Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dum Pukht

Hello friends and readers. Apologies for the lack of updated restaurant stories on this blog. I have a good excuse; I’ve been busy getting married and now I’m back and eating!

I have to admit that recently, it’s been challenging to find foods and restaurants that are worth writing about. That’s up until last night when we went to Dum Pukht Jolly Nabobs. No, it’s not slang for Dumb F*cked and it’s definitely not a dive bar in an old part of town. It’s a very good Indian restaurant that serves Lucknowi food and dare I say, the very best biryani I’ve ever eaten! The restaurant is tucked away in the corner of the newer wing of the Windsor Manor hotel, a side that I never knew existed and if I did, I must’ve thought that's where the guest rooms were located.

The old interior of the restaurant complements the rest of Victorian-stlye décor of the hotel and if it wasn’t for the occasional Caucasian men in bermuda shorts and polo shirts who were walking around to grab a beer or two, I would’ve been lost in my olden-Anglo-Indian-palace fantasy. It’s easy to be lost; the crystal wine glasses, life-sized paintings of Indian ladies in fancy sarees and prints of photographs taken in the 1800s all hung on the wooden walls, chandeliers, chinaware and middle-aged servers in black suits with names like Hamilton added to the charm.

The dining room.

Here’s what we ate (sorry, the meal was very meat-centric because "A" did the ordering.)

Murg Chandi Tikka (left) and Kakori (right). This must have been the most "royal" tikka I've ever eaten. Tender thighs with smokey tandoor taste. That is not leftover aluminum foils from cooking, it's actually eatable (I hope) silver foils that were added on purpose I'm unsure why (do you?). And kakori was super finely minced mutton blended with cloves, cinnamon and saffron that melted in my mouth!

Can't remember the name of this roti, but it was served with my kakori and it was delicious!

Murgh Rezala. Pieces of chicken morsels cooked in creamy oinon and almond gravy and eaten with  steamy hot roti tasted like freshly baked whole wheat bread that just came out of the oven! This was meant to be our "second" course but I think we could've done without because it took up space for our precious...

... Dumpukht biryani. Have I mentioned, the best biryani ever? Every spoonful had so many layers of flavor and with the oh-so-tender mutton pieces and the side of "burrani" - a type of raita but tasted and looked more like spicy aioli, was the most expensive but totally-worth-it Rs1500 I've spent on biryani. 

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 9/10
"A"'s: 9/10

Would we return? 
Yes, when we want to splurge on a very good meal.

ITC Windsor Manor, Golf Course Road, Bangalore

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Tasty Tangles

It's always strange to me that tables at Tasty Tanlges remains empty while its neighbors (Toscano's, Subway, Cafe Noir, and Rajthani) are packed during meal times. They have a nice-looking indoor area, and also a spacious open-air section that is great for people watching especially on weekend evenings. Their exposed kitchen is quite entertaining; you can observe the slightly self-conscious cooks as they prepare your food. The reviews they have from burrp website are fairly decent. So, why is the place so empty?

I was craving Chinese food during lunch one day and remembered my in-laws saying that this place serves yummy Peking ducks, which I came to know is a rare find in Bangalore. To my disappointment, they were not serving duck that day, and on top of that they have an "Asian" menu, instead of a Chinese menu.

So here's what I ended up eating.

Siu Mai - it was just okay, considering there aren't too many options in town for dim sums. I know it's very easy to screw this up, but they managed to get the flavors as close as a siu mai can be. Nice little trick replacing orange fish roe with finely chopped carrots.

Har gao
Har Gao - nicely steamed with dumpling skin still intact. The prawns used as the filling was decently cooked so there was still a slight crunch to it.

Penang Curry Laksa - disappointed but to be fair, the last time I tasted curry laksa, I was actually in Penang, hence there is really no comparison. This dish tasted more like the Burmese "khao suey" but with a thinner broth. Basically, I was looking for a punch and I wasn't finding it in this bowl of red coconut noodle soup.

Nasi Goreng - not bad except it's also missing a few ingredients that makes up a good nasi goreng like sambal and eggs. Served with a piece of chicken satay, which was also so-so.

Lamb stir-fry
Stir-fry lamb, kung-pao style. Pretty spicy and not too drenched in sauce, which I like.

Stir-fry bak-choy
Stir-fry bak choy, which tasted like it was pre-boiled and then had some oyster sauce stirred-in.

My conclusion: I guess the reason why the restaurant always seems quiet even though the location is great and ambiance good, is because the food is really just so-so. And since they can't compete with Rajthani and Subway prices, they end up being the last choice. That's what I think.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 6.5/10

Would we return?
When we're really hungry and the other restaurants in UB City are full.

UB City, Vitay Mallya Road

Monday, July 18, 2011

Touché in Indiranagar

I don't know how to categorize this restaurant without using the term "multi-cuisine", so I just left the label out. To me, multi-cuisine spells "I don't really know how to cook anything, so I'll cook everything", which too often means mediocre-tasting food in abundance. While food is not their specialty, digital entertainment might be. I think this place would be appealing to people who don't like socializing over food or for parents dining with ADD kids who constantly need to be entertained.

I don't mean to sound negative. This place is not all bad. For instance, they are one of the more eco-friendly restaurants in town. No use of paper (you place your order on the touch-screen computer that's also your dining table), and instead of paper towels, they provide clean, ironed white napkins.

Chicken quesadilla
Chicken quesadilla was a safe order and turned out to be not bad at all.

Caesar salad
Caesar salad - not made with caesar dressing but more like mayonnaise (and too much of it!) with a few wilted lettuce leaves and a bad attempt on croutons.

Walnut brownie with vanilla ice cream, which turned out OK but I swear it tasted like it was made out of Betty Crocker's brownie mix.

Touche Indiranagar
The touchscreen menu which lists all the food and beverages along with their photos. When you're done ordering your meal, you could also play some games and read a few jokes, if you like.

Touche Indiranagar
Inside Touché.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 4.5/10
A's: 6/10

Would we return?
Highly Unlikely.

100 Feet Road, Indiranagar , Bangalore

Citrus at the Leela Palace

I love Sunday brunch buffets! I know I haven't reviewed too many of them, so this past weekend I thought I'd check out the brunch at Citrus, in the Leela Palace. Unfortunately though (and to my surprise), we were too early for the brunch buffet (it was 11:30a.m and brunch starts at noon. Really? Isn't brunch breakfast + lunch. Wouldn't "lunch buffet" be more appropriate that late?). So we had to order from the a la carte menu which is not bad, but the fun factor of having breakfast or brunch at the Leela is that the cafe is surrounded by peaceful and beautiful greenery.

For Rs650, I got the following.

Breakfast, Leela
Fresh seasonal fruits, with a nice tall glass of freshly squeezed juice.

Breakfast, Leela
Omelette with pieces of lobster, mushrooms, cheese (and they forgot to add red peppers). I thought the lobster was a bit fishy and the omelette didn't have any seasoning. Other than that, it was a nice and fluffy omelette, which is how I like it.

Hot Chocolate, Leela
And to end the meal, a cup of hot chocolate (which turned out a bit too milky for my taste).

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 7/10 (mainly for the peaceful atmosphere)

Would we return?
Probably for brunch.

Airport Rd, Kodihalli
Bangalore, Karnataka

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Fat Chef in Whitefield

I absolutely love it when I enter a new establishment and see that someone has put some thoughts into the decor. I especially liked how the interior of the restaurant has a combination of rock cut walls and perfectly white pillars and beams. I thought it's very modern "Karnatakan". The food is good but nothing with a "wow" factor but I think it has a lot of potential. I'm looking forward to coming back soon.

Menu at Fat Chef
Menu at the Fat Chef.

Fat Chef, Bangalore
Bruchetta with tomatoes and basil, cheese and olive - a very refreshing starter. The bread could be a bit more toasted though.

Fat Chef, Bangalore
Beer battered prawns - so very crispy on the bite but light and tender on the inside.

Fat Chef, Bangalore
Alfredo with vegetables - considering how it's just vegetables with white sauce, it turned out pretty good. The dish was nicely seasoned and the sauce wasn't sweet like how it is in some places in Bangalore.

Fat Chef, Bangalore
Lobster roll - I went to a New England seafood restaurant in NYC with my sister a couple of years ago and I remember feeling guilty because the small sandwich was both so very good and so very expensive. When I saw "lobster roll" on the Fat Chef menu, I had to order it. It wasn't as expensive (Rs240 vs. US$20) but it wasn't quite like the lobster roll I devoured back in NYC. I wish they had used less ketchup (I thought the sweet flavor and pinkness came from ketchup) and no cabbage. The lobster has an opaque color (undercooked, perhaps?) and didn't have much taste. Otherwise, it was a good try.

Fat Chef, Bangalore
Pesto chicken and pasta - tender pieces of chicken and fusili drenched in pesto sauce and topped with shredded parmesan cheese.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 7.5/10
A's: 7/10

Would we return?

No. 5/2A, Jagriti, Ramagondanahall,
Varthur Main Road, Whitefield,
(Attached to the Jagriti Drama Theatre)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It was Friday evening and it wasn't a special occasion or anything. In fact, it was merely because there was an IPL match at the Chinaswamy Stadium which means a normal 20-minute drive home would’ve taken us an hour. Besides, it’s been way too long since our last visit to Caperberry. It’s about time.

To my surprise, we got a table without making reservations beforehand. A fine-dining restaurant like this in New York or Bombay on a Friday night would have starved me until 10:30pm before they would offer us a table or even worse, turn me down because reservation is full for the next few weekends to come.

Instead of a proper 5-course French dinner, we decided to dine tapas-style.Here’s what we ate:

Alfonso Mango and Chicken Salad – So very refreshing and a great combination of sweet, tart and savory all on one plate. My friend Moots liked it so much she ordered another one.

Two different types of crostinis – The chorizo one had caramelized onions as a base, a nice compliment to the saltiness in the chorizo. The pesto chicken one I thought was just OK, maybe I’m getting a bit bored with the combination of chicken and pesto.

Fois Gras – I know, we're all over the place with our meal tonight, but here’s a rarity in Bangalore. I was apprehensive (because if you don’t cook the liver right, it becomes tough and powdery) but this one turned out pretty good. Served on slices of green apples and roasted tomatoes.

Calamari Rings with Aioli – What! Who ordered this? Why are we wasting stomach space on food you could find at Herbs & Spice or TGIF? To be fair, this has got to be one of the best calamari rings I’ve eaten in Bangalore. Perfectly seasoned (do I see a bit of rawa-style?) and fried, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Cooked in an actual patella.

Chorizo and Chicken Paella – Not on the menu anymore, but my dining mates were craving for pork that night, so they made this especially for us. The rice (I’m guessing Arborio) was tender, slightly al-dente and was nicely flavored by the capsicum, saffron and chorizo. Topped with a bit of aioli.

Chocolate Duet – I am going to be absolutely honest, I don’t like chocolate mousse, so I didn’t enjoy it much. The rest of my dining mates didn’t enjoy it either because they were making fun of it (they were very imaginative). The cakey side of the chocolate is also a so-so for me. There is a salty taste in the fudge which I found a bit overwhelming.

So French. Complimentary little pieces of petit four.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 8.5/10
A's: 8.5/10

Would we return?

48/1, Ground Floor, The Estate, No 121,
Dickenson Road, Bangalore

Phone: +91 (0)80 2559 4567

Olive Beach

Someone wrote to me through this blog recently, asking for suggestions on restaurants that have buffets. Apart from the Sunday buffet brunch at the Taj, where my first landlord took me to as an incentive to try and get me to extend my lease two and a half years ago, I realized I've never really been to any other buffets or brunches. I started asking around and I did some research on the internet. It was like digging into an old pair of jeans and finding a Rs.500 note! Sunday brunches in Bangalore are such a popular pastime that people discuss the vast variety of options on Internet forums! These buffet brunches aren't cheap though. They range between Rs800-Rs1000 back in 2006, and today you won't be able to find a good brunch for lesser than Rs2000 (excluding tax and service charge).

So for Mother's Day, after some nudging (because "A" can't fathom spending Rs2000 per person on brunch), we decided to take my (soon-to-be) mother-in-law to a buffet brunch at Olive Beach.

I've always liked Olive Beach. I've dined there a few times in the past two years. Heck, I've even attended a wedding party here. The food has always been fresh and delicious, and the atmosphere, though a bit staged, somehow managed to transport me out of India and onto an island in Greece.

The Mother's Day brunch menu. It occurred to us then why they'd charged so much for brunch. The extensive meal also includes an all-you-can-drink, like any kind of drinks, from the bar. Needless to say, "A" and the rest of the family were happy campers.

Fresh Cochin oysters. I was very excited about the prospect of eating raw oysters but was a bit disappointed when the waiter rinsed the shucked oyster in a pail of fresh water before serving them. It tasted a bit diluted but nonetheless, very fresh. I know you're curious, and the answer is no, none of us got sick from eating raw oysters in India.

The widespread buffet. Salads, cheeses, breads, dips and cold cuts, all for our consumption.

From the grill - rosemary marinated lamb chops, medium done. The meat was so juicy and well seasoned, there was no need for the extra sauce that came with it. Also on the grill was steak, fish and sliders but this was good enough for me!

Desserts - on top of what's served here, there was a person who'd make fresh waffles.

I'm not doing justice with the photos here. As you can imagine, I was too occupied with stuffing myself silly and was happily tipsy on my mojitos.

One of the best things about India is that even though it's a buffet, which often means self-service in other countries, it doesn't really apply here. You can sit on your dining table for four hours and just tell the waiters what you'd like and you'll have your choice of food served to you with a smile.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 8.5/10
A's: 8.5/10

Would we return?


16 Wood Street,
Ashoknagar, Bangalore

Phone: +91 (0)80 4123 9483 Reservations Recommended