Housefull Restaurant Review: Superb taste trumps ‘aggressive’ pricing [4.5/5]

Give me food and I will eat all day. But as a non-vegetarian, I do like myself some skewered, roasted, curried or other kinds of meat when I am eating out. Housefull in Sheshadripuram, Bengaluru, made me rethink that choice for the entire duration I was sampling its fare.

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

Just three of us were invited at a short notice, and had a great foodie experience – both in terms of eating and service.

The pricing was described to us as “aggressive,” but in our minds the quality of food – although the spread was entirely vegetarian – was quite up to the mark.

Drinks

Of the three drinks we were served, I picked up the Aam Panna – the traditional Indian drink served through the ages after being made from mangos that are on the raw side. However, the chef here had managed to add a little extra seasoning to his interpretation, and I dare say, it tasted delicious!

Novelties at eateries are – ironically – nothing new. Thus, street-food staples like golgappa – or pani puri, pani patashe, fuchka, gup chup, etc, across India – have been on restaurant menus for quite some time.

Housefull has its own Golgappa Shots. While the fillings are the same, the water you consume them with is different – one sweet, another sour, and the third is masala chhaas.

Starters

First up was some Masala Khakhra, treated with some wonderful sauces and the pungent flavour of Rasam powder. The sharpness of the spices on this khakhra – traditionally a Gujarati snack – was offset nicely by the creamy, sour sauces spread evenly over the surface.

We were also given some Cheesling Bhel to sample. Yes, these are the same Monaco Cheeslings that we had with tea on lazy afternoons. Except, the chef at Housefull has some special tricks and flavours up his sleeve.

Each mouthful of this dish is a crunchy, creamy delight that will have you craving for more! Get a couple of plates of this ordered home and pair it with some good beer. You won’t be disappointed!

Even the Pav Bhaji has a twist here. Small pieces of butter-soaked bread are served on some smooth-yet-savoury bhaji. Skewer the bread with your fork and use it to scoop up the bhaji, which has been topped with a dollop of butter. Grab some seasoned raw onions as well. As hearty as it gets!

Next up, we had some Makhna Nut Masala. Again, a heavy dish, but the flavour profile was wonderful! When you combine tangy, crispy fox-nuts with cashews, almonds, sev and a secret concoction of sauces in just the right way, it could very well be your signature dish!

Now, one item of vegetarian food that is extremely healthy but detested by children across the world with almost equal hate is broccoli. Housefull seems to have a trick up its sleeve here as well, serving it Tandoor-roasted and with mustard.

The Tandoori Mustard Broccoli is indeed an interesting dish, and may get at least some to take a nibble. However, a little more flavour infused into the actual broccoli heads would go a long way in making these more palatable.

Next up, some Gujarati Koki. Topped with some special sauce and served with some chilli sauce and curd. Again, a real tastebud-tingler.

Housefull’s menu may primarily North Indian, but there are some fusion surprises as well! One such dish is the Spicy Sriracha Paneer – a possible interpretation of the traditional Chilli Paneer. This was a little underwhelming, but still a good eat if you like paneer.

Main Course

Now, I understand that at least one of the dishes here isn’t exactly main-course material. However, its Housefull version is worthy of the “main course” tag.

This is the Chholey Bhaturey. The Bhaturey here may seem a little too little when faced with the quantity of the Chholey. If that is the case, call for some of the other kinds of bread around polish of the deliciously succulent, soft, sweet-and-tangy Chholey. They are a revelation!

If you still have some stomach space left, try to smooth Daal Makhni and the delicious Paneer Makhni – each in a league of their own.

Pair these with some smooth-but-spicy Chilli Cheese Naan, some crunchy Red Onion Naan or the sweet Taaftaan.

Try some Paalak Pulao if you like, or if you don’t want the breads.

And if you still want some Chinese, Housefull offers some Hakka Noodles.

Desserts

You have an interesting selection of desserts at Housefull. For example, the Gulab Jamun Mousse. This is two gol gappas filled with chocolate on solid cubes with sections of gulab jamun at the bottom.

Next up, some Bournvita Pista Kulfi. In short, pista kulfi covered in actual Bournvita powder! Now, I was not exactly crazy about these, but give it a try if you loved eating Bournvita powder on its own.

And finally, some Guava Chilli Ice Cream. Remember eating guava that was on the cusp of ripening with some salt paired with red chilli powder as seasoning? This tastes exactly like that, except in ice-cream form, and no pesky seeds.

Final thoughts about Housefull

Here’s an eatery that serves primarily vegetarian food, but the quality will make you want to keep going back.

Sure, the price is slightly on the steeper side, but the quantity served can easily keep the bill on the lower side!

And even the service is great. Here’s to you, Laltu – our server for the night.

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.

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!

Restaurant review: Mobydick is a whale of a fusion experience! [4/5]

Mobidick Steak

First off: Quit sniggering! You are clearly a troglodyte if you have not heard of the 1851 novel by Herman Melville, which in itself is a literary must-read, or the 1956 film made on it. And in case you are mature enough to have realised the cultural significance of the name Mobydick, prepare to immerse yourself in the fusion food offered by this restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru.

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

Cooling off

I was recently invited to taste what I was told was some fresh additions to the menu of Mobydick – of which I had heard only good things, but never got a chance to verify the praise in person.

I reached the place after a hard day’s work, and was greeted with a cosy ambience and an orange lemonade – an orangeade?? – as my fellow reviewers came in one by one. It’s the one on the right:

Image: Fresh drinks at Mobydick
Fresh drinks at Mobydick

It took us all a little time to regroup, and I spent that time soaking up the surroundings in what was definitely a friendly place to unwind at the end of an energy-sucking workday.

Image: Mobidick ambience
Mobidick ambience

Starters

We were soon served a few starters – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. I did not taste the Vegetable Samosas, but the Kasundi Fish, BBQ Chicken Wings, Double Pepper Lamb and the Chili Basil Prawns did find their way into my tongue and down my gullet.

Image: Starters at Mobydick
Clockwise from top: The prawn, chicken wings, kasundi fish and vegetable samosa.

Now, the stand-out here was the Kasundi Fish, and not because I am a Bengali who likes both Kasundi and fish. The reason I would gladly revisit that dish is that the fish was some fresh, boneless and tender Basa covered with Kasundi (mustard sauce) that had a creamy base.

It made me wish I could sit down with a glass of wine and intersperse every swig with a single bite off the Kasundi fish. That’s how unwinding after a demanding week of work should feel like.

Meanwhile, check out this pizza-shaped Garlic Bread that had made its way to our table!

Image: Garlic bread at Mobidick
Garlic bread at Mobidick

Main Course

Now, before I came to Mobydick, I had heard of its legendary burgers. Got to see one of them in front of me, and it was huge! Didn’t taste it, though, because I had my eyes on something else.

Image: Mobydick burger
Mobydick burger

There was some really creamy White Pasta around as well, along with a bread basket. Filling and relaxing, I must say. It’s great how some food can lift your mood.

Image: Pasta at Mobydick
Pasta at Mobydick

And then came something that the owner said was fast becoming one of the most-served dishes of Mobydick: the Chicken BBQ Steak and the Lamb Steak. I sampled both, and they were at least a one-time-try.

Image: The famed steaks of Mobydick
The famed steaks of Mobydick

Finally, just when I thought we were done, out came what was to me the highlight of the evening! The Thai Green Curry may have many interpretations across restaurants, but I would personally recommend that you try the one at Mobydick!

Image: Thai Green Curry at Mobydick
Thai Green Curry at Mobydick

It does not matter whether you get the vegetarian one or the chicken variant. It’s the curry you want to taste.

Imagine a small balloon filled with flavour hanging inside your mouth. An invisible needle pricks it, and the flavours splash their way to every corner of your mouth, tingling every single pleasurable sensation possible on the tongue! That’s what the first and every subsequent spoon of this rendition of the Thai Green Curry felt to me.

This was also probably one of the most layered bits of food I have eaten in a long time. On its own its a strong spicy curry that packs heat like gut-punch. But pair this with some rice, and you have a fragrant, milder mixture that you can keep eating spoonfuls of and still crave for more!

Dessert

Now, I was full by the time dessert came along, so I didn’t taste much of them. I did, however, have a few spoonfuls of the Brownie with Ice Cream.

Image: Dessert at Mobydick
Dessert at Mobydick

This is one dessert that is as difficult to get wrong as it is to lift beyond the regular variety. Mobydick manages to keep it simple and sumptuous, just like it was meant to be.

Final thoughts on Mobydick

Not too many places around Bengaluru have a combination of ambience and food that you want to go back to. Mobydick was an exception here. It served up a nice place to unwind with a wide variety of fusion food.

Image: Mobydick bread basket
Mobydick bread basket

I do not know when, but I do intend to return with appreciative company to Mobydick on another evening and chill out.

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: Grab a pint, some finger food and chill at BBQ’D [4/5]

Live barbecues have their own charm. Few things can beat the combination of a hot barbecue, a cold pint and a weekend evening to kick up your legs, let down your hair or do whatever English idiom linking the human anatomy implies chilling. That is BBQ’D in short for you. For a longer review and a video, read on!

BBQ'D - Global Grill & Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Unwind and chill

If BBQ’D ever wants to go for a motto, the words “unwind” and “chill” should prominently feature in them. The eatery – to me – is primarily one where people should go with family and friends to chat around while they eat.

There is a buffet at hand, and even otherwise, the barbecues keep coming. Order your choice of drink, and keep sipping as the grill shimmies with fragrant fumes.

One suggestion would be: Try the home-brewed beer offered by BBQ’D.

Craft beer at BBQ’D

From left to right, these are Hefeweizen, Masala Saison, Chocolate Stout and India Pale Ale (IPA) in the smaller glasses. I took a liking towards the Hefeweizen, and the result was a taller glass on my table, as seen in the second part of the photo above.

Finger food and barbecue

BBQ’D has a nice section of finger foods and starters. For us, one of the first to arrive was this Grilled Chicken Pizza.

We also had some Carrot Chicken Momo, steamed with a creaminess to the centre that makes for a great pairing with the beer I had chosen.

For the barbecue, we had Cajun Spicy Chicken, Char-grilled Fish and Yakitori Prawns. To be honest, the prawns won this deal by a mile.

Pardon the photo, please. It does little justice to the offerings.

Now, these may not look like it, but they were some really good Fish Tikka:

And then there was some Flambe Chicken, which has – in this next picture – landed on my plate after having been set on fire with some tequila. Noice!

Main course and dessert

Now, I won’t bore you with the main course, because honestly our appetite had been quite satiated by the starters. Suffice to say, the entrees were up to scratch.

Most of us at the table chose to go for some dessert. And this is where BBQ’D wowed us again.

None of the desserts was overpoweringly sweet. They were just right to sweeten the tooth and give a small sugar high to complement the light high from the little social drinking we had indulged in.

Final thoughts on BBQ’D

This is a new place, and will take a little time to settle down. Nevertheless, BBQ’D is already a nice place to – and we can’t stress this enough in a city that gives you tension every direction you look – relax with some F&B on a weekend evening.

Watch the video of my experience 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!

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!

Watch restaurant review: This Cafe and Microbrewery is a Hoot! [4/5]

When you live in North Bengaluru and have to make the journey towards deep south in the city, whatever you are looking to achieve or experience better live up to the hype. Having said that, this was one of the occasions when expectations were indeed met. Welcome to Hoot Cafe and Microbrewery, which indeed does justice to its name! That is the short review of it. For a longer account of our visit, read on!

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

Located just off Sarjapur Road, Hoot can be a place to unwind on a lazy afternoon after a tough week, or a place to party hard in the evening, when the mood lights come on and the music starts to play loud. Add some in-house beer to the concoction, and you might just have a candidate for a regular hangout! If your pocket suits it, that is.

The alcohol

Hoot may serve a heady menu of cocktails and drinks, like the Jalapeno Margarita I ordered, but the suggestion would be to go for one of the three kinds of locally-crafted St Martin beer. Can’t decide on one? Ask for a sampler like the one shown below. These are, from right: Special German Wheat Beer, Abbey Blond Beer and Abbey Dark Beer.

My suggestion: Go for the first of the three. Its flavours are not overpowered by the bitterness of the beer, and it goes down well with some finger food. And you won’t find it often outside Hoot Cafe and Microbrewery!

The starters

Now, I admit I arrived late, so some of the starters had already been served. But I still got some delicious finger food! Here we have, clockwise from top-left: Lazeez Khumb [a creamy mushroom dish], Paneer Karara Dhaniya [melt-in-your-mouth paneer triangles encrusted with crispy herbs], Beer Batter Fish and American Buffalo Wings [no beef, only chicken].

The first two were creamy to the point of coating the mouth till you clear it with the first swig of sharp alcohol. The basa fish coated in beer batter was slightly on the oilier side, but the wings were indeed nice, even on the eyes.

Main course and desserts

One thing that goes down well with alcohol and can be both finger food and main course is pizza. We got two kinds: Farmhouse for the vegetarians, and Butter Chicken for the non-vegetarians. Nothing to write home about, but they gelled well with a quiet dusk that turned into a happening evening.

Next, some noodles: Veg and Chicken Haka. Beautifully spiced, these noodles could give any decent Chinese joint a run for their money.

Then, pasta. The green one is Penne Pesto Rosso, while the red one… well, what’s in a name? They were equally delicious, although possibly a little bland for the Indian palate that is used to more robust spices.

The last round was some Indian food: Paneer Kulcha and Kadai Subz. Hearty spices blended with fresh ingredients to make for some flavours that would be remembered for quite some time!

And finally, some caramel custard to end on a sweet note. This, however, can be improved upon.

Final thoughts on Hoot Cafe and Microbrewery

The food at Hoot is up to par, with you getting what you pay for… on the most part. And based on that alone, the watering hole can get a decent 3.5 out of 5. However, add the St Martin German Wheat Beer and the ambiance to the mix, and the rating goes up automatically to 4!

Visit this place in the afternoon for a quite time, and in the evenings for a happening time. And if you are a family man, bring your children too!

Watch the video review here:

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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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