Ashoknagar Bangalore restaurant reviews

Toast and Tonic

Wednesday, October 12, 2016Me! In words

Restaurants come and go in Bangalore. Haunts of yesteryear often get a makeover to become something totally new. Sometimes they take and sometimes they make way for something new yet again. We have been to several such makeovers over the years - but I can't recall a time when the management of a restaurant turned a very popular brand into something new. Toast and Tonic came up in the erstwhile Monkey Bar space on Wood Street. When the shutters downed for renovation, am sure most thought that Monkey was gearing up for some new tricks. Instead what opened up was something completely and the city welcomed Toast and Tonic - an East Village style pub. 

Now the makeover itself is gorgeous. While the shell of Monkey Bar remains (but of course), the space has got a whole new look. Chic, yet having just enough to not have you sitting all 'prim and propah'. The ambience and lighting speaks relaxed and long meals. The bar is the main focus on the floor and the tables spaced a tad too close for my liking but nevertheless, if you don't have boisterous dining neighbors, you will be alright holding a conversation. It is a pub after all!

The predominantly placed bar at Toast and Tonic. The bottle display, the house-made tonics on the bar counter are quite interesting to observe while you ponder over meal choices.

Toast and Tonic has several elements, be it in their drinks, condiments or dishes that have been uniquely created to act as enhancers - visually, on the palate, and to the overall experience you are having - from a choice of table salts, to home made tonic waters, to in-house cured meats - you will find the menu peppered with a such offerings.


We have made two visits to Toast and Tonic so far and here is a look at some of the drinks we had. I wanted to try all of their  G & T (Gin and Tonic), especially considering how the tonic waters are all made in house. I tried the East India Company- Gin, strawberry and clove tonic water with a strawberry spiced ice. We also had the Herbalist - Gin, with Basil and Orange Tonic water, with a coriander and orange ice. The Gin-tleman's Tonic brings together Jasmine Tea, Elderflower and grapefruit tonic water with rose petal-cucumber ice. We also had the Wood Street with Clove and Cardamom Tonic Water and the strawberry spiced ice. 

I personally loved the idea of the spiced ice, though if you are two to a table, you may want to be careful about ordering G&Ts with the same spiced ice. You end up with two similar tasting drinks and you may not want that if you like sipping each others' drinks. While the drinks themselves were nice all through, I found the cucumber ice to be quite overpowering in terms of the cucumber flavour and that killed the one drink for me. 

What I especially appreciated about this section of the drinks menu are the flat rates allotted to tonic waters and G&Ts and also to your choices of alcohol - Beefeater Gin or Absolut Vodka. Reducing decision making quite a bit.

From the signature cocktails we tried the Bacon Old Fashioned - Bacon infused Bourbon, bitters, orange, sugar and ice. A pleasant drink, well balanced and oh well! bacon. Everything tastes great with Bacon. Now moving onto the food.

  Pork Tea

The food menu has segments that gives you options for the kind of meal you are in the mood for - soups and salads, small plates, large plates, flatbreads, burgers, main courses and desserts. Each one has a enough of options to make your next couple of visits free of any repeats. Pork tea was one of our first choices, because, let's face it, the name is fascinating. And the dish turned out to be equally fascinating too - A light clear broth with little pork stuffed tortellini, with some pickled ginger and black fungus. The broth is a clear consomme with several layers of flavour infused into it.

 Young Jackfruit and Smoked Goat Cheese Tostada - Bean Puree, Guacamole
and Jalapeno Cream

Both times we visited, we had long drawn meals, which meant that Sudhakar and I chose to go with more of the small plates and flatbreads than we did with the main courses. As soon as Sudhakar spotted a young Jackfruit tostada, he zeroed in on it. Few bites into it and you will appreciate how a fruit, that generally never finds its way into mainstream dining options has been treated so nicely. The balance between the mock meat like texture of jackfruit, with the crunch from the cabbage, the heat from the Jalapeno cream and the softness of the bean puree, work new sensations in your mouth.

Soft Eggs and Andouille Sausages on Sourdough toast - green mustard spread, Smoked Bandel Cheese, Cream Cheese and Gin Mustard Hollandaise

The dish came highly recommended and on tasting it I could see why. I love spiced cured meat and the Andouille sausage is house-cured if I am not wrong. Its pairing with mustard, cheese and soft boiled eggs is a great coming together of complementary textures and flavours that do each other complete justice.

This was a Salmon on Scrambled eggs and toast though I don't remember the official name of the dish. I ordered this more out of my love for good salmon that for any other reason. It is a good dish, but when compared to some of the others, it stands as a pretty standard brunch-like order to have.

The Carne Asada Tostada - Chittoor Agave Marinated Bangalore Beef, Naati Coriander, Fresh Jalapenos, Scallions, Pepper, Avocado and Lime was something we ordered simply because the description worked perfectly on getting our stomachs to react. This is one that works very well with your G&Ts - no jaw aching beef here, the marination has done a great job on that front. All else again comes together as a good blend of textures of ingredients that make a dish very memorable. 

The Smoked Cochin Mackerel on Toast with charred green pepper and orange salsa made a convert of me. I, in general, don't get along to well with Mackerel, but I must say that this one, with the charred green pepper and that little squeeze of lime had me at the get go.

Au Revoir Colonel Sanders - Greek yogurt and Totapuri marinated chicken tenders in a sourdough Raagi batter with mango chilli aioli and curry mayo. I admit, for the description, I expected something mindblowing to appear on the plate. But then this does deliver on everything it says. The chicken tenders were nice, though the marination did not shine through particularly for me. The Mango Chilli Aioli though, we kept back long after we finished the tenders to have just on its own.

One of the dishes that I completely enjoyed was the Chilli tossed Tuna Poke Bowl with Seaweed, Sticky Gobhindobhog Rice, marinated Cucumber, Chilli-Passion Fruit-Pineapple Vinaigrette, fried onions and chia seed. You don't really get to see too much of Gobhindobhog rice in its usual context in Bangalore, so to see it in this Hawaiian inspired dish and in such a beautiful way is a such a good thing. The fresh tuna chunks add to its flavour profile working so well visually and on the palate. 

Now if you are a huge Chorizo fan like I am, then the Chorizo and Clams on Udon Noodles is a must. Its that bowl that I would love a much larger portion of (though the portion served is perfectly fine), to take to a corner and enjoy. Its the dish that I would swat someone's hand for, for trying to reach out and share
This was one of the specials being promoted on our second visit - Air dried 200gms of Filet mignon with confit kohlrabi, roasted turnips and sweet potato, gin hollandaise, house churned mustard, duxelle of mushrooms. Its a great dish, with the meat beautifully treated and the end result beautiful. But not many are going to be able to appreciate the work that has gone behind ensuring that this meat is served with such care. 

 We also tried the Vegetable Gumbo which though pleasant honestly did not stand out for me in comparison to the other dishes. It has some great ingredients like Elephant Foot Yam, Okra and the like, yet I personally found that the flavours of the vegetables had perhaps not all come through together. I may have also been biased by the fact that we asked for the additional topping of Andouille Sausage and Shrimp and this was missed out on.

Anyone who has read this blog will know I am not much of a desserts person. One spoon and I am pretty much done. There are a few exceptions and the Expressions of Rice is one of them. Sooji Pot au Creme, Red Rice icecream and coffee ghewar crisps. How is that for some innovative dessert?

And for all those who join me in singing paeans of desserts that are citrus and lemon based, Expressions of Citrus is what you may want to have. Sugarcane Pannacotta, Sugarcane gel, Gondhoraj Lemon Curd and Sweet Lime cake. Spoon licking worthy.

Toast and Tonic is an interesting addition to the culinary landscape of Bangalore. Don't walk in expecting to find a menu with something familiar. Every dish has a lot going on and definitely not in a bad way. To many, the intricacies of the pairings of ingredients may be lost, but don't let that put you off. What matters in the end is that it all comes together beautifully and tastes great - Toast and Tonic does great in that department. A meal for two is around Rs 3500 with drinks.The loos are clean. Do keep in mind that guests below 18 years are not allowed for dinner.

Toast and Tonic
Address: 14/1 Wood Street, Ashoknagar, Richmond Town
Cuisine: International
Accepts card: Yes
Parking: Valet
Location: Check this map out

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