Its been really long, more than a month since I’ve written about my eating out experiences. Been to a few places in the past 2-3 weeks, but have been caught up with work so much that I am getting to complete stuff now only. The next 3 reviews will be short and to the point.
We checked out Cafe Medley as a spot for a quick supper – I ordered the veggie omelette, and the wife opted for some pancakes and a cold coffee. The omelette was amazingly soft, I guess they beat the eggs really really well to get that fluffiness. I had chosen to add spinach, capsicum and mushrooms, the combination was just about perfect. The omelette came with toasted bread, butter and some mashed potato. That wasn’t on the menu and was a pleasant surprise.
I tasted a bit of the pancakes, which came with blueberry sauce and cream. Pancakes were perfectly cooked, and though the blueberry sauce was probably from a packed bottle, it was a very good combo. I loved the cold coffee too, because the guys in the kitchen got the sugar levels right. Not too less, not too much (which is more often the case).
Cafe Medley has an exhaustive menu, good food and decent service. Perfect for groups, and a lazy brunch.
Before you enter Chili’s ask yourself these questions.
Do you consider yourself a meat lover?
Do you have an awesome appetite?
Are you a group of friends or a couple? If you are a couple, are you both good eaters?
If you can answer positively to at least 2 of the above 3 questions, then Chili’s is the place for you. The menu is a meat lover’s paradise – your burgers, steaks, ribs, and what not. The portions are generously served. Go here with friends, sit as long as you can, enjoy the drink and the food.
I last visited this outlet in 2013, when I was new in Bengaluru. I think I’d just come to know what chili was from a TBBT episode and was excited to know that I could taste some here. I think I had the class chili back then, I don’t remember, it’s been 4 years, but I can recollect the experience was good.
After a marathon shopping trip with wife @ Phoenix and VR, we decided to have dinner at Phoenix – because our car was parked there and I don’t like food courts (VR has them).
We picked Chili’s as it non-smoking seats inside, away from the noisy DJ outside. The classic American restaurant feel, with booths is replete, with the music comfortably below blaring, but loud enough to stay at enjoyable. The usher quickly guided us to our seats, after making sure it was clean. The service I can remember all through was very good – they make sure your order is noted down clearly, explain patiently if you had any questions (we had some on the salad composition) and the food never took too long to arrive. They are also watchful and attentive – for instance, when I ordered my chili, the waiter checked with me whether I knew I was going to get buffalo meat, I was. Good work.
I wanted to have chili again, and picked the terlingua chili soup, cup size as the bowl one might have been too filling to eat anything else. The waiter confirmed the thought by saying that the bowl was ideally meant for two, so remember that. Like I said, you need a rather good appetite to enjoy this place. It was rather spicy – I have a pretty decent tolerance to spice levels, and even I found it slightly hot. But it was enjoyable, it wasn’t like I was sweating it out. Wife ordered the vegetarian chipotle soup, but did not have it entirely because of the spice levels.
Wife also ordered a sante fe vegetarian salad and a non-alcoholic drink called Sea Breeze (which I forgot to taste). The salad came with some really soft paneer that I enjoyed munching and sending down through my food pipe. However, the menu mentioned avocado in the salad, but it had gone missing. Otherwise, pretty well done.My lemon iced tea was decent, it could have been slightly more sweeter.
One thing I noticed at Chili’s was that they have one set of both the menus (drinks, food) at every table. This means if you’re done eating something and want to order more, you don’t have to look to catch someone’s eye for a menu. Just decide and then well, catch the waiter for your order.
Highlight – how often is it that something on your plate looks exactly like the photo on the menu. Not very, unless you order the molten chocolate cake for dessert at Chili’s. It’s simply a warm chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, but it’s size and its taste is ever so yummy. I kept saying I was done eating and that it was too heavy while I continued to tuck in. We almost finished the entire thing despite being full.
20, Ground Floor, Phoenix Market City, Whitefield, Bangalore
Friends referenced in the article – Aditya, Pallavi
The past week has been so busy that I’m reviewing last Saturday’s dinner now only. Possibilities are that some granular details may be missed because of the delay, but the overall experience was memorable enough that I’m not worried of a speculative write-up.
Planning to drop by at Biere Club, on a Saturday evening and without a reservation seems to be the very definition of a thoughtless plan. That is what we did and to our cost found that we were not going to get any seats – until they closed down for the night maybe. Add to that the mind scrambled lady managing the reservations at the front desk – she seemed lost and helpless and asked us to contact the waiters/manager inside for seats. In turn, they seemed ambiguous about the availability of tables and gave us arbitrary time intervals to wait – 15 minutes or 20 minutes – over the course of 45 minutes. Get it together guys!
Realising that this was going to go nowhere, we started exploring other options. Fisherman’s Wharf, sodabottleopenerwala and The Glass House were the nearest choices. Ruled out Wharf as I have felt from my past visit to the Sarjapur outlet that they are overpriced and the food isn’t good enough, and The Glass House is more of a date spot – that left us with sodabottleopenerwala – which was fine. I’d previously dined here during Christmas 2015 – and had tried only couple of appetizers – cutlet and french fries- and was really impressed. This was a good chance to check out their main offerings.
We had to wait at sodabottle too – but this was way more organized. They had taken our number and we had the queue position updated over text messages. The usher was professional – she was neither rude nor built castles in the air regarding availability of a table. After a good 20 minutes waiting and chatting outside the restaurant, we got a table.
I am not sure if such a thing as Parsi humour exists, but if there is one the guys at sodabottleopenerwala are full of it. And it is everywhere – the menu, the cheeky sign outside, the bathroom and in the decoration on the walls. You might miss some of the jokes, if you are not aware of the Parsi culture – but some are just plain funny to everyone. Check out the one on the drinks menu on the choice a Parsi takes between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Slightly dark but funny nevertheless. There is another one regarding the right way to cook something, I don’t remember which dish, and the reply is “All 120,000 Parsis cannot be wrong about this.” It made me chuckle. Beside the entrance to the bathroom they have a sign that lists the don’ts of the restaurant. One rule was ‘no farting’. ROFL, I wonder if there is another restaurant that can do this and get away with it. The ambience is very much Indian (Parsi, Mumbai-ish one might say, but that is getting too specific) with the desi caricatures and Indian style lights. My one complaint was that the tables were way too small. It made eating a little uncomfortable at times, considering the number of dishes we had and the length to which Aditya can extend his legs.
Check out the kind of serving dishes used – our main course was served in a vintage tiffin box and our appetizers in aluminium boxes, which I’ve seen people using to store pan and sometimes money. Very retro and awesome attention to detail. The music played at sodabottle was offbeat too – Vintage Hindi film music. I had scant idea of the songs played – but wife and Pallavi were able to recognize all of them, and the delight increased with each number. The volume also increased with the hour, but unlike the Western beats at other places, this was not annoying. Some of the patrons were doing a sing-along as well, which gave a very endearing feel to the entire place. I’ve listed some of the songs at the end of the post.
Let us get to the food and drink. We were all pretty famished and rattled off our orders. Wife went for the Salad Shirazi and Chilli Cheese Pav. Pallavi and Aditya by policy do not eat vegetarian outside and chose the Chicken Farcha and the Chicken Baida Roti. I assumed this should cover everyone and just added a Saria Papad to the order. We did not experiment too much with drinks – Pallavi and I opted for a Heineken and a Bud, wife took the Bumsuckerwala and Aditya abstained! Tummy problem it seems. [:P]
The fried chicken (farcha) landed first. I found it to be very oily for my sensibilities, but then fried chicken is like pizza – even when bad it is good. This one was definitely not bad, but I tried only one piece. The baida roti was the superstar of the night – supposed to be a paratha, it was cut into little pieces like puff. The chicken kheema, the eggs and the superb baking gave all of us an instant foodgasm and were left wishing it would never end. Definitely try this when you visit the place. The chilli cheese pav gave some stiff competition – the pav made by the restaurant themselves, and the superbly mild flavor of the cheese and the masala left me wondering if I had ever had a better pav. Nope, that would be the answer.
The salad and the bumsuckerwala were both damp squibs, nothing much to say about either. Wife said that the salad did not have any veggies at all – it did look like a thick green forest. I did not taste the drink, but I guess it was a suckerwala. The saria papad was also nothing special, just like any other rice papad you make at home.
I never knew Sanjay Dutt had interests in cooking – the menu lists Paneer Sanju Baba as a recipe that the actor had shared with a restaurant in Mumbai. The description is interesting, and wife picked this for her main course with Berry Pulav (veg). I did not taste the paneer but all of us had the pulav – by this time, it looked like the chefs in the kitchen were looking to outdo each dish they were sending out to us. The pulav was tantalizing if anything, with the gravy filling in the middle of potatoes and berry.
By now, if I’m going to say anything positive about the dhansak chicken, you’re going to think sodabottle is paying me. No they’re not and yes, the dhansak chicken was out of the world too. Boneless chicken in gravy went superbly with the Berry Pulav. I loosened my pants and tucked in. The caramelized rice tasted slightly bitter, my mother in law has made better stuff at home – a Sindhi recipe. But then, together we managed to finish off everything and everyone was full – and replete and happy.
Check out SodaBottleOpenerWala if you are interested in delicious Parsi food, an Indian ambience and in the mood for vintage Bollywood songs. They will not disappoint you on any of those counts.
Saturday night, 9 pm. Wife says she has a craving for burger. There is a Burger King nearby, what do you do? The easy, but wrong answer is to suggest Burger King. The better option is to ask your friend what is a great place for burgers that’s not too far away, take him as well and drive to HSR. What’s Saturday night for if you cannot indulge self, wife and your palate?
For EC denizens, Koramangala seems the most obvious choice as the nearest place to grab a good burger. Not necessarily – HSR is a good alternative, and Once upon a Flame (OUAF) is a great choice. It is right next to the familiar McDonald’s junction in HSR, above Subway. Interestingly, the other day when we had gone to House of Commons close by, we were thinking of going here, but did not because we were too lazy to park and walk. (#bangaloreparkingwoes)
OUAF’s ambience is very sizzler-burger-non alcohol like. The wife loved the basic style of furniture and the lighting. One issue she had was that the air conditioning wasn’t too great and she still felt warm, though I was fine. We requested for a change of seats closer to the AC, and a while later were all good. The place overall gives a cozy, homely feel – in fact the tables near the kitchen door look like a well made family dining table, choose that if you are visiting with your family of 6 people or more.
I thought the waiters were slightly distracted when we first tried catching someone’s attention and placing our orders, but over the course of the meal the service was actually good and smooth. The owner himself came to us around 1030 or thereabouts to check if we could order our main course as the kitchen would close soon and took our orders very diligently, checking with us very clearly on how we wanted our burgers and the steak that we ordered. He later came up to check on whether we liked the food as well, and seemed like an amiable host. Maybe next time I will click a picture with him.
I chose a Tropical Burst to quench my thirst when we arrived. The menu described it as a mix of pineapple, orange, mango, watermelon and strawberry – and I had a vivid imagination of a multi colored drink landing on my table. It wasn’t – it resembled a mild strawberry shake with a streak on the side, and the overwhelming taste was that of strawberry. I liked it, though the sugar was a little extra. Wife ordered the coconapple – it came with an actual piece of coconut! The kind you get from tender coconuts I think, the overall flavour was very mild but refreshing. The best I think was Aditya’s – the Nojito, the lime juice, the mint leaves, were all perfectly blended. Towards the end, he ordered a Blueberry Crush as well – did not get to taste it, but looked good.
You’ve got to try the garlic bread when you visit OUAF – I am a sucker for soft and fresh breads, and these folks had some of the best. Not oily, the right levels of garlic flavor and I had to restrict myself from not eating the others share. The grilled cottage cheese salad was a great starter that wife chose – I thought I wouldn’t want to dig in, but I did. Superbly cooked paneer with some very good sauce.
The menu lists three veggie burgers – one of which is called the Aww burger. You know why? Because it has Aubergine. OK, I don’t know if that’s the reason it’s called that, but that’s why the wife didn’t order it (the aubergines, not the rhyming). Wife chose the veg patty burger with BBQ sauce, and I went for the beef burger with the same sauce. Aditya decided burgers didn’t work him then and went for the pork steak.
The kitchen definitely made the burgers look more appealing with potato wedges all around and a capsicum indicator on top – a green one for the veggie burger and a red one for my beef burger. Nicely done. Mine did not have a patty, but actual cooked pieces of beef that was juicy and succulently soft. The bread in itself was so soft that it split through the course of eating and did not hold till the end – mildly uncomfortable, but the price of a good bread I guess. I enjoyed the burger till the end, well almost, as I was too full to finish it. Wife said her burger was good, but not as good as the one she makes at home,which means it is pretty good (to be fair, she does make awesome burgers). Aditya was gushing about the steak, which I did not taste, as I am not a huge fan of pork.
We picked up some blueberry cheesecake to go, but I never bothered to taste, wife said it wasn’t great and it is still lying in our fridge. Maybe an off day with the desserts.
I wouldn’t call OUAF as an expensive place, but it isn’t easy on the pocket either. But if you do realize one day you are craving for a burger, and in HSR, close to OUAF, go for it. You won’t be disappointed.
PS : check out the photo on their kitchen door. I liked that sense of humour.
Address – #36, 1st Floor, 14th Main Road, 7th Sector, 80 Feet Main Road, Opposite Vedantu Online Learning Center, HSR, Bangalore
A good tip for fellow Bangalore citizens – if you find the afternoon and evening traffic on Saturdays to be unbearable and spoiling your plans of eating out, try leaving your home after 0930 pm in the night. Traffic is lesser en route to most places you are headed, and with Bangalore open for a fairly decent while on Saturday nights, you will have an easier time outside. Make sure you have your own safe ride though. Last Saturday we tried this trick, and found ourselves waltzing down 100 feet road, Koramangala and reached Barleyz without so much as a traffic hiccup.
I have been to Barleyz quite a few times in the past two years, and is a good choice in Koramangala to have drinks with friends or as a couple, though slightly on the expensive side.
Now the best thing about Barleyz is its ambience – the open terrace with the natural Bangalore breeze is any day better than an air-conditioned hall. Also the hustle and bustle of the city from below is a nice buzz in the background, adding to the busy waiters and the artificial fountains they have set up. While there are bright lights from the hoardings nearby, the floor on Barleyz in itself is quite dark at night, with the illumination good enough to see your food and your friends across the table. This is good – no distractions from the company and importantly, your food.
We got a table without any delay, a two seater with rather high chairs, almost like a bar stool. It is not entirely comfortable, Barleyz could look into this. I have been to the buffet section in the past as well, it has much better seating. The other seatings in the ala carte section are all sofas for groups of six people leaving the couples and 4 group people a little short-changed.
I opted for the ‘Barleyz special’ beer and wife decided to try out the ‘Peach Rum Smoothie’ – we wanted to try something new. But for the appetizer, we opted for the classic paneer tikka. The drinks were a let down – the beer was not at all like what I had tried before, it tasted like it had gone wrong. It is possible that I was not used to the taste or that the beer was genuinely bad, I will reserve the judgment on this one to an extent. The peach rum smoothie, even though a different combo i.e. a smoothie with rum in it, failed to impress. Wife, who likes peaches more than me,felt the flavouring was not fruity enough.
The paneer tikka however redeemed some faith in the kitchen. The paneer was of good quality – fresh and creamy, and the masala was also just about right. Well cooked, it was nice to tuck into the tikkas. The waiter however either forgot to give us the chutneys or they don’t serve it. Either way, that’s wrong.
For the main course, I picked the ‘Fried rice with stir fried chicken’ and wife opted for the ‘Pasta in Arrabbiata’. By this time, since the crowd was thinning a little bit, we requested for one of the corner sofas and got one. If one ignored the smoking neighbors, it was a fine table.
The fried rice was almost exactly how I wanted it to be – well cooked, not too oily, with a good amount of carrots and celery, only slightly on the saltier side, but it was a good dish. It was covered with a bowl and nicely served with the stir fried chicken in another bowl. Coming to the chicken, i don’t think it was stir fried. What I actually got was more of a chicken broth, with lettuce and carrots. But it tasted good, and I wasn’t complaining – should I have? The pasta looked appeasing, and as I have said in all my earlier posts, took wife’s word for it. She said it wasn’t too oily and the sauce was perfect.
The bill came to INR 2295. This is simply too high for couple of drinks, an appetizer and two main course. The drinks weren’t too great either. Barleyz also added the service charge themselves without checking with us – as per the new Supreme Court ruling. I should have confronted them about this, but did not.
Barleyz fits the bill of a decent hangout spot in Koramangala, their open air ambience being the biggest plus – be you’re ready to shell out a little more than usual. Their drinks have usually been good in the past, the last occasion was a one off and the food is generally up there. Service is pretty decent too, and you generally don’t have anything to complain about. With a relook at the seating arrangements for couples and the pricing, they could certainly be better!
PS: Try the amla toffee they keep at their reception. Pretty good!
Biryani is the best thing – you have it when you’re happy, when you’re sad, when you’re partying and when you are chilling at home watching a cricket match. Some of the best biryani I’ve had is when I lived in Hyderabad. Outside of that, I’ve mostly lowered my expectations and still been disappointed a lot.
When wife and I walked into Kritunga for lunch, we had no idea it was a non-vegetarian heavy, Andhra/Rayalaseema cuisine place. I laughed out loud when I first realized this, as wife was a veggie. We went ahead anyway and decided to try out the options available.
Kritunga has a very pleasant ambience – one of the better ones in Electronic City and for an Andhra place in general. It is expansive and well lit and the the decor is themed in an antique Indian style. With the bronze cutlery giving the finishing touches, the place definitely gives a good vibe.
The menu is plastered with photos of chicken fry, biryani and fish. There were limited vegetarian options, and I suggested wife to go for the vegetable biryani. I myself opted for the chicken roast biryani, as it sounded interesting and I pictured a well roasted oily chicken sitting atop my biryani.
The biryanis arrived in large hundis, prompting the both of us, average eaters at best, to think if we could finish our portions. Nevertheless, the hundis and the presentation looked enticing along with the generous serving of the raita, salna and the salad. The roast chicken was not as good as I had built it up to be (in my own imagination). The chicken could have been cooked a little better, it was not tender and a little more oil could have given a better taste. The rice however was very well spiced and overall the combination turned out to be decent.
While the concept of a vegetable biryani itself is debatable, there are some restaurants that pull it off. Kritunga did it – the biryani was not a boring dish of rice with some carrots, peas and insipid masala thrown together. They had added paneer, beans and a concoction of spices that left us gobsmacked. I took some generous helpings of the vegetable biryani in between finishing my chicken.
We almost finished our portions, contrary to our own expectations and had a happy grin at the end. Now that is what most restaurants would like to achieve. If you’re in EC and are looking for a good Andhra place, this one is a definite recommend. If you’re not looking for an Andhra place, I would still recommend it for their non vegetarian delicacies.
PS: I ordered a chicken biryani for home delivery as well, and it was delivered in a foil packet which is not very common these days. The biryani was OK, but the quantity was humungous. The delivery was prompt and in under 30 minutes.
We were a group of 7, which later extended to 9 – Amrith, Soumya, Arun, Sandeep, Vaishnavi, self, Nishith, Vishwas and Tejaswi. I am mentioning the names upfront as they will pop up during the review through their orders, and it shouldn’t be confusing.
For a microbrewery on Saturday night, Prost was strangely not at all crowded, not that I was complaining. Prost gains an additional point simply for this comfort factor. You go at the same time to Toit, and you’d have to wait at least 60-90 minutes for a table. Thislack of a maddening crowd automatically helps in the service being lot better and quicker – you don’t really suffer Murphy’s ire in your dish being forgotten or coming after inordinate delays. The music however increases in volume with every passing hour, something I’ve never come to understand, but I guess that’s how it is.
I found our table on the first floor and after some horsing around, decided to order a drink and starters. I picked a plate of onion rings, an English Ale to down it with – while Arun opted for an Orange Virgin Mojito and Vaishnavi a Vanilla Berry. Nishith and Sandeep had already ordered a wheat beer and a lager respectively and seemed content. They had an appetizer as well, but I forgot to ask what that was.
The onion rings were crispy, but not so much like when you have tiny breadcrumbs on top. Rings I’ve had in the past have been bigger and oilier as well, here it was compactly made and thankfully, not dripping. Nevertheless it’d been a while since I’d had rings and I enjoyed myself. Amrith and Soumya arrived soon and we moved on to ordering appetizers for everyone now. We considered a non-veg platter, but finally went for the ‘Overloaded Nachos’ which by virtue of its name itself was appealing and a chicken tikka.
The chicken tikka arrived on a plate that was too big for its serving – around 6-7 chicken pieces on a huge plate that made it look like the waiter downed a few himself while bringing it from the kitchen. Jokes aside, the chicken was well cooked, and along with the onions and pudina chutney, you could gobble them off. The nachos were standard fare, one would have liked more cheese and beans, but it was good that they had not used maida nachos, like they do at Toit. Everyone liked it.
Arun had to make it home soon, so we moved to the main course. With most of the crowd being veggies for the night, we opted for two pizzas – the Classic Margherita and Popeye’s special. Amrith suggested another appetizer, so I picked the Kheema Puchka, it sounded interesting.
When the Kheema Puchka arrived, I first thought the staff had made a mistake. It looked like panipuri that had to be had with shots. I checked with them if they’d gotten the order right and the waiter nodded. It then hit me as to what puchka actually was – mutton keema in panipuri style! It reminded me of the Fake B52 shots I’d had at Caperberry, though this was more desi. I loved the combo and the idea – keema with the crunchy puris was a new experience.
For lack of a better word, the pizzas were good – the crisp crust and the cheese on top, on both pizzas. Arun made this lame joke that if he wanted to eat spinach he would have stayed at home. Hey, if you can have spinach and corn sandwich, why not a spinach and cheese pizza?
We rounded things off (or so I thought) with a blueberry cheesecake and brownie with ice cream. Being allergic to walnuts, I did not touch the brownie, just had a spoonful of the ice cream and well, you can’t really go wrong with vanilla ice cream. The cheesecake was so-so, I’ve had better – the frosting wasn’t really crunchy and the cheesy layer could have been fresher and well, don’t kill me, cheesier. The problem with having blueberry preserve on top of cheesecake persists. I wonder when I can get to eat an actual cheesecake with actual blueberry.
I thought we were leaving, but Vishwas and Tejaswi dropped by and the party went on late into the night, with the group ordering more beer. Vishwas later told me that the place was known for its burgers and the mini burger platter – maybe next time.
If you’re looking for a place in Koramangala with good beer and good grub, and not with a rush on weekends this is a good try. Sotally Tober is close by, but I remember them being crowded even on Monday night (!), and a much younger crowd. Prost is slightly more sober (see what I did there) and a rather more calmer place to peace out.
Photo credits : Sandeep Menon and Soumya (I also clicked some)
On a hot Sunday afternoon, post a top-notch Dr Strange movie, we headed for Hakuna Matata. Wife has already been here and she recommended, so why not.
The seating is open and as far as I could see, there is no air-conditioned hall. We were led to our seats in the smoking zone, I did not realize there was one. Thankfully no smokers, no harm done. I expected it to be too warm, but there are a good number of pedestal fans, nicely arranged to keep you fresh and not disturbed.
To beat the heat, I ordered a Bud and wife ordered a Bloody Mary. The beer was chilled when I took it, but then owing to the afternoon heat, it came to room temperature fairly soon, so remember to request for a really chilled beer if you are visiting on a warm afternoon. The bloody mary was spot-on, good start.
We ordered chatpati paneer and chicken malai chops for appetizers. The chatpati paneer was interesting, Heena said she could feel the chatpati taste and that it was a perfect accompaniment for drinks. The malai chops was one of the better malai chicken dishes I’ve had in recent times – the malai was neither too less nor too much and the chicken was cooked to perfection. I gobbled it up mostly. We were too full to order main course or desserts, so left to visit the attached patisserie, Berrylicious.
The service at Hakuna Matata is definitely one of the USPs, they are courteous and swift to attend. Once your plate starts to empty they immediately come to serve you or ask what food you would like next. It was endearing initially, but I found it a little intrusive later. I informed the waiters I would serve the second and third helpings myself and they dd not bother me after that. All in all, very hospitable.
Definite recommend for a Sunday/Saturday lunch/dinner for a Goa-esque feeling. I suspect the place would be even better with an evening breeze and the lights.