Bangalore - Ohri's, the local family restaurant
I'd always wondered - outside those elegant albeit expensive restaurants which often sweep the awards given out by local dining out guides such as The Times of India's Food Guide, and also the trendy, chic or higher-priced eateries popular with expats and foreign visitors to Bangalore, where do local middle-class Bangaloreans (e.g. families, working folks) dine at, if they wanted some place slightly more elaborate than a streetside eatery. In short, if I'm a Bangalorean and just wanted to go out for a few drinks and to catch a bite with me work-mates, where would I go? To answer my question, my local Bangalorean colleague brought me this place: Ohri's Silver Metro, located on the top floor of a busy little mall in bustling Madivala.
Ohri's operated a chain of restaurants in Bangalore & Hyderabad, offering "multi-cuisine" (i.e. different regional Indian) dishes - ranging from vegetarian curries, tandoori chicken, chaats, to Desi-Indian staples like Manchurian chicken.
At the top floor of Total Mall, Ohri's ran 2 diferent theme-designed eating outlets: Serengeti - which was like a cheap incarnation of Rainforest Cafe (though the animals here were *not* animatronically-enabled, but looked rather like badly-shaped sculptures) offering an a la carte menu; and the vastly more popular Silver Metro, where the decor replicated subway metro stations and trains, and where its buffet tables gave new meaning to the term "gravy train".
We opted for the more lively Silver Metro naturally (Serengeti was absolutely empty at 8.00pm, not a good sign). I must admit that the drinks (my cocktail was "Sex on Cubbon Stop", don't ask) and ambience was not too bad, but the buffet, which consisted of the usual suspects (various curried vegetables & lentils like dhal makhani, tandoori chicken, Nepalese momo-like steamed chicken and vegetable dumplings, briyanis, etc.) was pretty predictable.
I liked the two types of chaats on offer: "Dahi Poori" (little hollow poori puffs flled with chopped onions, beans, sev noodles, slathered with tamarind & yoghurt) and "Bhel Poori" (same ingredients, but the crisps were all crushed and mixed together with other ingredients into a crunchy, sweet-sour "salad" of sorts.
For me, it's an interesting introduction to a typical popular-with-local-Bangaloreans eating spot.
Ohri's Silver Metro
Total Mall, Level 3
Tel: +91-40003333, +91-9731558303, or +91-9731551800
Definite *nothing* like their US counterparts - firstly, majority of people here are Hindu & vegetarians - so much of the fast food menus cater to vegetarians, and beef is a no-no, even for burger joints like McDonalds.
Pizza Hut in Bangalore offers pizzas topped with chicken Jalfrezi, Masala chicken, etc:
Kentucky Fried Chicken India has moved closer to its international menu in the past few years, and now offers fried chicken with sides of mashed potatoes & coleslaw. When I first tried KFC's branch at the Forum Mall in Koramangala, Bangalore, back in 2004, the fried chicken only came with spicy sambhar soup, spicy curried Indian pilaf rice, and raw onions-cucumbers-tomatoes. I remembered asking for coleslaw or potato salad, and the servers asked, "What is that?".
McDonalds India has an extensive menu which included lots of very interesting Indian-ized items. In place of the Big Mac, it has a similar burger made using chicken patties called the Chicken Maharajah Mac. The McAloo Tikki takes the North Indian street-food potato patty and sandwich it in a burger bun, slathered with Indian curry sauce, raw onions, tomatoes, etc.
My personal face is the McCurry Paneer, which combined Indian cheese with a spicy chilli-cream sauce, served atop flatbread. Delish!
I'd not tried their breakfast Veg McMuffin yet.
Fascinating. Thanks for the hands-on research you obviously undertook at some dietary cost! :-)
I expected there would be some local adaptations but not as extensively as you describe. (Yes, for some weird reason I did momentarily forget about the beef no-no) Just appearance-wise, the pizza does look somewhat "off" or sloppy compared with US stuff while the burgers "look" similar to US stuff...
Reports like this are nice to read - about less rarefied places where, as you say, "families, working folks" go to on a regular basis. "Themed" places too!
There's a Rainforest Cafe Imitator in Bangalore? Really!!
I wasn't even aware there were International locations for this US-based chain. I just looked at their website and Bangalore isn't listed: http://www.rainforestcafe.com/locatio... (Where did you last visit one?) The last time I was in one was in Chicago, IL. It was corny as hell, and the sporadic roaring clawing Godzillas sprinkled around the place drew the predictable shrieks of pleasure and/or big round eyes from delighted children - and wails from the one or two frightened babies. (There were a few adults too who looked around with big round eyes...) The food? Entirely forgettable.
The plate of stuff shown in your second pic - and your description - sounds *just* a wee, wee, tiny bit reminiscent of Yee Sang after it has been tossed. :-)
The last itme I was at a Rainforest Cafe? Gawd, it was in Singapore - its Liang Court branch. Was caught in a thunderstorm enroute to the restaurant to meet a bunch of friends. Then, when I was seated at the restaurant, there was a faux tropical rainstorm with thunder & lightning simulation in there! I somehow realised at that time the folly of trying to offer a rainforest-themed restaurant in a tropical country like Singapore. Of course, the concept didn't work and it closed down after a few short years.
The London one at the Trocadero (facing Shaftesbury Ave) was still there the last time I walked past (Jan 2012?)
P.S. - BTW, "Chinese" food, or rather Sino-Ludhianvi or Desi-Chinese cuisine is *big* in India. In fact, when Indian families eat out, many would choose noodles or so-called"Szechwan" food (note the spelling) which, of course, bore no resemblance to Szechuanese/Sichuanese food as we know it!
Anyway, me Bangalorean colleagues were more adept with their chopsticks than silly-old-"are you sure you're Singaporean?"-me :-D
Fascinating. I'd never looked much into Indian-Chinese or Desi-Chinese cuisine, although of course I was aware of it (and of its being associated with "Hakka" food for historical reasons etc). That it is the 2nd most popular food after local food is also interesting. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_As...
Nice pic. :-)
Heh, for myself sometimes in Western restaurants where I'm eating something that is itty-bitty, or tapas-like with small pieces, or even fried green beans with sauce** I find myself hankering for a pair of chopsticks. :-P
(ETA) ** Like the famous green beans dish at Girl & the Goat in Chicago - and I actually asked the waiter if they *had* chopsticks because I was finding it so unwieldy to use my fork to try to spear - and hold - those slippery beans! BTW those beans there are really yummy.