Coming soon on the blog!!!

***The Open Box***Anju's Cafe***Toast and Tonic***Part 3 of my series on Miltry Hotels in Bangalore***

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The First Weekend Raid- The Egg Factory

Project: The Weekend Raid
Mission: Explore and conquer VFM eateries
Point of Conquest - Egg Factory
Raiders on mission - Ashwin, Santosh, Yusuf, Puneet C (PC), Puneet M (PM), Sudhakar, Ruth and Anoushka (raider- in-training)

The Egg Factory - successfully conquered

The Raiders (L to R) - Ashwin, Santosh, Yusuf, Puneet C (PC), Puneet M (PM), Ruth, Anoushka (trainees remain anonymous)

How the Egg Factory was conquered
A place that served great food for Rs 250 per head or less. This was the brief for the selection of a restaurant to be raided. From earlier recon missions at the place, several raiders voted for The Egg Factory to be raided. A lot of electronic mailing back and forth led to the 7 raiders volunteering for the mission. 

The Plan
We were all to meet at the Egg Factory for lunch at 12.30 pm on Saturday. The beginning of the weekend seemed a perfect setting to ensure the success of this conquest. Since we were all meeting for the first time, it took a few minutes longer than planned till everybody got together and familiarized themselves with the other raiders present. Once settled I realized that only one person who signed up for this first mission hadn't turned up. Lack of pre-planning on my part led to us not being able to call this potential raider telephonically. 

The conquest
Some raiders, like Santosh, Sudhakar and I were familiar with the offerings at Egg Factory and so ordered accordingly. Others decided to go with what they felt would be the best route to complete this mission. Below you will find visuals of the conquest.

Lessons for future missions
1. Carry all contact details of raiders on the mission
2. Don't forget to take photos of every item - we missed on Santosh Huevos Ranchos which was twin spiced bullseye served with tortillas on the side. Santosh though wondered whether this was the way it was meant to be served. 

The bill came to Rs 204 per head. All agreed that the place was a good conquest. Once outside, plans were afoot for the next raid. With the place settled on, negotiations are now on as to who wants to join the next raid. 

Address: Ground Floor, White House, St Mark's Road, Bangalore
Phone: 42110041
Cuisine: Everything egg based
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Nothing exclusive but not too difficult

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Rogue Elephant, Basavangudi - revisited

There are some restaurants that you just can't get enough of. The Rogue Elephant is one of them. We have been here already and you can read a review of the place here. The ambiance is wonderful and something that we can't get enough of. Some pictures I did not put up in the previous review are here.

Anyways, here is a slide show of all the food we had... it goes without saying that we enjoyed every morsel of every dish right down to the plate-licking last bite. 

Address: Opposite Krishna Rao Park, Next to New Generation School, Basavanagudi, Bangalore (keep Gunasheela Hospital as another landmark)
Phone: Will get this soon
Cuisine: European/Mediterranean
Cards Accepted: No
Parking: Nothing exclusive, but will not be too much of a problem

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sea Spice

It has happened to us quite a few times that a new restaurant right next door is often relegated to the last of the to-visit list. This is what happened with Sea Spice which is at an obscure location in Banashankari, maybe 10 minutes from where we live. The first thing you notice on entering the restaurant is the framed award for the Times 'Best Coastal Food'. The restaurant is pleasant in terms of decor with a small terrace seating arrangement as well. On a full house day, the place can get crowded and noisy. 

Once settled we were handed the menus... we were teetotalers for the day and Sudhakar opted for a Elaneer (coconut water) that was to be spiked with mint. Sounded interesting. I went in for the Kokum sherbet. The sherbet was pleasant without being really refreshing. Have had better back home in Mangalore. 

Kokum Sherbet

Now for the Elaneer. Sudhakar was served a tender coconut, all gift wrapped in clear cling foil with a straw. From the hole on top, it was pretty obvious that there was no mint spiking the drink like mentioned in the menu. And so we called on the manager and asked him about it. The instant reply was, "But you asked for Elaneer!" To which we replied, "Yes we did, and the menu clearly mentions that the elaneer will be served spiked with mint." The gentleman replies, "Oh that! mint is optional, you have to tell us if you want it!"

Elaneer with the optional mint

No where in the menu is mentioned that the mint is optional. If its printed that way, you assume it going to be served that way, or the wait staff should inform you that the mint is optional. The same thing was taken back and a sprig of mint shoved into it and served. Hmmm.. so much for starters.

We decided to have the pomfret rava fry and the squid masala. These came soon enough. Let me begin with the squid. The masala of coconut, red chillies, a distinct Kundapur masala powder mix and a tempering of curry leaves made this dish super spicy and really nice... Would have gone great with some chilled beer. And now for the pomfret. I picked a piece that looked like the tail and had that to begin with. The rava coating was generous, but I really wished the masala applied before was a bit more spicier. When I picked up the second piece I found the bone upright instead of the customary flat for a pomfret. 

Squid masala - Spicy and nice

Pomfret Rava Fry - where slicing techniques matter a lot

I was pretty sure that it was not a pomfret and again we called on the manager. We showed him the bone and explained to him how the bones in a pomfret are flat. Moreover, we could not find the head of the pomfret anywhere. Following this he went into the kitchen and brought out an uncooked but marinated pomfret. That's when we realized that the chefs at Sea Spice don't seem to have got their fish slicing techniques right. Ordinarily, beginning right below the head and keeping it intact, a pomfret is sliced from fin to fin. This will give you the head, possibly two to three thick slices in between and a tail. In this case, the fish was halved from head to tail and the slices cut lengthwise rather than across the breadth. What I thought resembled the tail was actually this small fin-like thing. There was no head neither was there a tail. There may be a lot of people who slice their fish this way, but it is wrong and there is no way your marination will be absorbed. And for a restaurant that won best coastal food award... surprising. 

Anyways, we followed this up with an order of neer dosa, appams, Chicken munchi gashi and peas pulao. The neer dosa was fair, but again, nothing to beat the ones served at Suggis. The appams were average and I wonder why no one uses the appam kadai. Real appams as done in Kerala and even in Mangalore have fluffy thick centers with the circular edges being crisp. No one seems to do that in Bangalore. 

Neer Dosa (Above)
Appam and Chicken Munchi Gashi (below)

The Chicken Munchi Gashi was spicy again. Not in a bad way. It went well with the dosas and the appams. The quantity was generous. The peas pulao was really good, with the peas being nice and soft and the rice not being dry. This too went well in soothing the spice of the chicken curry. 

Peas Pulao

We didn't really want to have desserts, because we were really disappointed by now. The menu is also full of the common dishes that you would find at any multi-cuisine restaurant. So I don't see how being labelled a coastal restaurant fits into the scheme of things. But then hey, I do understand economics. The bill for this meal was Rs 1100 approximately. The ladies restroom is clean but situated a little outside the restaurant on the same floor. But for good Mangalorean food I would still vote for Kudlas, Mangalore Pearl and even Suggis. 

Address: #1890, 8th main, Kaverinagar, IInd stage, Banashankari, Bangalore - 560079
Phone: 26715060
Cuisine: Coastal, Multi-cuisine
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Space for few cars outside the restaurant. If these are occupied its the street.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Higher Taste

No matter which part of the country you are from and no matter how much of a meat lover you are, you can't be a stranger to vegetarian food. Vegetarianism is closely linked with several religious ceremonies, making it all the more pervasive. Then there are those days when a good vegetarian meal is all you crave. So no matter which way you look at it, there is always a part of us that loves good vegetarian food. Bangalore's Restaurants have plenty that cater specifically to vegetarians. Whether you are at a stand-up darshini, a Shanthi Sagar or a classier vegetarian restaurant you will find the usual suspects of paneer, gobi, aloo, mutter and the ubiquitous veg kurma. With these, there is also a huge rise in the number of restaurant that serve vegetarian, non-Indian cuisine. In the midst of it all stands a restaurant called The Higher Taste. 

The Higher Taste takes vegetarianism to a whole new level. The restaurant is located on the premises of the ISKCON temple. Most of us in Bangalore are no strangers to the quality of food that comes from the kitchens of the ISKCON temple. And so, to take this a step forward, The Higher Taste is a purely sattvic restaurant - no onions, no garlic and no caffiene. The spices are freshly ground on the premises and the food prepared is served within a 4-hour window. The menu has been uniquely designed and the kitchen is under the command of Executive Chef Aditya Fatepuria. It has a mix of north as well as south Indian dishes with interesting twists to each one.

Sudhakar and I dubbed the journey to this meal the Road to Salvation. We attempted to get to ISKCON Temple on weekday at prime time and you can imagine the rest. When we pulled up in the parking lot, we were exhausted and hungry. The Higher Taste is done up with class. A great deal of attention has been paid to the decor, the seating and the lighting. While the ground floor has the buffets running, the a la carte is on the first floor and this is where we headed.

We placed ourselves in the hands of Chef Aditya and to refresh us, we were served a Kesar Shikanji. This was a lemonade, freshly made. A touch of royalty with saffron and slivers of dry fruits and we were already relaxed.

Kesar Shikanji

Next came the entire range of starters on the menu. What you see below is the Inji Vadai - most of us from south India are familiar with this snack. What made it different for me was the addition of minute slivers of ginger that gave it that zing. I have tasted these vadais with onions but never this way. Next we had the Kavipoo Varuval - bite sized florets of cauliflower were marinated in an interesting mix of masalas. They were batter coated with an urad dal flour mix and fried to the crisp. The finishing touches with crisp curry leaves was an added bonus. And then the Palkatti Varuval - thick strips of paneer that had a thin coating of masala fried goodness around them. The coating was thin enough to impart the taste without overpowering the paneer as is normally seen.

Top left corner - Inji Vadai, anticlockwise - Kavipoo Varuval, Palkatti Varuval

Another plate of starters comprised of the Tirangaa Paneer Tikka - as the patriotic name suggests, three square slabs of paneer, coated with three mixes of masalas and chargrilled. Again the masalas here are just enough to get the right flavor without comprising on the main ingredient. There was also the Kakori Seekh Kebab which looked firm on the plate but melted in the mouth. A melange of vegetables and greens blended to give you some real wholesomeness. 

Tirangaa Paneer and Kakori Seekh Kebab

Next we readied ourselves for some soups. I was served a Nellikai Charu which was gooseberries and dal cooked to make one tangy soup. I am a sucker for tangy and Sudhakar had to fight me for a taste. Sudhakar was served a Makai ka Shorba - this was corn soup which somehow had a wonderful tanginess to it as well. I must admit, I am not one for sweet corn soup in any form, but this one, with a hint of lemon made me glad that I experiment with my food. 

Makai ka Shorba (top) Nellikai Charu (below)

And now for the main courses - we were served Elaneer Karaisal - believe it or not, this was a gravy made of soft white insides of a tender coconut and with the richness of cashews. The combination was rich while being light on the stomach. We also had what was hands down my favorite, Mangai Kilangu Thodukari - A gravy of raw mangoes and potatoes - this had the right level of spiciness and the tartness of the raw mangoes. The potatoes were the perfect offset. We also had some Zafrani Kofta - this paneer dish was served with the paneer slit lengthwise and filled with nuts. The gravy was cashew and saffron based. The set of ingredients itself can tell you how great the dish was. All this went with the Kesariya sheermal - a roti made with kesar of course and something that you can't put your finger on. Another bread served was the Chilli Cheese Naan. Thin circles of green chillies had been roasted and sprinkled on the naan. Contrary to what you may think, the cheese offset the spiciness completely. 

Kesariya Sheermal

Zafrani Kofta

Chilli Cheese Naan

Mangai Kilangu Thodukari

Elaneer Karaisal

Next we had the Kaikari Idiyappam - this was a scramble of idiyappams along with fresh diced vegetables like potatoes, peas, carrot and tempered with mustard and curry leaves. Spicy, tasty and worth fighting over. We also had some Arisi Parappu Satham, a preparation very close to basic bisi bele bath but without the vegetables. The rice and lentils came together well and the spices are very south Indian. 

Kaikari Idiyappam (above) Arisi Parappu Satham (below)

Now after all this you must be wondering whether we have bottomless pits for stomachs. Well no actually, we don't. But the food here is such that even after such a hearty meal you don't really feel like you are burdening your stomach. And so, of course there was place for two very interesting desserts. First was Paan Ice-cream. Yes! you read right Paan ice-cream and I had the Elaneer Payasam. A milk and coconut water payasam with bits of soft tender coconut in it as well. Delicious to the last bite. The Paan ice-cream actually is a a whole paan that is ground and then blended with the ice-cream mix and set and what you get is a super tasting dessert. A dessert that also doubles up as a palate cleanser, mouth freshener and a digestive. 

Paan Ice-cream (above) Elaneer Payasam (below)

And thus ended our journey on the road to salvation. This was one spectacular vegetarian meal which I would pick anytime of the day or year. The restrooms are spotless. A meal for two a la carte will be around
Rs 1000 inclusive of taxes. The lunch and dinner buffets are priced at Rs 300 per head exclusive of taxes.

Address: ISKCON Temple and Cultural Complex, hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road, Bangalore - 560010
Phone: 22766501
Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Parking lot

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cafe Noir

The restaurants at UB City never really caught our fancy, simply because we thought that it would be too expensive. Thanks to the Bangalore's Restaurants site, we make it a regular habit to eat out and have to watch the finances involved as well. So when I read Karthik Shetty's review of Cafe Noir on Gastronomicalgspot, I was surprised that restaurants like Cafe Noir fit into our monthly scheme of things. And so we headed there one Sunday afternoon. 

The Cafe was nice and breezy. The walk in water fountain set close by kept spraying us occasionally thanks to the breeze, but this too was pleasant for me. Perhaps I am missing the sunsets on Mangalore beaches a bit too much. The view was pretty nice. The metal chairs and tables with umbrella shades too were great.

The view from my table

Now for the food. The menu had me drooling and wishing I could have one of everything. So we started off with something to cool off. A Green Apple Fizz Froz for Sudhakar and a Peach Bellini for me. Both the drinks were visual treats, with the Green Apple looking brilliant against the clear bubbly. It tasted real nice. The Peach Bellini I ordered simply because it brought to mind the Bellini at The Highland Nectar. Of course that was sparkling wine and this was Cranberry juice, peach puree, sparkling bubbly and hint of Angostura bitter. 

Green Apple Froz (Above), Peach Bellini (Below)

We then settled on the Parisian Salad, which was a mix of ham, boiled egg, cheddar, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives and drizzled off with olive oil. One look at it below and you can see that it was loaded with all the of the ingredients mentioned and a whole lot of cheddar in particular. It tasted great, freshly tossed and light. Another roll of ham would have made my cup of happiness overflow though. 

The Parisian Salad

Now for main courses. I had decided on the Orsay with Panini bread at home. And that is what I ordered. What came was layers of smoked salmon, cream cheese, garlic, black pepper, lemon, herbs, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. Pretty wholesome don't you think. And it was good, right down to the last crunchy bite of the panini. 

Orsay with Panini bread as served and (below) a look at the filling

Sudhakar had the Croque Monsieur. This was a prepared roasted sandwich filled with cooked ham, nutmeg, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepper and cheddar. The top had a wonderful creamy layer of white cheese sauce. The minute I saw it, I wished I had ordered it. Each bite conjured up Jerry-like dreams of being in cheese heaven. A really heavy and satisfying sandwich this...

Croque Monsieur

For Anoushka we ordered the Fish n Chips. This was a pleasant enough dish. Nothing much to talk about. Of course, she ate the chips and left the fish to us. She had found a partner in crime and was busy discovering new places around Cafe Noir to jump off or climb onto. 

Fish N Chips

And now, for dessert... Cafe Noir prides itself on its pastry/bakery chef or the Compagnon du Devoir, Bruno who makes each and every  baguette, quiche, croissant, and fine pastry as many as  2 or 3 times a day.  The pastry counter will leave you stumped for a while. You can see why from the photos below. 

The pastry and breads on display

For dessert we decided to have a Chocolate Eclair and a Mango Tier. Suffice to say that we would consider raiding the place after hours to get hold of any pastry that we could. The Chocolate Eclair had a thick chocolate sauce on top of a soft roll filled with chocolate cream atop a biscuit lined with chocolate. The Mango Tier was soft moist cake, layered with Mango, finished off with a mango topping and freshly cut fruit. 

Chocolate Eclair

Mango Tier

Cafe Noir has a nice setting. It is breezy and pleasant. Thierry, the French owner of  the Cafe Noir met with us for a while and told us of plans to introduce wines and have a menu that is a typical sit-down wine-paired French dinner. Will certainly look forward to that. The place has great space for kids to run around. Facilities are common for all restaurants and are clean. This meal came to roughly Rs 1100.

Address: Unit No 206, The Collection, UB City, No. 24, Vittal Mallya Road, Bangalore - 560001
Phone: 40982050
Cuisine: French
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Parking lot

Monday, June 14, 2010

A weekend eating out group - interested?

Dear readers of Bangalore's Restaurants,
A while ago, Ashwin Kini, a follower of Bangalore's Restaurants asked if there were any groups that met on weekends that experimented with eating out at not-so-expensive but good places. I for one, did not know of any such groups, but then thought, why not start one from right here. Bangalore's Restaurants is just touched  1100 followers and I am sure there are several of us out there who would love to experiment with good food, no matter what the place. The Weekend Raid party will...

1. Meet up on once on a weekend, at a pre-determined, commonly voted on eating joint.
2. Eat to your heart's content (the bill will be split equally by all those present)
3. Each person can give us their opinion on the food
4. A collective review will be put up on the site by your's truly along with photos of the food etc.

If you are game for something like this, here is the plan

1. All those interested in joining this group, mail your contact details* (email + phone number) to Any suggestion on a cheap eating joint would be welcome.

2. If you have friends who might be interested, then get them along as well after a two-step procedure
          a. Become a follower of the FB page or on the website directly through Google
          b and then have them send in their contact details to

3. In a short while, we (Bangalore's Restaurants) will get in touch with you and co-ordinate a meet over the weekend at one place. We meet up at an eating joint and kick start this whole affair.  So all those in favor, start mailing in your details.


* Mail us whatever you feel is the best way for us to get in touch with you - emails are best, phone numbers if sent in will definitely not be shared with anyone other than the one person getting in touch with you.

Here are some budget places the website have covered already. There are so many more waiting to be discovered.

Steamed momos with diced tomatoes and chillies at Taste of Tibet, Langford Town 

Mutton Biryani at Kohinoor on Brigade Road

Fluffy white idlies at Southies, Jayanagar

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain has been on my list of must-visit for some time now and on a weekend, not too long ago, we managed to cross it off the list. MG Road was a haunt when we first came to Bangalore and the Food World and the food court in front of it a popular eating point. MG Road since then has lost its sheen for us, especially after the boulevard disappeared. Au Bon Pain is placed right out Spencer's (the earlier Food World) and takes up all of the space that was once the food court. 

And they have taken the space very well. The yellow umbrellas, the LCD TV and the huge fans make for a pretty nice ambiance. Slam in the middle of the metro construction, yet airy and not dusty at all. Anyways this was our first visit and we were informed that we could pick trays, get our food and have it billed on the outside. Done!! We entered, picked our trays and I headed straight for their Signature Soup in a Bread Bowl.  Huge canisters of different varieties of soups are placed on a center cart. The overhead canopy houses the bread bowls. Its best to put your soup into a paper cup (regular and large sizes available and priced accordingly) and wait till you reach your table to pour it in. I chose the potato and leek soup. The soup and the bread bowl were delicious to the last drop. Contemplated having another round, but wanted space for other stuff. 

The Soup Counter

Potato and Leek Soup in a bread bowl

We then headed to the counter to order our main courses and that's when a member of the staff told us that there were actually combo offers going on where a Soup in Bread Bowl could have been ordered as a part of. Now I really wish someone had told me that before I served myself the soup. Maybe I should have asked for more clearer instructions, maybe the staff should have been more clear at the door when they were telling me to pick up a tray. 

Anyways I had one of the signature sandwiches which was Mediterranean Hummus and Olive on toasted jalapeno-cheddar bagel. The was a neatly packaged sandwich with a very nice filling of hummus and olive. The sandwich is thoughtfully split into two palm sized portions and held together with a pick. Would have appreciated a slightly more generous layer of hummus though. Overall nice in taste. 

Mediterranean Hummus and Olive on toasted jalapeno-cheddar bagel

Sudhakar had the Chicken Wonderwich that was all that it was described soft roll bread packed with spicy chicken steak. A nice and filling sandwich with an added layer of cheese. 

Chicken Wonderwich

We shared regular sized pasta salad which could have done with a bit more dressing. It ended up being a tad bit dry. The portion was healthy though. 

Regular sized pasta salad 

For Anoushka we opted for one the Harvest Rice Bowls - Afghan Murgh. A pleasantly flavored chicken gravy. Tomatoes and onions being the base with a range of spices. This was placed on top of a good quantity of rice and a fresh salad to boot. Overall a really nice meal to have, especially for office-goers in the vicinity. 

Harvest Rice Bowls - Afghan Murgh

We were quite full and did not really have space for desserts, but brightly colored yellow one caught my eye and we picked a glass. Turns out that it was a trial sample of dessert they planned to introduce. This one, as I mentioned in their feedback form was alternate layers of an elaichi shrikhand with mango puree in my opinion. While the combination did not really work for me, it may for others. 

The dessert on trial

Sudhakar's office is a hop skip and jump away and he decided to order in a few days later. The first time he called, he was made to hold on for around 10 minutes while the person taking the order seemed to be attending to someone else in the background. Each time Sudhakar would begin to place his order, he would be put on hold again. He gave up the first time. After which though he has never had a problem with the taking of the order or the delivery. The rice bowls have been great as have been the sandwiches. Every place, in my opinion is entitled to a few hits and misses. I would love to revisit for their pastries though. They have a great selection of breads and pastries, coffees and juices as well. More in the next visit.  This particular meal came to around Rs 600. They don't have an exclusive restroom and you will have to use the one at Spencer's. 

The salad, dessert and bottle drinks counter - above
The coffee counter - below

Address: #8, Spencer Plaza, Close to Barton Centre, MG, Bangalore - 560001
Phone: 25586969
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Street - all the best on weekends


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