Saturday, January 30, 2010

Update on ASEAN

This re-review is an F&T first and more in the nature of a mini post. I'm sure you all remember my glowing review of ASEAN (If you don't: Read This). Well fuelled on that (and a 3:1 vote in which I was the minority) Shan, Pri, KK and me headed there. The place has shifted across the road from where it used to be. Unfortunately, that's not the only thing that's changed. The place is stifling beyond description. There are no windows, the fans and AC's don't work. The place also smells musty, like unused winter clothes. Since it was an especially hot afternoon, this didn't help at all The menu has shrunk (much like how I wish my waistline would). It's half its earlier size and the sea food section seems to have taken a particular hit. Predictably, the prices have gone up too. I can't comment on the quality of food since apprehensive about these changes, we decided to cut our losses and head over to Number 70 (guess whose initial suggestion it was).

This post is to tell you two things: a) The new ASEAN might not be as good b) Democracy is highly overrated

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Number 70, Brigade Road

Having FINALLY managed to procure tickets for 3 Idiots, Shan, KK, Pri and me decided to feed ourselves while waiting. After much walking around in the sun and indecision we finally hit Number 70, Brigade Road. It's part of the Iris Hotel, right next to Eva Mall. The ambiance is understated and comfortable. The lunch buffet is Rs. 250 and quite a good deal.

They have a veg and non-veg soup which was quite nice. The soup sticks were pretty good too. The salad selection was fairly vast and this made me very happy. The Russian salad was nicely done as was the egg salad. KK loved the fish and chicken salad. The carrot and cheese platter was surprisingly nice too. As tasty as the salads are, I suggest you save some place for the main course.

In the conti section they had a cheese and corn baked dish and veg quail. Now, I don't know what exactly a veg quail is but it was good. It had a tangy tomato sauce which complemented the baked cheese dish. The Chinese section consisted of garlic noodles and vegetables in schezwan sauce. They also had a non-veg sauce. There were 2-3 veg sabzis and 2 non veg ones. They also had 'murgh biryani' and soya rice which Shan loved. They have a variety of desserts including blueberry cheesecake (which was quite blah), milk halwa (very nice but oozing with ghee), fruits (which I studiously avoided) and different flavoured ice creams.

Number 70 is a nice, value-for-money buffet. The food is pretty good and the spread decent (the food is not the best but buffets rarely are). So, the next time you find yourself looking for a not too expensive eating option on Brigade Road, I recommend Number 70.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Pizzeria Romano

If you're looking to go out to a 'nice' place with great food, then I recommend the Pizerria Romano. It's situated in Koramangala 6th Block, near the Hotel Esplanade. The decor is comfortable and pleasing, the lighting a little dim and thankfully they don't believe in blaring LOUD music (Reference: Couch). The place had a very 'date' feel to it. I'm also happy to report that they have a really nice loo :)

They have Lebanese, Moroccan and Italian cuisine (The options in the Lebanese and Moroccan are a little limited though). Their real USP is the wood fire pizzas. There are such few places in Bangalore that serve these and the ones here are pretty darn good. In the vegetarian section, we tried the Pizzeria Romano Special which consisted of onion, capsicum, mushroom, tomatoes, black olives, red peppers and cheese (oodles of it:) ). The pizza was incredibly good. The veggies were fresh, the different flavours blended together perfectly and they didnt overdo the cheese. Tuhi and Pooje ordered the hot basil chicken pizza. Tuhi claims that it was a happy marriage of cheese, chicken and mushroom. The best bit about it was the crust. It was light and smoky, unlike the sitcky-flour crusts that Dominos and gang produce.

While their speciality is pizza, our favourite dish that day was the creamy chicken pasta. A slice of baked chicken sauted in fresh cream, butter and garlic. The sauce was simply divine. It struck the right balance between cheese, garlic and cream. I can't say much more about it cause the adjectives perfect, divine and heavenly seem to be coming up a LOT. If you go here, I definitely suggest that you try this (or it's vegetarian equivalent).

We had the samboosak (lebanese starter) which was a fried wanton type thing with cream cheese in it. The taste was good but the quantity was very small. Just four small pieces :(.I had the tiramisu for dessert and its amongst the best I've had in recent times. Rich coffee and chocolate layers in a beautiful spongy cake. Mmmmmm. They also have a nice wine selection.

That said, I must warn you that the place is a little pricey (At least for non-earning students like me, who are freeloading off Daddy's money). The Pizza is priced between 385 and 400 rs. The pasta was Rs. 240 and the tiramisu Rs.120. A meal for two will easily cost upwards of Rs.1000.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

South Indies

I'm taking a break from the Pondi series and posting a long overdue review. My mum has been wanting to try this place for ages, so we decided to replenish ourselves here after an exhausting, and largely unproductive, shopping trip. We went to the one on Infantry Road, in the Chevron Hotel. They have a branch in Indiranagar and a non veg concern called Bon South. The restaurant is on the terrace and the decor is simple and gorgeous. The place has a glass wall on one side and a glass roof.

We decided to try the lunch buffet. Starters consisted of bajji which tasted nice and was surprisingly not oily. They ply you with tangy, tasty, spicy buttermilk throughout the meal which I adored. The staff is incredibly courteous and very efficient.

They have a sumptuous spread which includes appam, dosa, kerala parathas, stew, rasam, kootu, varuval, curry, puliyodrai, morukoyambu, curd rice, desserts and an assortment of chatnis, podis and pickles (Phew!!).
While everything on the table was well prepared, the appam and the stew achieved perfection. The stew was yellow chilli cooked in cashew and coconut sauce and garnished with spices. The appam was prefectly made: fluffy with just the right amount of coconut milk in it. The combination was great and most of my meal consisted of this :) The puliyodare was tangy and the rice was well cooked. The varuval was OK though I think it should have been fried just a tad more.

My mum loved the rasam and the morukoyambu here was pretty darn good. There are an array of interesting pickles and podis and to my great dissapointment I couldn't taste them all. I wish they would have more Andhra food though and they should definitely have some spicy gongura chatni (If you haven't yet had gongura, try it at the earliest!!).

The truly disappointing bit about this place was the dessert. The payasam was oversweet and very average. Ice cream and fruits really doesn't qualify as South Indian cuisine. There are a host of interesting South Indian desserts and I really hope they explore some of them.

The lunch buffet is Rs.250 (inclusive of taxes). If you want to try good South Indian food, I definitely recommend this place. They also have brunch on Sundays.

P.S. - The restroom is unisex. Since I didn't have the insight of this review, I spent several minutes offering profuse apologies to another customer and walking around the place, trying to locate the non existent women's loo.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Baker Street: Pondi Series Part II

Happy New Year!!

The superstitious me demands that I start the year with a good review and therefore I'm writing about Bakers Street. This adorable little French Bakery in Pondicherry is amongst my favourite finds of 2009. It's like a little piece of France (and one of its best bits at that) unsuspectingly tucked away in South India. The store reminds me of Parisian bakeries where the staff always greets with you a smile. I've always believed that good food should also look nice and this bakery appeases on both counts. Yummy breads, mouth watering desserts and the wonderful smell of good food greet you as you enter this concept store on 123, Bussy Street (a.k.a Lal Bahadur Shastri Street).

While the array of choices will confuse you, if you're looking for something filling and wholesome I recommend the pizzas. The quantities are huge and taste excellent. The Veg. Pizza (Rs. 90) had loads of cheese without overpowering the taste of crisp veggies and spices. The beautiful bit is that the crust is not hard and actually tastes good. The Non Veg Pizza (Rs. 100) has sausage cut chicken which tastes wonderful. The meat is tender and has a wonderful flavour to it. Rads and Avni tried the baguette ham sandwich. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of baguette (I find the bread too hard) but if you like it then I think the sandwich here is pretty decent (the quantity however leaves a lot to be desired).

The truly heavenly part about this place is of course the bread and desserts. The butter croissant is soft and melts in your mouth (1 week on and I can remember the wonderful taste). The apple chaisson (excuse the spelling) was wonderful. The crust was, needless to say, soft and fluffy. The apple stuffing inside was gooey, sugary and magically managed to be sweet without being oversweet. All the other breads we tried here were pretty awesome to and the prices vary from Rs. 30 - 70 depending on what you order.
The desserts are another thing to drool about here. There is a mind boggling variety and we didn't even come to close to trying half of them (not for lack of trying, mind you). The Tiramisu was huge and amongst the best I've had, the cheesecake was gorgeous (though its not the absolute best one), the brownie was warm and chocolatey, the eclair was near perfection and the lemon tart, to quote Rads, was orgasmic. The wonderful French owner also gave us a plate of macaroons and each one was better than the other. Avni, Rads and Ganje assure me that the Cafe Latte here was brilliant.

Not satisfied with all that we ate, we also packed preserves. Rads's apple and cinnamon jam is at par with the rest of the food there (Avni hasn't opened her strawberry jam but you'll be the first to know when she does).

Reading this review it is clear that there is nothing critical about it (In fact, it is revoltingly nice). I'm sure there must be something to critique, but quite frankly I can't remember any! The service was a bit sloppy when we went on the Sunday but in their defense the place was packed and they were trying to do the best they could.

I have always believed that the French have a (magical) way with bread and this place is no exception. If you are in Pondicherry do NOT miss this place. Heck, I would even recommend that you drive down from Chennai just to visit it :)

P.S - They also have a French food menu for dinner which we never got around to trying.