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:

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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:

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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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Restaurant Review: Hungree Belly really fills you up! [4/5]

HSR Layout in Bengaluru has become one of the most happening places when it comes to happening things. And when it comes to food, there is no exception. However, just because the place is happening does not mean the food is happening as well! That is where Hungree Belly stands out, with some great and experimental food. Visit this place if you are in for a culinary mini adventure, or just want some quality Tandoori Chicken! Read on for the longer version of the review.

Hungree Belly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

At first sight, Hungree Belly might not look like a place where you have a good dining experience. It may even come off as tacky! But please do not be fooled by the informal looks or turned off by the prices. Sit down, order some food and owner Prateek Chandok – a chartered accountant-turned-restaurateur – may just walk by and suggest some great orders. Heck, he might even get the kitchen to rustle up something special for you!

Getting there is not a problem if you are a regular in the Koramangala area. A bunch of us went there, and this is what we experienced.

Starters

Chandok, who was at the venue on this day we visited, was more than happy to recommend us some starters. He began with some desi jalapeno poppers aka some mirchi bhaji and some fried prawn dumplings, as seen here:

Finger food!!

Suffice to say, they were delicious! Mildly spiced though they were, these were good finger food. But there was more to come.

Here you see, clockwise from top left: Chicken 65 [Hungree Belly-style], Chukandari Paneer Tikka, Hariyali Tikki and Tiranga Paneer, aka bread pakoda with a paneer filling.

Palate-tickling affair!

Chandok stayed true to the name of his eatery and its spirit, that people need a little more than a single dish when they are hungry, and hence the noodles with the first dish.

The paneer tikka was surprisingly delicious, in that the flavours had permeated the otherwise dense cheese. The grilling had also made it slightly smoky and charred, which was also great! And the bread pakoda was nothing like the old-oil-soaked cholesterol-inducing stuff sold by the roadside.

And then, some more finger food. Here we have, again clockwise from top left, some Classic Chilli Fish, some Hungree Belly Cheese Nachos, some Elvis Presley-style breakfast – which is a huge calorific intake given that it is PB&J sandwiches and fries, something Elvis apparently had to replenish his strength after a night of rocking – and some Pav Bhaji.

To be honest, the Pav Bhaji was a bit underwhelming, in that the bhaji was nowhere near the hearty goop of veggies that are found in many roadside stalls dotting Mumbai. Even the nachos, served with Rajma for some reason, were not a big draw, in that they were heavy and oily.

But the Chilli Fish seemed to make up for that, given that it was beautifully flavoured and succulent enough to disintegrate when pressed between the tongue and the roof of the mouth! Even the Elvis breakfast was good, but recommended only if you want a lot of empty carbs!

Now, Tandoori Chicken is a dish few people can get wrong. Get it just right, and you have repeat customers. Hungree Belly goes a step further and gets it really delicious, and my mouth is watering even as I write this!

Soft, succulent, smoky… this is one dish that is a must-try here!

Main course

Before I treat you to the main course, here’s an apology because I was too busy eating to click the breads, which made this Hungree Belly Dal – a take on Dal Makhni – and the Methi Matar Makai Malai [M4 for short] taste absolutely delicious!

Veggie delights!

Now I am no vegetarian, but that M4 made one out of me, at least for some time. The dal was no slouch either.

And then they brought out the meat! Here we have the Hungree Belly Mutton Railway Curry and Chicken Dahiwala. The mutton is the bigger draw here.

Money on the meat!

And what great food exploration is complete without some Chicken Biryani?

Another apology here, because I could not stay back for the desserts, which I was told were every bit as delectable as promised!

Final thoughts on Hungree Belly

Here’s wishing Chandok and his team all the best, with years and years of filling the “Hungree Belly” of people!

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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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Restaurant Review: Vaho Kafe blends health, fusion and taste! [3.5/5]

There are two versions of this review. Short version: Visit Vaho Kafe; order their fusion food if you are feeling adventurous, health food if you are feeling bloated or fat, and the weekday or weekend combos if you want to chill and enjoy their food. It’s simple, somewhat reasonable, and you can get takeaways! For the longer version, read on…

Vaho Kafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vaho Kafe advertises itself as a “Kafe and Pressery,” meaning you get food as well as cold-pressed fresh drinks there. Owner Umesh Reddy wants to project Vaho as a one-stop destination for healthy and fusion foods, as well as some combos – what came across to me as a mini-version of a thaali – of traditional food. Vaho has also recently added more to its menu, keeping in mind the demands and feedback of corporate clientele.

Vaho Kafe, and owner Umesh Reddy.

However, the primary offering of Vaho continues to be health food, as is evident right from the water they serve on the tables! On the day I went to the eatery, the water was infused with ginger, but it varies, from cucumber to cumin to other healthy alternatives.

The presentation on the table

The food we had as takeaway

In total, four things were ordered: Biryani with Peri Peri Chicken, Chicken Tikka Roll with Cheese, a Glow Onn juice [fresh-pressed and put in a handy, branded bottle] and a Wholesome Mexican Salad.

First, the roll. The idea of making any and all food healthy is extended here as well, with the wrap being made of Atta [wheat flour] and not Maida [refined wheat flour]. And even after about three hours of being made, the roll and its contents did not give way, like any Roti or other flatbread made of Atta does when exposed for a sufficient period to anything that has more moisture.

The chicken seemed a little bland and there seemed to be not much of a presence of cheese anywhere. But the freshness of it all was there in every bite, and I savoured it to the hilt!

The roll. Should have taken a pic after taking a bite, but I was too hungry…

However, we had had the Biryani first. Hyderabadi-style Biryani is always a treat, but this time the chicken was prepared peri-peri style. It was lip-burningly good, but the slightly tangy, vinegary aftertaste was a bit of a letdown. That, however, did not stop either me or Pooja from polishing it off to the point where ants would starve. After all, Biryani!

The Biryani. Hyderabadi style!

The healthier options

Then there was the salad. Put it in the fridge and had it next morning. Surprisingly fresh and crunchy, and every bit as wholesome as promised! If I was not partial towards Biryani, this would have been the pick of the entire meal! I mean, can anything else beat a salad made of freshly-chopped onions, halved cherry tomatos, chopped capsicum [bell peppers], cucumber, millets and an assortment of fresh ingredients with a dash of lime that you get to squeeze fresh into the prepared meal?

The wholesome Mexican salad made for a great breakfast!

And finally, the juice. Pooja appropriated it from my possession, but was gracious enough to give me a few sips. It tasted like the ingredients we were promised it would have, but was not to my liking.

Final thoughts on Vaho Kafe

Some of the things we did not order were the weekday and everyday combos, which we were assured were good and were often ordered for corporate lunches. As for the other foods, even the Biryani was made with less oil than what usually should go in. So if you are a health nut and want some good wholesome food, this is your place.

Umesh Reddy also wants his Vaho Kafe to be a place known for fusion food. To be honest, the fusions may be a bit of an adventure, and may not sit well with palates used to the authentic varieties. But if you crave adventure in what you eat, give this place a try: It will surprise you!

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Restaurant Review: Flechazo offers good food and experience! [4.5/5]

What are restaurants for? To sit down, order, enjoy the food, converse, pay the bill and be done with it? Many a serious foodie – more like food critics a la Anton Ego from the Pixar blockbuster Ratatouille – would say that is exactly how restaurants should be. However, times have changed. Food – from being a necessity once – has become an extension of the gathering point after a day, week or month of hard work. It is where friends and colleagues assemble to enjoy some food and beverages, let down their hair, and simply enjoy! Now, not all places can offer such enjoyment. But Flechazo is not all places.

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

I went there with a batch of like-minded friends to do some tasting, but to my great delight – especially after a really hectic week at work – managed to loosen up. So much so, that I forgot to take enough pictures of what we were eating! However, I hope to serve up enough of a pen-picture to whet your appetite!

The sauces and condiments. So full of colour!

The food

Flechazo offers a buffet, and bunch of starters to begin your meal. The buffet cost is Rs 664 if you are a vegetarian, and Rs 791 for the non-vegetarian fare. And that is minus the bar tab, which you can run up to quite a bit. Sounds a bit too much? Grab the early-bird offer of 15 percent off when you get lunch at 11:30-11:45 am. Also, there’s offer on a beer and a cocktail or a mocktail. Here’s the menu for the day we visited:

The menu for the day.

The starters were mostly delicious. It’s a shame I do not have photos of the Asian-style crispy potato – a dish we asked for three times! Somehow, it always seemed to be lapped up pretty fast! These are both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare.

The starters: Vegetarian (left) and non-vegetarian.

Then there was the main food. Again, I will let you judge with the photos, because although these look and taste delicious, there are bigger attractions ahead! These are the non-vegetarian dishes…

The non-vegetarian main course.

And these are the vegetarian ones.

The vegetarian dishes in the main course.

The attractions

Now this is the most exciting part about Flechazo! People love pizza, but how often do they get to make them? Flechazo offers exactly such a service, and we were not amongst those to pass it up. I mean, would you? So here I am, having made my own pizza and ready to put it in the oven. Can’t tell you how it really compared to a Dominos or a Pizza Hut, but the experience was something no pizza chain has offered so far!

Arkadev Ghoshal
Yours truly, with his creation. Photo courtesy: Fellow foodie Priyanka Jagaty.

Another exciting part of Flechazo is this train of small platters of starters – from sushi to golgappa (pani puri, phuchka, gupchup, pani patashe or whatever other name you know it by). Just wait around for whatever you want to come to you, pick it up, walk back to the table and by the time you come back for more, whatever you had taken would have been replenished!

The starters in a train!

Finally, no meal is complete with a dessert, and Flechazo has a last ace up its sleeve! The cream is mixed with liquid nitrogen right in front of you to form fresh ice cream. Choose your flavours, and taste the cold sweetness that Flechazo delivers up to aptly end an adventurous meal!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…?

Final thoughts on Flechazo

Flechazo’s price tag is one that is a bit of a deterrent when it comes to regular eating there. However, this is absolutely the place you want to take your family – especially your parents and kids – if you want them to have a dining experience you want them to remember and brag about! That is solely why it gets just half a star less than full marks.

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Restaurant review: Wok has potential and the right ingredients [3/5]

Bengaluru is becoming home to all sorts of restaurants. While some offer ambiance and a fine-dining experience, others offer quickfire food that you can later consume in the comfort of your home. The latter is especially welcome at the end of tiring days when you seek comfort in what you eat. And Wok in Koramangala offers just that.

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

It’s a cosy little nook on Splendid Plaze in Koramangala 5th Block. Sure, there’s another one at Domlur as well, but this one is the older one of the two, functioning since October 2016. Besides the regular fare – hot and sour, lemon clear, sweet corn and manchow soup in veg and non-veg, besides chilli and manchurian chicken, baby corn and broccoli – it also offers schezwan chicken and saigon chicken.

Wok, the takeaway place

But the menu is much more than just this. Want some rice or noodles? Feel free to mix and match from a wide selection of noodles, rice, sauces and other condiments! Too weary? Ask for some recommendations. Here’s the menu for you. BTW, the dim sums will come later, as will the soft drinks and water, and a whole new outlet!

The new menu

We – Arkadev and Pooja – went with the recommendations, and were urged to try out noodles with prawn in Beijing sauce, rice with chicken in Lankan Sambal, Schezwan Chicken and the traditional sweet corn chicken soup. Basically, a mix of adventurous and the usual fare.

The tasting

We started with the rice. This was spicy by my standards, but Pooja likes spicy. She found it perfectly well made, and had quite a few spoonfuls. I, on the other hand, seemed to be tasting something akin to when food goes bad and starts to smell or taste slightly alcoholic. Pooja found no such taste, so this was probably entirely on me. The first experiment had yielded mixed results.

Rice with chicken and Lankan Sambal

Next came the noodles. A little less experimental, and well beyond the realms of normal noodles in lesser eateries! While these were slightly oily, they were well seasoned enough to pass all other tastes. We also put them to the “store and eat later” test. The reheating happened in the microwave, with the entire box going in, and the noodles came out as tasty as when we had eaten them earlier!

Noodles with prawns in Beijing sauce

And then, the Schezwan Chicken. Again, really soft – but not entirely succulent – flat chunks in dryish condiments that complemented both the noodles and the rice – the latter according to Pooja – quite well. These, two were stored in the refrigerator and reheated and eaten later, with minimal loss in taste. Good job, Wok!

Schezwan chicken

And finally, the soup, the entirety of which was consumed after storage in the refrigerator. This was to determine how much corn flour / corn starch had been used to thicken it. Sadly, it was quite a bit. So much so that continued heating and mixing of water did not reduce the lumpiness of the product. The chicken and the corn were still fresh, but guys, reduce the corn flour please.

Here is how our entire order looked like:

The full order

Final thoughts on Wok

This not a fine-dining place, so it should not be treated as one. It strives to provide good Chinese food. The lack of quality in some parts is made up for in ampleness by the quantity. The quantity is also what makes Wok pocket friendly. And then there’s the promise that shines through in some dishes. Little tweaks here and there – like the corn flour bit – could put Wok ahead of the game.

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Restaurant Review: Echoes Koramangala, where food and service speak volumes [4/5]

The oft-cliched understanding in the restaurant business is that food quality and service speak much louder than a blitzkrieg of advertisements. But there’s a reason it has become cliched: It was widely true once, and still holds true – albeit in much fewer cases. Echoes Koramangala is one such place.

ECHOES Koramangala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We – some like-minded friends – visited the place, and were nearly floored by it! Why? Like I said, the food and service spoke volumes, despite our servers being all hearing and speech-impaired. Of course the cooking-staff speaks, but come on! This was a dose of empowerment we all found wonderful!

Echoes Koramangala

So how does it all work? See these three photos, and the explanation comes after that.

This is how you order…

As soon as you sit down, you find the eight cards – seen in the top left image – on the table. These, along with the pen and paper the wait staff bring you, are to be used to order and give feedback. But how do you call them in the first place? See the switch on the right? Press it, and a light corresponding to your table switches on, as seen in the bottom left image. Neat, huh?

Starters

So we sat down and placed our order. The first to come out were several mocktails – Echoes Koramangala does not serve alcohol. These are various kind of chocolate shakes, simple sparkling drinks and and a Red Velvet. They are real lifesavers in the summer Bengaluru is currently sweltering in, and really once the food starts coming, you really understand the importance of these beverages!

Wet your whistle before you whet your appetite.

The next to come out is fast turning into a staple in many eateries for any meal as a starter. Honestly, nothing beats cheese-covered nachos with a salsa sauce dip when it comes to good finger food when all you want to do is some chin-wagging of both varieties!

Pardon the image quality, please.

Then, the full-meal starters: Clockwise from top left, a form of mushroom tikka, chicken and fish Chinese style, and some chicken kabab.

A hearty start…

Next up, something recommendation-worthy! On the right might have been some more kababs, but on the left are the showstealers. Those are chicken and veg momos, and they deserve a special mention because rarely does an eatery season the covering of momos. Echoes did, and my tastebuds are still craving them even as I write this!

Quite an eyeful, and then very mouthful!

Some more starters, all equally nice – both veg and non-veg are great!

Come, get some!

Main course

The thing with these gatherings is, we often fill up a little too much on the delicious starters. But that did not deter some of us – me included – from partaking in the main course. Here you see, clockwise from left, the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, the Classic Butter Chicken Thali and the Veg Tiffin Service. Props are due here for the Butter Chicken Thali, where the gravy is tasty enough to polish of several rotis at a single sitting!

You ready for this?

And then the two pastas. Well done, beautifully seasoned, and a simple delight when you want to sit back and yak away, with the conversation interspersed with small bites.

You can’t look past-a this!

And finally, a couple of pizzas. Thin crust, good cheese crunchy, and overall delicious!

Pizza is love! Pizza is life!

My friends stayed back for some dessert, but I had to get out of there to reach home on time. Had office early next morning.

Final thoughts about Echoes Koramangala

But like I have said before, the service speaks volumes, and the ambiance at Echoes Koramangala is one of the friendliest I have seen in eateries around Bengaluru. Visit this one for the food as much as for the experience! I even wrote an article about it!

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