Saturday, June 26, 2010

Toscano's UB City

The quality difference between Toscano's Forum Mall and Toscano's UB City is like night and day. The meals I've had at Toscano's UB City had always been wonderful. Decent service, good ambiance (can't go wrong with an open air restaurant in Bangalore) and pretty good food. I wish the owner would spend more time in the Forum Mall location to bring up the standards he had set at the UB City location.

I came here with a bunch of people after the Diesel launch party and with friends, it's always nicer to share food, so again, we ordered a bunch of pizzas.

Parma Ham Pizza - it's hard to find cured meat anywhere in Bangalore, so we had to order this one even though it's not the best; the meat was slightly tough and dry. "A" liked it.

Chicken Pizza - with cherry tomatoes. Simple yet tasty.

Toscano Pizza - chicken chunks, sliced green peppers, olives and pepperoni. If you don't know which pizza to order, order this one.

4 Cheese Pizza - the most popular pizza on our table. I honestly can't tell which cheeses they used but somehow the combination of cheeses and a few lightly-dressed green leaves made this pizza delicious.

An actual entree! Yes, I ordered this because I figured it's easier (and faster) for me to chew fish than bread with my braces on. Pan-fried red snapper with mash potatoes, grilled asparagus and pickled cucumber. Maybe it's late and the chef needed to stop working so he could join the rest of the kitchen passe to watch a WorldCup football match, but no excuse to overcook the fish and forget to season properly. Lovely presentation though.

And for dessert...
Creme brulee - coffee flavored, most of us loved the creativity but a couple of us didn't fancy it.

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

Would we return?
Unquestionably yes.

UB City, Level 2,
Concorde Block,
24, Vittal Mallya Road,

Simple Sponge Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing

It’s “A”’s dad’s 60th birthday and we wanted to surprise him with a homemade birthday cake, since it’s a special occasion and a store-bought dessert just won’t do it. As expected, not all the ingredients came easily accessible so we had to substitute.

So here’s a very simple cake recipe made from ingredients you can get from anywhere in India and can be done in lesser than 30 minutes. The cake is light and fluffy while the chocolaty icing adds moisture to the cake making every bite decadent!

Birthday cake


Courtesy from a good friend Anjali - thanks girl! (yes, you probably know her too)
1 cup of white flour (locally known as maida)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of cream
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of baking powder
10 walnuts, crushed (optional)
Some butter for oiling the pan

Chocolate Fudge Icing
Handful of chocolates chunks (I like using dark chocolates but you can pretty much use any kind of chocolates – cooking chocolates, Ooty chocolates, milk or dark chocolate bars that you normally snack on, etc…)
2 tablespoons of cream
1 tablespoon butter

Cake Decoration (optional)
3 tablespoons instant oats and 1 tablespoon sugar (put in blender, set on high for 1 minute or until mixture becomes powder)
3 tablespoons powder sugar (which we couldn’t find after looking in 5 different stores)


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Centigrade (or on a “high” setting, if you are using an oven that doesn’t tell you the temperature). Prepare cake pan (we used a 10-inch round pan) by rubbing butter, sprinkling with flour and tapping out extra.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and then add cream and stir well until combined. Add wet ingredients into flour mixture, fold and stir until combined and smooth, scraping the sides, about 2 minutes.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 20 minutes (or 15 minutes at “high” setting). Remove cake from pan and cool on rack or big plate.

While cake is baking, create a double boiler (don’t stress, to create a boiler, simply place a medium glass or porcelain bowl on a small pot of boiling water, on low fire. The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the bottom of the pot.) Mix all icing ingredients in the bowl, stir until ingredients melt into chocolaty sauce. Your icing is ready!

Here’s the fun part; the decoration – slowly pour chocolate icing on the top of the cake and spread evenly, allowing access chocolate icing to flow down the sides of the cake. To finish, dust some cocoa powder on the top of the cake.

Now for a wow factor. On a piece of paper, cut out words like “Happy Birthday” or “This cake rocks!” to make a stencil. Place stencil on the cake, making sure the all surface of the stencil is in contact with the cake. Dust powder sugar or powder oats evenly on the stencil. Carefully remove stencil.

stencil for cake decoration
"A" carefully designed and carved this perfectly aligned stencil to decorate the cake.

powder-oats on stencils
Powder oats on stencils.

Feeding time!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I think there are a bunch of restaurants in Bangalore who claim to serve Thai food but I personally think they are no where close. Benjarong, however is different. Despite having difficulties trying to figure out if the servers and cooks here are from Thailand or the North East, I felt close at home. This place came highly recommended by our Thai masseuse (who is currently working in Bangalore).

Mian Khum
Mian Khum - this appetizer is on the house and it is literally a mouthful of flavors - sweet, savory, spicy and a hint of bitterness, very appetizing indeed. Ask the wait staff to show you how to prepare one, if you haven't already figured it out.

Pandan Chicken
Pandan Chicken - a crowd pleaser. The chicken is succulent and is mildly fragrant from the pandan leaves.

Som Tum
Som Tum - I love papaya salad but unfortunately, this one is not one of my favorite dishes here. The shredded papaya, which normally is tangy and crunchy, tasted a bit like cardboard even though the dressing was just right.

Thom Yam
Tom Yum Soup - I usually can't get enough of this even though drinking this soup periodically triggers my gastric problems but unfortunately (or fortunately), I thought this was a bit too sweet and was lacking the oomph from the real deal.

Red snapper in chili basil sauce
Red Snapper in Chili Basil Sauce - I can eat this everyday! Super spicy and bursting with flavors. Not the most reasonably priced dish you can get here, but it's worth every rupee. It totally brought me back to the beaches of Koh Phi Phi.

Green curry chicken
Green Curry Chicken - one must try green curry in a Thai restaurant to see how authentic the restaurant is and this one here hit the spot.

Pad thai
Last but not least, pad thai. It was slightly too sweet for my taste and a tad dry but beggars can't be choosers, so I'll probably end up ordering this again in my next visit.

Overall Ratings:
"A"'s: 8.5/10
Po's: 8/10

Would we return?

1/3 Ulsoor Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore

Phone: 080 42066166

Sunday, June 6, 2010


So I heard from the grapevine that the owner of this restaurant used to partner with Herbs and Spice. That totally explains the similarities on both the menus and the tastes of the food served. I used to live around the corner from here, so I'd order an entree or two at least twice a week and I was never disappointed.

It's been over a year since I last came but I still like this place. The atmosphere is very laid back and the owner is super friendly. This has become our default post-yoga restaurant.

Shrimp bisque - a bit thick for my liking but the natural sweetness from the shrimp is unbeatable.

Stuffed mushrooms with more mushrooms, onions and cheese - nothing to write home about but it's not bad. I would rather have it stuffed with something else though, perhaps with some chopped up leeks or fennel?

Salad with sprouts - I liked the different textures in this salad but it wasn't really what I had expected. I can't even recall the name of this salad except I know it's not called sprout salad.

Garlic shrimp - I love this! The combination of garlic, basil, and a hint of tomato makes this dish yummy.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 7.5/10

Would we return?
Yes, probably after yoga with some yogis.

1st Main HAL 2nd Stage,
3524/1, Service Road
(next to park, opp Subway)
Karnataka 560038
Phone:080 41155848