Bangalore restaurant reviews Indiranagar

The Fatty Bao

Tuesday, July 01, 2014Me! In words

We officially entered week 4 of the new school year. Its beyond my comprehension and understanding where time flies. Between school work, home-related work and work related work, the world seems to be passing me by in a blur. The initial week or two of school are pretty silent and so Sudhakar and I decided to squeeze in one last date lunch before the avalanche came crashing down on us. The Fatty Bao, an Asian Gastro Bar had made rather silent arrival on the culinary landscape of 12th Main Indiranagar (the area is becoming quite the happening place to be seen at right now) and so we headed out there. 

Close on the heels of this date lunch, I was invited to give Fatty Bao a second go, with a girlfriend and jumped at the opportunity of catching up with a good friend. The fact that the Land of the Rising Sun was home to her for a good number of years ensured that she would test the mettle of the Ramen, a very interesting section on the menu. 

Decor is quirky - the word should have been patented to everything set up by Manu Chandra. From all the photos floating around the online social space, you may have spotted a few things reminiscent of Likethatonly. Do bear in mind that, this is where the resemblance ends. The Fatty Bao has a very distinct new identity, one that will mean different things to different sets of people who come here. Fatty Bao has an indoor seating section and a terrace space. Indoors seem extremely popular with small groups - out to have a catch-up session. A good drink and dine session over the latest gossip is guaranteed. 

The Terrace would make for a great evening out - Choose to sit there when Bangalore's good weather is not playing truant and you have it all - great ambiance plus good food and drink.

For both my meals at the Fatty Bao we choose the first floor - brilliant lighting in the afternoons and the massive tree framing the ceiling to floor windows make for a perfect nature-based photo frame. Pickled veggies and fruit are present in tiny bowls which BTW taste great, but perhaps having them covered till guests arrived would be a good idea.

The view from where we were seated - above and below

The Fatty Bao being an Asian Gastro Bar, its only right we choose our drinks first. The first time round we had the Ho Gin Min and the Bora Bora. Ho Gin Min, of course has Gin, Sambuca and white wine, all muddled together with ginger, lime cordial and sugar grains - I quite liked this drink and did find it potent from start to finish - the ice did not water it down. The anise-flavor of the sambuca does stand to the fore on this one. The Bora Bora is vodka, gin, passion fruit and green apple topped off with coconut water. While this one tasted really nice, it was more of a mocktail than a cocktail for me. A stronger hit of the alcohol would have worked well on it. 

Ho Gin Min (L) and Bora Bora (R)

The second time round us girls ordered the Red Wine Sangria and the Double Jade. The red wine sangria was spot on... these guys can't possibly get that wrong. The Double Jade was a blend of Kiwi, Khus and Kaffir Lime, with gin. Must hand it to the fellows manning the bar, these drinks are really interesting and the color of the Double Jade so pretty. Again, I would have preferred a stronger hit of the alcohol though. 

Another drink I definitely want to try when we get there next time is the Mandalay Bay. It has a lot of ingredients that I love - Jasmine tea, Vodka, Lime, orange and touch of ginger beer. I also want to get through their list of shooters... the Soju Bomb and Hola Samurai in particular.

Red Wine Sangria (L) and the Double Jade (R)

And now moving on to the food. The first time round, we, for some reason wanted to try the vegetarian gyoza and opted for the Spinach and Sesame one. 6 pieces to a plate - great for 2 or even 3 people. What I love about the menu is that you have the option of adding on single dumplings to your dish - makes it so much more convenient when you are 4 or 5 people to a table.

The second time round, we had the Beef and Jalapeno Gyoza. Not to be missed this one has finely minced beef and jalapeno that come together beautifully with the soft outer cover. Gentle spicing on the meat elevated with just the right amount of heat from the jalapeno. This is one you won't mind ordering the second round of anytime.

Spinach and Sesame Gyoza

Beef and Jalapeno Gyoza

Next it was time to say Ni Hao to the Bao - on each visit we had one version. Rather than have the pinched up bun style baos, these are flattened and folded pita bread-style with the filling. We asked for the Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Bao on our first visit- two portions to a plate but boy is it packed with goodness. The chicken can gently be teased with your lips and it has been treated with some serious respect - certainly elevating this simple white meat to something much more. The Schichimi and the garnishes of lettuce and pickled cucumber work brilliantly together. We were so tempted to ask for the Pork Belly version of this next, but held back because we wanted to order a lot more. 

When visiting with the girlfriend we decided to do Beef Cheeks instead of the Pork Belly. Again, brilliant treatment to the meat. The little buns are packed just enough to give you generous mouthful, without making it difficult to bite into... great for people like me who can make a mess eating a club sandwich. One word of caution here though - beef cheeks tend to be slightly chewy literally taking after the job they performed before ending up on our table - so while Beef Cheeks Bao is fabulous taste-wise, its not a first-date dish. You will be spending some quality time with it and rightly so. 

Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Bao

Beef Cheeks Bao

Moving on - it was now time to pay attention to the small plates. I think my friend sums it up beautifully when she says "What I did like is that no other place is doing small plates... helps one not get bored of the same thing and gives you a chance to try a variety..." Words that ring so true - the first time round we had the Dancing Shrimps that comes to you in a skillet - it was the homemade chilli jam and lemon description that clinched this deal for us. A superbly satisfying dish, where everything, including the micro-greens sprinkled on top had a tasty job to do. 

Dancing Shrimp

The Fatty Bao PB&J is a name that really stands out in a menu - twice cooked pork belly, braised, then crisped with a mustard miso jam. I can't really tell you much about this dish other than the fact that our sounds of satisfaction were enough to embarrass the folks around us. 

Fatty Bao PB&J

You can't have Salmon Carpaccio on the menu and expect me to pass it up. Beautifully sliced fish set out on the plate, dressed up with a ginger and garlic juice, soy, Yuzu, scallions and sliced jalapeno. The yuzu and soy give it that salty/tangy mix, while the scallions and G&G juice give it both punch and bite. I pushed aside the jalapenos after the first bite with them - the heat from the jalapenos completely took away the fab factor of the fish. I loved the dish otherwise.

Salmon Carpaccio

The Shaking Beef is a delight to have when you are nursing a drink and are having a great conversation. Beef tossed with onions, peppers and black bean sauce are absolute tongue pleasers. The bed of crisps the meat is placed in even more so... especially when you get to the bottom of the dish where the crisps have soaked in some of the sauce and meat flavor and have turned chewy.

Shaking Beef

And then came the Ramens - do bear in mind that all of this indulgence was over two separate meals - heavens help us if we attempted this in a single go. We asked for the Chasu Ramen the first time - pork stock peppered with bacon, braised pork belly, sprouts, soft boiled eggs and scallions. Let me state right here that I do not have an earlier experience with authentic ramen to make a comparison. That being said, I completely loved this dish. Wholesome - warming-the-cockles-of-the-heart-variety - the broth was delicious - thin, yet packed with flavors that make you (or at least me) want to slurp away noisily. My friend however felt that the texture and the body of the soup could have been much more than what it was and that the egg (when she had the dish) was not soft boiled at all. The noodles though were spot on she felt.

The second time round we had the Grilled Sausage and Smoked Ham Ramen. It was very thoughtfully, split and plated for two. While all of the ingredients did hold great promise, there was something missing in bringing about that perfect harmony. 

Chasu Ramen

Grilled Sausage and Smoked Ham Ramen

Two visits to The Fatty Bao and I regret to say we never made it to the dessert part of the menu. This Asian Gastro Bar's strength lies in its small plates, baos and appetizers. You have a mighty long list of temptations to get through before you reach the mains, if you ever do. Or you may just settle for some soothing green tea before you burp in satisfaction.

Fatty Bao is pretty much running to packed houses for lunch and dinner, which is but expected. The floor is well manned and the staff know their menu - always a plus point. Service can get a little patchy once they hit full house, but on both our visits, the patchiness was negligible. We were in no hurry on either days. A meal for two is in the Rs 2500 category with a drink each. The restaurant is off limits for children below 10 years of age at dinner time. The loos are clean.

Address: #610, 3rd and 4 Floor, 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Near Crossword, Indiranagar, Bangalore 
Phone: 44114499
Cuisine: Asian Gastro Bar
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Valet

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