On Invitation

Likethatonly - an out-of-the-bento experience!

Friday, January 18, 2013Me! In words

Quite a while ago, when I was working a full time job at a newspaper, one of the only things we used to look forward to each day was the lunch break. Not that we had much of choice where we were based, but it gave us a chance to get out of the rut, have a quick meal that would hit the spot and come back refreshed. There were restaurants for the glut days, restaurants for the grab-and-run-back days and a very small handful of those that were for days we wanted to treat ourselves. 

When I was invited to the media preview of the Likethatonly's Out-of-the-bento box experience targeted at lunch on weekdays, one of the first things I thought of was, how nice it would have been if this was a meal option we had back then! Anyways nostalgia aside, here I was in Likethatonly and well settled at the table. 

Manu Chandra (who doesn't know him) and Executive Chef of LTO, Prashanth Puttuswamy spoke to us about the Out-of-the-Bento box concept and the offerings. The idea is basically a quick service meal, that's good on the tummy, wallet and time. Rather than be served in the bento box as we know it, this meal is served on a customized tray. You can choose from vegetarian, chicken and seafood, with each meal giving you six options to choose from to make your meal. Not too vast that you waste time wondering and enough of choice to have you coming back the next day for a different lunch experience. 

All meals uniformly begin with a bowl of steaming miso soup. Soothing on a cold afternoon or for when your day did not get off on a good start at work. I opted for the seafood combo with steamed snapper curry and basil fried rice. The other choices in seafood are thai green curry with mussels and fish as well as garlic noodles. By default you get a little crab salad, prawn and sesame dimsum, crackers and a little jug of light soya sauce to add flavor to your food. The vegetarian and chicken options too have their own dimsums and salads.

My Out-of-the-Box meal - basil fried rice, red snapper curry, crackers,
a little jug of soya, a salad and prawn and sesame dimsum

The meal is compactly served and the portion is ideal for a hearty, yet not a put-you-to-sleep kind of lunch. The ambiance, the presentation and of course the choice of food is like a treat to yourself on a workday or even if you are having a girl's day out. - something every one of us would like. To give us a broad idea of all the other options in the out-of-the-bento box experience, the chef sent out a few portions of everything else. 

The miso soup I so happily cupped my hands around. 

 I wanted a fruit based mocktail and kiwi based drink is what I got. Don't know
the official name, but it was a nice addition to the meal. 

The garlic noodles

The veg massaman curry

The veg rendang curry

Thai green curry with mussels and fish

I had a bit of everything on the table while totally enjoying my own meal. What struck me was how much different a working lunch can be if it actually looks pretty when it comes to you. Most workday lunches I had hardly looked appetizing... let alone be a meal I would remember for sometime.

And then comes the fun part - dessert where you actually have a choice - white chocolate and sesame pudding, five spice chocolate cake, apple cheesecake crumble tart. The chocolate cake was absolutely wonderful and the spices sing through very nicely. The apple cheesecake crumble felt a little softer than it should have been but that did not take away from the taste at all. I was too full to taste the white chocolate dessert.

Apple cheesecake crumble tart with cream and a dash of cinnamon powder

 Five spice chocolate cake

White chocolate and sesame pudding

I found the prices rather reasonable - Vegetarian and chicken are both Rs 499 + taxes while the seafood is Rs 599 + taxes. What is has going for it is the unique choices, the presentation and the value for money. So the next time you want to give yourself a treat in the middle of the work day, you know where to head. Unfortunately for us folks not in the vicinity of Whitefield, a planned trip would be in order. 

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