Bangalore restaurant reviews Cafe/Coffee Shop

Cafe La Traviata

Friday, January 17, 2014Me! In words

When I first started this blog around 5 years ago, the idea was simply to have something creative to do. All my work-related writing was so heavy that I really needed something to break the intensity of an average working day. I turned to chronicling our meals at restaurants. What started as something so casual, today has taken on a life of its own. Its given me a lot of interesting experiences, some exceptionally brilliant, some 
unforgettably bad and some atrociously horrendous, but more importantly it introduced me to a whole set of people whom I have come to be friends with. I am part of this beautiful group called the Marathon Bloggers, and we decided to meet up for lunch, as we try to do every so often. While the original plan was Chianti, there was a last minute change to this new place La Traviata - after all, what's life if not about taking a few chances. 

As is always I did a little reading up on the social media sphere on this currently only lunch/cafe place. Its an Italian cafe run by Japanese chefs with the promise of some great homely food. Superb! The first thing you notice about La Traviata when you get there are the multi-colored cows outside. Made of plaster of Paris, it can be quite the photo-op. Step in and the interiors are very rustic and pleasant. White wooden chairs, checkered table cloths, an open kitchen, bar stool style seating closer to the wood-fire oven. Small things to note - a play area for children and a nice outdoor seating set-up.

A few from our group were already there and soon our table was a houseful. Menus were on the table for at least half hour before we got down to looking at it... such is the joy of meeting up. The menu is not extensive at all with a smart collection of pastas, pizzas, soups and a few chef's specials with the dessert of the day. We decided to order a range of dishes and simply share it. 

Now while we waited we were served some fresh bread, chicken liver pate and olive oil. A lovely start to the meal with the bread being warm from the oven. The pate was great, with its pasty texture and blend of spices in it, but it can be a acquired taste so people be forewarned .

We asked for ice teas to go around and a lovely set of tall glasses with golden tea came across. Served the classic way with the sugar syrup on the side. Loved this!

After the ice tea and the pate, we had a really long wait for our fish carpaccio - In my mind, fish carpaccio - like beef carpaccio was meant to be delicate slices of raw fish - sashimi may be. What came was a  upgraded sashimi  - it was filled with juliennes of carrot and radish, topped off with tomato onion salsa and pomegranate seeds. The dish looked lovely with the drizzle of balsamic and the riot of colors. As I popped the first fish parcel into my mouth, a wave of vinegar hit me. With the balsamic around, it was quite unnecessary to have that as well. It completely killed the taste of the fish. So while we did finish it, this one did not make a mark for me at all. 

We then had another interminably long wait - close to 45 minutes to see the next dish - a Beef penne pasta. While we were a table of 7, only this dish made it our table after the wait - Once again, it looked lovely and we couldn't wait to dig in. One bite in and first impressions was that the sauce was good - very homemade in terms of preparation. The beef had been cooked with the sauce and had imparted its goodness to it. What really killed the experience of a good pasta was that the penne was seriously under-cooked. So while the sauce got eaten up, the pasta was left aside

Another dish we ordered was the Galette - a dish of French origin which is a flat pastry of sorts. It also refers to savory crepes made of buckwheat. Here I must mention something totally ticked me off - the galette, on the menu was referred to as a French Style Dosa - I find that a little condescending for a restaurant to think that I need to be told a crepe is a dosa to be tempted into ordering it. I think the Bangalorean food scene is evolved enough to appreciate a galette for what it is. That being said, this galette was really nice - crisp on the outside with a great egg, peas and spices filling. Definitely worth trying. 

By now, the sequence seemed to be in place - we were getting just one dish at a time and that too only after we finished what we had. The vegetarians were yet to see anything for them despite a few reminders every now and then. Though we had decided to split dishes between ourselves, it was wrong of the staff to assume that one dish at a time for a table of 7 was ok. After all we were there to have lunch together. I now realize that I never had a slice of the seafood pizza, but it did look great and must have tasted brilliant since it disappeared so fast. Oh yes! and we were hungry souls with all that waiting. 

We ordered basil and tomato pizza for the vegetarians and this finally made it to the table. The poor things gobbled it down and scooted out. We asked for another of these pizzas, only if it came within 5 minutes, because honestly that's how long a pizza to order should take. Strangely, it looked very different the second time it came around. It tasted nice however. 

We also asked for a seafood pasta - this time the dish scored on all levels - it was nice, the pasta well done and the sauce very nice. Its just that the wait had really gotten to us all by then and we wanted all eat and be done with it. 

As an apology we were each served a chai panacotta. It looked lovely, but one dip of the spoon and there were huge blogs of gelatin below. Most of us left it as is.

A small portion of the interiors

Overall, I understand that this is a new place and there will always be some issues to iron out. But in a restaurant market like that of Bangalore, spreading 6 dishes over a 3 hour span is not going to be appreciated. The space is beautiful and the food largely good, if a few issues are taken care of. One of the blackboards had a dish (I am presuming) in Oriental script for Rs 250. Again, strange I thought since you are selling galette by calling it dosa hoping to possibly attract diners, but have something on a blackboard menu in a script that majority will not understand! The loo is very clean and very child-friendly, complete with a step stool and changing sheet. The menu is reasonably priced and for all the dishes we ordered we spent around Rs 370 a head. I would put a meal for 2 at Rs 1500 at most.

Address: #152, Sarjapur Main Road, Koramangala 1st Block, 
Phone: 080-41692546
Cuisine: Italian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Wallet factor: Rs 1500 for two on average 
Parking: Road

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