Via Milano – Update 1

March 3, 2008

This review is also available on burrp!

A revisit to Via Milano for lunch confirmed most of my previous experiences –  heavenly Italian cuisine in  cool ambiance.   The contemporary furniture with its clean lines and red and white colours, retro black and white hanging lamps, chic white window shades gives the restaurant a neat look without taking away any of the warmth.  The white leather sofa by the picture windows which overlook Koramangala’s traffic-filled roads looked very inviting and was the perfect place for a leisurely afternoon tete-a-tete.  

There were quite a few kids in the restaurant that day, since it was a Saturday, including my own – but it was still not overly noisy or boisterous.  Two Americans discussed business over beers in one corner, a smartly dressed lady worked on her laptop in the bar area and there were two other families and a group of women.   I am going to change my earlier recommendation of classifying Via Milano as romantic and say that it is perfect for business lunches and get-togethers with family and friends.  

Via Milano has some nice imported wines by the bottle.  The choices for wines by the glass are however pretty sad (two to be precise) and when we asked for the zinfandel we were told it was replaced by two other choices – one of which was a Grover’s red wine.  I did not like it.

 The delicious bread basket with the fresh plain and olive breads and breadsticks along with the six dips and sides appeared – the diced tomatoes, ground basil and garlic, creamy potato mayonnaise and the virgin olive oil, delicious chilli olive oil and balsamic vinegar.   My daughter munched on these continuously and had a whale of a time making her own bruschetta. There are only two soup options available – both non-vegetarian – we tried the chicken and mushroom soup with gnocchi.  Gnochhi is a small pancake usually made with potatoes (in this case it was) and has a melt-in-the-mouth quality like good cheese.  The soup was very good although a bit too filling for one.

The rocket salad which came with pears and lettuce and very strangely a sesame-flavoured, asian-influenced (?) dressing was good though not everyone in our group agreed with me.   The mozzarella and zuchinni balls which were deep fried were awesome.  The margarita pizza with tomato, basil and mozzarella was good so was the penne pasta which had my daughter licking her fingers.  Basic stuff but very well made.  I had the spinach and ricotta annellini – it was ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese was delicious.   The most interesting looking item which we ordered was the potato pancake with vegetables.  Thin-cut potatoes were fried to form a crispy pancake that was piled with multi-coloured slivers and twists of vegetables including carrots, red and yellow capsicums and zucchini.  Very, very good!

Service was good and prompt. Valet parking is available and a meal for two, including alcohol is approximately Rs.1000.

For address and phone numbers, click here.

 


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Via Milano

August 17, 2007

This review is also available on burrp!

Via Milano is chic, trendy new Italian restaurant located on the third floor of a building in Koramangala.  Sleek red and white leather chairs and dark mahogany wooden shelves and tables provide a neat contrast against the stark white walls on one side and the glass walls on the other two, which opens to views of the city.  Your choice of seating includes plush sofas or traditional dining chairs.  They have some really nice and big tableware – comfortable red glasses, enormous soup bowls and huge plates.  There is a neat bar area in one corner.

The drinks menu has the usual mojitos and pinacoladas besides some nice wines and other harder stuff.  We did not try any.  The salads and soups looked tempting – and so we ordered the garden salad with garden vegetables, Mediterranean grilled veggies, goat cheese and black olives.  A bread basket with fresh bread and breadsticks and dips and spreads including a superb olive and garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and basil and potato mayonnaise was placed in front of us.  Interestingly, the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chilli oil (not sure what that is) came in Borosil test tubes in a test tube stand – and actually looked quite nice.  I was a bit sceptical when I saw that the grilled veggies included roasted eggplant – but the salad truly was delicious.  The soup was a hit – pasta, chickpeas, black pepper, olive oil and clams.  For the main course, we picked the spaghetti with beans, potatoes and basil pesto – very nice – unlike over-creamy pastas that drown the flavour of the fresh vegetables, this was done perfectly and was filling, yet light.  We were too full to try desserts – which included tiramisu (of course). 

Service in this restaurant is impeccable – welcoming, warm and helpful.  It is supposedly owned by three people who used to work in the Ritz Carlton in Doha, Qatar and that shows in the service and in the food.  The A/C was not working properly when we went – they apologized profusely and were upfront about it.  The food presentation is excellent and interestingly, they gave me a hook that attaches to the table from where I could hang my handbag instead of leaving it on the floor. 

This place seems to be quite a hit with expats.  It is ideal for lunching with colleagues or friends or for a romantic dinner.   Valet parking is available.  Meal for two without alcohol is approximately Rs.700. 

For address and phone number, click here.

BrewHaHa

May 8, 2007

This review is also available on burrp!

They say they take your fun seriously. And they do! For those times when you are at loss on what to do – go out for dinner (again???), catch a movie (tickets available only for the biggest flop of the season), hangout at Forum (bah!), BrewHaHa is like a breath of fresh air. This hangout has the air of a loungable coffee shop but is a lot more than that – they have more than 60 fun board games which you can rent at Rs.20 per hour. I was sceptical at first, but hey, after a game of Blokus, I was hooked. And then went on to play (and lose) Quarto and Quoridor for the next two hours!!

BrewHaHa is a bright, cheery place done up in purple and blue with flashes of orange. You can chill on the bean bags or grab a corner with the dhurries and brightly coloured cushions. The menu has very nice beverages – I recommend the Starbucksy-tasting Willy Wonka Special – strong coffee spiked with mocha, and the absolutely, heavenly Calvin Brew (hot chocolate and peanut butter – yummy!). Unfortunately, I was too full to try any of the food – but they seem to have an interesting mix of finger foods – everything from tortillas, croissants and pita to more filling meals including a very healthy sounding cold chicken and green apple sandwich, lasagne and quiches, and neat desserts like cheesecake. The owners and staff are very helpful and will be more than happy to show you how to play any of the games.

So the next time you are bored, and wondering what to do, whether you are with a big group of friends or colleagues or just two of you, head towards BrewHaHa. I guarantee you will have fun!

For the latest happenings, including quizzes, DC and pictionary events, check out their website.

For address and phone number, click here.

Cafe Terra

April 30, 2007

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In the mood to hang out at a charming, little café on lazy weekend and indulge in some waffles or crepes?  Café Terra, formerly known as Dek Lekkerbek, is hidden in the first floor of a building in 80 feet road in Koramangala.  Wrong iron and rubberwood furniture, framed prints on the walls and a bookcase in one corner with Tintin comics work together to create a bistro-diner feel.  The restaurant, which specializes in Belgian waffles, has a menu which includes breakfast items such as omelettes, sausages and crepes, lunch options including soups, starters, pastas, noodles and grilled and baked dishes, and a variety of hot and cold beverages.  

Try the Belgian waffles with seasonal fruit.  Our waffles came with sliced bananas and pineapples and decorated with chocolate syrup with a side of maple syrup.  They were delicious.  The ham and cheese crepes were good too although the crepe or the base could have been a bit lighter.  The scrambled eggs which came with toast were fluffy and very well made.  Coffee was passable. 

Service is somewhat slow but friendly.  Parking is available on the road.  Breakfast for two is approximately Rs.250.  Go there for breakfast on a weekend with significant others.  Kids will enjoy the meal too. 

For address and phone number, click here.

Fiorano Ristorante

March 27, 2007

This review is also available on burrp!

Chic ambiance, warm service and good food make this Italian restaurant an ideal choice for a romantic date or for a family gathering.  The furniture is black and contrasts stylishly with the whitewashed walls.  On one corner, there is a glass display unit which shows off Fiorana’s desserts, cheese and breads. 

The highlight of a meal in this restaurant is most definitely the complementary plate of bruschetta that you get to put together on your own.  A beautiful wooden slicing board with warm, fresh bread is put in front of you along with a plate of basil leaves, cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic pods.  Pick up the garlic and rub it on the bread so it spreads evenly. Follow this up with the basil leaves and then the cherry tomatoes.  Drizzle some olive oil and bite into the fresh bruschetta.  Delicious!  Don’t be shy asking the waiter for help and directions – they are very friendly.

The starters and salads at Fiorano are superb.  You cannot go wrong with the crostinis – bread baked with mozzarella cheese and vegetable (like tomatoes or mushrooms) or chicken toppings.  The mixed green salad with tomatoes and sundried tomatoes is fantastic.  The minestrone soup is good. 

The main courses are passable.  I have tried the pastas – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian and have not loved it.  I tried the margharita pizza recently, a thin crust pizza with tomatoes, basil and cheese and it was quite good.  My recommendation would be to focus on the salads and starters and go easy on the main course.

As for dessert, do try the tiramisu, it is really good with the right amount of mascarpone and coffee flavour. They have a mango cheesecake and fig tart – but I have not tried those.  Exotic chocolates are also available; my favourite is an orange peel chocolate, a slightly bitter treat.

A very interesting fact about Fiorano is that they have a cheese factory upstairs where they make mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone, bocconcini and cream cheese.  You can buy them fresh from them.  They also sell imported cheese such as brie and gorgonzola as well as cold cuts like salami.  Fresh breads including focaccia are also available.  Their patisserie churns out some gorgeous cakes, desserts and pastries as well on order.  They do make home deliveries on orders over Rs.1500.   Call them to get more details or log on to http://www.fiorano.in.

Fiorano an excellent option for vegetarians, the vegetarian choices are extensive and delicious.  Valet parking is available.  Do make reservations if you are going there past 8:30 pm.  A meal for two without alcohol is approximately Rs.1000.

For address and phone number, click here.

Svad

January 24, 2007

 

This review is also available on burrp!

Svad is a North Indian restaurant in Koramangala and serves Rajasthani food only in the weekends. Went to this place based on India Today’s Simply Bangalore recommendation for authentic regional cuisine (Rajasthani)– and well, I am not so impressed.

The décor here is very functional. The downstairs area has sweets, chaats and a ton of quick eats while the upstairs consists of the sit-down restaurant section. The décor in the restaurant reminded me of Indian restaurants in the US – the $6.99 buffet in places with names like Taj something or Taste of some city in India. Pink and green muslin curtains separated the hookah (yes, they have hookahs available – though I did not see anyone ask for it) section from the dining area and Rajasthani handicrafts with mirrors hung from the ceiling. Artificial plants placed strategically in corners finished the picture – sort of a North Indian Shanti Sagar!

We decided to order the Rajasthani thali. Priced at Rs.105, it comes with three varities of rotis/breads – the bajra and makai rotis and the bafla batis. The sides included gatte ke saag, qwarfali ka saag and dal. Also some kichri, papad, garlic chutney and very delicious mango pickle (thums up – I wanted to buy a bottle of it). All the rotis were so so dry – it was like eating a meal in a desert and thankfully the buttermilk that came with the thali saved the day. Now, don’t tell me that Rajasthani food is supposed to taste like that – I have eaten authentic homemade Rajasthani food at my friends homes and in Rajasthani weddings as well as in restaurants – and while they use a lot of dried pulses and legumes in their cooking, you definitely are not left with a terribly parched throat and a compelling craving for a jug of liquid. The dal and vegetables were passable.

This restaurant is ok to visit if you are in the Koramangala area, but definitely not worth trekking to from other parts of the city. The service at Svad is excellent – the waiters were extremely courteous. Parking is available on the street. A meal for two will be approximately Rs.300.

Svad is located at 140, 60 Feet Main Road, 5th Block Koramangala, Bangalore, ph:25503267.

Kaati Zone

January 3, 2007

This review is also available on burrp!

For a quick bite in between some shopping, Kaati Zone offers some wallet-friendly kaati roll options. The rolls are certainly not a gourmet, melt-in-the mouth experience, but will do for that light, express lunch.

The rolls come in a unique packaging that allow for easy, non-messy eating and are customizable. Paratha options include the kaati original, the kaati lite or the kaati diet. The vegetarian filling options are aloo matter, methi paneer tikka (good), paneer jalfrazie and the mixed vegetable. The non-vegetarian filling options include the chicken tikka (good), tava chicken (reasonable non-spicy option), the egg and cheese, chicken hariyali and the mutton seekh. Extras that can be added are cheese, egg or egg white. Vada pav, chana chaat and corn cucumber chaat (good – cool and quite yummy) are also available.

Kaati Zone’s tagline is “Rolls that Rock” – and the Church Street outlet has guitars and a Connie Francis poster on the wall. The rest of the décor is very much chain-like – orange and blue sofas and chairs, red bar stools and lots of stainless steel, and the restaurant seems very popular with the college crowd. A very big plus is that it is super-clean – employees wear gloves, the mint chutney comes in covered easy-dispensing containers and the loos are sparkling.

The rolls range in price from Rs.25 to Rs.50. A meal for two is approximately Rs.200. Kaati Zone, which is a self-service restaurant, has outlets in Church Street, Koramangala and Malleswaram and delivers within a 3 km radius. It is open from 11 am to 10:30 pm.

Church Street: 13.A, Church Street, S & B Towers, Bangalore

Koramangala: No 124, KHB Colony, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore

Malleswaram: above In & Out Store, BPCL Petrol Bunk, Malleswaram

For more information, call 41122100.