Bangalore restaurant reviews budget eating


Tuesday, November 22, 2011Me! In words

Jayanagar, over the past few years has seen this spurt in eating places. Of course, keeping with the overall preferences of this area, vegetarian in all its avatars is predominant here, but nevertheless, there are quite a few good ones that have come up. And so we heard that a place called Zensation had opened its doors at The Park Slope, a new hospitality unit.

I guess it happens with everyone... when you hear of a new place you automatically begin to imagine what it is going to look like. To me the name conjured up an Oriental place, Feng Shui in the decor, and for some strange reasons, black uniforms. As far as possible I try not to read too many reviews or write-ups on any place. Am human and I don't want to be influenced by anything, and so with this place I was able to keep an open enough mind. We got there, went up the elevator and came to an al-fresco styled seating.

There is a white canopy covering the top, you could see right through to the dense Lalbagh and if you twisted just right, you could see the lake in there too. There was fake grass on the floor, a dark wood for the decor and two brass Buddhas to complete the look. Fair enough! Nice and airy place... and then we were handed a nice folder with the menu in it. We opened it and all it had was a single leaf of plastic with a typed sheet in it. Menu was divided into Indian and Italian... and then it hit me... the board downstairs said Zensation - the Indo-Italian restaurant... now was I wrong to think Oriental??!!

The decor (Above and below)

As we looked through the menu it turned out to be very basic - typical Indian offerings of dals, rotis, gobi manchurians and biryanis. The Italian was pastas and to drink canned juice being the best on offer. And then the waiter came over to take our order - we decided to go simple, after all that was the only thing available. Pineapple juice to drink - "Spaghetti Pasta" as the waiter called it, with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken, a seafood pasta and a chicken biryani for Anoushka.

No points for guessing - Pineapple juice from a carton

Sudhakar wanted to know if the sauce on the seafood pasta was going to be red or white. Our good man had no clue and ventured to say "red and white sir". Ok, that was interesting. But good old Charlie went back to his station to confirm and came back with the revelation that the pastas were available in penne, spaghetti and fusilli and the sauces were in red or white with a choice of a meat/veggies. After which Columbus realized that he had not yet answered the question, went back and finally arrived satisfied that he at least part of the answer the first time round - the sauce of white. Phew!

Sun-dried tomato pasta with chicken

And then our plates arrive - with our orders the other way round - the spaghetti came with sea food and chicken/sun-dried tomatoes came in penne. And it took a few moments of convincing Charlie that the order was mixed up. By then we had decided to give the guy a break and let him go.

And after all this, both the pastas had a pleasant enough sauce. The chicken was ample in mine, but there was no sun dried tomatoes. What was there though was chopped cherry tomatoes. And the seafood pasta had good sized prawns and nothing else.

Seafood "spaghetti pasta" ;)

The biryani was again average. It used your everyday sona masuri rice, not even a low grade long-grain to give it the semblance of being a biryani for a hospitality place. But then the taste was pretty ok. Anoushka liked it enough to have a good portion of it. It had all the right trappings - the two colored grain, crispy slivers of onion and decent sized pieces of chicken. (Yes I ordered chicken, even though I am a staunch believer of "if its biryani, it has to be mutton").

Chicken biryani

We were offered desserts, which were ice-creams but politely declined. The chef did take the trouble to come out and speak to the us, the only patrons in the restaurant at the time. He agreed about the culinary education of his staff being non-existent. He also said that the sun-dried tomatoes were left out because they gave a bitter taste - hmm matter of opinion, but then pray, why mention it on the menu? The place is a month old and maybe still testing waters. Oh! and one other thing... having an open air resto with a great view in front and cowshed at the back means you alternate between fresh air and some not so good smells when you are eating. A menu, like say that of Flamenco would do a world of good to this place. At least, we didn't feel too down when the bill hit just Rs 500. My baby's growing up and so there was no customary visit to the loo.

Address: The Park Slope Hotel, Near Ashoka Pillar, Lalbagh, Bangalore
Phone: 26556466
Cuisine: Indo-Italian
Wallet factor: Rs 500 for two
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Nothing much, but should be able to squeeze in somewhere

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