Bangalore restaurant reviews Koramangala


Thursday, July 04, 2013Me! In words

It turned out to be one of those Saturdays that was full of the unexpected. We had driven to Bidadi for breakfast, discovered a nice hilly place close to Big Banyan tree that is on the verge of being converted to a township... the lovely little hill had been blown up to make way for concrete and we managed to find the place when it was filled with huge boulders that could be climbed on and muddy roads from the previous day's rain. The kids had a blast running around (we were with the family gang) as did we climbing rocks and sitting on high. At the end of it all, we decided (or at least I made everyone agree) that we would head to Axomi for lunch. The thing is I have been wanting to go here for such a long time now and for five weekends in a row, something or the other came up and we had to drop the plan. 

We finally got to Axomi, were lucky enough to find parking a decent distance away and climbed up the stairs at 1.30PM. To our luck, the only large family seater was occupied and so was pretty much all the seating. Sign of good things though right! We got a table for the kids, settled them down and ordered for them. A simple enough lunch considering all of them were pretty pooped. So it was Lusi (largish puris made of refined flour),  a paneer curry and a chicken fry. 

While we were waiting for the kids food to arrive another 4-seater got empty and we settled ourselves on two tables, looking longingly at the family that just didn't seem to want to leave the sofa-seater, though they were well past their dessert and half way through the bill (ok so maybe it was the hunger speaking and the desire for the gang to be together after a great day)

A plate of Lusi

The children's food came soon enough and the first thing both us mummies did was to take the puris and the curries to make sure all our little picky eaters had nothing to complain about. The puris were really soft and pretty soon we had to have another round of it at the table. The paneer curry was not of the creamy variety, but a light one with lots of other veggies thrown in. Kind of reminded me of my mum's chicken stew with coriander, carrots and green peas. The chicken fry though was a hit with the kids - on the outside it looked like it was overly fried, but biting into each piece, it turned out soft, crunchy at most. The spice mix was pleasant, though not a familiar one. And we did order a bowl of plain rice as well. Satisfied mothers we were, seeing our kids eat well... perhaps we should take them to that hill more often.

The paneer curry

The fried chicken

While we were waiting for our seats, we decided to order anyway. The deal with Axomi is you have two types of thalis - the basic thali and the mini - the basic has a lot more and is the best bet when you are hungry. All the meat dishes can be ordered on the side as can the vegetarian sides. There is also jolokia to be had on the menu, but when I asked, they said that they hadn't brought it in yet. Strange!

So the adults decided to go with four basic thalis - a smoked pork and duck fry. That was when we were pointed out to the special menu on a small, easy to miss board - it said that there was the option of a smoked chicken/pork with bamboo shoots and steamed in banana leaves. Since we already had pork coming to the table, we went in for chicken. There were other dishes like momos and stir fries, but this sounded the best. Order given, aerated drinks half done, we waited a while. As if to whet the appetite, 2 thalis were placed before the guys at their table. Good thing we take photos before eating coz it turned to be someone else mini thali order. Nevertheless, I got me my photo of by far the only thing we did not order. 

The mini thali has - (left-anti-clockwise) Bhaat (rice), Dali (yellow dal - channa dal actually), Labra - a mixed vegetable, bengena bhaaji (a brinjal fritter with besan paste), papad, green chilli/lime.

This was our basic thali - left anti-clockwise - papad, bengena pitika, bhaat, aloo pitika (a smooth potato mash with coriander, green chilli and a drizzle of mustard), Bilahi Tok (tomato chutney), dali, labra, khar (a typically Assamese dish made with raw papaya, banana pith or green vegetables and mixed with khar. Khar is got by filtering water through banana tree ashes. Boror Tenga - this is light gravy, sourish because of lemon, tomato, mangosteen, or elephant apple to which soft besan balls will be added). Green chillies and lime wedges

So this is what made up the two thalis. For one, the rice quantities are generous per head. I got through most of mine but had to give up in the end. Stars in the thali went to the aloo pitika - the idea of potato mash and mustard is brilliant, a real kick to the palate if you like the two ingredients on their own normally. The khar too was interesting and not something you can draw a parallel with even if you wanted to. In the Boror Tenga, it was the gravy that caught my attention (yes, I love all things sour). The besan balls actually cut the sourness a bit giving you that balance. But for a person like me, the besan was definitely not needed. I looked around and saw many folks happily squashing the green chilli into their rice and squeezing on some lime - I bravely did the same since I have a good spice tolerance. Turns out the chilli adds flavor and not spice (and I mean no spice at all). A very satisfying thali even if you do not order anything else.

Next came the banana leaf wrapped chicken and bamboo shoots. Be warned, that bamboo shoots can have an odor that some consider offensive. It does take some getting used to. And when you open this neat parcel, the bamboo shoot aroma does hit you with one tight slap. Ok, now that explanation done, the chicken on the inside has been diced, mixed with spices, mustard oil (I think), bamboo shoots and then steamed. The result is this really soft chicken, a mix of pungent and tangy. With the bhaat and dali, it was a great combination. 

All wrapped up

The opened up parcel

We also ordered the smoked pork. Though a nice combination of fat and meat - the smokiness was not too strong. We have had this dish at some of the Northeastern food festivals held at the Ant's Cafe in Indiranagar
and the levels of smokiness there were very distinct. That apart, it is a nice side dish for two people to share. The duck, again with a spice mix I could not identify was nice in terms of the marinade, but was really really tough.

The meal ended with a really interesting sweet - Doi, Gur and Mihidana - Curd, grated jaggery and sweet boondi. If you love curds like I do, you will like this dessert - its not cloyingly sweet, but more like a palate cleanser/ dessert all rolled into one. The sweet is a part of your basic thali.

Smoked pork

Duck Fry

Doi, Gur and Mihidana - Curd, grated jaggery and sweet boondi

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here. The service is quick and it would be a good idea to make reservations, which we were told they accept. The bill for this meal including a couple more rounds of aerated drinks came to around Rs 1700 which for 4 adults and 3 kids with healthy appetites that day was really good. The loo is clean enough.

Address: 360, 1st Main Road, Koramangala, 7th Block, Bangalore
Phone: 9986731340
Cuisine: Assamese, Northeastern
Wallet factor: Rs 350 per person
Parking: Nothing exclusive

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