Bangalore a few reviews
Calgary, Canada Chowhound has recently relocated to Bangalore for a couple of years and I'll try and get a few postings up on ChowHound for those in the area or traveling here.
The first couple of weeks were mostly spent in hotel restaurants:
Taj Residency - Cafe Mosaic:
Always reliable, not inexpensive though. IMO one of the best breakfast buffets in town Mon - Sat, with great selection of Indian, Chinese and western items and fruit fruit fruit. They also have some of the best Lamb shanks Rogan Josh I've had the pleasure of enjoying here. They are exceptionally tendor and very well spiced, the naan bread (while not the best in the city) is always sufficient to soak up the Rogan Josh gravy that comes with the dish. I've had this about 4 or 5 times latey and can't get enough.
Oberoi - Rim Naam:
I've been to Thailand and enjoyed some great food there but I was blown away by Rim Naam. Again not cheap in the least as it's in a 5 star but I could not have been happier had I been in Bangkok at one of the swankiest places in town. The ambiance, service and food were all without par in the realm of Thai food in Bangalore. We went simple with the dishes, a yellow coconut curry and a phad thai, both perfectly executed. The Phad Thai noodles were chewy but not over done and the sauce excellent. The yellow curry was also perfectly done, not too spicey as this type usually denotes and with excellent curried potatoes.
Taj West End - Blue Ginger:
I had very high hopes here as the Taj restaurants are usually very good and having moved from Calgary which is a haven for good Vietnamese food I knew I needed a fix of Pho, Bun or Bahn Mi. While the ambiance and service were excellent the food let me down, it was sauced more like chinese style dishes and the squid was chewy and over done. On the other hand the very expensive fresh salad rolls were outstanding... not quite like home as these were with shrimp and chicken as opposed to shrimp and pork. I won't be rushing back, unlike Rim Naam.
Mercure Homestead - 12th Main and By the Blue:
Both of these are again not inexpensive but they are good. I went italian at 12th main both times, grilled fish on spaghetti primavera and fussili carbonara. I preferred the grilled fish and primavera by far mostly due to the excellent preparation of the fish. The carbonara was ok, but I would have preferred more cheese and less cream in the sauce. By the Blue has South Indian dishes, the Goaan fish curry was very good... but also my first (I hope to have more in Goa itself). The real treat was the sesame and saffron naan bread, I had to have it when I saw it listed and it did not disappoint. The only thing I could have done different with it is toast the sesames right before going on the naan dough to add that extra level of middle eastern sesame flavour. All in all we'll be back lots as it's only a block from the new house.
Via Milano - 3rd Block Koramangala (near Sony World on 80 Foot Rd)
Beautiful contemporary setting and decor with very attentive staff. The menu is extensive which always worries me in Italian places but the chef and owner is actually Italian so we thought they'd have it under control. We arrived on a set menu and wine tasting night, 4 courses and 4 wines for 1500 INR/person. The prawn and sesame starter was very good, the right level of sesame for my taste, the duck ravioli could have had more duck meat in the filling and more duck in the sauce but it was still very good. The main was a chicken roulade that was very well executed in cooking preparation and the taste reflected that. Desert was a very nice light almost un-baked cheese cake... we've had something similar at home at Kensington Winebar. The wine pairings were also good except the one with the main. I did not get a look at the varietal but it was a 9 Hills (all the wines were 9 Hills that night) and possibly a cab-sauvingnon. It was far far to young to be served and had a vague wooliness to it that I've noticed in a few India wines so far. I do tend to stick to the Indian whites or roses.
Nandhini Palace - 3rd Block Koramangala (across from BDA complex on 100 Foot Rd.)
This place is very near the new house and I had high hopes of a quick, easy and cheap local joint. While the food was good (tandoori chicken, green pea masala and prawns andhra style) the ambiance and cleanliness left a great deal to be desired. I think we'll keep this one for home delivery in the future.
More updates to come as we get further a field and stop eating at hotels quite so much. I'm interested in any reviews others have to offer for Bangalore. Also interested in any tips on where to buy good fruit/veg and other staples. Of key interest is if anyone knows where to buy canned chicken or vegetable stock... or powdered (ie: Oxo or Knorr cubes). I use stock a lot in cooking but don't have time to make my own very often.
Just back from a week in Bangalore, not much seems to have changed in the 2 years I've been away but I was also revisiting old areas and neighbourhoods. Traffic was still as horrible as I remember from when I was living there and did take away from the ability to really get around and see more than I did.
First dinner out was at Umerkot (#30, 80 Feet Road, Koramangala) and it was even better than I remember. The chef provided an amuse of tempura fried whole spinach leaf with chopped tomato, onion, chili, tamarind sauce and a touch of yoghurt... a truly outstanding small plate to start off. For the mains we went with some tandoor goat chops (labeled as lamb), Afghani chicken from the tandoor and some veg biryani. Everything was excellent, from the service to the food... I was very happy this was the first stop of the week.
Next was Sunday lunch at Rim Naam, unfortunately they didn't advise me when I reserved that it was actually the Oberoi's Sunday brunch and not the Rim Naam menu. I was really looking forward to Thai food from the best Thai kitchen outside of Thailand (IMO). The buffet was good, but nothing extraordinary... I'm not really a fan of buffets.
Tandoor on MG Road was the scene of our large business dinner with visiting execs. It's a safe choice with excellent food from the Tandoor ovens. The only standout of the night was the Tandoor cooked whole leg of lamb (goat). Super tender, moist and richly spiced. Sadly I was not ordering so did not get my favourite dish of Peshwari Gobi. All in a good evening, great service and food for a large group.
The next day Biryani Zone was ordered in for a group lunch. We had a choice of chicken or veg biryani, chicken lollipops, dry mushroom in spice and a veg kebab. The biryanis were huge, I managed half of mine and a couple of bites of the other dishes. Good biryani, although the chicken was a bit of a letdown. I also could not manage dinner after all of this.
Next day was a bandh (general strike) and I had to stick to the hotel, sadly I was required to stay at the Leela due to other visitors in my company. I personally don't care for Leela, I find it over priced, the food is not as good as other high end hotels and the service in the restaurants is generally poor. On strike day, I had a club sandwich in the Library bar, it was pretty basic and nothing to remark on. For dinner I ate the fruit in the room and some nuts, no desire to go out.
Next up was a new micro brew pub called Biere Club across from Sunny's on Lavelle Road. The beers were quite good in comparison to your average Indian beers (ie: Kingfisher or Indus Pride). The food (or at least the kebabs) were very good and were a great accompaniment to the beers. The only downside is the place is very loud, the music is cranked and makes talking to others quite challenging. I'd recommend the place for a selection of great locally made beers and a very lively atmosphere.
I did manage to swing by the Vivanta by Taj on MG Road for my favourite lamb (goat) shanks rogan josh. They are still as good as they were the first time I had them 7 years ago, fall off the bone tender with a wonderful rich and spicy sauce that is impossible to eat without good naan bread. Although they had several large groups on the go the service was still great (as always).
The last night I was flying out late and didn't want to risk getting stuck in traffic going for dinner so I sadly dinned at the Pan Asian restaurant at the Leela, Zen. I had the crispy skin chicken with plum sauce and hoisan as well as the spicy hunan noodles with prawns. Nothing to comment on these dishes except that there is no value for money. The food was good but the price is so high it seems lackluster.
Last comment on Leela food is breakfast, as it was included in the room rate I went to their buffet in the morning most days (other days I just ate my fruit bowl in the room... the fruit not the bowl). Sadly the selection of fruit is terrible when compared to other high end places in town the only tropical fruit available was pineapple. The bread products were stale every day and the masala omelet I ordered a couple of times was never spicy, even after specifically asking for spicy. The servers also never tell you what you can order from the chef and on my last day I saw someone getting a dosa, I asked the server if I could order that as well and was told I could. So, on the last day I had a masala dosa (not spicy again) with a side of sambar. The sambar was good but a bit sweet as is the style in Karnataka and the dosa was mediocre. The Taj Residency (now called Vivanta by Taj) on MG Road still has the best high end hotel buffet breakfast in Bangalore, the fruit selection is outstanding, fresh honeycomb, great spicy omelets and hash browns that are as addictive as crack.
Giving my old thread a bump to find out what's new and interesting for an expat returning to Bangalore after a 2 year absence.
If anyone knows if Mariannick (French crepe restaurant near Whitefield) is still in business I would appreciate it as well as Umerkot in Koramangala on 80 Feet Rd. I'll also hit Google to see what I find on these two.
I will report back when I return from my business trip.
Well, lucky you, vanderb - to be able to go back to that wonderful city. I was in Bangalore, but only for a couple of weeks last April, so was not able to delve really in-depth into the city's culinary delights. But one new-ish place I really liked was Soul at the Svenska Design Hotel:
Others were mainly the "old faithfuls":
I'm off to New Delhi next month. Any recs?
Yes, Chez Marriannick and Umerkot are both still in business. I'd also recommend you try some of the newer spots: Portland Steak House (Brunton Rd), MonkeyBar and Cafe Mangii (in UB city) are the first to come to mind. Do not hesitate to ping while you're here :) maybe we could catch up for a meal.
My favourites were: Harima for very authentic (and not too expensive) Japanese food, Umerkot for North India (and outstanding service), Chez Mariannick for French food, Rim Nam at the Oberoi for Thai, and prior to their relocation out of our neighbourhood, Bon South for South Indian.
These are in no particular order.
re: jen kalb
Has anyone tried Annupam's Coastal Express? They have a unique dish called Chicken Ghee Roast which is worth trying. They do have a bunch of other stuff including seafood, but that dish is their specialty. They are a branch of a restaurant of the same name in Mangalore.
Try it out. I wish they would open a branch in Mumbai too!
Thanks for the input. I've had quite a bit of Punjabi biriyani at Delhi which was far better than what Aangan delivered at home to us at Belandur. But hey the Koramangala one must be much better. Or the Belandur people were having an off day! Thanks for the input on the eateries in malls. I'll try them out and be back.
Hi everybody. I've been trying out many suggestions from all of you. Hotel Imperial (on Church Street off Brigade Road, on a corner at the other end of Church Street) has a value-for-money all you can eat buffet for Rs. 119-great nonvegetarian dishes; there was a tasty green chicken curry and a biryani which were very good when we visited and my companion testifies to the taste of the vegetarian biriyani too. Basic eating facilities though on the top floor but clean.
The crepes at Chez Mariannick were fantastic too. Two crepe dishes offered as a combo were really too filling-must go back there again but it is usually full and one needs to book in advance-now they are even offering other plats du jour-there was couscous the day we visited-shall try it some time.
Hey, what's with everybody? I tried Aangan at Belandur (home delivery) and was disappointed-the biriyani (chicken and vegetarian too) cannot compare with what you can get from most Andhra type restaurants (the best being Bhima's on Brigade road-if you can get parking!-and Nagarjuna on the parallel street in the same area). No, I won't go back unless other Aangans are better.
Is this my opinion only or what do you all feel about eateries in malls? I've not found any which are any good-the food in food courts is so synthetic, even when it is served by franchises of well-known names. Does anyone know of a good eatery in any mall? The only one I like is Rajdhani (which offers a traditional thali in the Rajasthani style with bearers with towels and washing bowls at your table) on the top floor of a mall between Whitefield and Marathahalli-I'll post the exact name and address later-I've forgotten the name-sorry folks!
Locals like us often chose the cheaper alternatives-the cheapest are the stand-up darshinis. Any eatery ending in the word "darshini" offers self-service without sitting facilities-they are really basic-smell of food and not too clean! The food could be OK but the masala in the curries (snacks generally) is a standard ground red! A better alternative are the Sagaras-there are several all over the city. Anything ending in the word "Sagara" is also self-service, basic clean though you might get a seat but some offer very tasty food. I found a really good one-Mayura Sagara on the busy Kundenahalli road between Whitefield and Marathahalli cross; their set dosas (typically Karnataka fare-three thick fermented dosas with coconut chutney and a kurma) were as spongy and melt in the mouth as required. We tend to visit it frequently at the end of a busy day-there must be many others too that all of you know.
Has something happened to Bangalore while I've been away? What has happened to all the great Indian Chinese places? The new ones I see just offer noodles smothered in some red sauce which tastes like nothing on earth. I've not eaten at Chung Wah (the original one near Brigade Road) recently, but is it just as good as it used to be? Please share your experiences. And where do I get a decent pizza-home delivery too. Pizza Huts and Domino's and the rest have all been very disappointing!
thecitron, thanks for the input, with regard to Aagan do remember it's not Andhra style but instead Punjabi... there is a difference and by my taste I like the Punjabi version. Their location in Koramangala 5th block is also good if you want to try it.
As for mall food, the only places I've tried are restaurants not the food fairs. Tandoor is in Oasis mall in Koramanagala and should be as good as it's original on MG Road, I haven't had a chance to get there but will in the next month. Also Sultan Sahib in Forum Mall on Hosur Road is very good and has an interesting ambiance with the train cars. Then of course there is UB City and all the restaurants there. This may not be what you were looking for and may have been more interested in the food fairs but I'll have to differ to someone else with experience.
Can't help you much with the Chinese food, the best place I've tried in town is in the Oberoi and not cheap. I don't care for the chain pizza places here and haven't had any delivered.
Barbeque Nation - 100 Feet Rd, Indranigar
Saturday afternoon for a work function and not a bad way to spend an afternoon. I wasn't 100% certain what was involved with BBQ Nation but was pleasantly surprised to find the small grills set in the tables to keep the different kebabs toasty. The team went with the "all in" price including alcohol and it was a pretty good deal for 1200INR (non-veg).
On the afternoon in question we had 5 non-veg kebabs to chose from: spicy shrimp, white fish, two types of chicken and one mutton. I really enjoyed the spicey shrimp, lots of heat and not too over cooked, even with the extra grilling at the table. The walk around dishes were not bad either, the Cajun potatoes (not sure how they qualify for Cajun, but I'll leave that alone), the shish kebab and the little falafel type veggie patties. I skipped the buffet as a) I'm not a fan of buffets and b) I ate too many kebabs not knowing there was a buffet. But the team really enjoyed the dessert buffet and snorkeled down a ridiculous amount of gulab jamon.
The service was a little lack luster, it took a while for the first food to show up and even longer for the first round of drinks. But all in all a good venue and atmosphere for a work function... not sure I'll be there for a romantic dinner but for a night out with a group it's a good option.
Welcome to my city! I'm a Bangalore-based food writer.
I notice you've been eating in what we call "fine dining establishments". I've a couple of cheap but yum options for you to try:
1. a tiny little place called The Secret Garden Cafe off Queens Road
2. Kanua off Sarjapur Rd for its specialty Konkani cuisine
3. Tunday Kababi in Koramangala for galoutis you will never forget
4. Daddy's Deli in Indiranagar for Parsi food
Actually, look up my profile and check out my blog for other suggestions of where to - and more importantly where not to - eat. Or PM me :)
Olive Beach – Redux
As promised we hit Olive Beach for Sunday brunch last week. It was my first real all you can eat all you can drink Bangalore brunch... I know, I’ve been here for 10 months and have never been for brunch, but I’m not normally a buffet person.
A few points to note, a reservation is required for brunch, service doesn’t start until 12 noon and if you want to sit outside ensure you ask for an outdoor table when you reserve. We ended up inside as we weren’t aware of this requirement and they were full up outside. Inside wouldn’t be so bad, the A/C is nice but the music is cranked to the max and no matter how many times you ask or how many people you ask they won’t turn it down. This led to some nasty headaches and bit of crankiness when we left.
As mentioned it is all you can drink and eat and they start you off with one of their house martinis, last week it was a “screwdriver” martini with fresh orange juice and crushed ice. Extremely refreshing, too refreshing in fact as they went down far too easily and the waiters will continue to pour them all afternoon unless you stop them or request something else to drink.
On to the food, I won’t detail everything that was on the buffet just the highlights and the specific stations they had setup. There was a pasta station, waffle station, eggs Benedict, shrimp, calamari and oyster station not to mention the buffet itself. The waiters also visit tables with additional small bites like bruscetta or pizza slice samples. My wife did hit a few of the stations, including the waffle, eggs benny and calamari, all were very good although the Hollandaise sauce for the benny was too thin and runny and the waffle batter was very sweet, no additional sweet toppings required.
I stuck to the regular buffet, here are the highlights: the tiny lamb gyros were the hit of the day, beautifully seasoned minced lamb kofta on top of light fluffy pita bread; humus and other assorted dips were all excellent and very authentic to the Mediterranean; cheese and charcutterie selection was very good but not refreshed fast enough for the amount that was disappearing, seafood ceviche salad had great acidity that left the seafood moist and with good texture; and last but not least was the beef lasagne, very beefy (which isn’t always a good thing in Bangalore, but in this case the beef was quite tasty) but lacking in additional cheese, spinach and pasta... still a dish of note even with those downsides.
A very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and after consumption like this dinner was not required.
A number of people have recommended Olive Beach for their excellent Mediterranean cuisine and we finally got around to dining there. The overall ambiance is very reminiscent of a Greek taverna or a Turkish taverna and the sand at your feet is a nice touch. We chose to sit outside which was only an issue because we forgot to apply mosquito repellent before going out and had our feet and ankles chewed to pieces by the little monsters.
We started with a very nice bottle of Nero D'Avola from Sicily, definitely one of our favourite reds with it's almost black colour and intensely rich, sun filled, berry and pepper tastes. Next up was a cheese board, we selected a range of 5 cheeses (goat cheese, Manchego, blue, raclette and scarmozza) all were severed at the right temperature. The only complaint would be the lack of crackers or bread with the cheese, although all the little bits that came with the cheese were very nice: almonds, olives, dried fruit, figs, grapes, etc... It also would have been nice to combine carcuterrie with the cheese but we were told that was not permitted.
Main course was a challenge with so many tasty items on the menu, I had to ask a few questions of our waiter which I was very happy to find he could easily answer, not normal with other restaurants. I had wanted to know where their Italian sausage was imported from and whether it was fine or coarse grind and then if the meat in the Duo of Kid Lamb was lamb or goat. Turns out the sausage was from Sri Lanka and fine grind (I really do not care for the texture of fine grind sausage, too much like a wiener/American hot dog) and the meat in the duo was goat. I ordered the duo and was very happy, a marked distinction in the flavour of the shank vs. the shoulder was very much appreciated as it added to the depth and complexity of the overall dish. The veg sides were cooked to my taste and the sauce for the lamb paired very well with the garlic mashed potato. My wife had the sweet lobster risotto which she thoroughly enjoyed, lots of lobster chunks throughout the dish.
I've heard their Sunday brunch is one of the best in town and having never really been to a true Bangalore Sunday brunch (other than the low key affair at the Mercure hotel) we've decided to give it a go this weekend. Report to follow.
Okay, long post.
I've eaten in Hong Kong, China, Europe, US, SIngapore, KL, Penang, Langkawi, Bangkok, Calcutta, Lucknow, Goa, Bombay and Bangalore.
Grew up in Calcutta with great food available at home and outside. Family split and my brother goes to HK, and I to Bangalore. After we grew up, he calls me for a reunion. Land up and find out that he is a dimsum chef, and that his brother in law a banquet chef. So we visit the good places and we eat food that is out of this world. Like we see the chef behind the glass screen and we are thinking, "Eeee! we want to have your babies", and he looks back, with that expression on his face, plainly conveying "Yeah, welcome to HK, join the growing ranks of HK food fans!"
HK food is food cooked with top world class ingredients, using Chinese technique. 'Course the former makes it a Mainland beater. So we take a trip into the hinterland, and every stop is like walking into a town with a fast gunnie, and he's aware that you want his notch on the butt of your Peacemaker. These guys can smell you a mile away and they know you are scoping out their food. I'm sweating, but my bro just gives them the Lee Van Cleef look and they melt back into the kitchen. Its very funny... in retrospect. We do the circuit, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing.
Back in HK, my wife and I roll up our sleeves and we take over the kitchen. Brother plays hooky from work as his face is buried in the food piled on his plate. "This is food Momma used to make", he moans, in between mouthfuls. He is putty in my hands. And this is in '95, before "Ratatouille" (Digress: is gourmet food really only somebody else's comfort food?).
Brother visits India and we do the India circuit: Delh, Lucknow, Kolkatta. In Kolkatta, we pull out all stops. No cultured prawn or battery poultry besmirches our chopping boards. When he crawls on the plane, he is asking for food to be packed, but settles for a quick wolfing down of "obassum". Its the only place in the world where they know how to cook it.
Back to Bangalore, we find less and less time to cook. And our favourite haunts are closing down at an alarming rate, to be replaced by chi-chi standalones. We have to be pro-active, or we will be reduced to fishing for invites to the ex-chef's homes.
Or spending big bucks travelling to other cities or countries.
We entertain at these favored spots. And we line up catering gigs for them for weddings and parties. But some still close shop. Its a losing battle, but we are looking for new ways to keep them going.
Chez Mariannick was nice. Gave them the pizza recipe that I learned in Europe, while working summers during college breaks. Suggested they get listed here:
Hope they blossom and grow: nothing like getting French food cooked by those who grew up on it.
Chez Mariannick, Whitefield, on Old Airport Rd. behind Sorbet grocery store.
This place has been a bakery for about 2.5 years and produces by far the best baguette I've had outside of France, and if that's all they produced I'd be a happy man but they also have a restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights. We went by tonight with a group of friends for the only thing on the menu at Chez Mariannick, french crepes.
They have prix fixe you get salad, bread, water, juice/soda and 2 crepes for 700INR, or with 3 crepes for 900INR. They have an outstanding selection of savoury and sweet crepes all produced by a wonderful french lady while her husband runs the front of house.
I had the bacon, mushroom and onion crepe to start, loaded with great bacon and mushrooms in a light cream sauce and followed it with the Dijonaise crepe which is chicken in a rich mustard sauce. Both were absolutely excellent, lovely light crepe cooked to perfection with beautiful fillings. My wife had the ham, cheese (emmenthal) and egg crepe to start and a sweet crepe with pears, chocolate and cream. Everything including the starter salad and wonderful mustard salad dressing were exceptionally well prepared.
The space is very small, about 8 tables some with a view into the kitchen. The wine list is whatever they have on hand but everything on offer was great and there were no problems finding a couple of wines to satisfy our group. This was a very special piece of France in Bangalore and one I look forward to returning to.
Also hit Tasty Tangles at UB City this weekend, had the crispy shrimp dumplings and crispy duck wontons to start, both were very good although I found the sauce for the duck too sweet for my taste. Followed up the starters with Singapore style noodles for me and Kung pao for my wife. The Singapore noodles were very good, nice texture with the cabbage, shrimp and shredded chicken with some good heat from the chilis. The kung pao on the other hand was not as good, the fermented black beans left something to be desired (although it could just be that I don't have a palate for them) but the dish also lacked the spicy heat that any kung pao should have.
On the other hand their Mojito in China iced tea (non-alcoholic) was absolutely the best fresh iced tea I've had in Bangalore. Great tea flavour, lots of lemon zing and a nice bunch of mint to round it all off.
Apusworld mentioned liking Rogue Elephant, I believe they are opening a new branch in Koramangala, possibly 5th block. I've seen the sign in a place that's been under renovation for several months and is now starting to look like it's about done. The space appears to be shared with another business called Liquid Vibe, sounds like a cafe/bar/pub but not sure yet.
Thanks vanderb for the recco.
On googling, I found:
Chez Mariannick in Whitefield behind Sorbet, the Gourmet Store - Best kept secret. French woman who delivers fresh croissants, baguettes and a few other items to your door (Palm Meadows, Prestige Ozone)
Fri. and Sat. night the restaurant is open with an excellent variety of crepes for dinner and dessert. Reservation recommended.
Looks like others have adopted the same route as my friend for serving good food to an appreciative clientele: door delivery!
A little digression, and not directly food related. The main reasons that talented cooks can't get their food to the public is because of the high rentals. Not an uncommon situation and certainly not specific to Bangalore. I had the duck breast pizza, foie gras, lamb on rack and dory here, in a Singapore Food Court :
And he used to be on Purvis Street near the Marina, untill the high rentals forced him out. Great experience using fine cutlery and crockery in an open stall!
This week the East Asian families of the Overseas Womens Club were treated to a nice dimsum treat delivered to their homes.
My friend is planning to cook some surplus which can be collected either at the club or at his residence. There were late requests for extra from the customers. Let's see.
As the dimsum launch was very successful, another section serviced by my artisanal chocolatier will now follow. Stay tuned.
So glad that Cafe Mariannick will now satisfy my croissant cravings more effectively than my usual wait for friends from Pondicherry and Goa to send food parcels!
Now for the torturous wait... till Saturday!
Great to see the number of reccos and detailed reviews from vanderb and others.
Now my budget rarely ever runs to many of the 5-star hotel restaurants mentioned here, so, I'm going to suggest a few other options :)
Kanua - Mangalorean food in a lovely partially-closed terrace sitting; this place always seems to be very popular with large families/groups. The only mistake we made was asking the waiters to suggest options, and ended up ordering too many similiar gravies. But, the fish and prawn (curries as well as dry - rava fried) are excellent. The bill came to approximately Rs.600 per head. They don't serve alcohol but you're allowed to carry your own beer for a small table charge. Kanua is in Sarjapura.
The Rogue Elephant - This is attached to the Ambara outlet in Ulsoor (near the Ulsoor lake), and has just a few tables with the owner doing the cooking. I think it can loosely be called European cafe style food. Everything always tastes so light and fresh here. Love their lemon-butter sauce in particular. The sandwiches are pretty good too.
Aangan, which has been mentioned by vanderb, I would unhesitatingly second. It remains one of my favourite Punjabi eateries in the city. Their chatpata arbi (spicy yam) is lovely. The thali is good value for money too, though I think it's only available for lunch.
Another good place is Road Trip in Indira Nagar - again, Italian/European but at more reasonable prices than you'd find at most places...
For Andhra food, my favourite is Nagarjuna - I like especially their outlet on Residency Road (near Mayo Hall). Of course, not meant for those who can't handle spicy food.
Harima - Residency Road
Birthday dinner last week was at Harima and am I ever glad I chose it. Unlike Shiro this place is unpretentious and let's it's food do the talking... it didn't hurt that most of the clientèle was Japanese.
We decided to try as much as we could so we stuck to small plates and didn't have any of their entrees. The tempura prawns were excellent, meaty with a light as air batter that was fried to perfection. The sushi both nigiri and maki were very good, the rice had just the right amount of vinegar and the balls of rice were formed nice an tight so none was lost wihle dipping in a small amount of soya sauce. They gyoza dumplings were also of exceptionally high quality, even if the filling was chicken (I prefer pork), lightly fried with a very thin skin that crisped up nicely in the pan.
The only downside is as previously mentioned when having European imported salmon is that it's just not salmony enough for me and is quite bland compared to the Canadian salmon I'm used to. In particular here I'm referring to the two pieces of nigiri salmon sushi we had. It's still nice to get salmon, don't get me wrong, but I think I need to import some smoked or candied salmon from home to get the taste I need.
I really liked that Harima was not over the top in design, it reminded me of your casual Japanese restaurants at home, which made us feel very comfortable. The service was very good at the start of our meal but the staff seemed to lose interest as the night went on... not that we weren't still order so I'm not sure what the issue was.
We'll be back and next time I want to try some of their udon and soba noodles and perhaps some of their more down home cooking like the tempanyaki or donburi.
On a recent trip through BLR, we ate at some medium level (i.e. not upscale 5 star) restaurants near the Indiranagar area. I don't know how many tourists or expats would go to some of these places, but here are a few impressions:
Chowka: In Thippasandra, on the main road, opposite the Ganesh temple. You go up to the first floor (American second floor). This is a Rajasthani vegetarian thali style restaurant (thjough most of the wait staff seems Nepali, dressed in Rajasthani costume). There seem to be several such opening ip in BLR these days. The seats are crowded but fairly comfortable and the space is open on all sides but powerful fans keep flies and such away. The welcome drink of jaljeera was good, correctly spiced. The thali had several of the typical Rajasthani (and Marwari) items, whicih were rather well executed: dal-baati-choorma had nice and soft baatis (don't ask how much ghee must have gone into them); the ker sangri, kadhi, gatte ki sabzi, paneer, and other dishes tasted fairly authentic, though a little on the spicy side. You get several different kinds of rotis, and you end with khichdi and dahi., and kheer It's a all you can eat place where the waiters keep coming up and refilling whatever you want more of, and by the end, even if you just sampled the different dishes and didn't ask for seconds, you still end up awfully stuffed. It's good value for money and a nice family weekend brunch place if you can find a parking spot.
Roomali with a view: 100 ft road. This has a similar set of items as Chowka, but it has non-veg items, and it's served buffet style. It also has really good roomalirotis (rotis named after a roomal or large think handkerchief, i.e. the rotis are muslin-thin and very large. (more later) ...
The roomali rotis are good, hot, fresh, included in the buffet price, and with the correct consistency (just enough balance between bite and softness). The other dishes - not so good Baatis (in their dal baati choorma) should be renamed bullets - hard little boulders. The dishes, rather oily and more spicy than Chowka. Omnivores reported that the fish curry was very good, but the chicken was only so so. The service was erratic, simple requests (e.g. extra chair for one additional diner, more water, etc.) tends to make the staff run around slowly in ineffectual circles rather than just get what is needed efficiently. The place itself is also on the first floor, open ambience, and has an elevator.
So, if you are in teh mood for a Rajasthani thali, it's worth the trek into Thippasandra, and forego the comparatively easier access of Roomali with a view.
Shiro - UB City
I've heard for a while that Shiro is a beautiful space both inside with it's massive sculpture and water features as well as outside for it's views; and that the food is exceptional, well I finally got a chance to try it for myself.
Friday and Saturday nights they only offer two seatings, 7:30pm and 9:30pm, we opted for the 7:30pm seating. Although I was given the impression they were booked solid the restaurant was not overly busy and there were a few empty tables, the bar on the other hand was packed. We started with a couple of cocktails while we went through the very extensive asian (Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese and Korean) menu. One thing to say about their cocktails is they are not shy with the liquor, we only had one drink as a couple more would have left us under the table. The wine list wasn't too bad for price, 1600 INR for a bottle of Sula Chenin Blanc which has become my bench mark.
We started with the shrimp and chicken in steamed wonton wrappers, OMG they were good and I could have eaten them all night. Next we had the dyna maki roll, tempura shrimp and the chicken with 3 herbs in rice paper wrap. All of these were very well done, the tempura batter was a little thick for me but some people like it that way. The dipping sauces that came with each selection were also excellent, no disappointments at all. We let this selection sit for a few minutes before diving into the next round of small plates including the crispy duck wrap with hoisan sauce, spicey salmon maki roll and the fragrant crab cakes. The duck wrap was as described, fragrant and crispy complete with three sauces. The salmon roll was also spicey but lacked the salmon quality we are used to with British Columbia sockeye salmon... not that it was bad it's just Norwegian salmon isn't as good as what we got at home. The only disappointment of the night were the crab cakes. We must have caught the kitchen by surprise as they took a full 30 minutes to come out and when they did they were over salted and the sauce very disappointing, over warmed mayonaise with a couple of herbs chopped in.
An excellent meal was had but not at a bargain price, this was the most expensive meal we've had in Bangalore and would have compared with prices at home for a dinner of asian small plates. I do recognize that this place is exceptional in it's location and interior design, the service was also to a very high standard but without being overbearing.
I am now curious to try their Sunday brunch, eventhough I'm not much of a Sunday brunch kind of person.
Medici - 100 Feet Rd, near EGL above Maharaja Furniture
Friday night last week started with a couple of cocktails at the roof top lounge of Medici. Very nice place, good music, good atmoshphere (replays of the winter Olympics on the TV - excellent!) and decent bartenders. Only drawback was the lack of variety in the cocktail menu, no vermouth, no Campari.
The second floor is the restaurant which is primarily Italian on the menu. Again very nice atmoshphere with attentive service and the wine list was complete and in stock. We actually hadn't anticipated having dinner, we thought it was going to be drinks and appetizers so we had a small dinner before we arrived. In the end that was not going to prevent us from trying the menu but we held ourselves to mains only, no starters or desserts. I had the rack of lamb with roasted veg, very well done, excellent crust on the lamb, great size and well cooked. Nothing bad at all to say about it. My wife had the mushroom risoto which she said is by far the best Italian dish she's had in Bangalore. There were about 12 of us at the table the majority of which ordered the fillet mignon or the rack of lamb, everyone was very happy with their dishes and no complaints were heard. Two people across from us had the crepes Suzette for dessert, very well presented with a flaming shot (assuming brandy or Cointreau) to pour over the three miny orange crepes, again no one was dissapointed.
Good times at Medici, we'll be back for certain.
Fiorano Restaurant (100 Feet Rd. Koramangala near BDA complex)
A number of long time Bangaloreans recommeded Fiorano's as old school Italian with a long seasoned head chef, who is Italian. I was looking forward to such a restaurant and had rather high hopes for dinner on Friday night.
Unfortunately Fiorano's did not live up to expectations. First issue was the wine list, and this to me is always a warning, they did not have most of the wine on the list and explained their delivery had not come through. This is usually code for, we haven't paid the liquor bill and this is all we have left. We did end up with a decent bottle of white wine but not our first, second, third or fouth choice.
Appetizers were the highlight of the meal, not that they were that good it's just the rest was that bad. We had the calamari and the chicken saultenboca. The calamari was properly cooked, not chewy or underdone but the coating was too thick and took away from the calamari itself. The chicken and zuccini saultenboca was actually pretty good, the chicken was moist but had a touch of crispiness to it and the zuccini was also nicely cooked and not mushy.
The main courses were the considerable problem after the wine list. I have to assume the head chef or expediter (if they have one) was either asleep, absent or drunk as there is no way each dish was tasted properly before it left the kitchen. It was pretty obvious someone messed up one of their core sauces, or bases used in all sauces. The issue was that they burnt the living crap out of the their garlic... so much so that each dish was permeated with burnt garlic and totally ruined both our mains. It was so burnt and so considerably ruined the dishes that it also upset our stomachs and left us with a bad taste even into Saturday. I'll leave it there, as I could go on but to what point?
I won't likely be back to Fiorano's, especially when Via Milano is literaly around the corner and I know I-talia at the Park Hotel can serve up good Italian food as well.
Karavali, Taj Gateway Hotel
As suggested above and due to my fondness for seafood we did make it to Karavali a couple of weeks ago. The posters above were spot on it was excellent.
Started with the black pomfret cooked in banana leaf which was excellent and very nicely spiced. The starter came with a pepper soup or tea, I can't remember what it was called but it was really good. I was a bit worried as it was quite warm out that a hot, spicy tea would not go down well but it did and complimented the food very nicely.
Unfotunately it was a couple of weeks ago and I cannot remember the mains we had, not that they weren't very good it's just that work has kept me busy and my memory fails as I get older :-) Needless to say the dinner was excellent, the service was attentive without being overbearing and it even rained a bit during dinner which was very nice as it was before the recent round of heavier rains started.
All in all this is a great choice for coastal seafood dishes in Bangalore and we'll be back.
A few folks at work indicated if we thought this was good we should try Goldfinches, if anyone has been there I'd be curious to know their thoughts of the place.
Fava - UB City
I had previously reviewed Fava after going for appetizers but wanted to go back for a full meal. We went back on the weekend, Saturday night, and enjoyed a very good meal with excellent service. We started with the turkish fish kabobs and the lentil kofte. Both were excellent, especially with the dips served, I really enjoyed the kofte and had been planning to make something similar at home before trying Fava's version. For mains my wife had the Shawarma and I the turkish raviolis with shrimp in a safron broth. The shawarma was good but again they are very stingy with the pita breads and left my wife with lots of filling and no bread. The turkish raviolis were great, very much like the ones I've had in Turkey... the only downside was the lack of bread for the saffron sauce, it was excellent and I wanted every drop.
The atmosphere has heated up at UB City with the IPL on. If you're looking for a quiet romantic dinner on the terrace you will be disappointed if there's a game on. There is a massive screen for the games, cheerleaders, an American style announcer, lots of food and beer for those viewing. It was definately a young adult crowd and everyone was having a good time. If you don't mind the fun and a bit of noise dinner is still more than worthwhile at Fava.
Umerkot - 80 Feet Rd, Koramangala near Bonsouth
We were told we had to eat here, by most of the expats we've encountered, great Indian food and excellent service were always promised. The first thing that struck us is that it is very close to the absolutely terrible smelling canal that runs along 80 Feet Rd. in this part of Koramangala. The smell does not induce a desire to dine, in fact the opposite is the greater desire. But we soldiered on because we had been assured we were in for a treat.
Now I won't say by any means it was terrible, it wasn't, but it wasn't the best either. The food was good, flavourful with a spice level that I found a bit mild but still acceptable. The service was very good and the fact we showed up during prime time on a Friday without a reservation yet they managed to seat us was a testament to that. I'm sure we'll be back as it is very convenient to our place but I'm going to base my next visit on the direction of the wind... if Umerkot is down wind of the canal stench that evening I will not be dining.
Aagnan Koramangala - on the cross road that gets you from Hosur Rd (Forum Mall) over to 100 Feet Rd.
I reviewed their location at Bellandur post previously but wanted to try their Koramangala location for take out as it is close to home. The quality was the same as the Bellandur location, the biriyani was excellent as were the stuffed parantha (aloo) and the channa masala (my wife's favourite). We also went out on a small limb and ordered the keema egg curry... smelled kinda like the canal near Umerkot. It was a bit tough to eat it without smelling it, the sulfurish smell from the egg permeated the dish to an extreme... not something that will ever be ordered again!!! But I am very happy that we have a great delivery option for the nights we just don't feel like cooking or going out to eat.
Fava - UB City
Went to Fava on a Saturday night (early) prior to going to a BBQ party so was just looking for some snacks to fill the gap before the BBQ. Our group ordered the veg dip platter which was a multi-story (you have to order it to understand) cornucopia of dips from the mediterranean. There were 18 different items to try ranging from very well done dolmatas (grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice), walnut dip, babaganoush, two or three different types of hummus and a passable tzatziki to name just a few. The dips were all very good and hit the spot for our group. The only minor downside was that there were not enough house made tiny pita breads for the amount of dip served, we did ask for more but only 4 were offered.
The views from Fava are great and the ambiance on the terrace is very active... especially with all the children playing in the fountain outside the restaurant. I'll be back I'm sure.
Zen - Leela Palace
I've never been to Leela in the past 4 years of visits to Bangalore but last night I was convinced I should at least see it and have dinner at one of the restaurants. After a little bit of arm twisting I agreed.
The hotel is everything everyone said it was, beautiful building, magnificent architectural style and the service was excellent. We opted for the Pan-Asian experience of Zen and was pleasantly surprised with the Chinese dishes on offer. The singapore style crab dumplings had an excellent chili sauce but to me weren't "crabby" enough... could just be that I'm used to the Canadian dungeoness crabs we get at home, the crispy roast chicken with plum and hoisen sauce was magnificent and crispy (I could have eaten this all night) and the singapore noodles were definately a flavourful trip down memory lane.
Downside was the wine list, I know it's a fancy hotel with appearances to keep up but 2300 INR for a bottle of Sula Chenin Blanc is really going to far. I also found the terrace seating quite noisy for a hotel of this caliber, street dogs barking, horns honking, etc... for more pleasant fancy hotel outdoor dining I will take the Taj West End any day. The grounds there are by far more pleasing and quiet.
Your review of Blue Ginger Taj West End was exactly what I'd felt it was like, even though I was last there quite sometime ago. MisterPete's recs - MTR and Karavalli are must-tries - one is a Bangalore dining institution, the other served the BEST Indian food I'd ever had in my life!!
Aagnan - on Sarjapur Outer Ring Road, Bellandur Post near Cafe Coffee Day.
This is a little more down to earth and local than most of my posts but I haven't been to the restaurant either... delivery only so far. I was told the Biriyani here is excellent and it is! Although not the Hyderabad version I've heard is so popular in the south this is a Punjabi version. I really like the spice content and flavour of this Biriyani and the rice is nice and loose as it should be. If you order their Biriyani it comes with a great raita (made with tomato, cucumber, onion and garlic), and a dish that is a bit like a pea masala (but a tad too oily). We've also ordered their boneless chicken kabob and have been very pleased. Nice big pieces of chicken, well cooked and moist.
I'm the only non-Indian in the office, we've ordered from Aagnan for lunch, and pretty much all the local folks think the Biriyani is excellent too... not just the lone white guy at the table.
here's a couple to start with:
"MTR" (Mavalli Tiffin Room). Go for breakfast. A Bangalore tradition, landmark building, and utterly delightful experience. Not to mention spectacular food. Try the masala dosa's and rawa idly's, be sure to dip / drizzle both with the ghee. Pick up sweets at the MTR sweetshop next door -- heavenly Mysore Pak and Tirupati laddoos.
Empire Hotel -- lots of branches. Real "down-home" Bangalore experience. My favorites there include the butter chicken, gobi manchurian (dry), spit-roasted chicken, coin perota's (small pancake-size flakey breads), and excellent shawarma.
Karavali, Taj Gateway Hotel -- Malabar cuisine (Goa, Kerala, Coastal Karnataka). Fabulous seafood from India's west coast, with spectacular appam's (pancake-like breads, flaky and soft at the same time -- amazing) cooked to order by a chef in the dining room). Excellent place to try pan for the uninitiated as well (fresh betel-paste post-meal digestive).
Am in a rush, here are some other excellent picks:
Hyderabad Biryani. Just what the name says. Great.
Royal Afghan at the Windsor Manor. Poolside carnivorous feast.
Chettinad restaurant on Ulsoor road (can't remember the name of it -- open-air, upstairs). well marked, drive along the road, you won't miss it. excellent tamil nadu cuisine.
Angeethi on Museum Road. Punjabi Dhaba-style restaurant on a rooftop.
KC Das -- Legendary for Bengali sweets.
The coffee shop at the Taj West End has excellent Lebanese food.
Also, try to get invited to the Sunday Brunch at the Bangalore Club, quite a (post-)colonial experience ("curried brains", etc. etc.)
and when you want to go western, Olive Beach is quite good, and Sunny's is also very popular and has a great deli section at the back for fresh cheeses, hams, etc. (you can get this at olive beach as well.)
I'll think of others, am a foodie that's been living / eating in Bangers for 4 yrs now
oh, and also try Chandni Chowk in Koramanga, fun atmosphere and decent North Indian food.
Wow! MisterPete; you really know the best spots in Bangalore. We've been restaurant-hopping in Bangalore for three decades and I agree with all your recommendations. Also try out my favourite Kerala (coastal) joint on Church Street (off Brigade Road, parallel to MG Road)-Coconut Grove. As good or better than Karavalli and much cheaper. The authentic Kerala experience (veg and nonveg-appams, karimeen-special Kerala fish, even crabs et al). ENJOY. From Thecitron
Bonsouth - 4th Block Koramangala
Went on Saturday to check out mid-range South Indian fare as I've had a lot of everyday south indian thali at work. It was quite good, I liked that the menu was broken down into region and the dishes (both starters and mains) were presented that way.
We started with the fried cauliflower from Karnataka which was spicy, crispy and excellent: also had the Kerala cashew pakoras which were a disappointment to our palates as they were exceptionally dry and lacked any real cashew flavour. As the pakoras were not to our liking the waiter brought us some small spicy idlis which were very good.
Because we had so many starters we thought we'd keep the mains simple, mint rice, neer dosa and a Kerala prawn dish. The prawns were great but definitely a different texture from the N. American shrimp we are used to. The neer dosa was great, very much like Ethiopian injera bread that we've had back home... but just like injera terribly filling. The mint rice was a real treat, not nearly as "minty" as I expected, just the right flavour and texture all around.
The atmosphere and service were all good, not great. As it was a hot and not so pleasant smelling evening in the neighbourhood it would have been nice if they had left the doors to the patio closed but the wait staff found it more convenient to keep them open.
Would I go back... yes absolutely.
Thanks Rasam, tried both Nilgiri's and Spar but neither had tinned stock or stock cubes/sachets. The closest I've found is at Food World on 80 Foot Rd (next to Spencer's). It'll do for now while I continue to source another product. Perhaps I need some Indian cookery lessons to discover what is used here instead!