Bangalore restaurant reviews Church Street

Ayda - Persian Bites

Tuesday, November 23, 2010Me! In words

The blog has certainly taken a backseat thanks to work. Just when you think its over, the next mountain-full miraculously appears... Ayda is a place I have seen since I first came to Bangalore around 10 years ago. For some reason or the other we never really went there, though we visited a number of restaurants around the place. Sudhakar happened to go there from office one day and said that it was a place we should visit. And so, quite a few weekends ago, we did. 

Ayda is on Church street, almost opposite RR and Hyderabad Mahal. Its on the first floor and has absolutely no parking, so good luck with that. Once you get upstairs, you have an elevated diwan like seating with Persian-looking cushions and covers. The place is dimly lit and makes for a good date spot, though the seating as such looks like its only for groups. There are also two tables on a small balcony, where the hookahs are served and you have an uninterrupted view of the melee that is Church Street.  And so the indulgence began. We started with ice tea, which was made and not packaged and was so-so. 

The Interiors

The ice-tea

We decided to have two starters - Kashk Bademjan (grilled aubergine with Kashk) and Baktiyari - a combination of mutton and chicken that's marinated in Persian herbs and barbecued. Let's start with the Kashk Bademjan - this dish is largely made of a grilled mash of aubergine including its peel. The mix was a bit of garlic, coriander, caramelized onions and some tomatoes. The highlight of this dish is the Kashk which is served on the side. 

Kashk is a whey of sorts. Its traditionally made from the leftovers in the cheese-making process. You have to pour this on the aubergine, mix it up and eat it along with the naan that is served on the side. On the first bite, you will find a slightly cheesy, fermented taste to the mix. I am guessing it is more of an acquired taste considering that the aubergine peels also lends a bitter twist as well. But once we got the first mouthful in, we battled each other to get more into our portions. 

Kashk Bademjan (grilled aubergine with Kashk)
The Kashk being poured (Below)

Our next starter was the Bakhtiyari. This was a dish of flatter Chicken and mutton, marinated in a mix I couldn't figure out and barbecued. Both the meats were quite soft, but a little dry. Eating a bit of the roasted tomato on the side, along with it made it go down a bit easier. But the taste was really good and this too comes with naan. 


Now these two starters are meals in themselves and were really quite filling. But give us something new and we tend to turn on glutton-mode. We decided to go in for a rice based main course and opted for the Zereshk Pulao (actually Zereshk Polo in Persian). The description made it sound brilliant - Basmathi rice, topped with persian herbs and saffron served with a choice of chicken leg or breast. The Zereshk stands for a popular dry fruit that is harvested at the same time as saffron and therefore popular in Persian cooking.  

Zereshk Pulao (above and below)

What came was a plateful of rice, the top portion of which was steeped with saffron. Mixed in it was some Zereshk. There was also a square of butter provided to mix with the rice. Along with that came the chicken, in a distinctly tomato base gravy. We had asked for the leg and this comes with the thigh included. Now as per what I read of the actual recipe, the Zereshk that is mixed with the rise has to be tempered in oil a bit, but what we go was pretty much dry. Also the chicken is meant to be cooked with tomatoes and spices till the gravy reduces. But the chicken we had seemed boiled in packaged tomato puree and after a while, you just can't eat much of it. So this dish was quite a disappointment.


Nevertheless, we went ahead and munched our way through it. We also had Karamel for dessert. The only difference with this caramel custard from the others normally made is that there was a lot more of the caramalized portion. We also had a Persian drink called Doogh. I saw it being carried to another table and couldn't resist. Its simply yogurt that's beaten with dried mint and topped with ice. Brilliant when you are downing the starters. 


All the trappings of a tea that was not Persian

We rounded the meal off with Persian tea. Or at least that's what it said in the menu. It can in a beautiful teapot set with sugar on the side and dates. But when looked down at it, we were served with Taj Mahal tea bags. Now what's so Persian about that? 

To sum up. I completely loved the starters served here. The things that went to the other tables too looked equally great. Am not too sure how authentic they are trying to be with their main courses, the one we had did not go down well at all. But I would definitely love to come back to try more of their starters. The bill came to around Rs 1100 with a coke thrown in as well. They do have a loo, but for a change, junior did not make me pay it the customary visit.

Address: #1, 1st Floor, Opposite RR, Church Street, Bangalore 
Phone: 41478209
Cuisine: Persian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Yeah! Good luck with this part

You Might Also Like


Contact Form