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  1. Grasshopper : Restaurant Review Rating : 3 stars out of 5 (Good) Visited in October 2015 Bangalore, India Grasshopper restaurant in Bangalore has been doing for fourteen years what no other restaurant in Bangalore has dared to do - present a degustation meal with no a la carte choices. Chef Himanshu Dhimri and his wife Sonali Dhimri operate their restaurant in a farmhouse-like property in a peripheral part of Bangalore better known for its proximity to the zoo, and in an area that is yet to show good urban development (even the busiest parts of central Bangalore are barbarian miles away from real civic development). My dining companion was Mr.Suresh Hinduja - restaurant critic of The Times of India - and the most sought-after restaurant personality in the state at the time of writing. We opted for a long leisurely multi-course degustation offering the very best that Grasshopper could offer. Grasshopper does not do lunch on weekdays which is why our weekday event was illuminated by night. When is the last time you have heard your fellow diner shrieking with pleasure? If you leave out the last two words , I did on this night when a young lady next to our table climaxed her vocal cords not courtesy the chef, not due to her co-diners , and certainly not as a reaction to the waiters (this place does not have topless service staff anyway) but because the friendly restaurant dog leapt onto her lap. I am not an admirer of chicken liver pate , but Chef Dhimri had accomplished a texturally faultless pate excellently cut by caramelized onion and tart scintillas of capers - it was a beautiful opening example of flavour calibration, and an auspicious start to our meal (the dog instinctively knew that it should leave us alone). Thin slivers of asparagus yielded very easily to the bite - just like the versions tasted two weeks ago in Caperberry - but neither these nor Caperberry's had that crucial dimension of extra thickness that can really bring out the tres tender slightly crunchy totally wonderful soul of asparagus. Even more fetching would have the been the feat of contrasting it with something that would intensify the vegetable's fresh essence - like how Flower Drum does by pairing asparagus with superb pearl meat ,but here there was no such value-enhancing companion. I was surprised that Chef Dhimri could condescend to present us with a crostini for the next course - sure it was a moreish morsel with chopped zucchini, basil pesto and feta but this , eventually, is bar food which has no business being in an ambitious fine-dining establishment. From aeons , Grasshopper has been presenting beetroot with blue cheese - and this de rigueur dish was also given to us. Pinenuts are added for crunch , and the overall flavour blend is interesting without being memorable - I was mainly interested in seeing whether the beetroot had remarkable flavour, which it did not have. Disappointment intensified with a prettily composed diagonal lay-out of salad. Its elegant esthetics were not matched by underwhelming contrasts of grapefruit, lettuce, nuts and a tart dressing. Two plump prawns - looking palely gorgeous - had ginger, seasame and seaweed plainly evident on the tasting as per the chef's intention but unwittingly the prawns' intrinsic taste did not manifest. This long procession of average flavours had begun to take its toll on my peace of mind. We sat in the verandah , overlooking the pebble-strewn courtyard which has tables of stone. Irrespective of the seating domains, all the tables are admirably spaced widely apart. The very limited wine menu cries out for more variety , and charging only Rs.300 (US$ 7) as corkage fee for bottles procured from outside is not the most elegant of solutions. A reasonable Rs.3000 is billed for a seven course meal. Suresh Hinduja Esquire I don't think Grasshopper understands how pliable and satisfying a German lass has the potential to be. The pork with pickled cabbage it presented had cuts of fat amalgated with inadequately tenderized meat . Sea bass was dressed up as an appetizing voluptuous hunk of white fish bathed in a tart sauce. I see now that in restaurant after fine-dining restaurant - in NZ, Australia and India experienced over the last four years - a major chunk of chefs present fish which is admirably soft with an odour that is very safely non-offensive but very few of these gentlemen know how to channel the fish and manage the supply chain in such a way that the taste's redolence satisfies a true fish-lover. The one here had everything going for it except deep flavour and a smartly roasted exterior - two crucial qualities the absence of which semi-sunk this sea bass which Mr.Hinduja informed me was likely farmed near Vizag (overseas seabass tasted in JW Marriot's Alba was not impressive either). Mr.Hinduja was greatly impressed by the lamb which he felt to the best version he'd tasted in the entire country. Superbly slow-cooked with a slickly roasted exterior, it displayed a beautiful disclipine in texture right throught the entire thickness and for all its manicured sculpted beauty, this tournedo would have been a complete tour de force, were it not for its slightly dry interior. Chunks of potato on the same plate lacked the pillowy softness that fine-dining restaurants are expected to engineer. Service was just about par for the course but it could easily be more polished and charming, apart from doing more to ensure the kind of vigilance that redeems world-class establishments. Keeping service staff of that caliber will easily drive up the bill but I am sure that the extra bucks will not matter to the kind of people who come to Grasshopper expecting it to be a destination restaurant (there is a very low likelihood of diners accidentally finding themselves in this remote place). Desserts totally atoned. Their excellent panacotta had soft body - with cool creamy notes of exquisite espresso. Discs of chocolate ganache were terrific - their silky melting sophisticated richness recalling an intimate encounter with a curvaceous supermodel. This was cleverly paired with mustard ice cream that would have benefitted from slipping one notch lower in sweetness, but that is strictly a minor crib only. I admire the audacity of Mr.Himanshu Dhimri and Mrs.Sonali Dhimri but yes, there is certainly space for this restaurant to evolve. This 10 course Grasshopper meal came at the end of a month-long India trip that included dining experiences in Orient Express and Indian Accent in Delhi, Zodiac Grill and Masala Library in Mumbai, Caperberry and Dum Phukt Jolly Nabobs in Bangalore. It was a succession of dining experiences that sometimes made me collapse with the exertion of it all, with my ability to remain standing not exactly helped by the fact that the pocket had become much lighter. Sadly, in none of these restaurants did I come across an auteuristic signature that I could deeply admire. I realized as I did in my whirwhind coverage of Sydney's and Melbourne's elite restaurants, that in fleeting trips like this , reaching restaurant nirvana is often a throw of dice. Sometimes you come away with experiences that dreams are made of, but on both of the above journeys I mentioned, I have been left with a mixed bag that one is not entirely persuaded to lug along the lanes of memory. UPNWORLD
  2. Zorawar Kalra's Farzi cafe is opening in Bangalore Counted amongst one of the youngest, successful restaurateurs of India,Zorawar Kalra has a rich heritage spanning over four decades in the Indian culinary space and hospitality industry. Considered as the ‘Man with a Vision on a Mission’ and ‘the Prince of Indian cuisine’, he has recently been recognized amongst the 50 Most Influential Young Indians by GQ India, “Restaurateur of the Year Award, 2014”, Vir Sanghvi Awards, HT Crystals, 2014 and “Entrepreneur of the Year in Service Business - F & B Services”, Entrepreneur India Awards, 2014. His concept of a revolutionary modern Indian bistro- Farzi Café, is best described as a gourmet experience, an amalgam of traditional global cuisine, with Indian influences, contemporary presentations, culinary styles and ambiance with the aim to bring Indian cuisine, back “in-Vogue”.
  3. It’s the weather, it’s the traffic – both factors have led to a rise in the new trend of neighbourhood eateries. People no longer want to travel long distances and brave unseasonal rains and dreadful traffic. So every locality has, out of necessity, spawned its own favourite places and with the good logic of maximising available time. The arrival of new players in the Andhra restaurant space is hardly surprising, as they do offer value for money menus, though we are yet to discover any differentiating factors between most of them. Check out more regional favourites here. Maybe it’s been there all this while, but we are also noticing a resurgence of pork. It’s become the buzzword with every bit of it, especially pork belly, showing up on menus across town. Looking at reviews from around the country, I think Bangalore leads the way in this new porcine obsession. Plus, in terms of hotels, the Shangri-La announced its arrival with a glitzy event beneath its massive chandeliers, which drew out the cognoscenti to this lovely property. And finally, keeping up with true Bangalore tradition, the bar and nightlife scene too is much more vibrant now. Late-night restrictions have been relaxed with extended hours on weekends, providing a much-needed break for establishment owners as well as consumers, who can now step out for a drink late after work. Of course, the success of microbreweries has proved to be a magnet for many new brands.
  4. From the album Hungry

    Gold Plated Dosa in Bangalore : Raj bhog

    © @Original Owner of Video

  5. Serafina Bangalore

    Launching this Saturday, July 5th, 2014 at 8 PM 752, 80ft Road, 4th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560034.    
  6. Celebration Sunday Brunch by the Poolside   Spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon at with a delectable spread and some refreshing drinks at Lido, Hyatt Bangalore MG Road.   Our chefs have crafted an extensive buffet covering the best of international cuisines, and some exquisite desserts by the poolside which will surely  make you crave for more.    For details and reservations call 080-4936 1234/ 9538086118
  7. Several months ago, @Suresh Hinduja and  @Srinivas Velidanda :           The state of Andhra Pradesh is now split into two and keeping aside the politics of it all, there is now some focus on what is AP cusine (with some restaurants in Chennai are planning  to do specials on Telangana cuisine, I read somewhere). Is it what you get in generic 'Andhra' restaurants? Can one draw a similarity to what is called 'Indian Food' abroad?   So, here you go, to start off, a 2012 article (when things were beginning to heat up):    
  8. Fava at UB City, Bangalore.

    As part of Social Media Week   I hosted this event- http://socialmediaweek.org/bangalore/events/?id=139515#.UwdZ3-OSxq8   and we did a simultaneous blogging event at Chef Abhijit Saha's Mediterranean restaurant Fava at UB City Bangalore. Yes, it is an award winning restaurant.:-)    Chef Abhijit Saha was only to happy to host us and lay out his best dishes-   A Dozen Mezze omi huriya; muhammara; hummus; walnut and goat cheese dip; white bean and gorgonzola hummus; greek tzatziki; babaganoush; tabouleh; marinated olives; mint labneh; vegetable dolmas; falafel     Signature Plated Mezzes - salmon hummus       hummus bi lamb   spinach and yoghurt   avocado hummus   Live Micro green salad         Crispy Calamari lemon, dill, tahina remoulade dip     Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad figs, basil pesto, mixed greens     Chicken and Red Grape Salad couscous, bell pepper, onion, lime, raisin, toasted almond, parsley, extra virgin olive oil       Harissa Grilled Fish ratatouille, roasted baby potatoes, salsa verde       Peach and Yoghurt Pannacotta spice poached peach, peach-caramel sauce, red grapes
  9. social media and restaurants

    http://socialmediaweek.org/bangalore/events/?id=139511#.UuD_htK6YY1 A very interesting panel discussion being hosted by the noted culinary expert Suresh Hinduja at Social Media Week 2014.   Is Social killing Restaurants? A panel discussion. With more socially empowered consumers and constant changing consumer behaviour, there is a huge impact on the food industry. And good percentage of this impact can be straight away attributed to social media. Are consumers using social media to malign a brand/restaurant for vested interests or are they genuine about their comments on food? Are independent rating sites doing justice to the restaurants? Or there is more to what meets the eye?   #smwbangalore
  10. Umerkot

    Restaurant Review Rating  - 3.5 (Good) Meal for two - 1000 (excluding alcohol and taxes) Location: #30, 80 ft road, Koramangala 4th Block Umerkot, once was one of the few and distinguished mughlai restaurants in koramangala. As north indian food became popular and new restaurants started springing up, it is now no longer the only one around. We visited the restaurant a few days back to try a new improved menu that has been launched by chef Sanjay Tyagi.   Located on the 80ft road, koramangala, Umerkot is easy to miss due to the traffic and busyness of the place. The inside is a dimly lit space with decorated seating and walls. The wait staff is pleasant, and always ready to help you. Having said that, the decor and service is not what sets Umerkot apart from other restaurants.   The menu boasts of a rich wine collection with a huge range of Indian and international wines. Perfect for matching with the variety of preparations that it offers. The array of kebabs is what the restaurant has been known for. The Murg Afghani is a melt in mouth preparation, with the flavour hitting all the right notes. The much talked about Gosht chaanp narangi, is a preparation of lamb chops marinated with orange rind along with spices to give a slight sweet and bitter flavours to the meat. The orange flavour is subtle and doesn’t take the dish away from its mughlai roots, at the same time adding a zing to it. Paneer Firdaus is layers of paneer stuffed with a vegetable filling and then cooked in the tandoor. The outer layer was tough to eat and needs some attention for a better experience. The surprise of the day was Raunaq-e-sheekh; sheekh kebabs made of minced lamb and chopped bell peppers added to it. The end result is a juicy kebab, that has just the right strength to hold it together, but falls apart in the mouth with the slightest effort.   For the main course, the preparations went from good to the very best, with the show stopper being the lal maas, and saag wadi coming close second. The smokiness and aroma of the roasted red chillies comes to you the moment the lid is removed. Yet, the flavours are well balanced and it doesn’t feel too hot which an average Indian can’t handle. We kept raving about the dish for hours after the meal. Very close to the meat was a preparation which was everything that the lal maas wasn’t. A vegetarian, homely dish, which is easy on your palette and goes wonderfully with any bread or rice. Saag-wadi promises to take you to the traditional home kitchens of the north. Nihari and bhuna murg were good, but didn’t stand out. The accompaniments were two of their specialty breads: gilaafi naan, which is a soft pillowy bread and ulte tawe ka paratha. I felt the gilaafi naan, even though cooked perfectly, wasn’t thick enough to effect a sponginess that one would expect.   The dessert section apart from the regulars has the gulkand stuffed gulab jamun. Paired with the home made kulfi, it gives a perfect end to a rich mughlai meal. We all agreed, that the flavours were impeccable, and the preparations ranged between good to the very best. Umerkot is a must visit for north Indian food enthusiasts in Bangalore.
  11. It's that time of the year again. :-)
  12. All those interested in the food industry, here is an exciting opportunity that involves no heavy equipments, huge man power, resources, or any of such. A cafe (details will only be disclosed over phone or private meeting) in the heart of Bangalore (Brigade Road) is up for grab. The cafe is the central hub of students and is the best eating joint for delicious fruit blends, light juices, burgers, sandwiches and pasta. The owners (myself and partner) are relocating to Australia and would like an investor/buyer to take over completely. The cafe has been around for some time and has attracted good number of student crowd, companies and passersby. About Rs 1.5 lakh business happens in a month. And much has already been spent with regard to time and money, for marketing and attracting good number of customers. We ask that only serious guys contact us for details. A lot of publicity has been received in the past few weeks, including featured article on a leading daily. Hence we require the quality and professionalism be maintained even after the handing over. Besides all the above, a leading health brand has approached for a tie up. The brand has over 1,500 club members. Plus people are already in line for opening franchise of the brand. SERIOUS guys contact the number - 9  - 8  - 4 - 5 - 4 -  2 - 4 -  4 -  8 - 6 !!  
  13. Move over Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh. The mantle of according stylish cross-fertilizational names which fuse the Orient and the Occident, has now passed over to India. We have Raghav Lawrence, Michael Krishna, and Johnathan Swamy. To that list, Bangalore’s restaurant world adds another desi-firangi love-child “Adarsh Hamilton”- a justifiable name given how Kannada canoodles with English in this hybrid city.  I received tidings that this hotel was serving high-quality fare from a multi-cuisine menu. Adarsh Hamilton bills itself as a premier business hotel, so in order to attend to the business of classy delicious dining, we selected a weekend afternoon to waltz into this deluxe hotel and check out their marquee restaurant – Season (I didn’t ask them why they hadn’t named it “Eternal Mausam”)   What followed was a 21 dish 3 hour extravaganza through which we were guided by a concerted inter-play of all the key staff, while General Manager Mr.B.S.K Rao  showed epic patience by giving us his undivided attention and engaging us in intelligent conversation throughout. Chef Balakrishnan and F & B Manager Mr.Rajesh Kumar Singh also made sure that no effort was spared in making our experience a well-informed ,comfortable culinary odyssey that sailed around the world.    [attachment=4932:IMG_3071a.jpg]   [attachment=4935:IMG_3071.jpg]   [attachment=4963:IMG_3131.jpg]   Left to Right - Mr.Rajesh Kumar Singh - F&B Manager, Mr.Manish Kaushal - Executive Assistant Manager, Mr.B.S.K Rao - General Manager.    [attachment=4933:IMG_3050.jpg]   The hotel which ensconces Season is a plush smartly designed space with room tariffs of Rs.6400 plus tax for a deluxe single. They are highly rated on Tripadvisor, have an international clientele, and Mr.Rao spoke of a Japanese guest who regularly requisitions robustly spiced butter chicken which he relishes with Rotis J  Season offers an extensive selection of drinks, in which Chateauneuf du pape and Ricossa Barolo share premium listing with prestigious Scotch, while a wide selection of cocktails and mocktails round out this impressive section. Food ranges from a variety of regional Indian favourites to European and Chinese dishes.   What impressed me early on, was that the tune which is played on their phone while a call is being transferred in the hotel, was the theme of Pather Panchali. It was later found out that Mr.Rao is responsible for this retro-DJ work.   NB: Some dishes are elucidated in the body of this article, while others are shown with descriptions in the sequential photographs that ensue after the article.   Buffet Section  [attachment=4962:IMG_3130.jpg] [attachment=4964:IMG_3129.jpg] [attachment=4936:IMG_3072.jpg] [attachment=4937:IMG_3074.jpg] [attachment=4938:IMG_3076.jpg] [attachment=4939:IMG_3079.jpg] [attachment=4940:IMG_3081.jpg] [attachment=4941:IMG_3082.jpg] [attachment=4942:IMG_3085.jpg] [attachment=4943:IMG_3088.jpg] [attachment=4944:IMG_3093.jpg]   Carpaccio of Vegetables at our table   [attachment=4945:IMG_3095.jpg]   My mood-setting Mojito [attachment=4946:IMG_3097.jpg]   Gentle refined credentials of Season were then presented in the form of croquettes of Crackling tofu and spinach –it struck me that I’d finally found a tasty rendition of the notoriously subtle Tofu. Two Indian palettes at our table liked the American Corn Soup which had been secretly wedded to homely desi ingredients of garam masala, elaichi, and chilli. But Chef Balakrishnan wasn’t content with pureeing the corn – he joined forces with Manager Rajesh Kumar Singh who conceptualized batter-frying individual kernels of corn and anointing them with butter salt pepper and brunoised vegetables. The result was an attractive innovation that pleasantly brimmed with crisp, savoury and dulcet notes –we’d never tasted this spin before.      [attachment=4947:IMG_3106.jpg] [attachment=4948:IMG_3114.jpg]   Kandahari Paneer (each chunk wearing a Bharatiya bindi of a single pomegranate kernel) was soft and deliciously roasted with brown onion –it is one of the better Paneer starters I have come across in Bangalore, in terms of taste as well as looks.   [attachment=4950:IMG_3116.jpg]   Badam nestled with Hazelnuts in a Pahadi kebab that had smooth texture – moreover its restrained taste gave adequate scope to let the central players express themselves.      [attachment=4949:IMG_3123.jpg]   Mr.B.S.K Rao is Maharashtrian by origin and also knows some choice Tamil dialogues. He has held managerial duties in Mysore’s Lalith Mahal Palace (one of my sentimental favourites) , in properties at one of India’s most beautiful beaches – Kovalam , and also crossed the Atlantic to work in New York’s Four Seasons.   [attachment=4951:IMG_3146.jpg]   Chef Balakrishnan, who keenly answered several queries about the dishes and the restaurant ,hails from Tamil Nadu and has worked at Hilton Trident in Cochin and in The Oberoi – he considers Vijay Bhaskaran – Vice President of South  India Culinary Association – as his mentor. He mentioned that the ingredients of his restaurant – in keeping with its eponymous spirit – change with the seasons.     Centre - Chef Balakrishnan [attachment=4934:IMG_3053.jpg]   I remarked to Mr.Rao that the India-West Indies test had wrapped up that very morning within 3 days, while our batting was still in full flow! A yorker then clean-bowled my palate when I  tasted Murg Peshawari’s chicken – it was outstandingly tender and flavourful . The team procures the most petite- and thus the youngest - chicken (“Poussin”) from Bangalore’s Metro mega-market.  Season makes its Paneer in-house and the care they put into its synthesis continued to evidenced in the main courses – its creamy softness was complimented by 2 different gravies: Paneer Kaali Mirch in which a makhani sauce was perked up with black pepper, and a Bharwan Simla Mirch rendition that was pleasantly smoky with additions of brown onion and tomato.   [attachment=4953:IMG_3143.jpg] [attachment=4954:IMG_3135.jpg] [attachment=4952:IMG_3136.jpg]   The redolence of a special Andhra vegetarian Indian gravy then plied its complex appeal on us – amongst a dozen different interactions going on, I especially liked how the savoury smoke of the brinjal blended with the flavour of groundnuts. To go with the Haleem, I tried thin firm discs of Khasta Roti that had toasted accents of Ajwain (that goes by the elegant scientific name of ‘trachyspermum ammi’) It was an interesting blend of ‘Spiced Biscuit meets Roti’. Mildly spiced Chettinad Pulav had excellent mouthfeel – moist and smooth from start to finish.   [attachment=4957:IMG_3149.jpg] [attachment=4956:IMG_3139.jpg] [attachment=4959:IMG_3138.jpg] [attachment=4955:IMG_3157.jpg]   A winning sense of presentation continued with the Desserts – the first of these was an innovative sandwich in which layers of Kulfi held pumpkin halwa in the middle. The next sweet was a superb silken dance -  chocolate mousse was spiced with whispers of cardamom and nutmeg , chocolate chips gave further interest to the bite, while crunch joined this waltz when the spoonful included a cut of the underlying caramel basket.   [attachment=4960:IMG_3164.jpg] [attachment=4958:IMG_3168.jpg]   We had a brief chat (conversation, not the snack!) in the aftermath of our marathon meal and as the team of Mr.Singh ,Chef Balakrishnan and the rest of the staff drew up at out table, Mr.Singh calmly stated his establishment’s philosophy of treating the employees well and reiterated the process of involving the whole unit in the planning and execution. This admirably democratic making of decisions and sharing of responsibility  (I am resisting the temptation to contrast this situation with that of  Sonia Gandhi & Co.) came across with such honest and credible impact, that I realized that no other team of staff in the 14 separate restaurant outings I’ve had in this Bangalore visit, has shown this inclusive pride in their work.   [attachment=4961:IMG_3182.jpg]   It had started raining when we stepped out of Adarsh Hamilton and were being given a gracious send-off by Mr.Rao & Co. – and I realized that this downpour completed the spectrum of summer coolers, winter warmers and spring-time delights that we enjoyed in Season.        Chamomile Tea to finish [attachment=4970:IMG_3178.jpg]     Th Rest of the Smorgasbord     Home-made cottage cheese with sun-dried tomatoes [attachment=4966:IMG_3103.jpg]   Cajun spiced chicken with paprika chilli sauce [attachment=4967:IMG_3107.jpg]   Angara Chicken Tikka [attachment=4968:IMG_3118.jpg]   Prawns with onion,tomato,jeera,tamarind [attachment=4969:IMG_3121.jpg]   Lamb with Szechwan Chilli [attachment=4965:IMG_3127.jpg]   Panch Puran Vegetables [attachment=4972:IMG_3134.jpg]   Betki Porichathu [attachment=4973:IMG_3148.jpg]   Appam [attachment=4974:IMG_3151.jpg]   Kai Kari Stew [attachment=4975:IMG_3154.jpg]   Mediterranean-style Betki wrapped in leeks, stuffed with olives and pimenton, with lemon caper butter sauce [attachment=4976:IMG_3159.jpg]   Strawberry Campari Cheesecake   [attachment=4977:IMG_3170.jpg]   Address: 2/4, Langford Garden Rd, Langford Gardens, Bengaluru, karnataka 560025 Phone:080 4359 5700
  14. I'm looking forward to this event- THE JAPAN DEBATE ON A PLATE   ITC Gardenia, Asia’s first LEED Platinum certified hotel is collaborating with Diageo- India to present the “Japan Debate on a Plate” from the 14th – 17th of November.  Gourmet connoisseurs will savour the finest blend of traditional and modern Japanese cuisine paired with exclusive blends from The House of Walker.   Coming together for this exclusive event are Resident Japanese Masterchef Sensei Kikuta San, known for his delectable Japanese delicacies at EDO and visiting Chef Vikramjit Roy, who is renowned for his culinary prowess at Pan Asian at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai.   Sensei Kikuta San, who says he imbibed the art of cooking while he was in his mother’s womb, will be displaying his traditional culinary skills while Chef Vikramjit will showcase his delicate balance between authenticity and “progression of food”. Together our two Masterchefs will create a unique and tantalizing synergy of traditional and modern Japanese dishes.   Keeping them company is Raveen Misra, the Reserve Brand Ambassador, Diageo India. Having spent 15 years in the hospitality industry, Raveen has worn many different hats such as waiter, cook and bartender. . Over the course of this exclusive event, Raveen will showcase the synergy between the Johnnie Walker XR 21 and Asian cuisine.  The XR 21 is a luxurious blend from the exclusive reserve of aged casks, including that of the now quiet distillery of Brora. Aged for an extended period of 21 years this exceptional legacy blend is both warm and spicy to the palate with layers of complexity to suit the discerning whisky drinker While our chefs will create a unique fusion of traditional and modern cooking techniques, Raveen Misra will conjure up a special cocktail menu with the finest whiskies from Johnnie Walker.    On offer are elaborate Japanese delicacies such as Zensai (Tororo tempura, Honshemaji goma ae and Mozuku seaweed) Sushi & More (Assortment of inari and asparagus sushi, accompanied with pumpkin soup ),  Osumashi (prime clear fish bouillon, scampi quenelles and tofu) Gindara Miso Zuke  (Black cod with sweet miso) ,Dora yaki (Red bean pancake with green tea ice cream) and many more at ITC Gardenia’s signature Japanese restaurant EDO.   With their expertise and passion for food and drink, we promise you the trio will literally work their way into people’s hearts through their palates!   A first of its kind initiative, the ‘Japan Debate on a Plate” promises to blend tradition and modernity and create the ultimate dining experience for luxury lovers. 8pm onwards… For reservations: Call EDO at the ITC Gardenia, 1 Residency Road, Bangalore (Ph:22119898)
  15. Often, on this visit to Bangalore, when I’d be transiting through the humdrum bustle of Residency Road at night, the gleaming glinting façade of the Ritz Carlton would flash past – thus offering a fleeting vision of what the best of the city’s commercial district should look like.  So I was understandably stoked when Mr.Suresh Hinduja planned an outing to analyze the putative pleasures of Ritz Carlton’s Lantern – a Chinese restaurant. We’d also have the company of the charming Swapna Venkatesh who maintains high-quality restaurant and recipe blogs where keen prose is enhanced by some of the finest photography of the city’s food and drink.       Our experience was conducted under the care of Executive Assistant Manager of F & B Mr.Nilesh Singh, and Beverage Manager Mr.Manu Manikandan –the latter tended to the minutiae of the entire stretch of our 3 hour cocktail-‘n’-cuisine session which ended just after midnight. Mr.Manikandan’s able credentials as a sommelier also came through when Mr.Hinduja mentioned a dangerously inveigling Tuscan white wine consumed in Alba at J W Marriott, at which instance the former instantly cast more light on the specific provenance and properties of that drink.      Ritz Carlton’s Ambience – The tour that Mr.Singh (he has a strong hand-shake) gave us, weaving in and out of several lavishly appointed entertainment rooms, with enough stacks of wine to inebriate the whole of Downtown Bangalore, is a testament to the crores that have been pumped into making Ritz Carlton a super-luxury 5 star hotel.  The passageways at the entry have a shimmer of gold and beige, while a spectrum of other hypnotic hues and designs grace the inner domains. Throughout, modern gloss commingles with traditional Indian gestalts like the latticed “Jaali” screen which is a recurrent subtly changing motif here. The décor has a consistent tone of smart luxury, blended with kitschy-chic elements in the form of row upon row of colourful flasks and bottles. The designers are Super Potato – their designs might not leap with matchless elegance, but you’ll see where the money has gone.   Lantern’s Ambience is split into three-tiers – the first level has a mood-lit feel to it with little oases of glowing light amidst the darkness - well-suited if you intend to pair your spirits with meditations on Confucius. The level above is a trendily designed space glowing with blue neon, with music spun by a female DJ. The basement level –clearly more conducive to our middle path - is a compact space which has apparently been deliberately toned down to match the uncomplicated cadences of the food –the eponymous lanterns too have been a rather spartan quasi-square design- but the plushness manages to come through. The space we settled in had more than a 100 Chinese ceramics in white and blue ranged along the shelves while the other side had symmetric rows of flasks and bottles, while a large beige orb glowed above us.   The kitchen’s staff include Chef Sydney Dacunha amongst others who work with the leadership of Executive Chef Anupam Banerjee. Chef Banerjee joined us to explain the restaurant’s concept - his demeanour bespeaks composure. He was Head Chef at London’s Rasoi where the team garnered a Michelin star for synthesizing classic Indian cuisine presented with modern flair, and before hitting B-Town he was the Head Chef at Washington’s Mandarin Oriental (upon my asking, he confirmed that the food at the world famous The Inn at Little Washington was indeed very good)  He pointed out that Lantern is not attempting an adept coverage of accomplished Chinese dishes, like how Oberoi’s Szechwan Court and Taj Vivanta’s Memories of China wok-toss it. Rather, his brief is to keep it simple. I sincerely hoped that our experience would mirror the exquisitely elemental song  “Tianya Genu”  rendered by Lust Caution’s Tang Wei , and that by the end of it, I would have Tony Leung Chiu-Wai’s  poignantly moved, teary-eyed expression.   The first starter I tasted pleasantly threatened to take the first steps in making the above come true. Prawn Cheung Feun was an admirable synecdoche of the mandate of Lantern – simple Chinese cuisine. Slender rice noodle rolls amply showcase the fresh crisp prawns, it is the starter equivalent of Chinese umami.  These delectable rolls outclassed both the chive-prawn and the lobster-caviar dumplings.  The green-hued Truffle Edamame version -while offering a different play on this genre, had unctuous mouthfeel and slightly fermented notes which ultimately do not demand an encore. Regardless of whether you’re Chinese or Indian, you’ll wolf down the pleasantly textured chicken puffs (which are filled with barbecued chicken) when you’re hungry, but once you’re sated you may realize that their seasoning needs a deeper undertow if it is to make a memorable mark.   Slow cooked Pork Belly with Taro is difficult to like, but that certainly does not mean that it is has no merit. While the cooked Taro (a cousin of tapioca) has cloying taste and texture, and the thin cuts of pork belly lack luxurious meaty softness, the sauce –distilled from oyster, soy and rose wine – has a delicious rounded depth of flavor that is the glorious hallmark of elite Chinese sauces.  Both experienced oenophiles and gastronomes know that the price is not always indicative of pleasure. So it also was with our most expensive dish – Lobster with XO sauce – priced at Rs.1575. The flavor of those deluxe marine chunks was a phantom, but the dish’s seasoning was subtle enough to give scope to the delicate protein.   Look deeply into Indian cuisine and you will find several vegetable stir fries that excellently bring out the vibrant verdure so often stifled in over-wrought gravies. It is the same with Chinese cuisine – you can smartly round out your mains in Lantern with “Haricot Verts stir-fried with garlic and toban” : the latter component is defined as a hot, thick and piquant paste of hot chilli bean – it is recognizable to many Indians who have unfortunately been over-exposed to similar versions banged out in generic interpretations of Szechuan food. Standing separate and yet complementing this dense flavouring, the French green beans packed a welcome vegetal freshness and crunch.   Kung Pao Chicken was a clear success in both taste and texture- the meat had a lovely succulence to it and is bathed in a beautiful sauce that employs Chinkiang vinegar ,soy and chili. Ample textural interplay is conferred by cashew, bell peppers and onion.   Of the three desserts we ordered, the best was a deliciously refreshing blend of pomello and mango chilled cream. A stout glassful of sago, roasted pineapple and fruits was sadly listless. Macau egg Tart was innocuously pleasant, while stopping short of triggering that explosion of dulcet egg in your mouth, which a wicked rendition can do.   In contradistinction to Ritz Carlton’s usually extravagant tariffs, and in keeping with Lantern’s unassuming cuisine, the prices are restrained for a 5 star establishment -  appetizers revolve around Rs.400,while the mains average Rs.825 with a garnish of 19% tax sprinkled later.    At the end of this elegantly layered dinner, we were escorted to the entrance by Mr.Manikandan who bade us goodbye. The tiny island of green thickets in the hotel’s forecourt has dessicated and browned patches which need tending to, if this hotel is to maintain its rigorous quality-control standards. But going by what they’re capable of in terms of overall décor, I don’t think that will be much of an ask.       The selection of 6 cocktails concocted by Mr.Manikandan were innovatively presented – Mr.Hinduja was impressed and decreed that these were easily some of the better blends he’d tasted in the city. Their descriptions are given below, along with the photographs.    The entrance, in visual impact, is suitably auspicious  [attachment=4865:IMG_2816.jpg] [attachment=4866:IMG_2817.jpg]   Kindling the flame of expectation... [attachment=4867:IMG_2819.jpg]   Relax and think about how to improve Bengaluru [attachment=4868:IMG_2820.jpg]   While you’re at it, have some sips of thoughtfully parked complimentary flavoured water.  [attachment=4869:IMG_2821.jpg]   After you’re done with that train of thought, you may browse through the library – Wimbledon (I love it), Merc (I have it), James Bond (Anybody who has successfully negotiated Bangalore traffic is better than Bond)   [attachment=4870:IMG_2822.jpg]   [attachment=4871:IMG_2823.jpg]   Buffet Area [attachment=4872:IMG_2825.jpg] [attachment=4873:IMG_2826.jpg] [attachment=4864:IMG_2827.jpg]   Japanese domain for "refreshments" [attachment=4875:IMG_2828.jpg]   [attachment=4876:IMG_2829.jpg] [attachment=4877:IMG_2832.jpg]   Level 3 Lobby in which High Tea is served at late afternoon. Rs.1100 plus taxes. I'd say that this needed grander settings to suit the occasion a la Auckland's Winery at The Langham   [attachment=4878:IMG_2833.jpg]   Nice place to settle down and have a dove-tailing cascade of thoughts.  [attachment=4879:IMG_2834.jpg]   Riwaaz - North-West frontier food which Manager Mr.Singh claims is amongst the best in the country  [attachment=4880:IMG_2837.jpg]   Right - Executive Assistant Manager F & B Mr.Nilesh Singh, Left - Chef Raman of Riwaaz restaurant  [attachment=4874:IMG_2839.jpg]   In case Bangalore's wine stocks run out, you know where to find it... [attachment=4881:IMG_2841.jpg]   [attachment=4882:IMG_2842.jpg]   Lounge section of Lantern [attachment=4884:IMG_2844.jpg] [attachment=4883:IMG_2843.jpg]   And we arrive at our table... [attachment=4885:IMG_2846.jpg]   The large orb above us - we gazed at this fortune-telling ball and it whispered that we were going to have a good time [attachment=4886:IMG_2848.jpg]   Mr.Hinduja has a confab with Beverage Manager et Sommelier Mr.Manu Manikandan [attachment=4887:IMG_2852.jpg]   with Executive Chef Mr.Anupam Banerjee [attachment=4888:IMG_2854.jpg]   Mr.Manikandan seems pleased with his handiwork [attachment=4889:IMG_2856.jpg]   At the foreground - The Lantern -(Guava Coulis, cinnamon , cloves, Jalapeno Vodka) finished at the end with a spray of Cointreau (this spray is only one of 2 such bottles in India, we were told)  [attachment=4890:IMG_2859.jpg]    Samurai -  Condensed Milk, Vanilla sugar, Caramalized Pineapple, Vanilla Rum  With a stick of Vanilla made into a straw - nice work but its caliber needs fine-tuning [attachment=4891:IMG_2863.jpg]   Edamame  [attachment=4892:IMG_2864.jpg]   "Insense" - (Passion puree, Basil, Mandarin Vodka) [attachment=4893:IMG_2865.jpg]   Magnetic Chopsticks [attachment=4894:IMG_2868.jpg]   Lobster and Caviar dumplings [attachment=4895:IMG_2869.jpg]   Prawn Cheung Feun - Star of the appetizer show   [attachment=4896:IMG_2870.jpg]   Chicken puff with barbecued chicken -mildly sweet [attachment=4897:IMG_2874.jpg]   Mr.Manikandan fixes Mr.Hinduja's gold-standard elixir - Lagavulin 16 yr (I like it too)  [attachment=4898:IMG_2875.jpg]   Most readers will not anticipate the discussion this drink engendered [attachment=4904:IMG_2890.jpg]   Peach in syrup [attachment=4900:IMG_2881.jpg]   Ecstasy - Pomegranate juice, Basil, Gari vodka  [attachment=4902:IMG_2887.jpg]   Left to right - Marmalade and Green Tea - Orange marmalade,green tea, orange bitters,Gin   Kaffir Lime Chu Hai - Kaffir Lime, rosemary, coconut water, gin  Ecstasy - Pomegranate juice, Basil, Gari vodka  [attachment=4903:IMG_2888.jpg]   Kung Pao Chicken - superb [attachment=4905:IMG_2892.jpg]   Left - Lobster in spicy XO sauce, Burnt Garlic Fried Rice (that's it's actual name) [attachment=4906:IMG_2894.jpg]   Slow-Cooked Pork belly with Taro [attachment=4908:IMG_2900.jpg]   Brand New Cutlery - La Tavola [attachment=4907:IMG_2897.jpg] [attachment=4909:IMG_2914.jpg]   Macau Egg Tart [attachment=4912:IMG_2915.jpg]   Sago, roasted pineapple and fruits  [attachment=4910:IMG_2910.jpg]   Pomello Mango Chilled Cream [attachment=4911:IMG_2912.jpg]   Left to Right - Mr.Hinduja, Chef Sydney DaCunha, Executive Chef Anupam Banerjee, Mr.Manikandan [attachment=4899:IMG_2878.jpg]
  17. Tadka Singh opens in Bangalore

    New QSR format of Punjabi food opens in Bangalore Indiranagar. Tadka Singh  TADKA SINGH #538 C.M.H ROAD, INDIRANAGAR (OPP. METRO STATION), BANGALORE Camera Photos, so bear with the ok quality.       The outdoor seating area has a wall with wacky one liners.     Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda, Jeera Aaloo, Amritsari Chole... Mutton Curry, Mutton Keema, Dal makhani..   The food is  inspired by dhaba food but with a leaner touch, and that's a welcome change from excessive grease. I've eaten foods at dhabas in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jullundur...and most of the food there is so oily that it can easily run a few tractors. Washed all this down with a few glasses of salted lassi ( Mattha actually) and one glass of a Sweet Lassi.   Looking forward to more khana- shana at Tadka Singh.
  18. Finally the Leela Palace's Citrus reopens after an extensive revamp. After a very long time! Here's a sneak peek- A saxophonist welcomes the first few.               And I went weak in the knees just by looking at this Rack-   The outdoor section is much extended now.
  19. Rack of Lamb

  20. Citrus at the Leela