Drink & Dine review: This watering hole is a welcome addition to RR Nagar! [4/5]
Covid-19 has ravaged the hospitality industry across India. However, a few establishments have braved it and opened up. Not just for themselves but for a people starved for a good outing after nearly a year indoors. Drink & Dine at Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) in Bengaluru, is one such establishment. And it is a welcome addition to the scene!
Spread across three storeys, Drink & Dine offers a gamut of experiences for the weary worker at the end of the day. Choose the top floor for the ultimate open-air experience. The floor below it is a closed-door extravaganza that will help you chill out or rock your head off, depending on your preference. The one below that is what sundowners demand!
The welcome drink for us was a non-alcoholic fruit punch. The small fruity-sweet sips were a welcome break after the long journey I made to get to the restaurant.
As the evening progressed and more food was brought out, our group of bloggers was treated to the signature cocktails of the house: the pineapple-based Surprise in Paradise and the tender-coconut-based Hawaiian Fantasy.
An unfortunate accident resulted in both being spilt. I managed to get another Hawaiian Fantasy, however, and enjoyed the hydrating coconut water that goes surprisingly well with Caribbean rum!
As a final drink, I chose the usual Long Island Iced Tea. I have said this before and I will say it again: If a restaurant or bar can’t get simple drinks like this correct, they have a lot of room for improvement.
Drink & Dine, however, gave me little to complain: The Long Island Iced Tea was smooth and strong in just the right proportions!
Good meals often start with a good soup. The eatery did not disappoint in this regard, serving up some hot and tangy Chicken Manchow Soup to grease the gullet and warm the palate as a cool afternoon gave way to a colder evening.
On the cooler side was some Roasted Thyme Chicken Corn Chowder. The fresh crunch of the veggies complemented the chicken strips nicely.
The solider starters then made their way to the table. We got the Fish Fingers first. And this was where I started to learn that the chefs at Drink & Dine really know how to treat good fish!
The fingers were — crisp on the outside — concealed some delicately delicious fish inside. There was no fishy smell, but the flavours made their presence felt nicely.
Next up, some Buffalo Chicken Wings. I found them a little too sweet for my taste. The sweetness seemed to mask the smoky goodness that make chicken wings so yummy.
Also on the table were Spring Roll Veggies. You can get these wrong in a number of ways, but the chefs here seemed to have gone the other day. The crunchy shell was not very dry, and the vegetables inside were subtly seasoned and had a wet crunch to them. The rolls turned out to be delightful!
Next, we got some Stuffed Mushrooms. The play on the texture — again a crunchy shell concealing succulent mushrooms and some creamy filling — was a pleasure! However, the lack of seasoning — especially salt — let me down.
Finally, some Chicken Roulade. The chefs had somehow managed to create a hollow chicken loaf and fill it with stuffing! This one promised a tasty rendezvous, but the chicken turned out to be dry and stringy.
With a mixed offering of starters behind us, we turned our attention to the main course.
First came the Cottage Cheese Steak. This was in essence a block of paneer seasoned, spiced, then deep-fried, and served with usual steak accompaniments. It was not earth-shattering. However, vegetarians could easily order this one for dinner after a good evening of drinking.
Then came the Crumb Fried Fish Steak. And for a second time I fell in love with how the chefs hear treat the fish! Once again, the fish meat came across as soft and oily, with no fishy smell. And the crumbed exterior complemented the fish well!
The third dish that came to the table was a Margherita Pizza. A simple dish, this had a nice crust — neither too soggy nor to rubbery. Add to that the cheese combination that speaks to every tastebud on your tongue, and you have a winner on your hands!
Next, the Chicken Pizza. Now, most pizza joints as well as restaurants serve chicken pizzas these days. However, if you find yourself craving a chicken pizza after a night of spirited fun with friends, this is what you should get! The succulent, properly-seasoned chicken simply added to what I believe was one of the better pizzas I have had in Bengaluru!
A few other dishes arrived at the table, but the last dish among the main courses I tried was the BBQ Cottage Cheese Skewer. This is paneer kabab in a different form. Paneer chunks usually do not let any flavour permeate them. However, the flavour outside had a good profile, and elevated this dish beyond the mundane!
We had little room left for dessert, but soldiered on because they had Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream! You really can’t turn that down.
Final thoughts about Drink & Dine
A comprehensive multiple-level watering hole should be a welcome addition to RR Nagar. That it is Drink & Dine is only fitting, because it seems primed for making the lives of people a little cheerier at a time when they need it the most!
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