BIAL On Invitation

La Tapenade - Kempegowda International Airport

Monday, September 21, 2015Me! In words

There is only one thing that catches my fancy in an airport - a ringside view of planes taking off and landing. The excitement of impending travel often makes it difficult for me to think of eating anything. But if there is one thing I do when I transit through Kempegowda International Airport, it is to stop at Malgudi Days for their Button Idlies and Sambar. A while ago, a food trail through the Bangalore Airport opened my eyes to some interesting options. The International Security Holding area now has a new addition to its list of restaurants - La Tapenade, a Mediterranean Cafe. I did spot it when I recently flew to Frankfurt but like I said, the excitement of impending travel and the joy of watching planes land and take off did not see me trying it out. I was recently invited to a bloggers experience of the restaurant. Here is a look at what you may expect.

La Tapenade has a nice, centrally placed location. You won't notice it at first glance, but when you stand at the front facade of the restaurant, you will see that it is shaped like a ship - a tribute to impending travel. The restaurant is quite spacious with a choice of regular table and chair/sofa seating and heavy set bar stools at a higher table. The walls are lined with shelves holding glass jars of pastas - makes for a good pastime, learning of the various kinds of pastas available.

We began with a Peach Ice Tea - simple, cold and nice

Chef Murali, started us off with two classics from the traditional Mediterranean Mezze Platter - The Hummus and the Babaghanoush, along with Pita Bread. The Hummus, slightly grainier than I expected it, packed in all the right flavors. Each scoop with the pita bread had a nice bite to it and with the generous drizzle of olive oil, it came together very well. I can definitely see myself with this dish as a little treat before I fly off. 

The Babaganoush has always been my favourite rendition of the humble eggplant. The balance in this version was nice, with each of the ingredients - roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice and the final garnishes of olive oil and sumac coming together well.


Next up was a very fresh Greek Salad which generous globules of feta cheese. The light vinaigrette dressing did wonders for the fresh salad veggies. Again, this is a great dish to have just before those long haul, oddly timed international night flights. 
Greek Salad

Moving on to the Shish Taouk - Skewered Grilled Chicken with Bell peppers to be more precise. The Chicken was nice and moist and what elevated the dish was the Taoum served on the side. This garlicky dip had a lovely creamy texture and zing from the garlic is pronounced - in a delicious way.

Shish Taouk

One of the La Tapenade's signatures are its thin crust pizzas. The idea is to create the feel of thin crust wood-fired pizzas. Now for obvious security reasons La Tapenade cannot have a wood fire going, but their recreation in an oven comes brilliantly close. We had two pizzas - a vegetarian version and a Chicken Pizza - both were very generous with their tomato sauce base and cheese. The crust is thin, crisp and each triangle folds deliciously well into your hand.

The Chicken Thin Crust Pizza

The Vegetarian version with Black Olives and Green Bell Pepper

About now is when the mains began coming to the table - The first was a Surf and Turf of sorts - Peri Peri Prawns with Grilled Chicken Skewers on a slab of fried Polenta and a filet of fish. Its quite a plateful and may work well if you split it by two. The Peri Peri rub on the prawns was great as was the delicate, am guessing yogurt based marinade on the chicken. The fish filet too had a nice crunch on the outside with moist flakes of fish on the inside I did not much care for the polenta. The Harissa based dip served on the side packs a solid punch.

We were also served a Za'atar rubbed grilled chicken and two penne pastas in a red and white sauces respectively. I love the range of textures that you get when you use Za'atar in a dish - the coarsely ground rub tends to have a bits of all the spices and aromatics that goes into it. It worked well with the chicken here - just a little more in the seasoning department would helped though. I did not much care for the white sauce pasta, but the red was a nice, chunky version - just the way I like it.  
The Surf and Turf Platter

Za'atar Rubbed Grilled Chicken

Penne Pasta in Chunky Tomato Sauce

Desserts were the Tiramisu and a Berry Cheeesecake. Being the only non-coffee person at the table, I skipped this one amidst stares of incredulity, sampling only the edible print chocolate strip that replaced the Saviordi biscuit. The Tiramisu was declared good by those around the table. The Berry Cheesecake had a nice tart flavor to it, though I would liked the biscuit base to have been a little less crumbly and more buttery. 

The meal ended with a refreshing Mint Granita and it time to call it a day and head out of the international terminal without actually flying out anywhere. A quick stroll to the windows to take in the aircrafts coming in and heading out and I was satiated - well for a short while at least.

Berry Cheesecake

Don't miss out on the cool coasters with Food Phrases from around
the world and their meanings

And so there you have it, a new addition to the culinary landscape of the international terminal of Bangalore Airport. A meal for two is approximately Rs 1500. The good thing about the menu choices here is that you can do a quick grab-and-run or sit down for a multi-course meal depending on the time you have on hand.

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