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Coldsmith Review: This is indeed a sweet treat! [4.5/5]

Bengaluru’s eateries are branching out in various directions — from finger food to the main course and right up to dessert. That is the niche Coldsmith is targeting, and the job it is doing is not bad at all!

Cold Smith Ice Creams Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The samples

Invited to a tasting at the Elements Mall outlet of Coldsmith, I arrived a little late, thereby missing out on some really yum desserts. And what I did manage to taste genuinely made me regret the delay!

One of the first desserts I managed to tuck into was the Ferrero Rocher Surprise. While the finished product looks nothing like the rocky balls that we have come to associated with the name, it tastes just like the real thing, except in ice-cream form!

Ferrero Rocher Surprise

Next up, some Snicker Licker. Yes, good-old Snickers in ice-cream form, and yes, they do make you want to lick the spoon clean. In fact, I think it would be sacrilege if you didn’t lick that last bit of goodness off the spoon!

Snicker Licker

Third, you have the Blueberry Roll. This may look like strawberry, but trust me, it isn’t. Instead, you have a cold dessert that is made from something that many consider a superfood.

Blueberry Roll

And finally, what I think was the piece de resistance: the Paan Ice Cream.

Paan Ice Cream

Tuck into this, and you could be forgiven if you think you are eating a frozen paan — the Indian-style betel leaf served with condiments at the end of a meal to aid digestion.

That was all I could take before my sweet tooth almost fell out, so let’s move onto my overall impression of Coldsmith.

Final thoughts about Coldsmith

As a standalone dessert place, Coldsmith definitely scores with the variety it has on offer. However, where it scores even higher is the quality of the ice creams: Each flavour has a strong — but not overpowering — presence.

This was true especially for the Paan Ice Cream, which tasted every bit like the real thing! I know quite a few people who love paan but have to restrict their intake of it. This ice cream should be ideal for them!

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Restaurant Review: The Rig is a blast! [4/5]

Bengaluru has over the past few decades had a burgeoning youth population, which has in turn led to an increase in demand for everything youngsters want. One such demand isfor more watering holes, and establishments like The Rig on Sarjapur Road are quickly becoming a hot favourite!

THE RIG Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rig is agreat draw — at least for now — for quite a few reasons. For one, it is part of Zomato Gold. Secondly, beer is on offer here, and can be cheaper than bottled water at times! And finally, the experimental food and, of course, a phenomenal DJ who can keep even sedentary eaters entertained!

The drinks

The Rig is a microbrewery: It makes its own beer in-house. Thus, it would be near-sacrilege not to have a taste of it. Here’s the selection that’s on offer:

The in-house beer at The Rig

From left, theseare Saison, Hefeweizen, India Pale Ale, Stout and Cider. Try the sampler if youwant a taste of all, or play some sort of roulette and choose one at random if you are feeling adventurous.

I tasted the mall, and settled initially on the Cider, which tasted like most other ciders but was quite smoother than the rest.

A fresh pint of Cider

At a later point during the dinner, I also ordered the bitter Stout beer, which helped complement the later portions of the starters and the entire main course.

The starters

 I reached the venue a little late, which meant that some of the starters had already arrived and had been devoured.

However, therewas still plenty to come, and first to arrive was some Cottage Cheese Soya Chilli Dry.

Cottage Cheese Soya Chilli Dry

It was a pleasant taste, but as is the case with cottage cheese aka paneer, it was a little bland on the inside.

Up next, some Jamaican Jerk Wings. Now, food in the West Indies has heavy Indian and spice influences, so this was easily one of the better snacks around! Simply good finger food,this one.

Jamaican Jerk Wings

Third in line was some Tandoori Malai Broccoli — broccoli cooked Tandoori style and servedwith spiced and seasoned cream. If ever a child hates broccoli, this is the dish to change his or her mind!

Tandoori Malai Broccoli

Then, some Ranch Mac and Cheese Balls came our way: Crunchy on the outside, gooey with melted cheese and soft with the perfectly boiled macaroni on the inside. Keep nibbling at one if you are a weight-watcher. Otherwise, take a generous bite and feel the goodness spread to every corner of your mouth!

Ranch Mac and Cheese Balls

Want some more non-vegetarian fare? Try the Brandy Chicken Tikka. They will light it on fire for you — literally!

Brandy Chicken Tikka

And then there were some Pulled Pork Empanadas: just the perfect thing to satiate that craving for something savoury and crunchy as you down your beer. These are delicately spiced, so try and keep your tongue sensitive for them.

Pulled Pork Empanadas

Up next, a selection of Peri Peri Prawns. Now, to be honest, these weren’t fully cooked. Had the heat of the oven managed to penetrate every corner of the dish, this could easily have been the pièce de résistance.

Peri Peri Prawns

The chef, however, was quick to address his misstep, because within a few more minutes wehad some Butter Garlic Prawns in front of us! Once again, the subtle flavours tingled our taste buds.

Butter Garlic Prawns

The Main Course

As the main course rolled around, we prepared ourselves once again for something different. The music had started to grow loud by now, and the mood was set for the evening.

First out of the kitchen was a Farmhouse Pizza. This thin-crust munchie was an instant hit!

Farmhouse Pizza

Up next, the Palak Paneer Combo. This was Palak Paneer served with Naan, some well-cooked Daal, some rice that resembled Biryani but on the vegetarian side, and some Papad and chopped, spice-marinated onions. If you are a vegetarian, this is a force on its own!

Palak Paneer Combo

Then, the Seafood Combo: Some prawns in what appeared to be a delectable Thai green curry, along with some squid calamari, served with rice and assorted vegetables. The squid was a definite novelty.

Seafood Combo

 The main course ended with a solid Meat Pizza. Order a few of these along with your choice of beer, and you have the evening sorted!

Meat Pizza

The Dessert

Of course, The Rig has a good assortment of desserts, and there were several of them headed our way. I, however, chose to end the day with some Shahi Tukda with Gulab Jamun.

Shahi Tukda with Gulab Jamun

These can hold their own when served individually. However, things go to an entirely new level when you combine to two and use fresh ingredients!

Final thoughts about The Rig

As I have mentioned before, The Rig is definitely one of the fresher hangouts for youngsters. And it can definitely cash in on it if it keeps up its level of food and service delivery.

If it remains consistent, it has the potential to become one of the hottest hangouts of Bengaluru!

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Restaurant Review: Kapoor’s Café Jayanagar offers authentic Punjabi experience [4.5/5]

Bengaluru, albeit being situated deep down in South India, is often one of the better destinations in the region if you are craving North Indian food — more specifically, Punjabi food. The options are a myriad within the city, but not all are up to par. That is where Kapoor’s Café can take the cake, with the only downside being it is a pure vegetarian eatery.

Kapoor's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What really grips you right off the bat is the ambience. Yes, I had talked of ambience of Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba as well, but Kapoor’s Café Jayanagar — whose opening saw a lot of bloggers and influencers invited in for a good time — can take it to a whole new level with its touch of luxury.

Starters

 As a blogger anda food reviewer, I would have loved to taste more from Kapoor’s Café Jayanagar, but one can understand their move to offer a fixed menu to the invitees on Day 1. Clearly, they wanted to put their best foot forward.

And they couldn’t have done it better with the first thing that greeted us as we walkedin to the sound of dhol welcoming us. The Dry Fruit Lassi can do many things at once. It can quench your thirst, satiate your hunger, cool you down and warm you up for what is to come next. And it can do all this all at once!

Dry Fruit Lassi

Next up was some Masala Papad. Now, this may be a common menu item, and appeared as much, butthe freshness of the ingredients told another story.

Masala Papad

Even before we had made some headway into the Masala Papad, we had some Paneer Pakoras served to us. Now, Paneer is not an easy protein to spice. So, that aside, this wasindeed a nice nibble to accompany the Lassi.

Paneer Pakora

As more and more people milled in, more and more plates of snacks started coming out of the kitchen. Here’s one: Cheese Patakha Balls.

Cheese Patakha Balls

Mind you, the cheese here is not Paneer, but possibly some form of Mozzarella. And each ball has a solid cheese filling. Down an entire plate of this, and it will take acrane to lift you from your spot and get you moving!

And finally,what I found was the piece de resistance of the starters: French Fries, Punjabi Style! Crunchy, light and spicy, these were picked up by the fistfuls beforethey disappeared by the mouthfuls.

French Fries, Punjabi Style!

There was another snack item on tables as well. Imagine a flatbread stuffed with cheese and served with a dollop of fresh butter on top, and you have the Cheese Paratha that we could hardly make a dent into! A quarter of it, and we were already panting for breath!

Cheese Paratha

Main course

As the evening wore on and the dancing continued, some delicious aromas started wafting out of the kitchen. We did take a few guesses, but nobody spoilt the surprise.

The main course, when it came, was a mini-buffet in itself. See for yourself:

The Main Course

The Phulkas on the right were quick to complement the bouquet of dishes offered on the left-hand plate. The items, clockwise from extreme left, are Paneer Butter Masala, Rajma Dal, Jeera Rice, Baingan Bharta and Aloo Gobi, with some fresh curd to cool the heat.

I have said this before, and I will say it again: The easiest way to judge an eatery without depending on visual cues such as crowds is to sample its basic fare. No restaurant can survive if it can’t maintain even the simplest of standards for the basic dishes.

Kapoor’s Café Jayanagar happened to be way ahead on that front. From the slightly smoky taste of the Baingan Bharta due to the burnt eggplant skin to the smooth Rajma Dal, each dish was a delight!

Final thoughts about Kapoor’s Café Jayanagar

Vegetarian eateries of the upscale variety are a rarity in Bengaluru. Kapoor’s Café Jayanagar and its other outlets are doing well to target that void.

One only hopes that they keep up the standards and the authentic Punjabi experience. Otherwise, the restaurant will have little on its hands to justify the prices it is charging.

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Restaurant Review: Republic of Noodles is a true hidden gem [5/5]

Restaurants that are part of hotels are not too often places where you would like to go just forthe food. However, during my stay in Bengaluru, I have come across some notable exceptions. There was Rice Bowl, which was a great eatery. More recently, I had the opportunity to visit Republic of Noodles, which cemented its status in my mind as a hidden gem.

Republic Of Noodles - Lemon Tree Premier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Starting off

The first thing on the table on this day was a Thai Ding Dong, a drink that both quenched my thirst and tingled my tongue. It almost seemed to activate some taste buds inpreparation for what was to come.

Thai Ding Dong

Onto the solid food. I was told this is called an Amuse Bouche, but I may have misheard. Then again, there’s no denying the crunchy freshness of this appetiser!

Amuse Bouche

Next up, some Vietnamese Corn and Spice Soup: thick, flavourful and nourishing. Order this on a cold day, and you can sit sipping it, all wrapped up. And each sip is a little more comforting.

Vietnamese Spinach and Corn Soup

If the soup wasn’t enough, try the Pork Dim Sum. Or any of the other dim sums, for that matter. You won’t need a full meal for several hours. I also happened to taste the Spinach and Mushroom Dim Sums, and once again could not find a reason to complain.

Dim Sums

Main Course

 Readers of thisblog will know that I am usually full by the time the main course rolls around. However, I was prepared this time, and it served me well.

Here were some Pork Ribs, cooked slowly till the meat was on the verge of falling off from the bone. Served with a peach sauce. Put one succulent piece in your mouth, and your eyes will automatically close and your body relax as you lay back to savour the gradual release of taste, flavours and texture.

Pork Ribs

Up next, some Sea Basa with Glass Noodles. The soft, succulent and subtly-flavoured Basa was complemented well by the noodles.

Sea Basa with Glass Noodles

While these are gone in two bites, here’s something that will take more than just a couple of gulps to consume: Malaysian Ribbon Noodles. These are also a healthy option because theyare made of wheat, and are made healthier by the sprouts they are topped with:See the white root-like things on top?

Malayasian Ribbon Noodles

Accompanying the noodles was a dish called Vietnamese Tofu and Spinach. Never believed tofu could be so soft! True, tofu is not a good absorber of flavour, but treat it as only a source of protein, and the entire dish is as good as anything vegetarian you will get!

Vietnamese Tofu and Spinach

Next among the side dishes is Pot Roast Lamb with Green Pepper and Beans. Cut off a piece, wrap your mouth around the meat, and feel the descent to contentment!

Pot Roast Lamb with Green Pepper

With me just about to wind up dinner, you didn’t assume there was no chicken dish, did you? Here’s some Nyona Style Chicken Curry, which is as much a treat for the taste budsas the eyes!

Nyona Style Chicken Curry

And accompanying everything was some fragrant Jasmine Rice, served in an actual bamboo container.

Jasmine Rice

Dessert

Yes, I was a little too full by this point, and almost cancelled dessert. Only later did I realise that it would have been a huge mistake.

This Tempura Fried Ice Cream is a definite treat! Get it for the children, and watch them tuck into it with gusto. Heck, even the adults can join in!

Get past the crunchy, hard shell, and you will be rewarded with some mouth-wateringly creamy vanilla ice cream.

Tempura Fried Ice Cream

Final thoughts about Republic of Noodles

If you are looking to celebrate with your family or have a cosy dinner with friends, andthe consensus is Asian cuisine, Republic of Noodles at Lemontree Premier is your destination!

Can’t decide which food will suit your palate?Ask the chef! He is indeed a whiz with what he serves, and will put you at easewith every dish he presents in front of you!

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Faasos Navratri Special food review: A filling meal when you fast [3/5]

Here’s a quick review for the Navaratras: Faasos has introduced a range of Navratri Special dishes, and send one of them over for Yum Central to try!

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

The dishes include Paneer Makhanwala, Sabudana Khichdi, Singhada Aloo Paratha, Hare Tamatar Ki Sabji, Sabudana Vada and Sabudana Kheer.

In each case, especially in the Paneer, Aloo Paratha and Sabji, no garlic or onion has been used in keeping with the Navratri traditions.

The meal

The dish Faasos sent over was actually a full meal, a la thaali. It consisted of the Sabudana Vada, Singhada Aloo Paratha, Hare Tamaatar Ki Sabji, Paneer Makhanwala and Sabudana Kheer, with some fresh, cold curd on the side.

It was piping hot when delivered, and I wasted no time in digging in.

The Sabudana Vada was crisp and fresh, and paired well with the curd. The paratha was also fresh, with the spices more than making up for the absence of ginger, garlic or onion.

It was only when I came to the Paneer Makhanwala that the taste dipped a bit. Make no mistake: The butter mentioned in the name was definitely there, and the paneer pieces themselves were soft enough to crumble when crushed between the tongue and the roof of your mouth. They were creamy, even!

However, it tasted bland. Part of that can be attributed the absence of the garlic and onion. However, a little more salt could have improved matters a whole lot.

The Hare Tamatar ki Sabji was again a revelation. It’s alternatively tangy and sweet taste made it a great foil to eat the paratha with!

And in the end, the Sabudana Kheer was a welcome break from all that oil and fries. Nothing to write home about, but still a good addition to the whole plate.

Final thoughts about Faasos Navratri Special

Faasos Navratri Special dishes are available from October 10 to October 18. However, at Rs 300 per plate, the thaali delivered to me may be a little cost-prohibitive for some.

Then again, Navratri comes but once every year. So why skimp when you can have a freshly-cooked, filling meal at one go instead of munching on food at smaller intervals?

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Restaurant review: What’s In A Name asks curious culinary questions [3.5/5]

You know you have something different on your hands when a restaurant decides to use one of William Shakespeare’s most iconic phrases to refer to itself. What’s In A Name in Koramangala does indeed provide some interesting eats, with pub-grub derived from classics!

What's In A Name Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Order a drink, settle down, and enjoy yourself on the balcony-seating area, like we did. And you may just end up having a gala time!

The three of us there on a late monsoon evening managed to order three different drinks. Mine was the What’s In A Name Signature Cocktail, a refreshingly spicy and sweet blend that complemented the food well!

Starting off

A watering hole like What’s In A Name – henceforth WIAN for short – does well when it serves good finger food or anything that goes down well with its alcohol selection.

First up were some Mutton Pepper Sukha, Beef Fry and Pandi Curry, aka pork curry. Potent, spicy and succulent, each left its own taste in the mouth – the Pandi Curry a little sweeter than the others.

Up next was some vegetarian fare, in the form of some sweet, savoury and crunchy Lotus Stem Fry. Try these one by one, and the temperature and flavours from every single bite should complement your choice of alcohol well!

Then some Crispy Water Chestnut made its way to our table. Nothing to write home about, but a nice accompaniment nonetheless.

We also had some Murg Malai Tikka: some soft, succulent chicken marinated in cream.

Up next was some Chicken Satay with groundnut paste. These are a common street food in some South Asian countries. A little bland for my taste, but still a good dish for a little culinary experiment.

And finally, among the starters, was some Fish Mustard Tikka, a modern twist on traditional Mughlai and Bengali cuisines. Subtle, yet pungent, these were quite the treat!

Main course

We were already a bit full with the starters, but isn’t that always the case? So when the Chello Kabab came around, we were a little slow to get to it.

The rice was fragrant, the kebabs juicy and the combination heavenly. As someone who holds the Chello Kabab of Peter Cat in Kolkata as gold standard, I was taken quite by surprise by this one.

Next, some Vegetarian Pizza. The thin crust meant it was nice and simple, and not exactly a mouthful. Excellent accompaniment to some Bira White, if you were happening to drink some.

The last dish in front of us was a Ham and Pepperoni Pizza. A little on the sweeter side for me, this one.

Final thoughts about What’s In A Name

WIAN is a nice place to unwind at the end of the day, or an especially wringing week. It may weigh a little heavy on the pocket, but it is worth it if you are looking for an old-fashioned sun-downer.

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Koshe Kosha review: A dose of nostalgia flavoured with homesickness [4.5/5]

As a Bengali who has been out of West Bengal – soon to be Bangla – for close to two decades, I have always hankered for home-cooked food. A part of that hankering got satiated on a chance visit I made to one of the two outlets of Koshe Kosha – an eatery chain that specialises Bengali cuisine and derives its name from an especially flavourful rendition of a mutton curry: the Kosha Mangsho.

Koshe Kosha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ambience

Koshe Kosha has an ambience that is an amalgam of old-world Bengali charm and modern amenities. While the décor has touches of modernity, the table and chairs invoke nostalgia with their design.

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And then there’s a wall-mounted rack full of Bengali books. We Bengalis are often derided as bookworms. This was one occasion I would gladly endure such derision.

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The food

I was feeling especially nostalgic on this day. Perhaps this, combined with a lightness of the pocket, prompted me to order some Aloo-r Dom – Dum Alu for those from up north – and Luchi – Poori for those living above the Vindhyas – to snack on.

However, little was I to know that Koshe Kosha manages to draw you in with something more: After I had placed the order, I saw a plate of crispy fired snacks – some would refer to them by the generic name fryums – placed on my table. And it was complimentary!

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But like any good foodie – a near-synonym for a good Bengali – I refrained from downing the whole plate, and instead nibbled on the crispy, light snacks until the Aloo-r Dom arrived.

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The gravy looked thick and brown, with the pungent aroma of the spices engulfing me in an embrace that transported me back home, where I had not been for close to two years now.

And then came the Luchi. Honestly, they were a disappointment to the sight, because they looked like deflated versions of what I had been traditionally served at home.

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Thankfully, I managed to look past this and got down to some eating. And each bite proved to be a fresh trip down memory lane. I had intended this meal to be a snack, but by the end of it my stomach was full and my heart was content – and half the Aloo-r Dom was still in the plate!

I managed to get that packed and took it home, enjoying it on another occasion.

Final words on Koshe Kosha

Koshe Kosha is a restaurant you order from every day and still have a heavy wallet. It will leave you with too much month at the end of your salary if you do.

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Koshe Kosha is best enjoyed with the entire family, where each bite invokes a fresh old memory, a fresh round of reminiscence and a fresh wave of warmth through the entire body, like the proximity of a loved one.

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Restaurant Review: Brew & Barbeque is more than a delightful sports bar! [4/5]

With a burgeoning IT sector, Bengaluru has seen the mushrooming of several sports bars all across its geography. Few, however, offer something more than the generic sports bar experience. Brew & Barbeque manages to fall in that small category, as it serves up not just some good in-house beer but also food and ambience that is inviting for the whole family!

The Brew and Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ambience

Brew And Barbeque has well-demarcated sections. One is for quiet family dining.

Another is for that date night for someone who likes music.

A third is the smoking area that doubles as the sports bar, with TVs tuned to sports channels throughout the day.

Choose your seating area, lean back and enjoy the food and drinks that a courteous fleet of servers bring you.

In-house beer

Brew And Barbeque has an in-house brewery, and those of us visiting on this specific day were told the brew-master – a German citizen – likes to choose seasonal fruits to make the watering hole’s signature beers.

On this day, however, the seasonal beers had run out, and we had a different selection in front of us.

Below, from left to right, are After Dark, Triumph’s Pale Ale, Bellandur Blonde Ale, Farmhouse Ale and Weizenbier.

Depending on their content, these were mostly delicious, with some – like After Dark – possibly a tad too bitter for more delicate palates.

Starters

The first starters to arrive on our table were some Rice Paper Rolls – with fillings of Tofu for one and Chicken for another. We could taste the freshness on this one, thanks to the crunch of the vegetables and the sharpness of the flavours.

Next up was some Golconda Chicken. Strong, flavourful, hearty and robust, this goes down well when paired with an equally hearty but not-too-bitter beer.

Then, some Bharwa Aaloo: potato shells stuffed with assorted condiments, from which the raisins seemed to stand out.

Up next was something that turned out to be a hot favourite, something we ordered multiple plates of: Jalapeno Cheese Cutlets.

The soft, creamy cheese complemented the sharp, tangy jalapenos so well that these cutlets tasted like a bit of savoury heaven with every bite. And the accompanying beer only added to that taste!

Soon, there was some Chakori Murg Tikka on the table. Nothing too mind-blowing, but these can be easy snacks if you are watching a game and sipping some refreshing brew!

Up next were some Fish Fingers. Tasted heavenly with some of the dips that were served! Again, good finger food when you are watching a match or just chilling with friends.

Then, for those who want the American experience when it comes to watching a game, there were some Buffalo Wings. Nicely seasoned, with just the right amount of BBQ sauce – not too soggy, but not too bland either!

That American experience had another addition: some Onion Rings. Slightly dry, but crunchy enough to pair well with some mayonnaise or Cajun sauce and cold beer.

Main Course

All those starters were already starting to make us feel full. However, we were troopers, and ordered some of the main course as well.

The group divided among itself two lasagnas: one vegetarian and another non-vegetarian.

It was around this time that some prawn dishes were also brought out. Here’s the delicately-flavoured Butter Garlic Prawn, which is best had after the bitterness from that IPA swig starts to wear off.

However, if you want your prawns on the spicier side, try the Tandoori Bareilly Jhinga. Again, the heat should complement some cold ale quite well.

Desserts

Quite full by this point, we decided to top off a nice Sunday lunch with two desserts. First up was Kheer and Gulab Jamun served in a cocktail glass. The cold kheer complemented the warm, soft and syrupy gulab jamuns well!

Then, some choco-lava cake, a la Brew & Barbeque. Two of these plates were all but licked clean within a minute!

Final thoughts on Brew & Barbeque

If you ever feel the need to unwind after a long week, and are a sports fan, head to the smoking section of the Brew & Barbeque. Otherwise, sit indoors with your family or friends and chill for a lazy lunch or an intimate dinner.

Meanwhile, do indeed try out the wide selection of in-house beer if you are feeling a little adventurous, or stick to the regulars if you want something comforting.

Sure, Brew & Barbeque isn’t your everyday regular eatery, but the experience is definitely nice!

Restaurant Review: Kalmane Koffees is a nice after-movie snacking place [3.5/5]

Upmarket eateries have over the years seen an uptick in urban centres, including Bengaluru. Cafe Coffee Day may have started the trend, but it is seeing stiff competition from the likes of Kalmane Koffees, a chain that has several outlets in Bengaluru.

Kalmane Koffees Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The outlet I visited was at Mantri Mall. At first sight, it seemed tucked away in a small corner on the ground floor, just in front of the Spar supermarket. The couple of hours I spent there showed me the exact kind of clientele the eatery was serving: Everyone!

Ambience

Kalmane Koffees seems to have married old-world charm with modern sensibilities. I witnessed couples as well as whole families settling down for a chat on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and they were all equally at ease.

These guys started off as coffee exporters, and have entered the coffee-shop business only in recent times. And given the atmosphere and the business we saw happen at the counters, we can easily say these guys were doing well.

Food and drinks

Now, Kalmane Koffees offers a wide range of food choices if you want something to keep your mouth busy other than talking to your date.

And if you are not a fan of coffee, how about ordering some cold-pressed juices? This is an especially good choice if you are going the health-conscious way.

Sip or slurp

Besides the cold-pressed juices, Kalmane Koffees also offers a wide selection of hot and cold coffee, tea and milk-based drinks.

In the mood for something sweet and thick? Try the Strawberrylicious!

Want something even more refreshing but not as heavy? How about some iced tea, made with the flavour of your choice?

If you want to stick to the originals, there’s a huge range of coffees you may order from. The coffees can be prepared in a variety of ways. Check the menu well before you order.

Nibble or nosh

Kalmane Koffees also offers a generous selection of food. We suggest the mini-samosas…

or the cheese-corn bites.

Final thoughts about Kalmane Koffees, Mantri Square

The good thing about the Kalmane Koffees at Mantri Square is that it seems like a cosy place for a small family outing after movies or on a date.

What may put some off is the price, but similar fare – sometimes of inferior quality – is available at around much the same price point all around.

Give this place a try nevertheless. Who knows? You might find something entirely new here!

If you have anything to say about to review, or just want to reach out, right this way, please! We promise to reply in a jiffy.

Restaurant Review: Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba is a roadside experience! [4.5/5]

When the wanderlust bug bites, you gotta hit the road. But when the hunger pangs surface, you gotta grab some bites. In northern India, roadside eateries called Dhabas alleviate those hunger pangs with oily, spicy vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare paired with piping hot naan or phulka. Bengaluru has its own version of this in the HRBR Layout location of Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba (CCDD).

Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Now, it would have been deemed difficult for an eatery situated on the rooftop of a three-storey building to recreate the roadside dhaba experience, but this outlet of CCDD – opened quite a few years ago – seemed to have hit the jackpot with a flyover running next to it, almost at a similar height.

Add to that the small open-air space that the restaurant-owners have set aside for charpoy-seating and faux-grass flooring, coupled with a small paan shop playing the radio, and you could ask for little more to experience a slice of North India this deep down South.

Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba
The CCDD menu

Starters

But ambience alone does not maketh an eatery. Food is much more important. The good people at CCDD seem to understand that quite well. And I can now endorse that, having tasted some of their offerings.

One of the first things you should order is the Kulhad Lassi – a thick, yoghurt-based drink served in an earthen tumbler. This will serve not only to hydrate you but also cleanse the palate. On the off chance that you find the food too spicy, this will also take away some of the heat.

Kulhad Lassi
Kulhad Lassi

Among the starters, first up for me was some Paneer Chatpata – Indian-style cottage cheese coated in a lip-smacking mixture of spices that almost imparts it a Chinese cuisine-like taste. It was at this point that I expressed my regret for the fact that CCDD is an alcohol-free establishment. This could have been a near-perfect accompaniment for some chilled beer at the end of a hectic day.

Paneer Chatpata
Paneer Chatpata

Next up was a house specialty: Kasturi Kabab. These boneless chicken pieces had me licking my fingers and almost licking the plate clean. The spice mix here was pungent, but not overpoweringly so. The delicate nature of the taste still makes my mouth water.

Kasturi Kabab
Kasturi Kabab

Third in line was some more chicken, but this time with bone. And equally delicious!

Sawariya Kabab
Sawariya Kabab

And finally, the Special Kabab. Luscious leg pieces marinated in a concoction of spices, then carefully roasted to perfection, so the chicken is soft enough to fall away from the bone, even as some of the extremities acquire the smoky, cinder-like quality from the Tandoor.

CCDD Special Kabab
CCDD Special Kabab

Main course

Since CCDD prides itself in its Dhaba heritage, the main course had to be Punjabi. And few dishes can be as Punjabi when the word Punjabi appears in the name itself. Thus it was that I ended up ordering Chicken Punjabi Masala and Diwani Handi.

Diwani Handi (left) and Chicken Punjabi Masala
Diwani Handi (left) and Chicken Punjabi Masala

Now, a real dhaba might have made the Chicken Punjabi Masala an oily dish with so much heat that it could melt glaciers. Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba, however, went off the beaten path. The masala was again soft, but not so delicate as to be bland. At no point did it induce tears.

The Diwani Handi, meanwhile, seemed like it had come straight out of a European kitchen, with its delectable flavours, fresh vegetables and dollops of cream. This might just be the dish to get the kids to eat their veggies!

And all this was had with some butter naan and phulka, the latter being the wheat-flour flatbreads that are a staple in North Indian households.

Phulka
Phulka

Final thoughts about Chulha Chauki Da Dhaba

CCDD is a place where you can go to refresh your North Indian memories, or – if you are from that part of India – to cure your homesickness to some extent.

Go early – the place opens by 7 pm – and you might just get to sit on one of the four open-air charpoys, where the dhaba feel is the maximum. But go prepared to eat. The food is hearty, borders on rustic and is ample when it comes to portions.

Paan
Paan

In short, chulha Chauki Da Dhaba – especially the HRBR Layout outlet – is a definite-visit for lovers of North Indian food in Bengaluru!

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