Brunch On Invitation

Mou Taverna at Cafe Azure - Taj Yeshwanthpur

Saturday, September 12, 2015Me! In words

How many times have you caught yourselves wishing there was a good brunch to head to on a Saturday. I, for one, have longed to have a Saturday Brunch, just to get over the tough work week, and not wait till Sunday. After all, the end of a Sunday Brunch also means heading home and preparing to take on Monday. With a Saturday Brunch, I can still go back home and laze around in my PJs all through Sunday...

I guess, some one some where heard this collective thought of the peoples and now you have the Saturday Brunch at Cafe Azure of the Taj Vivanta in Yeshwanthpur. Called the Mou Taverna - the spread promises to be primarily Mediterranean. We were invited to check out this brunch - and the promise of dolmas was enough to convince me to make the long journey there.

Yes, Yeshwanthpur is far away by all standards from Jayanagar, but then so is Lal Bagh and MG Road considering how bad Bangalore's traffic is. So, I have long since given up on using traffic and distance as an excuse to not go somewhere.

It did take us a long while to get there, but then, it also whetted the appetites. Once our group was settled, a walk around was the first order of things. The buffet is spread across a wide space and is interspersed with seating. You can choose to sit close to the food indoors, at a more quieter end on the other side of the restaurant, or soak up some sun outside. All the grill counters are outdoors.

To bring in a more rounded sense of a Saturday, the brunch set up also makes space for a basic Souk - you can choose to pick small rugs, a range of cheeses as well as some potted plants. All for a pretty reasonable price.

With the walk around done, we settled down with some drinks and had a few starters brought to the table. The drinks menu for the day had some Chandon Champagne, some good red and white wines from Jacob's Creek and a range of the classic cocktails. The bartender is also happy to whip up some cocktails to match your tastes.

Now getting down to the food. I have to say this - the plating of the nibbles and salads was really very pretty. Unfortunately, my photos did not do they justice - blame it on the lighting, blame it on the rumbling stomach. Here is a look at what we ate on the day.

Like I said, Dolmas was the only reason I wanted to head to this buffet. I have mentioned this before - having been brought up in Kuwait and spending a good portion of my childhood life with a Palestinian babysitter - dolmas was a treat I was often bestowed with. I have had many a dolma since then, but none bring back that food memory the way it should. And so did this one pass the test? - well it was rolled well, it was stuffed well and the level of tanginess was just right - but I felt the leaves were a bit too mature and so it was not as light as it should have been. Did I take seconds of it? I did, and thirds too - but it did not reach my personal benchmark.

As every good Mediterranean buffet must have - there was Hummus, and a seriously good carrot version of it as well. There was Tabbouleh - a nice and freshly tossed one, Babaghanoush, Mutabbal, all of which went down with a lot of pita bread. Do make sure to ask for the bread as it is not placed on the table, along with the usual bread basket. There was also a dip I am unfamiliar with - the Moutawmeh - a hung curd and mint dip. You see a blob of it on my plate to the bottom right. If you love your yogurt, you will like this.

I also picked from the prettily decked salad counter - the one you see up there in the middle is an liver pate and was a delicious mouthful. 

I did a few rounds of the dips and starters before actually venturing anywhere else. I mean, I can be a satisfied puppy with hummus and pita. But here you see some chorizo (another favourite indulgence) and perched on the plastic glass is the prawn bite, designed to look like sushi, though it is not. I liked this one a lot too - for the flavours (its a cold dish BTW), the freshness of the prawn and the perfect size for my unusually small mouth!.

A rather garish picture of the hummus - not it was not white, but the right colour

A closer look at the dolmas
Be sure not to leave the place without trying the Poached Pears - they are absolutely divine. Do go back for seconds and do not hesitate to clean sweep the serving dish. Believe you me, you will not regret it.

Kids had their share of entertainment - there is a small Chennapatna toy store that is bound to leave you short of a few hundred rupees. There is also a caricature artist in the house. The chefs are open to customizing dishes for younger tastes - Anoushka headed to the pasta station - they have a lovely series of suspended buckets from which you can choose your pasta. She spotted gnocchi and had two rounds of gnocchi in tomato sauce, that you see below. The portions are thoughtfully served in paper cups, which give the kids a chance to walk around with their food - though I managed to pin my daughter down till she ate.

Some of the starters that came to the table - the Crumb Fried Prawns - these were really nice and multiple requests for this went out.

Some Kebabs in a pastry shell

Yes, there are no pictures of the main course, but not because I did not have - its because I need to learn the art of plating food from a buffet. I will settle to tell you about what I ate. There are quite a few dishes on the buffet that make you want to open those chafing dishes. The Pork Belly with a berry sauce was one of them - this comes with crackling et al and was a good way to begin on the main courses.

There was also the Shawarma, done live on the rotisserie, sliced, diced, and rolled up for you. There are good and can be quite filling, so do be careful if you plan to have more off the buffet. The Jambalaya was something I was looking forward to, but it did look a tad dry on the buffet and ended up being so. This was the one dish that did not work. We also headed out to the grills - these are served on skewers or on breads - so take your pick. We did some grilled chicken, beef medallions, pork sausages - all of which were pleasant.

And of course - then came the desserts - the spread is quite spectacular and I would suggest you do what most in our group did. Walk around it when you arrive and pace your meal accordingly. There is a lot to choose from - and from all the oohs and aahs going around, most dishes were much more than pretty pictures.

And so there you have it - a welcome addition to the buffet scene and one that happens on a Saturday. The spread is expansive and the staff attentive. The restaurant was running to an almost packed house, but it was clear to see that the staff was attentive to even the smaller details. This buffet is priced at Rs 1800 AI for the alcoholic and Rs 1600 AI for a non-alcoholic brunch

There is also a little selfie corner right outside the restaurant, with a few props.

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