be a little cramped. The quantities at the Pasta Bar are fairly generous and should suffice for most.
The Pasta Bar is perfect for a lazy, relaxed meal (maybe even a romantic one) where you can enjoy some great music. If the Pasta Bar lives upto its promises, then Chennai’s latest ‘it’ place may have arrived.
An edited version of this review (with pictures) can be found in the November issue of TAXI.
Location: Opposite Smokin’ Joes, Burkitte Road, T. Nagar Chennai.
Pricing: Rs.250-350 (per­ person)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Secret Garden Cafe

Aptly named, the Secret Garden Cafe (In fact, so secret is its location that it took me three attempts to actually find it) is in a by lane off Cunningham Road and located inside a massive old Bangalore house. The cafe is housed in the balcony of this bungalow. Needless to say, the decor is wonderful. Old style wooden furniture dominates this quaint little cafe and gorgeous wind chimes add to the atmosphere. The blackboard menu and open kitchen are a nice touch. The place is quite small though and can seat only around twenty people. A special mention to their loo which is super clean and oh! so pretty. Pretty yellow tiles and ancient wooden mirrors stand out in the bathroom and I love that so much attention has gone into every little detail.



The menu here is has a fair, though not extensive, selection. Apart from the regular continental fare, they also have some Mexican and Israeli dishes. The Chicken Diablo (Rs. 280) had lots and lots of meat (much to A's delight). It was served with some veggies. While the quantity was good and the meat tender, the sauce was a little disappointing. It was bland and a little salt less.



If you like spice, you may want to avoid this dish. Ghatotkatch ordered the Home Made Fettucine (Rs. 200): a lovely pasta with sundried tomatoes and herbs.


This was a dry pasta and like most dry pastas it was a little bland. Despite that, I quite liked the flavour of this dish. It was also refreshing to see a pasta dish not drowned in sauce. The Mezze Platter (Rs.180) was pretty good. Pita bread stuffed with a spicy, and slightly Indian, filling. It was served along with an eggplant sauce which was wonderful. Be wary though as this is an acquired taste and those who don't like brinjal may not appreciate it much. The hummus dip served with this was amongst the best I've had in Bangalore and complemented the pita bread perfectly. The minced lamb lasagna which contains tender lamb meat amidst sheets (and sheets) of cheese is also a hot favourite.

Quantities at the Secret Garden Cafe are filling, but not extravagant.

They have quite a few dessert selections too and being the sweet lovers that we are, we decided to try that too. The honey cake with Brazilian nut was boring. It tasted OK but definitely not something to order again. It could have been picked up from any of the gazillion bakeries dotting Bangalore's streets and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.


The passionfruit cheesecake was the pick of the desserts. Though the combination sounds a bit suspect, it came together wonderfully. This is definitely receives my seal of approval.



All in all, Secret Garden Cafe is the ideal place to have a lazy lunch and soak in the atmosphere. It is also a great date place (especially if the weather Gods decide to smile on you). The service is good but not super prompt, but its not the sort of place where you want it to be either. The ladies who run the restaurant are charming and willing to indulge in conversation. The food is largely good but a few dishes may not meet the mark.

A word of warning: The place shuts really early (7:00ish, I think) and is closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly.

This review is also available at: http://discoverbangalore.com/restreview43.htm

Pricing: Rs. 400 per person.
Location:
  • 7/1 Edwards Rd ( cul de sac at the very end of Edwards Road), Off Queens Road,Cunningham Road, Bangalore
  • Landmark: Near Near Back entrance of Prestige Center Point
  • Phone: 41131365

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Haven Sampoorna

After shifting to Madras I've been eating out like crazy (my ballooning waistline is a testament to the same). All this gluttony has been accompanied by laziness and I haven't gotten around to posting anything yet. However, things are about to change (precipitated by a life altering glance in the mirror!) So here it is: my first 'Madras' review.
An edited version of this, with pictures, can be viewed at: http://www.thetaximag.com/uploads/magazines/taxi_october_10.pdf
(Yes! I managed to get it published in an actual magazine. In other exciting news, I'm also mentioned in latest issue of Outlook Traveller. Look out for the article on Bangalore's darshinis. Cartwheels)
Tucked away on a service lane in the Velachery bye-pas road is an unassuming little restaurant that serves Chinese, Continental and Indian fare.
The restaurant is small and can seat around 25 people. Framed photos of Hollywood stars (along with some quirky quotes) adorn the place. If you are planning on dining with a large party, then I recommend that you make a reservation. The restaurant is also fastidiously clean.
The menu at Haven Sampoorna is vast and ranges from healthy salads to greasy Chinese noodles, from roti-sabzi to pastas. Wading through this menu and zeroing in on what to order can be quite time consuming. For starters, we recommend the Corn on Toast (Rs.60). It’s one of the most popular dishes at Haven and it’s easy to see why. Toast submerged in corn and thick, creamy tomato sauce is bound to appease your taste buds. While the toast itself is soggy, the sauce is quite heavenly. Tomato and cheese blend perfectly and the basil leaves add a nice flavour to the entire dish. You could also try the chilli babycorn. Deepfried babycorn with yellow peppers, spring onions and capsicums is a spicy, albeit completely unhealthy, way to jumpstart your meal. Other options such as Smileys, Chill Potato Fry and Veg Nuggets also sound promising.
For the calorie-counting-crowd, there are a few salads to choose from. The corn salad was OK but unless you are very particular about healthy food, I recommend the other starters. I found the salads to be a tad dry and wish the lettuce had been fresher. They also have anti-oxidant and power builder drinks.
For main course one could try the Thali (Rs.85). This comes with 3 phulkas, 2 sabzis, dal, papad, sweet, rice and raitha. The phulkas are light, non-oily and reminiscent of home. Kudos to the chef who made the wheat halwa. It was sweet, without being oversweet, and avoided being oily and sticky. This is definitely an attractive option for those looking for a filling and healthy meal. A special Thali is a variation of the same and comes with starters and soup too. In the continental section, there are a variety of pastas and bakes to choose from. The Veg Florentine consists of mushrooms, zucchinis, capsicums, broccolis and a host of other veggies submerged in creamy, cheesy sauce. Be warned that this dish is very very heavy. The fact that our mammoth appetites were considerably satiated after this is a testament to how filling the dish can be. The Pasta Arabiatta is nicely done in light tomato sauce with olive oil, veggies and chilli flakes adding to the taste. They also have a few Chinese dishes to offer but our stomachs protested (vehemently!) at the idea of any more food. However, I did notice that the next table was wolfing down their noodles and gravy.
Haven Sampoorna has a few cold beverages to offer too. I highly recommend the Blue Cuarace. There is a lit up, blinking ice cube inside and this was a source of endless fascination to us (and the ten year old sitting at the adjoining table).The drink itself is a little sweet and has sharp tang to it. They also serve lemon tea, badam milk and other standard drinks. Haven doesn’t have a vast dessert menu but the pan ice cream is something that stands out. I must say that I was a little sceptical on seeing the name but the ice cream laid my doubts to rest. The flavour of the betel leaves strangely complemented the vanilla ice cream it was ground in. This is one dish that I shall be revisiting. Haven also has a snack menu consisting of chats, burgers and sandwiches.
Thankfully, the prices at Haven are easy on the wallet. A very heavy continental meal here shouldn’t cost more than Rs.200, at most. They also have a robust catering business and takeaways seem to be a popular option.
Location: Next to SBI, Near GuruNanak College, ByePass Road, Velachery Road, Velachery, Chennai.
Phone: 9840977582, 22448882
Pricing: Rs.100-130 (per person)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paris Part III: The Louvre still owes me

I'm writing this post to boost the travel section of my blog and because Ats's and Woogul's Parisian adventures remind me of my tryst with this gorgeous city.

Quite like anyone who has heard of this museum (or read the DaVinci code), I went to the Louvre with grand visions of mystery and adventure and was prepared to be awed. As is often the case with such grand dreams, they went poof. If you're not an art affiocando but belong the general junta, like me, then it is fair be that the Louvre will be quite a disappointment. It's huge, undoubtedly, and filled with magnificent art pieces, sculptures and other grand things man (and woman)kind has made over the years. It's all pretty but beyond a point it all seemed the same to me (I've also revealed my plebeian tastes but so be it).

Now, don't get me wrong, all the things in there are awe-worthy but there are only so many pieces of art that I could stare wisely at and only so many sculptures that I can exclaim over. If you are part of my junta, then I suggest you take the Dummies Tour of the Louvre. At the entrance, they give you a pamphlet detailing the 15 most popular exhibits that the Louvre houses. Take this pamphlet, locate the exhibits and leave. Since the Louvre is as astoundingly huge as it is, this will involve getting lost all the time and will take up at least 4 hours of your time. The other you could do is take the DaVinci Code walking tour.

The most arresting sight at the Louvre is the palace itself. I spend the better part of an hour being overpowered by its beauty (that, and trying to take the perfect picture). It is breathtaking and makes you sad that the nobody makes buildings like this anymore. Definitely swing by in the evening and see it by the twinkling Parisian lights. The only thing that mars this gorgeous view is that ridiculous glass pyramid which looks more at home in a futuristic movie than this 12th century fortress. While I am sure that it is a fine piece of architecture, it definitely does not belong there. I wish the French government would spend its considerable energy expelling this rather than the Romas.

Entry into the Louvre is free on Thursdays (I think) if you are under 26 and heavily discounted if you are older. (That's the one thing about Paris I forgot to mention: It gives lots of discounts to those who are under 26 and if you are under 18, then almost everything is free).

P.S.: I misplaced my beloved cap at the Louvre. Despite a frenzied search in those hallowed halls I couldn't locate it :( If anyone goes to the Louvre and locates it, please let me know. I am attaching a picture of same to this post. Much gratitude and a blog mention is promised in return.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Baker Street Again!

Living in Chennai has a few advantages (as hard as that is to believe) and proximity to Pondi is one of them. Taking advantage of a lazy weekend and the availability of a car, I headed Pondi-wards. Gluttony raised its familiar head and I spent an astonishing amount of time eating. Thankfully, this means more fodder for the blog. Last time I was at Baker's Street, I gave this place a glowing review. I dragged Edward, Jiggy and the Mamis to see if this place was worthy of the same. It gives me much joy to report that the place is just as good. While I covered most of the dishes in the last review, I think the pain au chocolat deserves a special mention. The memory of this flaky, buttery, chocolate filled puff pastry still makes me smile. The butter croissant and chocolate twister are also worthy options but I still suggest you go with the pain au chocolat (It's like Ganguly and Dravid, good batsmen in their own right, paling in comparison to Tendulkar). The veggie calzone was pretty decent, although I wish they would go a little easy on the cheese.

If you are ever in Pondicherry, this is one place you shouldn't miss.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taste of Tibet

The last few posts have been about affordable food and this post continues in that vein. Invariably, 'good' food in Bangalore means shelling out quite a bit of money. Thankfully, there are a few cheap places still left and one such favourite is Taste of Tibet. In the old days, it used to be a small little counter where you could take away food but for the past 4-5 years it has become a full fledged restaurant. They have authentic Tibetan food and lots of exotic fare.

Caveat: This place is largely for meat lovers. Their veggie stuff is good too but the variety and price of meat dishes is the real draw (especially, if you eat beef). One thing to look out for here is the beef shaptra. Beef cooked with spinach and a pepper gravy, this dish is a little spicy. The great thing is that they are not stingy about their meat. I have never seen such generous portions of meat in any other restaurant. Team this with the tingmo which is fermented maida. Tear a little bit of the tingmo and have it with the shaptra. The bland tingmo complements the spicy shaptra perfectly.


One could also try the thukpas. These are Tibetan noodle soups with some meat, egg or veggies on top. The soup is watery and little spicy. The Egg Thukpas have a thick omlette on top, whereas the beef thukpa has a considerable layer of beef on it. This is rather filling and should suffice for lunch or dinner. It also does wonders if you are suffering from a mild cold.




Another specialty here are the momos. The succulent steamed momos are quite unlike the normal fare available at umpteen restaurants. The non-veg ones have tons of meat in them. The sauce they serve along with the momos is quite good. The momos are undoubtedly the best I have had in Bangalore. Thianthuk (flat noodles), noodles and fried rice are also available here. The beef fried rice here has a wonderful flavour and if you are in the mood for something heavy and fatty, you must try it. Also try the chowmein noodles. These crisp, deep fried noodles are served with a spicy tomato pickle and is bound to appease your taste buds.


The service is extremely quick and efficient. The decor is serviceable with some Tibetan motifs. They do not have a restroom. Go here for the wonderful food (and not for a fine dining experience) and you will be satisfied. Taste of Tibet serves authentic Tibetan cuisine at very affordable prices and is a must try.

Pricing: Rs. 75 per person

Location: Indo Dubai Plaza, #5, 2nd floor, Rest House Road, Brigade Road, Bangalore

  • Phone: 9880027746, 41478237

This review is also available at: http://discoverbangalore.com/restreview41.htm

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bobby da Dhaba


Bobby da Dhaba has been on my ‘Places-I-must-eat-at’ list for quite sometime. Twice I have attempted to gain entry here and twice I have been unsuccessful (Traumatic school memories were revived. To read the consequences of an earlier adventure, click here). Determined to ensure that third time was in fact lucky, the Hungry Hippo Club set out ­­early on a Wednesday afternoon. Despite getting there at 12:30 p.m. we still had to wait a good forty five minutes. Finally, we were in!


The good bit about the queue is that you can place your order while waiting and be assured that it will get to your table fairly quickly. During our long wait, we ended up ordering a generous amount of food. We ordered two plates of parathas each, the Baingan Ka Bartha, Dal Makhani and a Paneer dish. The parathas were great. They have all varieties of stuffed paranthas: alu, muli, paneer, onion and they are all huge and delicious. They are also served with generous dollops of authentic white butter on top. It might not please the calorie conscious, but it definitely adds to the flavour of the food. However, two plates of parathas were a big mistake (no matter what you think in your hunger induced haze). We each ended up wasting almost three quarters of one plate.


We ordered the Baingan Ka Bartha because everyone else in the line seemed to be. Brinjal is not something that is cooked well everywhere, but I liked Bobby’s version. The masala is really spicy and the distinct flavour of smoked brinjal dominates. The smoky flavor is a personal favourite. The bartha was quite tasty and complemented the parathas quite nicely. The Dal Makhani had a wonderful creamy, garlicy flavour to it and has that indefinable home cooked touch to it. It’s not the best Dal Makhani I’ve had but it is pretty decent. The paneer was a little bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t very soft and the flavor was decent but not mindblowing. All sabzis have loads of white butter on top. The butter on the parathas was nice but I do wish they would reduce the butter in the sabzis. Sometimes, it ends up ruining the flavor of the dish.

The other thing that deserves mention is the buttermilk and lassi (matta). They are served in huge steel glasses and after having one each we were quite full. It may be best to share this with someone for otherwise you will be too full to appreciate the food. The kheer here is very good and definitely worth a try. I am also told that the jeera rice here is great. (As is obvious, we were in no shape to try that too.)


Bobby da Dhaba is shorn of all pretentions and this means that the ambiance takes a big hit. This is a dhaba in the true sense of the word (no AC’s and cushioned seats here) and during lunch time, the temperature inside the dhaba is quite uncomfortable. I ended up drinking copious amounts of water to battle the heat and for many people this would end up ruining their appetite. The dhaba also gets a big thumbs down for using disposable plates and containers for almost everything. (It’s almost like they don’t care about the environment and the crazy temperature all over the world?!)

I must say that my overall feeling as I left Bobby was disappointment (and an uncomfortably full stomach). Yes, the food and the whole set up was authentic and yes, the food was very cheap but the food was also not that great (I know there are people who are going to vehemently disagree with me). I don’t think it was worth all the hype. Since so many people swear by this place, I am going to go back sometime and give it another chance.

Bobby da Dhaba is fairly easy to locate: Go to the Gurudwara in Ulsoor and right next to it is a little shack with serpentine queues outside. If you go to Bobby da Dhaba, be prepared to stand in queue. No matter how early you get there, there are always a dozen people ahead of you. Please note that the place serves only vegetarian food.

Location: Next To Gurudwara, Kingston Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore

Pricing: Rs. 100 per person (for a lot of food).

This review is also available at: http://discoverbangalore.com/restreview40.htm

P.S: On an aside, I'm in Madras for sometime now so do spead the word amongst your friends there. If anyone in Madras is looking for a food critic, do let me know. Also, if anyone is in possession of a nicer template for the blog, email me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Krishna Bhavan: Bangalore's Best South Indian Breakfast



The awesome thing about these vacations is that I have visited old, forgotten favourites - places that have fallen by the wayside during the law school years. One such place is the New Krishna Bhavan (or Gopika). It's in the lane opposite this fancy new Mantri Mall.

While the normal, safe options of Idli, Vada and Dosa are also present, I recommend that you give these the miss. You could try the Raagi Roti (Rs. 30). While I'm generally not a fan of anything Raagi based, these brown, crisp, dosa-esque rotis taste wonderful (and are incredibly healthy too). The onion-tomato chatni they serve with this is amongst my favourites.


One must also try the Gokak Jowar Roti (Rs. 30) . While I can't figure out what the difference between this and an Akki Roti, the taste silences all such questions. It's a traditional North Karnataka preparation and the staple meal there. Little pieces of onion and coriander in the roti add to it's flavour. The light, mouthwatering and incredibly healthy neer dosa (it reminds me of a South Indian crepe) is another specialty dish. They serve this with the aforementioned chatni and a sweet coconut dish which tastes like the filling in modaks or kozhakattai. I generally avoid this and have it with the chatni.


The one must try at this place is the Green Masala Idly. This dish consists of fried idli served in a palak sauce and despite the unconventional colour and description it tastes pretty good. The idlis have a lovely crisp texture to them and the spicy palak sauce complements the bland idli perfectly. It's a dish that you are unlikely to see anywhere else. The Rasam-Vadai here is good too. They serve the Tam-molaghu (pepper) rasam here. The rasam is light, clear and does wonders if you have a cold.


Service is quick and efficient like most other Darshini type establishments. If you find yourself in this part of town, I most definitely recommend New Krishna Bhavan. This place is less celebrated than MTR (and consequently, less expensive) but the quality and variety of food that it offers is way better.

Location: Opposite Sampige Theatre (and Mantri Mall), Malleshwaram, Bangalore
Pricing: Rs. 50-60 per person.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ice n Spice



Due to post law school lethargy I haven't gotten around to posting any reviews. Fear not, I'm back!! and have loads of places to write about.
St Marks Road is littered with restaurants every two feet (consequently, one of my favourite roads in Bangalore). Ice'n' Spice got there way before the rest and remains a Bangalore favourite till date. I hit this place whenever I'm broke and have a huge 'eating out' craving. The decor is relaxed and quirky with a huge framed poster of funny American magazine covers. The seating is limited (around 15), but you will see a number of cars parked on the street and waiters running to and fro.

Ice 'n' Spice has a varied menu ranging from burgers and sandwiches to steaks and pastas. Almost everything here is good. But their specialty is their burgers. Try the burgers here and you will know why McDonalds and gang fall by the wayside.
Their Lamb Burger is one of the best. Succulent, juicy meat and a mind blowing sauce. The Veggies Cheese burger is another favourite. The patty is made of potatoes and crumbly fried cheese. They top this with a wonderful mayonnaise sauce that is out of this world. If you are very hungry, try the 'Tons of Fun' burger. This one is HUGE with lamb, egg, salami and loads of other toppings. This is sure to leave you full and contended.
The pastas here are pretty good too. It's not the best you will taste in Bangalore but they are tasty and are well worth the price (Rs.100). The pasta menu is pretty limited: Arabiatta, Carbonara and Aglio Olio but what they make, they make well. If you are in the mood, you could also try the pancakes which are made just right. Their drinks menu is extensive and their cold coffees beat the regular fare at CCD hands down.

As good as the food here is, don't leave the place without trying out at least one of their desserts.
They are fresh and displayed on the counter for you to choose from. The Ferrerro Rocher cake is an old favourite: a massive chocolate cake with nuts and Fererro Rocher. The cake is gooey, juicy and chocolatey. Loads of dark chocolate in here to satisfy any chocolate lover's palette. Chocolate lovers could also try the Mississippi Mud Pie here which is one of the best in Bangalore. The crumbly crust is wonderful. If you're not really a chocolate person, don't be disappointed. There is lots for you too. We recommend the mango cheesecake. It's not sweet but has that intangible something. They also have other cheesecakes and pastries. They now have a branch in Koramangala but I recommend the St. Marks road one.
Pricing: Rs. 150-180 per personLocation: 22, Opposite SBI, St. Marks Road, BangalorePhone: 22211094, 41121160, 32507859

This review is also available at: http://discoverbangalore.com/restreview39.htm

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Under the Mango Tree

Rat finally deigned to accommodate us in her busy schedule and seizing this rare gift KK and I dragged her along to Cornucopia. I had zeroed in on this as the destination for our last room dinner. Upon reaching there, we found out that Cornucopia was shut but a new place, 'Under the Mango Tree'

was opening in it's stead. They officially open on 20 June but the kitchen is functional, so they were nice enough to feed our hungry tummies.

To begin with we ordered Potato Wedges.
Rat and I ordered Ice Tea (Rs. 40) and KK ordered the fruit punch (Rs. 90). The Ice Tea was cold, large and had a wonderful minty-lemony flavour to it. I thought KK's fruit punch was very nice though a tad heavy. The Potato Wedges were crisp and nicely done without being too oily. But then again, it would take quite something to mess up deep fried carbs.

For the main course, I ordered the Aglio Olio (Rs.180).
This was penne tossed in oodles of olive oil, herbs, spices with cheese on top. The pasta was dry and I was a little wary of it but it tasted quite good. The penne was a tad undercooked but the olive oil and spices were wonderful.

Rat ordered the ham and cheese pizza (Rs.240).The crust was thin and crispy. It wasn't the best in the business though. I'd rate Little Italy and Pizzeria Romano much higher. The ham in the pizza was almost negligible, though the true star was the cheese. It wasn't the normal cheese used elsewhere in the city but of a more exotic kind. While I'm not knowledgeable enough to know what cheese it was, it sure tasted good. It had a slightly sour taste to it, melted in your mouth and the texture was wonderful. Mmmmm.......After ordering many dishes that they didn't have, KK settled for the Spaghetti Picatta with chicken (Rs.200). This consisted of Spaghetti in a spicy red sauce with zucchini, babycorn and other crunchy veggies. This dish too was very nice.

The dessert menu consists of only two dishes: sizzling brownie and chocolate mousse. We ordered the sizzling brownie(Rs.100).
This turned out to be a large, warm brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top. While it wasn't what we were expecting, it was pretty decent.

The ambiance at the place was quite wonderful. It's in the backyard of the Bat and Ball Inn. It's in a quiet lane off the bustling Richmond Town and has a relaxed, lazy feel to it. They also have quirky cricket related signposts which I loved. The service was a little slow but I put that down to pre opening jitters. The quantities are sufficient to leave you full but not bursting at the seams.

The whole meal cost us close to Rs.1000 which was pretty OK for all that we ate and drank. The food here has potential but needs a little more effort. I guess I need to go back once they are fully open and see how the grub turns out then. If any of you do go there after 20th June, let me know how it is.

Location: Bat & Ball Inn, 3, Laurel Lane, Richmond Town, Bangalore (It's in the lane off TNT)

  • Pricing: Rs. 250-300 per person

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cafe Y


Having heard lots about this place in the recent past and as part our final quest to find new places to eat in B'lore, Tuhi, Ganje and I headed here for dinner on a Monday night. Enter the place and the first thing that strikes you is the bright orange and yellow everywhere. Even their napkins are in these eye popping colours (KK has vowed to visit this place as they subscribe to her colour scheme). Iconic photographs adorn the place and the decor gets full marks from me. A quick mention of the loo which is extremely clean and carries this bright colour scheme forward. Even the signboards on the loo are cute.

The menu itself is quite extensive and includes fare from all over the world. They have a separate Chinese menu but we decided to give that the miss. Inspired by the table next to us, we ordered the French Fries (Rs. 50). These were a huge disappointment. The quantity was good but the fries were soggy and oily.

For the main course, I ordered the grilled bitoks (Rs.180). This was a mixed veg patty stuffed with lots of cottage cheese and drowned in a spicy red sauce which I loved. This was accompanied with lemon buttered rice and veggies. The masala in the dish satisfied my spice craving. The dish had a distinctly Mexican/Indian touch to it (which is strange, considering bitoks are originally from Russia). Ganje ordered the stuffed red and green peppers(Rs.180). This consisted four huge red and green peppers stuffed with mushrooms and cottage cheese and assorted veggies. This was served on a bed of buttered rice and with a cheesy white sauce. The dish was quite unlike anything I've had before and struck the right balance between cheese and spice. Tuhi went with roasted pork in apple sauce(Rs. 190). Having bullied her into ordering the dish, I was a little excited about its outcome. The dish was served with grilled herb potatoes. The sauce was disappointing. It didn't have any touch of apple in it. The sauce was a white sauce with some undefinable ingredient (not apple) in it. The dish itself was good and tasty but it wasn't what the menu promised.

The quantities at Cafe Y are huge and all of us ended up wasting a little bit of our dish. Undaunted by this, we ordered a blueberry cheesecake (Rs.100). Generally, I worship only at the altar of the plain cheesecake since the variants are not entirely reliable. This time, however, the risk paid of. The slice was fairly huge with a wonderful thick creamy layer and a thin cracker bed at the bottom. The blueberry on top was nice and complemented the cheesecake perfectly.

Cafe Y provides some unique dishes at affordable prices. The decor is lovely and the atmosphere laid back. I will definitely be going back here. The only problem is that it is located off Langford Road and getting an auto back is a complete pain. If you are going there for dinner then I recommend that you arrange transport in advance.

P.S.: There are no pictures for this post since my beloved camera is currently in repair (Sniff, Sniff.) If anyone knows where the Pentax service centre in Bangalore is, please do email me.

Location: 2/2, Langford Road - Eagle Street Intersection, Langford Town, Langford Road, Bangalore
  • Phone: 4114456
Pricing: Rs. 250-300 per person

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Facebook

I have now created a Facebook page for the blog. Click on the link and you shall be transported there. Let me know about places you think I should be reviewing, new places in town, whether you like the new blog template or anything else you want to talk about. And, as always, spread the word :)

P.S: I have currently been hijacked by Univ Week and related matters. However, I should be posting quite regularly from next week.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mavalli Tiffin Room: MTR




Anyone who has stayed in Bangalore for more than two weeks (sometimes, not even that) would have heard of this establishment. The 83 year old Mavalli Tiffin Room is a Bangalore favourite. Loads of old Bangaloreans finish their morning at Lalbagh Gardens and head over to MTR to regain all the calories the worked off. If you get here any later than 6:40 a.m. you are bound to be waiting in a very long queue. I have on many occassions gotten up at ungodly hours, stood in long queues only to be told that most items on the menu are over (You can imagine my wrath, but sadly the big wigs at MTR seem unfazed by it).

If you do however manage to get there on time, I recommend the Masala Dosa (Rs. 40!!).
Crispy, brown and with the distinct taste of ghee. Every calorie
laden bite is heavenly. The other truly wonderful thing about this is the chatni. Generally, I'm more of a sambar person but here I willingly forego sambar. The chatni is thick, spicy and infinitely tasty. If you're more of an idli person, you will be satisfied. The idlis are soft and warm. But idlis are essentially rather bland so there is nothing to be said beyond that.

One can also try the upma here. It is slightly spice and the vegetables are fresh. i recommend that you try this with the chatni and you will be in foodie heaven. The one dish that I always have (if they have not run out of it, that is) is the kesari bath.
Warm, sweet and wonderful. Unlike most preparations which are made of suji, this one has vermicelli/semiya in it. It avoids being oversweet but the comforting taste of ghee is abundant in every bite. If you get there in time, you simply must try this.

To round of your breakfast have the coffee here. Traditional South Indian coffee, piping hot and served in silver tumblers. It's one of the few hot coffees I actually like and incredibly refreshing. Service is quick and efficient (The last time we went there we thought he took ages with our food. Of course, that might have had more to do with the fact that we were horiffically hungry than any actual laziness in the service). The decor resembles any old South Indian establishment: clean and serviceable.

That said, I think MTR is overpriced (and trust me, I love the food here). My humble South Indian genes find it hard to justify Rs.40
for a dosa and Rs.24 for a plate of idli. Places such as CTR, Veena and Janatha serve just as good food at half the price. While MTR deserves all the attention that it gets (Every Travel and Living, NDTV Good times show on Bangalore features MTR), the prices are too steep for it's down to earth image. They also charge extra for sambar. Come on! (I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me but Rs. 70 for a simple South Indian breakfast is ridiculously expensive).

One must also try the thali dinner here (Rs.100). Start off with a grape juice, followed by dosas,
puris, rice, a number of curries, curd, rasam, sambar, sweets and many other things that I can't remember right now. Don't miss out on the mindblowing bisibele bath at this place. If you are going for dinner, book in advance. MTR is also one of the few establishments in the country that is strictly punctual. I once arrived 5 mins late, and was told (rather rudely :( ) that my table had been given away and I had to sit it out.

MTR is closed on Mondays and open during the following timings on other days: 6:30am-noon, 12:30-2:30pm, and 7:30-9pm.

Pricing: Rs. 70 per person for breakfast
Location" 14, Lalbagh Road, Phone: 22220022\

P.S. : I'm unsure of what to enter in the area tab for this post. What area does Lalbagh fall under exactly? My directionally challenged self will be really happy if someone could tell me that.