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.

Wednesday, May 26, 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 person
Location: 22, Opposite SBI, St. Marks Road, Bangalore
Phone:
22211094, 41121160, 32507859

Monday, May 17, 2010

Road Trip

In recent years, there has been a sudden implosion of Italian restaurants in Bangalore.
Walk anywhere in Indiranagar or Kormangala and you will stumble upon one such restaurant every two-three streets. It's quite difficult to stand out in this milieu of restaurants, but Road Trip was a refreshing change.

After many phone calls, wrong turns and nearly giving up, Ra, Pri, SJ, Shubhi, KK and I managed to locate this place thanks to a helpful young woman. Getting here is a little tricky, so speak to someone who knows the way before you embark on your journey. The place is dominated by motorbike memorabilia. Instead of lights, bike headlights hang from the ceiling (Pretty cool huh?).

While the menu is not the most extensive in the business, there are quite a few interesting choices. For starters we ordered the crostini. It was fairly good but nothing spectacular.

In the main course, I ordered the Tittagele Primavera (Rs.215) (I'm sure I've got the spelling wrong, I apologize).
This was a wheat based flat noodle pasta which is an in-house
specialty. I'm sad to say that it was a little disappointing. While there were some herbs and spices in it, the overall taste was rather bland. There are much nicer things to order in the menu and you may want to give this the miss. Ra ordered the Veg Shahslik (Rs. 215).
This contained rice, grilled vegetables and a lovely sauce. The zucchinis were especially great. However, the entire dish tasted distinctly Indian: the spices, the gravy and the ubiquitous paneer.

KK ordered the chicken lasagna (Rs. 250) which was quite good. There was

enough cheese to satisfy any cheese lover's appetite but not so much as to overwhelm the dish. The chicken, sauce and vegetables had their own distinct taste which blended beautifully. Pri ordered the bacon quiche tart (Rs. 190). The serving was smaller than the other dishes but it tasted lovely. There was a strong spinach element in this dish which I loved.

SJ ordered the boneless stuffed chicken (Rs. 250).
Wonderful, cheesy garlicky overtones. The chicken itself had a gorgeous (is that the wrong metaphor here?) texture. The boiled potatoes that they served with these deserve a special mention. They were grilled lightly and a mild sprinkling of herbs made this the best boiled potatoes I have had in a long time. I loved the fact that they paid such attention to small details.

I now come to my two favourite dishes of the day. Shubhi ordered the Wheat Margerita Pizza (Rs. 215) and I insist that anyone who visits this place try it.
The pizza is HUGE, the crust is crisp and light, they have olives and other toppings and the taste is quite mind blowing. I would go back for this alone. This and the chocolate fondant. The dessert menu at Road Trip is quite extensive and exotic (huge brownie points in my book). The servings are very filling and should satisfy most appetites. Since we were so full, three of us decide to split a dessert.

We ordered the chocolate fondant (Rs.100) which requires a 25 minute wait. The dessert was humongous (please see the picture to gauge how humongous it was). Its a baked spongy chocolate cake with loads of ice cream. It's a little hard to go wrong
with chocolate and ice cream and they definitely don't. I wish I could have tried the other desserts because they all sounded so good. (If you do try any of them, let me know how it was).

The loo here is fairly clean but not great.

All in all, a satisfying experience and if you are in this side of town, you should check it out.

Fun Fact: The grapevine (which basically means some third party propagated wild rumour) tells me that this place is owned by Nikhil Chinappa.

Location: 3524/1, Park-Service Road, 1st Main Domlur, Indiranagar, Bangalore, 41155848
Pricing: Rs 300 - 400 per person (We spent Rs. 315 on ours, including tip and tax).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Couch

I know I have been neglecting the blog off late, but that can largely be blamed on my all consuming obsession with Survivor (The latest season is quite awesome) and my broke state (want me to be less broke and review more places? Please click on the ads on my blog)

Anyways, I thought I'll review an old haunt. I haven't been to Couch in the past 3-4 months but when the old Spiga shut down (I'm still mourning that), Couch was the logical alternative for most people. It is run by the same people and the menu is more or less the same. The ambiance of the place is very relaxed and lazy. True to it's name, couches and chairs of various shapes and sizes dominate the place. You can find secluded seating for two or a comfortable table for large parties. The one really annoying thing about the place is the incredibly loud music. Despite repeated requests to turn it down, the management never complies. Eardrums and conversations take a major hit at this place. While their service is generally good, there are times when they are painfully slow.

The menu is large and fairly varied. For starters, one can always try the fritters which are a safe bet. They also have a number of Mexican starters which are decent. The best thing about these starters is the lovely guacamole dip that they serve along with it. The main course presents Thai, Mexican and Conti options. In the Thai section, try the Thai Red Curry. Spicy, tangy with just the right amount of coconut milk, this dish is an all time favourite. The vegetables in the sauce complement it perfectly and thankfully, they don't feel the need to add the ubiquitous paneer in everything. This dish has prawn, chicken and vegetarian options. If you're in the mood for pasta, then try the penne in white sauce with mushrooms. The pasta is wonderful and light. The sauce is a little bland though, so if you are looking for something spicy, you may want to avoid this. The Penne Arabiatta (pasta in red sauce) is nice but very ordinary. Another popular dish at this place is the Fajita Platter. This is a huge dish which comes with fajitas, three different dips, assorted veggies and some rajma type gravy. There are three fajita rolls that you can make per dish and it is HUGE. The various ingredients combine to create a lovely, unique flavour which has just the right amount of everything. The only problem is that sometimes the fajita bread is a little dry which brings down the whole dish. The fish dishes at Couch also come highly recommended.


While their dessert menu is limited, what they have is pretty good. Their best dessert is undoubtedly the Oreo Cheesecake. They also have other chocolate desserts but the Oreo Cheesecake is the best of the lot. (It's the same one as Spiga and I have already raved enough about it). Couch also serves a host of drinks which are 50% off on ladies nights (Wednesdays). So the next time you are looking for a not so quiet place to hang out with your friends, you may want to head to Couch.

Pricing: A meal for two should cost around Rs. 700 (without alcohol)
Location: No.114/1, Sai Complex, Near Arya Bhavan, MG Road, Bangalore (right next to the Corp Bank ATM)

This review is also available at: http://www.discoverbangalore.com/restreview37.htm