Bangalore restaurant reviews Continental

Secret Garden Cafe

Monday, March 19, 2012Me! In words

We have heard and read so much about Secret Garden Cafe, that we just had to get to it someday. And that day finally came over a weekend. It took a while for us to find the place, considering that it is at the end of a long line of apartment buildings. Following that you get into the backyard of one of the many gates at the dead end, turn to your right and then up a metal flight of stairs and onto an al-fresco terrace of a home. Nice... after that adventure, I was really keen on reading the blackboard menu and getting down to ordering.   Since no one turned the menu our way, I just walked on over and began to read. Just then, one of the two ladies in grubby salwars and aprons offered to turn it my way. Thank you very much! And I took a seat. We started with an ice tea to cool down. Simple and nothing much to talk about.

The blackboard with the day's specials

Ice tea

We decided to start with a Salad Nicoise - the thought of something nice and cool like the salad was quite welcoming in the afternoon. The salad appeared soon enough - while the overall taste was nice (I still preferred the Cafe Noir one), two things put us off - when the plate came, the lady had one of her fingers a little too far into our salad for comfort and the amount of tuna was very miniscule, just a few shreds here and there. We got over the finger-in-food thing considering it just one off, but noticed it was happening with quite a few of the plates going out.

Salad Nicoise

For the mains, I decided to go with Chicken Tagine with couscous and Sudhakar had the Bacon and Spinach Cannelloni. One look at my dish and I was really happy with the quantity, but then as I was going through it, I was disappointed. Generally when I feed Anoushka from my plate, I pull out all the chicken pieces so that she gets it. As much as I dug, I got exactly 6 smaller-than-bite size pieces of boneless chicken and the rest was chickpeas and potatoes. I felt bad since the meal is priced significantly and I would have liked more meat in something that actually tasted quite nice. The same went for the spinach and bacon cannelloni. While the spinach was fairly abundant, the tiny shreds of bacon felt like one rasher that had been chopped up for the entire dish. Very disappointing.

Chicken Tagine with Cous Cous

Spinach and Bacon Cannelloni

When we were half way through our respective meals, the complimentary bread basket came to the table. Hmmm! but must add, it was really nice, though quite late in the coming. Junior made most of her meal from that. And yes, it was one bun-sized loaf sliced into 4.

Garlic bread

Desserts were a saving grace with both the carrot-orange cake with ice-cream and the home-made orange sorbet being really nice and ample in quantity.

Carrot-orange cake with ice-cream 

Home-made orange sorbet  

Overall, we came away very disappointed. From what we saw that day, most of the cafe was filled with people who were regulars. Service seemed more tilted in their favor, and that is honestly how we felt. I asked both the ladies manning the floor for our bill which never came. I asked one of the owners for it who was busy tidying up a table for some friends and who asked me to wait a while before promptly forgetting about me (Sudhakar had gone to get the car) and then finally I walked up to the kitchen, asked for the bill again and after an additional wait finally got it. This meal came close to Rs 1800 and honestly I would have been much happier at Ta'aam, up the road where I would have had my fill in Rs 400. The loo was clean. I believe the place is only open for lunch and not on Sundays, so its best to call in a check.

Address: 7/1 Edwards Road, Off Queens Road, Bangalore
Phone: 41131365
Cuisine: Continental, European, Mediterranean 
Wallet factor: Rs 1500 for two
Parking: May the parking Gods be with you since they weren't with us!

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