Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cafe Noir: Never Again

Some people have been raving about the desserts at this place, so I guess it wasn't surprising that I found myself here. What was surprising though was that we left without eating anything. 

It was a Sunday evening and the place was packed. They gave us a table on the side which was fine but they refused to give us a third chair. When the third member of our party arrived, they gave us a high bar stool which made it akward for conversation and, more importantly, made it nearly impossible for the person sitting on the bar stool to eat. I could understand of all this. They didn't have any chairs or other tables which was fine.

When a regular table opened up, I asked the waiter if it would be OK for us to shift there and he agreed. The owner then swooped on me telling me off for having the gall to demand a decent table. He was rude, condescending and refused to give us the empty table. 

There are a lot of things that I am willing to do for good dessert, but I draw the line at that sort of behaviour.  Burrp! reviews seem to suggest that Cafe Noir also serves a healthy dose of racial discrimination. I don't know if the owner's behaviour was racially motivated, but it was definitely unacceptable. I, for one, will not be going back there. 

Have you guys been here? Did you meet with similar treatment? Or have you had a different experience? Hit the comment boards.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Biere Club, Bangalore

I wanted to try a new joint in B'lore this time and Lin took me to The Biere Club on Lavelle Road. Its one of these new fancy microbeweries that seem to have taken over the city. The massive wall painting on one side apes the one at Mondy's in Bombay.

Look familiar?
The menu took me a little by surprise. Is it now normal to pay Rs.350 for a mug of beer? Everyone around me seemed to be doing it with gusto. Reluctantly, I decided to try it out and ordered one of their wheat brews. It had a sweet-orangey flavour to it which I thought was pretty interesting. 

Lin ordered the Cilantro Chicken Drumsticks and I ordered the Char grilled Vegetable Shwarma. The spices came together in the former and it was an explosion of flavour in your mouth. I really liked it. However, they seemed to have exhausted all their salt and spices in the previous dish. The shwarma was TERRIBLE. No salt, no spice, even the vegetables seemed listless. We couldn't even finish it. 

Cilantro Chicken Drumsticks
The Awful Vegetable Shwarma

Most of the desserts on the menu were not present that day, so my sweet tooth remained unsatisfied.

As I sat in The Briere Club what struck me was how this establishment and its patrons epitomized new Bangalore: uber wealthy, uber yuppie and  totally characterless. I was aimlessly wandering around the city when it struck me that the people in the city increasingly look the same. The same sort of clothes, the same sort of hair, the same designer bags & shoes, the same snooty, hoity-toity air. 

And it got me wondering: What happened to old Bangalore?? Where are the hippies? The musicians? The grubby book lovers? The bargain hunters on Commercial Street? The kids who spend all their time at India Coffee House because its the only place they can afford? The people who eat with equal gusto at the Darshinis and Sunny's? When did we become a city that is excited about sales at Zara's? When did the city begin to replicate South Delhi? Surely, I can't be THAT old?

Are you a fellow old-Bangalorean, suddenly lost in the city? Contact me. Maybe we can resist the "Attack of the Yuppies"

Send in the Clones!

P.S: Thanks Lin for accompanying me

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Cupcake Company, Chennai

The Cupcake Company
Sugar, sugar, sugar: Sometimes its all I can think about. And as part of my sugar jaunt I visited The Cupcake Company. The place is quite pretty with muted interiors and the white flowers were a nice touch. It's primarily a take away place with just one table.

The Death by Chocolate was a huge hit with us. The cupcake was soft and moist, the texture great and the chocolate wasn't excessive. I also had a bite of Nia's red velvet which I quite liked. It was no Hummingbird Bakery but it would do. 

Death by Chocolate

The Plain Jane was decent enough. Nothing I would order again but I had no complaints about the texture and taste. 

Plain Jane

And then the downslide started. The Cookie and Cream, the Sticky Date and the Tiramisu. Each dry, crumbly and way below average. I don't think they made any effort with these cupcakes at all. Sticking cream and dusting a few coffee flakes on top of a dry, unappetizing cupcake does not a Tiramisu make and definitely does not justify the 130 rupees (yes, you read it right Rs. 130) they charge. 
Cookies and Cream


The overarching feeling as we left The Cupcake Company was one of being ripped off. The cupcakes were largely mediocre and the price charged exorbitant. I also dock huge points from The Cupcake Company for using disposable cutlery. Each cupacke came in a plastic box-type thing and plastic spoons were being used aplenty. Hello? The environment? 

Having said that, I think despite its mediocrity The Cupcake Company will do well. For two reasons: a) There is a huge demand for nice dessert and there are very few places in Chennai that cater to that segment. I haven't come across any other shop in Chennai that serves half decent cupcakes.  If you know of one, contact me ASAP and b) Because the proprietors of The Cupcake Company have created that perfect kitschy, artsy, bourgeoisie air that upper middle class India loves.  

To give credit where credit is due, their cheesecake was fabulous and hands down the best I have had so far in Chennai. Someday when I am feeling indulgent, I will be back for that. 


Pricing: Rs. 90-130 per cupcake
Location: 187 St Marys Road, Alwarpet , Chennai
Landmark: Next to The Raintree Hotel

  • Thanks to Nia, Nammu, Gaythri and Shweta for accompanying me. 

L to R: Gayathri, Shweta, Nia and Nammu

PS: Love my blog? Disagree with me? Want me to review a specific establishment? Comment here or email me! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Rogue Elephant, Bangalore

While young and fashionable Bangalore was out partying the weekend away, I decided to take my beleaguered self  restaurant hopping. There were definite hits and definite misses, but in keeping with tradition I am going to start with a place I liked. 

The Rogue Elephant has been on my hit list for years now and I finally managed to visit this charming little establishment by Ulsoor Lake. The place has a cute doll-house charm to it. Given the mostly fabulous Bangalore weather, the open air touch is wonderful. The other thing I really liked about Rogue Elephant is the small and simple menu. Two short pages from appetizers to dessert and drinks. Too many new restaurants are churning page after page of complicated, incomprehensible menus. The clean menu was refreshing and we quickly made our choices. 

I decided to try my luck with Susanna, a pesto pasta. The sauce was quite good, unfortunately there was too much of it. The pasta was smothered in the sauce which prevented it from being truly good. The penne was well done and the choice of veggies was good. Either specifically ask them to go easy on the sauce or avoid this dish. 


Pooja ordered the Herb Roast Chicken. The lemon-butter-garlic sauce this came in was yummy! The herb seasoning was very subtle and well done. The accompanying mashed potatoes and veggies were also wonderful. This dish gets a huge thumbs up for me. Definite comfort food. 

Herb Roast Chicken

For dessert we chose to go with a classic: Apple Pie and Ice Cream. The pie was warm, the apple just right and the crust soft. There are definitely better pies out there but this one is definitely worth your money. 

Apple Pie
They have a really cute and clean loo. The restaurant is attached to an artsy-ethnicy store. The sort of place where I could spend money that I don't have. After browsing for a few minutes, I quickly beat a retreat before my materialistic urges took over. 

Overall, I recommend the Rogue Elephant. The food is decent and the prices affordable. It's also a cosy date spot. 

And hey, Happy New Year. I hope you have a fantabulous year. I'm fervently hoping I do ;)

Pricing: Rs. 350 per person. Preview the menu here. 
Location: No 119, Annaswamy Mudaliar Rd, Ambara Complex, Ulsoor Lake, Aga Abbas Ali Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore