Shiok

December 29, 2006

This review is also available on burrp!

Absolutely fabulous food in a classy ambiance with wonderful service – that sums up my experience at Shiok.

Shiok serves food from Singapore, Thailand, China, Malaysia and Indonesia and it sure tastes as authentic as what you would get there. For starters, I asked the steward for his recommendation and decided on the Pomfret in Drunken Sauce. Drunken sauce is a Thai sauce made with chillies, basil, garlic, white pepper and oyster sauce and it was delicious. The pomfret was crisp and fresh and knocked our socks off. I highly recommend this dish for a taste of heaven! For the main course, we ordered steamed rice and Sumatra fish curry, which is an Indonesian curry. It was delicious. Dessert was tiramisu – yummy! Shiok has a wide range of very exotic cocktails, mocktails and imported liquor. My cosmopolitan was very good.

The restaurant section at Shiok has an outdoorsy feel to it, while the lounge area section with its spiffy red walls and dark upholstery has a very warm and upscale flavour. The atmosphere was very comfortable and seemed to very easily accommodate a range of people – there were families, couples on a romantic date, friends chilling out, even a lone diner; and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The service was really good –and took me completely by surprise. The steward and the waiter took the trouble to help us with our choices. We were wondering whether to order the crab when the waiter actually brought out the live crab to show us.

My complaint – the bathrooms were smelly. I told the waiter, who did get it cleaned immediately.

Shiok is located at 2nd Floor, #12, CMH Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore, ph: 41161800. It is open from 12 pm to 3:30 pm and from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm. I was lucky enough to find parking directly outside on the crowded road but the website says that plenty of parking is available opposite the restaurant. A meal for two with a drink each is approximately Rs.850.

 

A Mangalorean Christmas

December 28, 2006

Celebrated Christmas 2006 with family in Mangalore – in true Mangalorean style – midnight mass, lots and lots of food, wine, music and boisterous family gatherings. The weather in Mangalore was awesome – pleasant, not too hot or humid.

What did I eat on Christmas day?

Kusvar (Konkani word for Christmas sweets and savories) – which includes everything from rose cookies, kal kals, neuvrios (fried snack with coconut stuffing), rice marbles, fruit cakes (my favourite is the banana cake), thukdis.

Food – prawn pulao, beef chilli, sannas (of course), pork curry, chicken curry and cucumber salad.

Drink – Sula wine (the shiraz) and Goan port wine (delicious).

A lovely X’mas indeed!

On a Plum Cake Trail!

December 22, 2006

What’s Christmas without plum cakes? If you are wondering where to buy your plum cake this X’mas, here is a peek at the products from some bakeries in Bangalore.

All Saints Bakery

The plum cakes in this old-world bakery are very fruity and likely to appeal to folks who like their plum cake on the sweeter side. The cakes have a gentle rum flavour and are mild to taste.

Location: 126/2, Brigade Road, Bangalore, ph:25572091.

Fatima’s Bakery

Lots of tutti-frutti and slightly on the drier side, no rum flavour to speak of, I was not too impressed with Fatima’s plum cake.

Location: 1/2 Hosur Road, Bangalore, ph: 25510378.

Koshy’s

Very rich and extremely moist with rum soaked, aged raisins, Koshy’s plum cakes taste like they have been baked the old-fashioned way. The cakes are not too sweet and the strong rum flavouring packs quite a punch. Delicious! Kids, however, may find the taste too strong.

Location:

Koshy’s Bakery- 1, Wellington Street, Richmond Town, Bangalore, ph:22211516.

Tiny store near the restaurant – 39, St.Marks Road, Bangalore, ph:22213793 (ph no. of the restaurant)

Daily Bread

For the non-traditional version, try the plum cakes at Daily Bread. You can have the rum plum cake which is well, rummy, soft and crumbles in your mouth. The rich plum cake with extra fruits is very, very nutty (with plenty of almonds) and moist with a mild caramel flavour. The rum content is less than the Koshy’s plum cake but nevertheless this cake is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Location: Daily Bread, 43, 4th B Cross, 5th Block, Koramangala Industrial Area, Koramangala, Bangalore-95, ph: 2563-1302/1304.

Branches in Church Street, Indiranagar, Bangalore Central, Forum Mall (inside Fabmall), Koramangala (inside Big Bazaar), Banshankari (inside Big Bazaar) and Ulsoor.

Sweet Chariot

Distinctly different from the other bakeries, the Sweet Chariot plum cakes are sweet, with a strong rum taste, aged raisins, spices and a mild marzipan flavour. Very rich!

Location: 15/2, Residency Road, Bangalore, ph:41120556.

Various branches in Bangalore.

Nilgiris

On the drier side, with raisins, cashews mixed fruits and vegetables (it has chopped and glazed apples, carrots, mangoes and dates) and a mild rum flavour.

Location: Nilgiris Building, 171, Brigade Road, Bangalore, ph: 25588401

Nilgiris Supermarket locations: Airport Road, Frazer Town, Jayanagar, R.T. Nagar, Jalahalli, Malleshwaram, Kammanahalli, Bannerghatta Road.

My rankings for the plum cakes:

  1. Koshys
  2. Daily Bread & Sweet Chariot
  3. All Saints
  4. Nilgiris
  5. Fatimas

So go on, indulge in some plum cake and wine and have a Merry Christmas!

Bayleaf

December 20, 2006

This review is also available on burrp!

Cosmopolitan ambiance, huge bay windows that bring in the sunshine, coupled with the fact that the restaurant serves Punjabi food and has an extensive wine list, make Bayleaf a popular choice with the techie crowd. The smart wooden furniture, abstract glass art, luxurious table cloths and water spiked with basil and lemons lend a very international flavour to the place. The tomato dhania shorba was excellent – light, fragrant and delicious. The zaffrani chawal and the murg adraki were good too – not too spicy, with a nice homemade taste. The kebabs here are very popular and so are the stuffed rotis – unfortunately, I was not hungry enough that day to try them.

Bayleaf is located at 1, Raheja Arcade, Koramangala, ph:25535050. It is ideal for a business lunch or for a romantic dinner. A meal for two without alcohol is approximately Rs.500. Best bet for parking is the Forum mall parking complex.

La Casa

December 18, 2006

This review is also available on burrp!

A no-frills, down-to-earth restaurant with a dash of eclectic and Old Bangalore thrown in, La Casa seems to be a favourite haunt of the budget college-goer as well as the 40-50 year old catching up with his friends over a mug of beer and Maharajah mix.

The décor is pretty non-descript and functional, with an outdoor seating area and an upstairs non-smoking section. Rock and roll classics from the 60s and 70s play in the background. The most interesting part about La Casa is the cuisine – pastas, mousakkas and steaks rub shoulders with fish tikkas, kebabs, aloo gobi, chopsueys, rice and naans. The chicken manchurian I tried was reasonably good, but was what even better was the main course, the chicken pepper steak. Covered in a thick white sauce, with a side of home fries, steamed vegetables and garlic bread, it hit the right spot and was delicious.

Desserts include baklava, brownies, sundaes and cakes. The chocolate walnut brownie had a nice homemade taste. La Casa serves beer, which my friend complained was not cold enough, and some interesting cocktails and mocktails.

La Casa is located at Chintal Plaza, 33rd Cross, 10th Main, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore, ph: 26554613, 26910732. Parking is on the street and a meal for two with a drink each is approximately Rs.550.

Magnolia

December 15, 2006

This review is also available on burrp!

An excellent option for lovers of authentic Thai and Chinese food, Magnolia is a restaurant located in a really nice part of Koramangala within an enormous stone bungalow.

A good amount of pink has been used in the interiors (calm down guys, there is a plus side to this, just read on), and as a result, there are plenty of all-girl groups lunching and dining here (see I told you!). In any case, I did’nt think that the pink was too overwhelming and the restaurant does look cozy and warm. If you still would prefer a more manly hangout, the terrace is a nice place with bamboo and plants, and is especially nice for that intimate candlelight dinner where you can focus only on your girlfriend. The indoor seating is popular with families and large groups.

I started my meal with the Thai chicken and lemongrass coconut soup – every drop was delicious. A complementary plate of pickled salad appeared in front of me – kimchee (pickled cabbage) and pickled carrots and cucumbers – the kind that goes with satay – absolutely yummy. For starters, I had the Thai chicken chilli basil and the Chinese-style stuffed pepper bean curd. The former was marinated, barbecued chicken – spicy but hearty. The bean curd was fantastic – I am not a big tofu fan – but this semi-gravy dish rocked. Since the portions are enormous, I just about managed to eat the main course – steamed rice and Thai chicken mudsamman curry, but it was completely worth stuffing myself. Magnolia is a good option for vegetarians as well – they have a vast range of vegetarian stir fries and curries. Portions are huge, so order with care. And if you must have beer, you can, since that is the only alcohol they serve.

Magnolia is located at 840, 7th Cross, 15th Main, 3rd Block, Koramangala, Bangalore, ph:41102222. (If you are coming from St.John’s on to 80 ft road, take a right turn after the BDA complex – Magnolia is located on this road, on the right). Parking is available on the road, or on the particularly lovely side street, which has beautiful villas and trees. A meal for two with beer is approximately Rs.850.

The Raj Pavilion

December 13, 2006

This review is also available on burrp!

Lazy Sunday brunches are the best way to unwind and the Sunday Brunch buffet at The Raj Pavilion in ITC Windsor Sheraton and Towers (some of us still refer to it as Windsor Manor) lets you do just that. The restaurant is housed in a conservatory that has glass ceilings and French windows, which open to a view of the gorgeous pool – the perfect place to sip on champagne or mimosa, lounge on the gracious rattan chairs, soak up the sunshine and enjoy the live band. On a particularly lovely day, sitting by the poolside is a good option.

The food at The Raj Pavilion consists of Indian, Far-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. The salad bar which includes cold cuts, an awesome cheese platter and exotic salads such as asparagus salad in wine olive oil, roasted corn and onion salad (yummy!) or the prawn cocktail, is a meal by itself. For starters, try dahi puris from the chaat counter, customized kebabs from the barbecue counter or brinjal cutlets. Main course options are endless – grilled salmon from the barbeque counter or penne from pasta counter. Chinese or Indian main course items are also available and include everything from hakka noodles to biryani. The dum biryani here, by the way, is awesome, as are most mutton dishes.

Make sure you leave enough room for dessert. Fresh fruits, puddings, mousse, tarts, Indian burfis and sweets are all part of the expansive spread. My favourites are usually the steamed puddings – steamed almond pudding is yummy and so are the Indian kheers and payasams.

The price for this royal repast which includes cocktails is Rs.1250 per head inclusive of taxes. The dinner buffet – which does not include the cocktails, or the barbecue and chaat counters or the live music – is priced at Rs.900 per head. The Raj Pavilion is located at ITC Hotel Windsor Sheraton and Towers, 25, Windsor Square, Golf Course Road, Bangalore, ph:22269898.