Saturday, August 3, 2013

Outback Restaurant

It was one of those days when we got bored of the mundane lunch in office and decided to eat out. Now where is always the question? Our usual craving would be for andhra meals or biriyani at the nearby Nandhini, but this time we wanted something different. Quick search on Zomato and Outback restaurant in the Ascendas mall nearby was zeroed in.
We were amongst the very few customers there, probably it being a weekday.The ambiance looked cozy and rustic, great for a gang of friends to unwind.

We were offered a drinks menu but turned it down – it being a weekday and all ;) .
We were stumped by the menu, and kept changing our minds on what to order – which is a good sign isn’t it.
We skipped the starters and went straight for the mains.
We ordered a grilled chicken sizzler, chicken burger and a chicken risotto.
Let’s start with the grilled chicken sizzler – it was a nice portion of chicken breast served with mushroom sauce and veggies. 
Grilled Chicken - sizzling away!
You have a choice of having it with rice, fries or mash. We tried the potato mash. The chicken was heavenly – absolutely right – none of that stringiness associated with overcooking the chicken. The mash was fabulous as well, no lumps and nicely flavored. It remained hot and steaming till the last bite – it was a sizzler after all.
The chicken burger was the unexpected star of the day.
Chicken Burger
Perfect and juicy, with all the right amount of fillings, which doesn’t overwhelm the burger patty. The fries it came with were awesome. We just couldn’t stop taking huge bites of this burger.
The chicken risotto was a let down – not bad but not great either. 
Chicken Risotto
I felt it was a little too dry for me although I can’t complain about the quantity.
We were really full at this point but couldn’t leave without having a bite of dessert. We ordered a sizzling walnut brownie to share amongst the three of us.
Sizzling Walnut Brownie

A combination of walnut butter brownie and vanilla ice-cream topped with hot chocolate sauce just can’t go wrong can it.
Overall we all were very satisfied with the meal. The service was quite friendly and I would love to come back and try the other options on the menu.

Location – Ascendas Park Square, Ground Floor, ITPB, Whitefield, Bangalore
Price (for 3) – Rs 1400
Yum-O-Meter – 3.5 / 5

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lokah , Cochin

We visited Lokah along with friends one evening for dinner. The restaurant boasts of world cuisine with the tagline  ‘The world on your plate’. I have to admit I was a little skeptical on whether it would live up to its promise, but I’m pleased to admit I was wrong.

The ambiance is casual- minimalistic and simple, so perfect for hanging out with your friends.
We started out meal with an unusual soup – chicken and beetroot soup, unfortunately I dint make a note of the exact name of the dishes :( . Our friends suggested it –I was not so sure especially when I saw a deep ‘magenta’ soup with some cream on top.
Chicken and Beetroot Soup
I changed my mind as soon as I put the first spoonful in my mouth – velvety is the exact world I would use. It came with bread sticks, which babies A and M munched on. Both the fussy babies enjoyed the soup, which is always a plus for the parents.
For mains, I ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was a crumbed fried chicken steak with a wee bit of cheese, served with French fries and veggie salad. It was not bad but not exactly the best I’ve had.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
S had the Meatloaf served with mashed potatoes and boiled veggies. Now, the meatloaf was simply delicious and I loved the light and tender texture of the meat with the sauce. The mashed potatoes were a little bit lumpy and dry though.

Our friends ordered the Creole fish with the lemon butter sauce – which was good but nothing to rave about. Somehow the fish tasted better without the sauce .

Creole fish with Lemon Butter sauce
We also had a Pasta Alfredo, which was creamy and light.
For dessert, we tried the coconut soufflé and the mocha custard pudding.
The coconut soufflé was too gelatinous in texture and we were not big fans of it.
Coconut Souffle
The mocha custard on the other hand, was fabulous, perfectly creamy and we wiped the plate clean.
Mocha Custard

The portions are just right and satisfying. I would love to go back and try out the different things on the menu.
The best part of this meal was the bill – excellent value for money especially compared to Bangalore rates. Worth a visit!

Location – NH47 Bypass Road, Vyttila, Cochin
Price (for 4) – Rs 1200
Yum-O-Meter – 3 / 5

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Olive Beach

Olive Beach has always featured on our list of must-try sometime restaurants, but in so many years it never actually materialized. I guess we were just waiting for the right occasion, which came in the form of our 6th anniversary. It was pronounced date night, we got dressed, kissed baby A goodnight and set off for a wonderful evening.
Though being in one of the busiest parts of Bangalore – parking wasn’t a hassle thanks to the valet parking. We did make an appointment before hand and you might want to do the same lest you be disappointed. We chose to sit outside amongst the candles and fairy lights, perfect for that special date.
 We started off our meal with some cocktails. I had a passion fruit martini which was just right – not too fruity and sickenly sweet as it’s usually in some places.
Passionfruit Martini
S ordered a chilli martini .Wow, now that packed a punch! Perfect kick with the chilies and alcohol. It was one of the best cocktails we’ve ever had till date.
For starters, we vowed to try something different and what caught our eye was the Beef Carpaccio. We have heard it mentioned time and again in Masterchef and Topchef and often wondered what it was. The description read pepper crusted fillet sliced paper thin and served with parmesan cream, arugula and truffle oil salad, and fried capers.
Beef Carpaccio , Chilli Martini
The presentation was just beautiful-the picture actually does no justice to it, thanks to the low lighting. I tried to get everything in a single mouthful for that perfect bite which was difficult with the beef so tender and so thin, but it was something totally different. Fresh and full of flavour. My favorite part was biting into the fried capers, just awesome. This came to us along with an assortment of breads, some herb butter and olives.
Next we tried the Shrimp Bisque, which is essence of shrimp with brandy and aromats,served with sweet water shrimp tempura.
Shrimp Bisque
 The tempura shrimp was crunchy and went well with the thick, hot and creamy soup. Seafood lovers will just adore this soup.
The most difficult part was choosing the main course – we were tempted by all they had to offer.The pastas, risottos , tagine, everything just sounded so tempting.
Finally I settled for the Braised and caramelized Pork Belly ( again the influence of Masterchef). It s described as coorg inspired pork belly braised for 8 hours in a mix of black pepper , vinegar , cumin and herbs.
Braised and caramelized Pork Belly
It was served along with polenta which is cornmeal cooked like a porridge, and roasted apples. The pork was tender and yummy and went perfect with the polenta but I wish there was a sauce just to give it that extra bit of flavor.
S had the 8 hour lamb – which is shoulder of kid lamb braised in cabernet and aromatics served with twice cooked lemon butter potatoes,  and a smoky mustard fortified ancho and lamb bone sauce (quite a mouthful).
8 Hour Lamb
The lamb was good but strongly reminded me of a good Indian mutton curry. The potatoes were spectacular, crisp on the outside and soft and creamy inside.
We couldn’t leave without trying the desserts and opted for the Catalan bread pudding.
Catalan Bread Pudding
It hit the spot with its amazing texture, full of nuts and served with caramel ice-cream and cinnamon cream anglaise.
It is definitely on the pricy side, but amazing food and great ambience. I would love to go back and try out everything else on the menu.
Location – 16, Wood Street, Ashok Nagar, Off Brigade Road, Bangalore
Price (for 2) – Rs 4800
Yum-O-Meter – 4/5

Monday, March 4, 2013

Copper Chimney

Looking back , I am stunned to realize that my last post was almost 3 months ago.Wait, it was not because I was dieting – in fact, far from it – I was traveling and eating with abandon. Well I guess the only reason would be writers block (sheer laziness :P ) !
I visited Copper Chimney a while ago with my friends for dinner, after some window shopping at Inorbit mall.
The ambiance is very warm and cozy – it’s not really bustling with people, but any way we had booked ahead to avoid any last minute disappointments.
We started off with Chicken soup.
Chicken soup
It came quickly enough but though it was packed with flavors, could not completely relish it due to the fact that it was just warm. Had it been served piping hot, we would have enjoyed it much more.
Next we had the Murgh Kali mirch , which was boneless cubes of chicken marinated in yoghurt and spiked with black pepper.
Murgh Kali Mirch
It had the distinct flavour of being grilled in the tandoor and was just melt in the mouth.
For mains , we had the butter naans along with the copper house specialty Chicken Bharta, which is shredded chicken cooked in a mildly spiced onion, tomato rich gravy .
Chicken Bharta and Butter naan
It went perfectly with the naan but I prefer my curries a little more spicy.
We couldn’t leave without trying the Dum Ghosht Biriyani – one whiff is enough to get your mouth watering. 
Dum Ghosht Biriyani
The lamb was tender and the biriyani had the rich flavor of saffron shining through.
No meal is complete without dessert and we were divided between the malai kulfi with falooda and the gulab jamun . Finally we ordered both.
Gulab Jamun
The gulab jamun was nice and not overly sweet but the star of the evening was the kulfi with falooda.
Kulfi with Falooda
We were a little surprised seeing it – I guess I expected it to come in a glass being falooda and all. We even cribbed about it being so tiny. But one spoonful and we took back our words. Easily one of the best Indian desserts I’ve had in recent times.
Copper chimney is on the pricy side, but then we enjoyed the food- we availed an ongoing offer of 15% discount on Citibank credit card so that made the bill more pleasing. I  must mention the extremely eager to please staff – almost on the verge of annoying ;) .

Location – 1st Floor, Inorbit Mall, EPIP Area, Whitefield,Bangalore
Price (for 3) – Rs 2100
Yum-O-Meter – 3.5/5

Friday, November 30, 2012

Beijing Bites

Beijing bites happens to be within walking distance of my office and it’s usually the place we hit when we have some treats or crave food other than the sad canteen fare.
I’ve been to this branch twice now for lunch– both times its extremely full with techies waiting outside , and having reservations don’t help either. Usually, there’s a waiting period of atleast 20-30 minutes.
We usually start off with the hot n sour chicken soup – which is a favorite of most of us. 
Hot N Sour Chicken soup
Pretty standard spicy soup with a generous portion of veggies and chicken.Cant go wrong here.
We ordered the dragon chicken and drums of heaven as starters.
Dragon Chicken
The dragon chicken was the usual spicy saucy fried pieces of boneless chicken along with capsicum and onion, with a hint of sweetness.Not bad but not great either.
Drums of chicken were just ok – batter fried pieces of chicken on its skimpy leg.It was hot and crispy and that was about it.
Drums of heaven
For mains we ordered a mixed fried rice along wit garlic chicken gravy . Nothing much to rave about.
Chicken Koithio,Garlic chicken and Mixed fried rice(L to R)
We also had an order of chicken koithio- which is flat noodles in a chicken spicy sauce and lot of veggies. It was ok but I’ve had better in other outlets of Beijing bites.
Overall it was just a normal eating out experience – and cost effective.
On earlier occasion - I’ve tried the Thai red curry as well, it was good but no pictures!

Location –  II Floor, 120 B, EPIP Industrial Area, Near Sai Baba Hospital, Whitefield, Bangalore    
Price ( for 3) – Rs 1200
Yum-O-Meter – 2/5

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kaira , Cochin

Nestled in the heart of the busy and bumbling Cochin city, lies this cozy little place,Kaira , with their tagline ‘A place where good things happen’.
When you walk in, you are greeted by lovely paintings – it’s kind of a mini art gallery where if your wallet permits, you can walk off with one of these masterpieces after your meal. Smiling people everywhere are ready to assist you to your table.
Mona lisa in naadan vesham?
The ambience is really classy and the décor minimal but each piece makes a statement of its own .The tables are not too closely placed together which makes for the beginning of a pleasant eating experience.

The best sitting area would be the lone table in an outdoor seating where you can feel the cool breeze and enjoy the lush surroundings- perfect for those family get-togethers or hanging out with your friends.

Everyone here recommends the fish curry meals which is a steal at 120 Rs.
You have the option of either getting it served on a plate or in true mallu style, in a banana leaf. It comes with the typical kerala side dishes to every meal – some upperi ( fried plantains) , pickled beetroot in vinegar, inji curry( sweet n sour ginger curry) , beans mezhekuperuti, pachadi(yoghurt based side),avial and kootu curry , along with your moru , rasam, sambhar and pappadam.
Kerala Meals
The fish curry has a grated coconut base and all this mixed with a handful of rice together tasted just divine. 
Fish Curry

The only complaint perhaps was that the pappadam was a little bit oily which was duly noted by the chef.
We also tried the beef ularthiyete – which was tender and spicy, karimeen( pearl spot) fry , chemmeen ularthiyete( prawns) and mussels fry.
Beef Ularthiyete
Chemeen ularthiyete
Mussels fry

The parottas here are crisp and flaky and pairs great with the beef ularthiyete. 
Don’t forget to try their signature dish of light as a feather kallapams and duck roast – the kallapams absorb that creamy n delicious gravy just like a sponge and just so flavorsome.

The mutton biriyani is also spectacular with subtle spice and rich flavours.
For dessert, we had the Vattalapam – a srilankan delicacy almost like caramel pudding but with coconut milk and jaggery .It was just spot on – creamy and delicious.

We came back here to try the Sunday breakfast. I ordered the English breakfast which consisted of eggs, sausages, bacon, a pancake, potato croquette and 2 slices of toast along with accompaniments of jam, butter and honey and a glass of watermelon juice.

English breakfast

You can decide how you want your eggs done, fried or scrambled and I went for a fluffy omelette. The potato croquette was crisp and crunchy outside n melt in the mouth inside. We finished this with a cup of coffee and some cut fruits, taking our time to relax and catch up .They plan to start a seafood grill area soon as well as a coffee shop – with bakes , sweet and savory. Looking forward to sampling these at my next visit.

Just a preview of what to expect in the pastry section- 
Orange cake with chocolate ganache and orange buttercream
Chocolate Truffle cake - simply melt in the mouth

Kaira is a place you feel like visiting again and again with its pleasant ambience and once here , you want to take all the time to enjoy your meal. Truly an experience eating here!

Location – Chittor Road, Kacheripady , Cochin, Kerala
Yum-O-Meter – 5/5