Rice Bowl restaurant review: Quantity and quality Chinese fare! [4/5]

Restaurants attached to hotels are often not the first choice of people who are looking for a quality eatery for the entire family. Rice Bowl is an exception there, serving up a combination of quality and quantity that may make it that occasional celebration destination where the whole family can land up.

The Rice Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Whetting the appetite

One of the first things I was told about Rice Bowl was that it serves food in great quantity, where a single dish can easily be partaken of by two people.

What we had not been told, however, was that there was more to these dishes than just the quantity. Take for example the Lung Fung Salad:

Yummy salad
Yummy salad

Now this looked very colourful, but the taste seemed to have an even bigger spectrum. The secret? Pineapple! This tasted fresh and crunchy, and was my first experience of eating something with chopsticks!

Next in line was some Chicken Manchow soup. Thick, yet clear, this one was a pleasure on the tongue with its mild and fragrant flavours!

Meanwhile, we had also ordered some drinks. I chose the trusty Tequila Sunrise, which I believed could be paired well with Chinese cuisine. Evenly mixed, it was both a great thirst-quencher and a mellow hard drink that did not exactly numb the taste-buds.

Starting off

The drinks arrived with the first of the starters. This was the Prawn Pepper And Salt, with prawns that had a crunchy coating seasoned well with salt, pepper and some mystery ingredients that were a pleasure for the palate in more ways than one!

And then some standard fare: Chilli Paneer. Except that even here the ingredients had combined to take the taste a notch higher. Now paneer is not something you expect to be infused with flavours; that is a nigh-impossible task. But keep the pieces small enough and ensure that what covers them has enough taste, and bites off it become a real pleasurable experience!

Next up, some Prawn Sui Mai – which are momos or dumplings. This one was filled with succulently-flavoured prawns that left behind a lingering aftertaste that would make you crave for more.

Then, some more paneer. This was Threaded Paneer, with the actual thing coated in crunchy threads. On its own the dish may seem a little bland, so accompanying it was some red garlic sauce – something that definitely tickled the palate!

Up next was some more vegetarian fare, but we weren’t exactly complaining… This was Corn Salt and Pepper, seasoned in a tongue-titillating manner.

And then came something that immediately captured the show! This plate of Singapore Prawn was the cynosure for all of the few minutes it lasted. Imagine a lip-smacking covering on some succulent prawns that you could eat two whole plates of and still want more!

Next up: Fried Wontons. Per usual, these were not very savoury on their own. But pair them with the sauce they were served with, and you have a crispy, delicious treat on your hands!

Moving on, we were served some Crispy Chilli Lamb, which would be a great dry accompaniment to any noodle or rice dish you ordered.

Then, some Pork Red and Green Chilli. The small strips of pork made for some delicious pairing with the alcohol that was being consumed.

And then we had in front of us the final item in the starters: Chicken with Crackling Spinach. This was clearly the pièce de résistance of the entire starting course, but had some healthy competition from the Singapore Prawns.

Entrées

To be honest, we were too full by the time the main course came along. But then again that is anything but surprising.

Clockwise from left, you have the Mixed Noodles without Pork, Hong Kong-style Vegetable, crispy noodles (to go with the Vegetable American Chop Suey in the middle), Hoisin Chicken, Mixed Fried Rice with Pork and Chilli Garlic Veg Noodles.

Sincerely speaking, these were indeed a cut above the notch. I especially recommend the Hoisin Chicken. However, if you think you might end up being too full – the portions all over are quite hefty – then order the fried rice or noodles with a dry starter of your choice, and you are peachy!

Desserts

Now, I know I said we were full. However, there is always room for dessert. So we were prepared when it came – a Choco Lava Cake and some other chocolate cake dessert whose name I have forgotten now.

I will admit here that the desserts could have been better, but after the kind of fare we had already been served, we weren’t exactly complaining.

Especially after the Chinese tea we were served at the end.

Final thoughts about Rice Bowl

If you ever need a place to celebrate an achievement or have a family dinner, minus all the hubbub, with a little alcohol thrown in, Rice Bowl is your place.

This is really a chill place that is happening in its own way. I wouldn’t mind taking my family for an outing here.

Have something to share? Drop us a message HERE, and we will get back to you immediately!

Chicken Korma recipe: Yummy Indian curry in the comforts of your home!

It has been quite some time since we posted a recipe on this blog. To be honest, we were just cooking more of the mundane stuff, and were not experimenting as much. However, all that changed one Sunday when I decided to cook what Gordon Ramsay would call a curry-house classic: Chicken Korma.

It’s a sweeter, more mellow version of the chicken curry that we know of, and can be eaten with both rice and various kinds of Indian flat-bread.

Chicken Korma, a la Yum Central
Chicken Korma, a la Yum Central

So get your toque – not to be confused with a toke – on, your spices and ingredients out and your utensils ready for one helluva curry ride!

Serves 2-3 people. Takes 30-40 minutes to cook, minus the marination.

Ingredients

  • Chicken: 600-700 grams, big pieces, with the chicken on the bone (can be boneless as well)
  • Cooking oil: around 50 ml (of your choice)
  • Onion: 300-400 grams, ground into a paste
  • Tomato: 200 grams, ground into a paste
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 20-30 grams
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro for our state-side friends): 20-30 grams, chopped
  • Cumin seeds: 5 grams
  • Cloves: 2
  • Green cardamom: 2
  • Cinnamon: 5 gram in small sticks
  • Curd (yoghurt or yogurt): 50-100 grams
  • Turmeric powder: 5-10 grams
  • Red chilli powder: 5-10 grams
  • Cumin powder: 5-10 grams
  • Coriander powder: 5-10 grams
  • Garam masala: 5-10 grams
  • Heavy cream: 100-150 grams
  • Vinegar: 5 ml
  • Salt: As needed
  • Water: As needed

Optional ingredients

  • Dried fenugreek leaves: 10 grams (activate with a little hot water before using)
  • Cashew and almonds: 30-50 grams, chopped or broken into small bits

Marination

Wash the chicken well. Put it in a deep container. Add the curd, and half of the following: ginger-garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and red chilli powder. Add salt and a dash of vinegar.

Mix everything well, making sure that the marinade penetrates well into the chicken. Now freeze the mixture for at least a couple of hours.

Marinated Chicken
Marinated Chicken

Recipe time!

Preparing the masala

This is essentially the most important part of the cooking process. A weak, undercooked base masala or spice combination can be the difference between a mouthwatering delicacy and a soggy, bland dish.

First, get your onion and tomatoes ground to a paste. Like so:

Onion:

Onion paste
Onion paste

Tomato:

Tomato paste
Tomato paste

As that is done, heat the oil on a medium flame, and add the whole spices – the cumin seeds, the cardamoms, the cloves, and the cinnamon sticks. Let them sputter around and release their flavours a bit. Don’t let them burn, though.

Whole spices in oil
Whole spices in oil

Then, add the onion paste. Be careful about the sputtering. The water released by the onions and the hot oil do make a volatile combination, if “volatile” is indeed the word for it.

As the onion releases more water and starts to reduce, add the rest of the ground spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and garam masala – and salt and stir to mix them well.

Ground spices go in
Ground spices go in

The resulting mixture should start to look like an ochre shade, and start reducing further.

All spiced up!
All spiced up!

I added the ginger-garlic paste at this point, but you can add it well before adding even the ground spices. Mix this well, and that typical “Indian curry” smell should start by now.

Stir till things get reduced a bit further.

Now add the tomato paste, and stir well to get things mixed.

It might be a good idea to turn the heat up a notch or two and let your masala reduce even further. Keep stirring so the masala doesn’t burn. But don’t be so fast that the masala does not acquire a smoky flavour from the heat.

The result now should be a brown mixture.

The masala base is ready and fragrant!
The masala base is ready and fragrant!

The funny thing is, you can make this masala in large batches and store some of it in the refrigerator for at least a week or two. It may lose some of its flavour, but still retain quite a bit of taste.

Making Chicken Korma

With your base ready spread it across the bottom of your utensil. Turn down the heat to low-medium. Bring out the chicken and lay the pieces on the masala. Let the chicken soak in some of that flavour.

Meanwhile, if you still have some of that mixed marinade left, add it to the masala.

As the chicken starts to secrete its juices, mix the pieces well with the base, so that the masala gets into the crevices of the chicken and adds to the flavour. Let more vigorous stirring ensue.

Once the chicken is covered with the masala and acquired most of its colour, add the cream and once again, stir away!

Cream maketh the Chicken Korma!
Cream maketh the Chicken Korma!

The cream will tone down the kick of the spices, while its water component will mix with the smooth masala, which will now start to secrete some really flavourful and fragrant oil.

Now, add some water for the gravy – depending on the thickness of the gravy you want – and turn up the heat a little. Stir so that everything is mixed well.

Cover your utensil, and let all the flavours be sealed in. Keep checking so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Stop cooking when the gravy has reduced to your liking. Garnish with freshly-chopped coriander leaves.

Chicken Korma is ready!
Chicken Korma is ready!

And finally, plate and serve!

Optional steps

Remember the fenugreek leaves and cashews? Here’s how you can use them.

Fenugreek leaves: Add them to a little hot water, so their flavour starts to come out. Add them to the Chicken Korma gravy when it is still a little runny, and enjoy a whole new flavour profile!

Cashew and almonds: Either crush them into small pieces and add towards the end of the recipe, like when the gravy has almost done reducing. Or, make a paste and add to the gravy at the same time for a smoother taste!

Finally…

Cook some rice and have a dry-ish accompaniment with the Chicken Korma, or use some Indian flat-bread – roti, fulka, parotta/paratha, naan, kulcha or what-have-you.

While you are at it, why not even try some pita bread or something similar, and tell us what you think of the results?

Also, got any tips, tricks, changes to the recipe or feedback for us? Write to us in the comments, or reach us directly! We promise to reply as soon as possible!

Restaurant review: Oven Story Pizza is cheesy in the best possible way! [3.5/5]

Pizza places are a dime a dozen in metropolitan cities like Bengaluru. They sometimes mushroom in the unlikeliest of places, and disappear like bubbles because of the competitive market. Thus, when we first heard of Oven Story, we were a bit sceptical.

Ovenstory Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Then the pizza and the garlic bread were delivered, and we were covered in a deluge of cheese!

Oven Story Pizza
Oven Story Pizza

The nice people at Oven Story Pizza, Hosur Road, sent us a Chicken Tikka and Keema Chipotle Pizza and some Garlic Bread with Cheese. Honestly, we drowned in the cheese. Here’s our review.

Chicken Tikka and Keema Chipotle Pizza

This is one loaded pizza. On its own, this is quite a flavour trip for the tongue. Add the oregano mix, and the taste moves one notch higher.

Chicken Tikka and Keema Chipotle Pizza
Chicken Tikka and Keema Chipotle Pizza

Now, the presentation on this pizza ain’t the best, and I will readily admit it. The chicken tikka pieces, the keema – Indian-style cooked and flavoured minced meat – and the onion chunks seem placed a little haphazardly, giving one the impression that the toppings are a bit sparse.

But you don’t mind. Why? Because its pizza!

Garlic Bread with Cheese

Now this one is a sure-fire hit! Thick chunks of garlic bread topped with creamy, salty cheese make you crave more.

Garlic Bread with Cheese
Garlic Bread with Cheese

Here’s a thought. The next time you drink wine, order these and intersperse each swig of that vino with a bite of this salty, cheesy monstrosity – and, once again, I call it a monstrosity with the best of intentions.

The sharp tang of acidic wine should complement the creaminess of the cheese quite well, and you will have a filling meal without eating much – if you can stop yourself, that is.

And don’t worry about garlic breath. The garlic in this bread is quite subtle – to the point where you may not be able to taste it all!

Final thoughts on Oven Story Pizza

There are pizzas and there are pizzas. Oven Story Pizza does not seem to offer up anything too different.

The Oven Story Pizza packaging
The Oven Story Pizza packaging

But it is definitely worth a try. If not for the pizza then the cheesy garlic bread, which can give a similar offering from possibly all competing brands a run for their money!

Restaurant review: Faasos Signature Wraps roll it up quite nicely! [3.5/5]

There are a few items in Indian cuisine that seem quintessential on any restaurant’s menu. And quite often, these are the items that end up being the deciding factor for food connoisseurs on whether an eatery is hot or not. Basically: “If they can’t get the simpler ones correct, let’s not even try to more experimental ones.” Faasos manages to get quite a few things right on that front, especially with its Signature Wraps!

Faasos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So, the good people at Faasos sent me a couple of rolls to try. One was veg, and the other non-veg. Now, I had tried Faasos food before, but this was from their Signature Wrap range.

Days later, as I finally get time to post this review online, my mouth is still watering at the thought of the tangy Mexican veg wrap and the cheesy chicken wrap.

Mexican Potato Salsa Wrap

Now, Faasos officially describes this one as “a unique combination of Potato shots and Corn Salsa, with dripping Chipotle flavoured cheese, wrapped in a fluffy Lachha Paratha.” The ingredients may sound mouthful, but a real mouthful of them is actually delicious.

The starch of the potato combines with the tangy salsa and the Chipotle-flavoured cheese to create a spectrum of taste that spreads to every single part of the mouth. Eat this hot, and every bite is as satisfactory and filling as the best of rolls around.

In fact, even strict non-vegetarians – including those who look down upon vegetarian fare as “ghas phoos” – may find something to appreciate in this offering.

Cheesy Chicken Delight Jumbo Wrap

Of course, I being a non-vegetarian simply had to order some chicken wrap from Faasos’ Signature range. It happened to be the Cheesy Chicken Delight Jumbo Wrap. It is officially listed as a “delicious jumbo wrap loaded with cheese and chicken [that] makes [it] a perfect treat for you.”

Now let me be honest here. You may have the best chicken and the best of ingredients to cook something up with it, but the result may still be mediocre – maybe even pedestrian – if you don’t know what you are doing.

Faasos manages to deliver quite a bit if taste with the Cheesy Chicken Delight Jumbo Wrap, which is essentially loaded with cheese. However, there is that niggling doubt at the back of your mind that this could have been taken one notch higher, which could have made it the absolute delight it was meant to be.

But make no mistake: This is still a very tasty wrap! And it is best enjoyed with some fresh-pressed cold juice to complement the cheesiness.

Bonus

Faasos also delivered a Chocolate Fantasy – “a perfect match between Chocolate Cake on the outside and Melted Chocolate on the inside” – to possibly complement the cheesy savouriness of the chicken wrap and the lip-smacking tang of the potato wrap.

Needless to say, it lived up to its name in royal fashion, sitting on the tongue for just long enough to sweeten the mouth before making its journey down the throat. The lingering chocolaty aftertaste

Final thoughts on Faasos Signature Wraps

Faasos has many things going for it. Price may not be one of them. For example, the cost of the signature wraps is a little formidable for them to become regular snacks.

In fact, the cost makes the wraps seem like occasional indulgences. Then again, that was what they were probably meant to be in the first place.

Either way, these are some tasty wraps, and filling enough when accompanied by some beverages that complement them in the best manner possible.

Restaurant Review: Firangi Bake delivers a fusion of sumptuous indulgence!

The Food and Beverage industry is one area across the world that has possibly seen the most amount of experimentation in the form of fusion. And as with fusion music, fusion food works when two distinct ingredients are melded well to form a third kind of rhythm, symphony or what-have-you.

Firangi Bake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Firangi Bake gets this right from the word go. The good people there sent us a couple of items to sample, and in the process may just have created a steady stream of customers. This is not the free food speaking. This is the quality of the food on offer.

And honestly, after having eaten what they served in packs, I want to sit down at the restaurant and have the same thing served in front of me! Sadly, these are delivery-only restaurants…

Tandoori Kukkad Rice Pot

First off is the Tandoori Kukkad Rice Pot, kukkad being the North Indian – or is it Punjabi? – word for chicken. We were not delivered a pot. Instead, there was a package, with the flavours of the rice and the tandoori chicken sealed in by a layer of cheese!

Now, flavours being sealed into rice dishes with some covering is an old phenomenon in North Indian cooking. However, bringing the same flavours within the packaging is definitely a challenge – one that the people doing the cooking and baking at Firangi Bake seem to have near-perfected!

How else do you manage to impart a woody-smoky flavour in chicken that is surrounded by rice and sealed in cheese? This is one dish I would love to be brought to me piping hot on a plate.

Mince Chicken Lasagne

This one turned out to be a surprise package. Yes, all the ingredients of a good lasagne were there, including some extra cheese that was oh-so-creamy, but what had us hankering for more was the minced chicken.

It was so nicely spiced and prepared that it seemed to add a whole new dimension to the lasagne! And the spices and a slight acidity managed to balanced the overall creaminess quite well!

Honestly, I and my wife sat down expecting quite a bit from this lasagne, and got a whole lot more than what we had hoped for!

Conclusions on Firangi Bake

You don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy what Firangi Bake has to offer. But it is an added advantage if you do.

This is the kind of food you want to sit down to for a Sunday brunch. It does not matter if the food grows cold as you immerse yourself in discussions and reminiscences that last for hours. The food is just another friend at the table, keeping your mouth busy when it is tired of talking.

Of course, the bill is slightly on the heftier side, but think of a Firangi Bake meal as an indulgence, and a sumptuous one at that!

Watch Restaurant review: Oye Amritsar has banging starters! [3.5/5]

An eatery decides to associate itself with a particular kind of cuisine only when it looks to excel at it. Oye Amritsar at Indiranagar is more than halfway there, and serves up starters that whip up quite an appetite. However, it falters a bit on the main course. That is the succinct review of the place. For a more detailed review, and a video of the place, continue reading this blog!

Oye Amritsar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oye Amritsar has four outlets in Bengaluru – formerly Bangalore – the first of which has been functional for 10-odd years now. The one where I and a few friends visited was in Indiranagar. Walked in, and were welcomed with a Spicy Redcurrant drink that had me all…

Ambiance

While the rustic feel of a Punjabi Dhaba is not exactly present here, there is a hint of it if you sit on the raised platform seen on the right of this pic:

The seating arrangement at Oye Amritsar.

It gives you the feel of sitting on a charpai and having your food from a low table – something that is quite common in roadside dhabas.

And what adds to the ambiance are these staples of Punjabi food:

Starters

With the thirst quenched and the tastebuds stimulated simultaneously by the welcome drink, we moved on the starters. Here are, clockwise from top: Malai Broccoli, Sanewal Mushroom Tikki and Punjabi Paneer Tikka.

The broccoli is on the smoother side, but the other two are robustly spiced, making for some good and hearty eating!

Next up, the non-veg starters. Clockwise from left, these are Mogewale Di Tikki, Pindwla Bhatti Murg and Tawa Mutton Chop.

The tikki and the murg almost transported me to the yellow mustard fields of Punjab! The mutton chop – from the rib section of the goat or lamb – was slightly on the milder side, with almost a Chinese taste to it. They required to be eaten with the hand, and were a treat for what little meat they had.

Main course

The starters had us full and satisfied, so we took a bit of time before moving on to the main course, served with roti, butter naan, kulcha and Methi Corn Matar Pulao. I was too busy sampling the food to take photos of them, so please pardon me for that.

What we ate were mostly the staples of a Punjabi dhaba, starting with Butter Chicken [left] and Bhatinda Mutton Curry.

In both cases, that Punjabi/Mughlai x-factor was missing in the food. These were nicely flavoured, and the meat came off the bones easily, so there was nothing to complain there. But the punch of spice one expects from Mughlai cuisine from a Punjabi kitchen was lacking here.

Next up, Kadhai Paneer [left] and Dal Makhani.

Now, these are two dishes you simply cannot afford to get wrong. Oye Amritsar does not do that, but it does not get it perfect either! Some improvement here should elevate its offerings to a much higher level!

Dessert

One of the final offerings was Jalebi with Rabri. Neither was overpoweringly sweet, and made for as much a treat for the tongue as the eyes. See for yourself!

Oh, and we also tried out some Lassi shots – which I once again forgot to click because I was too busy swigging the thick white liquid from shot glasses.

Final thoughts about Oye Amritsar

I am a non-vegetarian, and found the starters quite to my satisfaction. It is only the main course that needs improvement, and only in certain quarters. Once that is done, Oye Amritsar can pose a threat to most other eateries serving Punjabi cuisine in Bengaluru.

See our video review here:

Got something to tell us about this review or something else? Like pointing out a mistake or giving us some interesting bit of trivia? Right this way!

Butter Chicken recipe: Yum Central style! [VIDEO]

Butter Chicken

Some of the first visuals when you think of Indian cuisine are of succulent chicken swimming around in beautiful gravy, waiting to be scooped up by that smoky tandoori roti before it makes its flavourful journey from your mouth to your stomach.

And possibly the most iconic of these dishes is butter chicken – the heart-stoppingly rich murg makhani or chicken butter masala or watchamacallit. It tastes as good despite the pantheon of names it has!

Here is Yum Central’s own take on this North Indian offering, complete with the recipe and – for the first time – even a video of the cooking process!

Butter Chicken

The ingredients

Here is what we will use for the dish:

  • Chicken 600 gm [With bones and skin]

  • Spice powders [coriander, cumin, garam masala, red chilli/paprika]: 10-15 gm each

  • Tomato: 200 gm [pureed]

  • Onion: 100 gm [Roughly chopped]

  • Butter: 60 gm

  • Salt: To taste

  • Sugar: For colour

  • Papaya: Enough to soften the chicken overnight

  • Curd: 100 ml

  • Vinegar: A few drops

  • Ginger-garlic paste: 20-30 gm

And SURPRISE! We are not using turmeric OR cream in this recipe!

Let’s begin…

Marination and preparation

The chicken we had was initially quite tough, so we decided to soften it with some papaya.

Chicken being softened with papaya

Make a marinade for the chicken with the curd, half the spice powders, salt, vinegar and ginger-garlic paste. Let it rest in the fridge overnight.

Marinated chicken

However, if you are in a hurry, simply let the marinade rest for an hour or two. Pardon the blue tint: It seems we were having some problems here.

Now, roughly chop up the onions.

Onions
Onions

Then puree your tomatoes.

Tomato
Tomatoes

Melt the butter in a cooking pot.

Then, lightly fry your chicken till they turn golden-yellow. The chicken should not be well-fried, otherwise the spices from the base will not go in it.

Butter and chicken, but not yet butter chicken…

If you have curd from the marinade left over, keep it aside. It will come in handy later.

And with that, we are ready to cook!

The cooking

Set the chicken aside, and fry the onions in your leftover butter. They will turn a beautiful golden-brown. But don’t let them burn.

In a few minutes, add the rest of the spices and the ginger-garlic paste. Add salt to taste and sugar for colour. Then mix it up well.

Now add the tomato puree and continue to stir the mixture at high heat till it reduces to a beautiful brown, dry base. It should start to smell slightly burnt after some time.

Now, add the fried chicken to this mix and stir it around so it covers all the surface area of the chicken. The pieces should let out some water by now, and the juices it had excreted when set aside should also be used in the cooking.

Remember that leftover marinade curd that you had set aside? Bung that into the pot and stir till the chicken is covered in the base.

Now add water, stir and let it sit on a low flame till it reduces some more.

Then, add some more water, stir, and let the Butter Chicken sit covered at a low flame for a few minutes, as the butter begins to separate from the spices and make small pools of itself.

And finally, ENJOY!

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken video!

By the way, did we mention that we are starting off with videos as well?

Watch the video recipe of Butter Chicken here:

Got something to tell us about this review or something else? Like pointing out a mistake or giving us some interesting bit of trivia? Right this way!

Restaurant Review: Malabar Bay is a food destination if you can’t visit Kerala! [4/5]

Come in. Sit down. Order your food, and be transported to Kerala! That is what Malabar Bay in BTM Layout aspires to be. And speaking as someone who has always wanted to go to God’s Own Country but never managed, I was more than happy to share a table with friends and partake in food that would tingle my palate. That’s the shorter version of the review. For the longer version, read on…

Malabar Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Now, when you think of Kerala, the lush backwaters along the Malabar coast come to mind. Malabar Bay may not have an ambience like that – it is located in Bengaluru and nowhere near any significant water body – and yet its interiors are a reminder of the roots of a culture that has branched out all over the world.

A typical Kerala thaali

What’s on offer

When it comes to Keralian cuisine, it is a spicy mixture of ingredients that are primarily sourced from the sea, but poultry and mutton are also not unheard of. Of course, there is another kind of meat that’s popular in Kerala, but let’s not complicate matters here. Malabar Bay didn’t, and summed up the sentiment behind its offerings in a single banana leaf, as shown above.

The seafood offerings are quite interesting, actually. I mean, how often do you get crabs as the primary flavour in a soup?

Crab soup
Crab soup

Also on offer, by way of salad, were raw mangos spiced delectably – the kind that sends a shiver down your teeth with their sour taste and make you salivate.

Raw mango salad
Mango salad

Starters and main course

Now, I will admit freely here that I was too busy throughout the entire meal to note down what was what. However, I do remember some of them, but the language barrier stops be from understanding what the rest are. Nevertheless, I will try my best to tell you what was what, and how good it was.

You may also take it upon yourself to draw your own conclusions from the photos I am providing.

First up is one of the starters, a type of fritters and the third is a type of faltbread that looked like a slightly heaver and thicker version of the North Indian poori. The gujiya-looking fritters were actually savoury, and could have done with some sort of chutney.

Now, the three things in the photo came at different times, but ended up together here as a testament to the variety on offer at Malabar Bay. Clockwise from left are some appam and a duck curry, a variety of biryani served with some side dishes, and a drink that was a refreshing treat for us amid the enjoyable assault of spices on our tongues.

Here are some of the other dishes we were served. On top right is a prawn dish that was especially nice, albeit a little bitter.

Somewhere in between where these three dishes. Notice the use of glazed clay pots and banana leaf in plating of dishes. These alone were enough to transport me to a land I want to visit even more now.

And finally these two: The “confused chicken” on the left and volcano prawn on the right. Both delightful, but in very different ways!

Desserts

Now, you would not generally associate Kerala with desserts, but people down there do have a sweet tooth, and some great desserts to quell those cravings.

Here is a version of Shahi Tukda that was a pleasant surprise for me. The custard-like cream was fresh, and yet it had not made the bread beneath it soggy! The sweet and smooth cream with the crunchy bread can be revisited multiple times!

But that was not all! Here we have [clockwise from top left] the Banana Toffee Ice Cream, the Firnee, the Kairalee Jamun and a fourth dish that I cannot seem to identify now.

Final thoughts on Malabar Bay

If you want a proper taste of Kerala, Malabar Bay is the place. Of course, some of the dishes seemed to have been a little over-spiced, to the extent that they seemed bitter to my tongue. However, the “confused chicken” is a safe bet if you like Punjabi and Tandoori dishes, and the volcano prawn is a must-have, even though it is just for the looks of it.

Some of the other dishes I recommend is the general seafood fare Malabar Bay offers. In case you have had enough of the chicken, this is the way to go! And even if you are opting for the chicken, you are getting some authentic fare.

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Restaurant Review: Millets all the way at Kaulige Foods! [4.5/5]

Health is wealth, they say. And if you have to part with a meagre portion of your wealth to retain your health, we end up saying Amen! Barring comfort food and deep-fried goodies, of course. But what if instead of picking just some healthy foods, we make the entire meal healthy? Kaulige Foods does just that, with the option to continue eating healthy present in-house. And, in short, that is exactly why it earns a place of pilgrimage for healthy eaters. For the longer review, read on!

Kaulige Millet Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What is Kaulige Foods?

So what is special about Kaulige Foods? More importantly, what is Kaulige foods? It’s an organisation started by a few people to champion the cause of millets in a country that is facing the ever-increasingly spectre of water scarcity, and also wants to eat healthier. Here is a quick insight, in their own words, as to what they do and how they do it.

Kaulige Millet Corner
What is Kaulige Foods?

So what are millets? They are a group of high-fibre crops that can be grown in water-scarce regions, and do not do need to many nutrients in the soil. Because they are high-fibre, they are easier on the stomach, but also need to be supplemented with some water consumption. Here are seven of the eight varieties of millets Kaulige Foods deals in.

Different kinds of millets

Now, these people aren’t all talk. They are interested in a chin-wag of a different variety, and put their money where their mouth is. So after some of us gathered there, they let us try our hand at cooking some South Indian staples. The base, of course, was fermented millet flour instead of the rice one.

Suffice to say, foodies are more often than not kitchen-enthusiasts, and not too wary of making the odd dish. This was the case with our group, where some of us were allowed to test our hands with cooking with millets. Suffice to say, even the testiest of us found the result tasty and quite to our liking!

The effort and the result

Besides the dosa, an uthapam was also made and consumed before I had a chance to photograph it. As did the first batch of paddu. So I decided to take matters into my own hands – a tad more literally – and made a second batch of paddu. Any comments on my skills here?

Paddu, by yours truly.

The meal

And finally, we come to the meal Kaulige Foods serves every day from noon to 3 pm, where most of the primary and secondary ingredients are either millets or derived from the crop. What you see here – clockwise from top – are a millet bisibele bhaath [nice and spicy, with nary a complaint over rice being not a part of it], curd-millets [a la curd rice, and again nothing to complain about here], a salad of some fresh veggies, cauliflower manchurian [with the coating made from millet-flour] and some sweet millet dish.

The millets thaali!

Final words on Kaulige Foods

These people not only serve their millet meals regularly, but also sell different varieties of millets. Want to switch to a healthier diet? Just approach them and ask nicely, and they will flood you with more recipes involving millets than you thought possible! For that innovative thought and a great idea, coupled with what we can only say is the beginning of a great execution, they score a 90% on the report card. The rest depends on how they go forward.

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Deja Vu Resto Bar review [****/5]: A slightly pricey but very entertaining eatery

Another one that I, Arkadev, somehow did not get around to writing. This was a visit to Deja Vu on September 10, 2016. Yes, I know. No, I’m not exactly lazy: I seem to be perennially tired. But that’s not the point of this post. Here’s having some deja vu – having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past – about Deja Vu. This is the place:

Deja Vu Resto Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As earlier, this one was also through invitation, extended by the management of the restaurant to a few members of Food Bloggers’ Association of Bangalore. The address of the restaurant: 5th Floor, Gopalan Innovation Mall, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. Or Bengaluru, if you go by the correct name.

What strikes you first about Deja Vu is its theme and ambience. The interior is one or the other combination of black-and-white, but not exactly drab. And the walls are speckled with posters of films, bands or performances that are a throwback to a bygone era that is fondly remembered now.

Now, before we dig in, a quick word about how much this place will set you back. A buffet for two will easily cost Rs 1,000, and the charge for alcohol is extra. But then this is not a restaurant you go to every day, so the special-occasion visit it is. And Deja Vu seems quite suited for those excursions.

For our group of bloggers, the restaurant management had graciously laid out a limited platter that accommodated both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The option is available for corporate or private lunches as well. Also, Happy Hours!

Soon after we are seated, the sauces / chutneys / dips come out. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by how they serve these things. In this case, we had mostly good things to say.

And then out came the starters. The ones below are one veg [sweet potato] and one non-veg [chicken].

To be honest, just the starters of Deja Vu were so yummy and varied that I, personally, wanted to opt for little else. I mean, look at them! Would you have wanted to even take your eyes off these dishes?

And then came some of the drinks. While the more adventurous among us opted for one served in a coconut – a fancy one at that – I, on the suggestion of a fellow-blogger, tried Bira beer for the first time, and was blown away! Some red wine also made its way to the table.

Deja Vu offered up some really interesting starters that day, so when it came to the main course, I managed to pick up a little bit of my favourite dishes on offer, and had a taste. Again, hardly disappointed!

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