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Nimisserie, Unapologetically Over The Top

Nimisserie is the vision and dream of one man – Chef Nimish Bhatia, erstwhile Corporate Executive Chef, The Lalit Group of Hotels. Truth be told, on receiving an invitation to check out Nimisserie, Bangalore’s latest upscale standalone restaurant, I assumed (completely erroneously, solely on my associations to the name) it was a French bistro. Instead, as later conversation enlightened me, it was all about “aspect” cuisine.

A Strange Aspect

Scratching your head wondering what that is? We all did! And a long, languorous meal in Chef’s presence later, I still walked out shaking my head on that one. Aspect cuisine is a made-up term – Chef’s way of saying that his namesake restaurant serves his unique take on dishes/flavours. The space is huge and glass-dominated; the interiors are flashy and predominantly red and white and with marble and glass and beads and what not sourced lovingly and painstakingly. Chef laid out one of his Degustation menus, and with the exception of a visually fancy chicken salad (Chicken Breast and Argula Salad, with Marigold, dehydrated pineapple and Basil), it was all Indian – not Indian flavor influenced, but wholeheartedly Indian, from the upper half of the country. Each dish came with a series of visual elements as well as twirls and flourishes in the name of garnishes, that without exception were one or two too many. Let me point to some of the dishes I liked, for in all fairness, it was not a bad meal. 

Nimisserie, Chef Nimish Bhatia, Corporate Executive Chef, The Lalit Group
Trilogy of Nakhalawi Galauti

The Food Aspect

A Trilogy of Nakhalawi Galauti that had three English cream horns stuffed with three varieties of meat (chicken, lamb, prawn) and served in a stand was tasty and innovative, with the chicken emerging winner – though some rose petals and smattering of cream sauce on the plate was random. I love cream horns, so this was a nice harking back to childhood for me. The Rohelkhand style Dal came with Kachumber salad, Thepla, and tomato carpaccio with truffle oil – those last elements being completely unnecessary. The dal plus kachumber plus thepla was tasty and holding its own! We also enjoyed some Naanerie offerings – served in little white wheelbarrows, these were mini naans/kulchas with unusual stuffings like bacon, chilli chicken and my favorite, the Apricot and Chilli Kulcha.

A special shout-out to the Trio of Fish, and that’s saying a lot from someone who’s not that into fish – this is one dish that didn’t hit a single un-synchronous step: Kasundi Grilled Snapper, Gooseberry Chutney Tuna and Curry Leaf Pesto Seer all had lovely flavours. The Bihari Pithi Pockets featured Pithi as a dough for a ravioili stuffed with spinach, cottage cheese and flax seeds on a bed of cumin infused dal. Accompanying Bakharwadi roll and Aam Papdi played a nicely balanced duet of spice and sweet. I will mention dessert, more for the presentation in a fancy limestone inlay box that I wanted to snatch up to keep my jewelry in, than the three offerings of Salted Caramel Chocolate Ice Cream, Tarte Tatin Misthi Doi and Chlorophyll Panacotta.

Nimisserie, Chef Nimish Bhatia, Corporate Executive Chef, The Lalit Group
Dessert Offerings

The Nimisserie Aspect

If you think Nimisserie as a name is cutesy, try on Kebaberie and Naanerie for size – yup, from whence kebabs and naans appear. The ‘miss’ in Nimisserie unfortunately strikes a chord – there’s just too much going on the plate, each and every course. Much as some elements of theatricality and oomph are appreciated, too much is well, just that – too much! It’s confusing and tiresome as a diner – at the end of the day, the idea is to have a good meal, right? I want to be able to appreciate and enjoy my food and do so without having to work quite so hard. I suspect there are people who will praise the amalgam of visual and sensory elements and the (heavily Indian with a ‘modern’ twist) cuisine for its innovativeness, and its opulence.

However, I wonder how many people will actually head back to Nimisserie a second, third or fourth time?At the end of the day, when the entire experience relies rather heavily on gimmickry (yup, I did that, sorry!), and the food – we ate almost a dozen courses – is Indian, and you’re paying a pretty penny for it, is Nimisserie in its current form the place I would head to? To me, it goes into the category of check it out once, if nothing else, for the over the top renditions of food, space and decor. Beyond that, I can’t quite see the appeal. Time will of course tell, once the furor and buzz settle… 

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5 Romantic Spots for Dinner in Bangalore

Valentine’s day is just an excuse to head out for a good meal in fine surroundings, accompanied by your (hopefully) favourite person. Right?! Well, maybe that’s just my jaded self, but it still doesn’t stop me from knowing exactly where I would recommend you head on V-Day, especially it being a Sunday this year. And my sweet tooth dictates that I only mention places that have delectable desserts for you to end (or begin) your date on, as you whisper sweeter nothings into each other’s ears!

-> The Glass House – Deli Bistro Bar: This glass ceiling-ed and walled place has, hands down, some of the moodiest lighting and romantic scene setting in Bangalore. The food’s good, the wine list extensive, and the candle-lit section in particular, is super conducive to some romancing in fine dine surroundings. It’s right off bustling Lavelle Road, but you will forget everything but your date once seated.

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-> Blue Terrain, Novotel Bangalore (OR) By the Blue, Grand Mercure: Want to be outdoor by the pool with the gentle lapping sounds of water falling, and dim lighting as well? – well then, here are two perfect options. Blue Terrain has a mix of food and focuses heavily on grills, while By the Blue is known for Indian and again, grills. Something about the water and outdoors seems to inspire fresh grills, I guess! Novotel has some of the best desserts in town, so be sure to stop off at their bakery, Delice, on the way out, so you can continue the dessert feast at home…

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-> HIGH Ultra Lounge (OR) 13th Floor: Get a high from being high(er) off the ground? Then you should check out High Ultra Lounge, which is Bangalore’s loftiest place to dine. Good Asian food, a breathtaking view of the city and home to Guru, bartender and maker of fantastic cocktails, are all additional reasons to visit – but for V-Day, the romance will be in the air, quite literally, and the nip from the breeze over 30 floors off the ground means you get a good reason to snuggle together. 13th Floor is an old Bangalore favourite, and affords an exceptional view of what, in my head, is down town Bangalore – including a bird’s eye view of Chinnaswamy Stadium. Heady cocktails and great food add to the charm. And the wind factor will render cozying up, mandatory!

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Beering it Up!

The Beer Cafe calls itself India’s largest and most awarded beer chain and boasts of having around 50 varieties of beers from across the world (from 17 countries) on its menu. A few months ago the chain added Bangalore to its locations, choosing that hub of nightlife in the city, Indiranagar, and 100 Ft. Road at that. A friend and I checked out the space one afternoon and quite enjoyed the ambiance and the food, which was, of course, washed down with a couple of cold ones. What works for this place is its chilled out vibe (though I suspect nights will be louder and chaotic) and a menu that pairs rather well with beer – whether it is Mumbai-inspired street food, thin crust pizzas or even just their fries, everything has that little kick of masala, spice and chilli to make you reach for your beer while still enjoying every morsel.

We started off with French Fries (INR 145), but of course, and also the Corn Bhel (INR 195), which was exactly what its name suggested – bhel puri where the puffed rice had been replaced by corn kernels – and quite delicious. I just had to try the Akuri on Toast (INR 195) which was served with buttered pav – eggs are one of my comfort foods and Akuri is a particular favorite. We liked this dish so much we actually ordered a second round. We also ordered the Thai Fish Fingers (INR 325) which had a nice crunch and a good hit of sweet chilli and just that hint of lemongrass. There were quite a few more dishes to try, and I eyed the Kohliwada Fried Chicken (INR 325), which boasted red chilly, curry leaves and a spicy chipotle mayo – what was not to like, I ask you? Next time I want to try the Chilled Seafood Bhel (INR 345); the first experience at Beer Cafe tells me it will be spicy, tangy and make me crave even more beer!

Beer Cafe, Bangalore, Beerrita, Margarita, Bira, Kingfisher, Höegaarden, Indiranagar

We decided that not trying one of the thin crust pizzas would be a sin. However, we found ourselves unable to decide on a common set of toppings – I wanted pepperoni which my companion didn’t eat, and he wanted chicken. A happy compromise was reached when the establishment offered to do a half and half: A Dinner Date (piri piri chicken, olives & jalapenos) and Pepperoni Delight (sliced pepperoni, grilled mushrooms, jalapenos, olives & basil) were the chosen combo. The 12 inch pizzas run between INR 345 and INR 475, toppings dependent. A very shareable portion and not to be missed I would say.  Burgers, pastas and some Indian dishes are also available, but by this point, we had eaten as much as we could, washing them down as we were, with bottles of beer.

Beer Cafe, Bangalore, Beerrita, Margarita, Bira, Kingfisher, Höegaarden, Indiranagar

I actually indulged in a beer cocktail,  The Beer Rita (INR 395), which was basically a margarita where the lime juice was replaced with beer – beer+tequila=happiness! In terms of bottled beers we both really liked the 1906 Reserva Especial, a Spanish beer brewed in an Oktoberfest style. This was a new one for me, and though rather pricey at INR 525, I suppose that is the price you pay for an imported beer! Leffe Blonde , (INR 495), a Belgian pale ale and many more from Bira and Hoegaarden to Kingfisher, Tuborg, Carlsberg and the other usual suspects were there. They didn’t have Viru the day we visited, so that too remains to be tried on the next visit. Don’t be mislead by the name of the place – they have every tipple covered, from shooters and cocktails and all the spirits – The Beer Cafe won’t leave you thirsty!

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Bow to the BaoWow Fest!

My message is a simple one: get thee to Fatty Bao for lunch or dinner today. Their Bao Wow festival ends along with this calendar year, and if you are wondering where to take yourself for a nice celebratory end the year meal, look no further. Fourteen baos to choose from, with the vegetarian selection as delectable as the non vegetarian choices – what’s to consider – just go!

Drop that!
Drop that!

Start your meal off with one of the new cocktails – The Wasabi Drop, a just right combo of gin, ginger juice, egg white and lemon and of course, wasabi. Five of fourteen of the baos on offer are vegetarian, and even though our group is made up of inveterate meat eaters, the names and descriptions of the veg offerings were tempting.

The unanimous favorite at the table was the Cheesy Kimchi Potato Bao which had Korean chilli powder and a nice pungent flavor. I also enjoyed the Fried Eggplant Bao – not  a big fan of this veggie, but in that packaging (miso and sriracha sauces) , I found it most enjoyable. The Spicy Mushroom and Chick Pea Bao, on the other hand, missed out the mushroom flavor and was more akin to a falafel.

We managed to try almost all of the non veg offerings, advantage of being a party of five. I chose the Roast Duck Bao right off the bat – hoisin sauced fatty duck goodness. The Five Spice Fried Chicken Bao was exactly that – fried chicken in a pillowy bao. Good for the less adventurous or the chicken-is-the-only-meat-I-eat crowd.

Fatty Bao, Bangalore, beef cheek, fish, pork ribs, the fatty bao, wasabiThe Wasabi Fish Bao was another pleasant surprise for non fish fan me – fried seabass with wasabi sauce, pickled ginger, fried garlic. A nice crunchy mouthful! Pulled Pork Bao and Char Siu Bao were the porcine offerings we indulged in – both yummy. The Braised Beef Cheek Bao was also a hit.

Now, we really should have stopped there, seeing as we were there for the Bao festival. But since when do such minor details stop the likes of us? A few new dishes were served to the table, and really you would have to be out of your head to say no to the Pork Adobo – fall off the bone pork ribs in a nice spicy Filipino styling. Nigiri, tuna and salmon, were also eaten with gusto. We also loved the Steamed Edamame, which ideally, is where you should begin your meal – a perfect tangy accompaniment to your cocktails, tossed in garlic, soy sauce, lemon and sea salt.

Fatty Bao, Bangalore, beef cheek, fish, pork ribs, the fatty bao, wasabiAt between INR 240 and 320 per serving (of two pieces each), you can indulge in half a dozen with ease, as long as you have company. Round out your meal with a new dessert –  Halo Halo,  an Asian dessert after my own heart. Most people don’t have much love for Asian desserts of jellos and shaved ice, and fresh fruits, but I always have. This platter, of jello, caramelized banana, purple yam (yes you read that right!) ice-cream, raspberry sorbet, vanilla flan and shaved ice is worth saying hello twice to indeed!

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Get Coastal In Bangalore City!

I love seafood, but not fish. Yes, a contradiction, which pretty much sums up my existence! I will happily immerse myself in shellfish, eat squishy squid and tentacled octopi, but fish? Well, I am super choosy. Suffice it to say, I was not terribly excited about coastal South Indian cuisine, given that there’s a whole lotta fish going on and many a spicy, coconutty gravy – all of which I like in severe moderation. However, after four years of living in Karnataka, with close friends from Mangalore and repeated visits to their homes and lunchboxes, I developed an appreciation for the cuisine. One of my favourite places to visit in Bangalore is an old standard on MG Road, tucked away in a little shopping mall. It’s got that old school vibe and wait staff, affordable and delicious food and a decent bar menu to keep you going. Going by the jaunty title of Anupam’s Coast II Coast, there is a sister concern of the same name in Koramangala too.

Seafood galore!

Being a well-known wuss when it comes to spice, I often find myself reaching for the chilled beer or glass of water when I visit, but it is oh-so-totally worth it! We have a few must-order dishes, and depending on who I’m with, a pomfret fry or a couple of vegetarian dishes (which are all quite delicious, lest you think only the seafood eaters will blossom here) might get added to the order. Come to think of it, the place boasts of a large number of chicken dishes as well, and its share of Indian Chinese and North Indian. But let’s stick with what makes them special, shall we? Start off with Squid Butter Garlic (INR 300) and Squid or Prawn Chilly (INR 300/400). Options for shellfish include crab and prawn too. There is Kane, Anjal and Pomfret that come thus dressed: ‘rava, masala, tawa or naked’ – take your pick! For mains, without question, Chicken Ghee Roast (INR 325 for a ¼) and my personal favourite, Chicken Sukka (INR 250) should not be missed. Accompaniments worthy of these are the Appam (INR 70) and the Neer Dosa (INR 75), the latter I consume in quite large numbers! Another Mangalorean speciality, Kori Roti (INR 250) is also quite good. The Potato Gassi (INR 190) and the Kanele Sukka (INR 225), which is bamboo shoots in the delectable grated coconut sukha masala, are the veg standouts.

Just writing this has made me realise how long it’s been since a visit has been paid to Anupam’s – a gross oversight and disservice to my taste buds and stomach that will be remedied shortly!

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Yay For Saturday Brunch!

Brunching is something we’ve all come to adore as a weekend activity. I have fond memories of Sunday brunches that my mum made – it would vary from paranthas and anda bhurji to bacon, sausages and eggs or farmer’s omelettes. It was something to look forward to, especially since she always rounded the meal off with one of her superb desserts. Fast forward a quarter of a century and brunching is still a favourite pastime. However, Sunday seems to be de rigueur for this activity, and after a late Saturday night, sometimes one isn’t quite in the mood. Plus you know, Sunday: day of rest and all that. But Saturday is the start of the weekend, one is peppy, bright eyed and bushy tailed, looking for something fun to do. Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur decided it was time to step into the breach and present Bangalore residents with a new option – Saturday brunch at their Mediterranean Cafe Azure. Named Mou Taverna, the vibe was of a Souk – a little marketplace, that included Channapatna wooden toys for the kiddies to buy and play with, cheeses, sauces and potted plants for sale, and of course, a very delectable spread.

AN IMPRESSIVE SPREAD

Perfectly fried shrimp and we kept going back for second helpings.
Perfectly fried shrimp and we kept going back for second helpings.

There is a lot of food, arrayed across three spaces, so make sure you take the time to walk around and get a good look, else you’re sure to miss out on some deliciousness. The outside area has live grills, including Shawarma and crunchy fried shrimp that you’re unlikely to stop after just one of. These items, along with a few other starters were brought to our noisy table of children and adults. There was a bar set up in the middle of the room with Chandon sparkling wine (avoidable if like me, you are a bit of a champagne snob), good Jacob’s Creek wine, a range of cocktails, and a lovely bartender who will happily whip up a drink to suit your palate and mood. He offered up a lemony, fizzy concoction for us when we asked for something non sweet. Our walkabout had shown us apart from hot mains, a salad selection that was so beautifully presented that it almost seemed a sin to eat! In particular was this Italian sushi (no not really, but that’s the most apt way to describe the look and feel of it.) prawn dish that we went back for seconds of, and as befitted a Mediterranean feast, dolmas, hummus (carrot hummus – new to us and lovely), babaghanoush, mutabbal, moutawmeh and tabbouleh. Another standout from this section was the poached pears – so good we all attacked and probably could have kept eating had there not been so much more to try.

DESSERTS HAVE THE FLOOR

The not to be missed Poached Pears
The not to be missed Poached Pears

My brunch date dragged me to try the desserts long before we had hit mains, and a good idea it turned out to be. The spread, set up in a separate room, looked enticing and tasted delectable. The gateaux and puddings were rich and decadent, and there were a couple of lemony/raspberry laced ones that were tart and hit the spot. After this we headed to main course, which included a pasta station, beef, chicken, jambalaya and more – the standout here was an incredible pork belly. And then we made our way back to the by now gutted dessert section to sweeten the experience before we left, the last ones to do so, too! We are all thrilled to finally have a worthy Saturday brunch to go to, and it was well worth the travel to Yeshwantpur to partake of it!

Photos Courtesy: Sudhakar Prabhu

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There’s More To Love At Biere Club Now!

As Bangalore’s oldest microbrewery/brew pub, The Biere Club on Lavelle Road is a well recognized spot in town. In my four years as a resident of the city, I’ve frequented it many a time – from choosing it for birthday bashes to farewell parties and you know, just because! In fact, there are times in the warm weather when I yearn for not just a beer, but a brew from Biere Club. The beers here are consistently good and we always have a good time. A couple of months ago they brought out a new menu and, of course, we had to see what had changed (and remained constant, too!). Thus, a pleasurable Sunday afternoon was spent, trying rather too many of the items off the new menu, enjoying some cold brews, and a wayward game of pool. (wherein my date bested me in a resolute fashion!)

PLEASING THE LOCAL PALATE

The flatbread Pizza
The flatbread Pizza

The food menu contains the old standards, of (yummy) flatbread pizzas, various kebab and mezze platters and the like, and has a whole host of new inclusions, which have been created with an eye to be crowd pleasers and cater more to the local palate than before. The Biere Club was earlier what I would term Mediterranean in its offerings, whereas now there’s quite a number of Indian flavors, as well as pastas and a few Asian dishes amongst the mains, and the ubiquitous burgers. Starters that are of the South Indian bar food styling have a place, as do the more pub grub offerings like fries, cheese platters and sliced meats. There is a leaning towards the non vegetarian guest, but enough to keep the meat abstainers uncomplaining, too. This is an establishment that knows its way equally well around a hummus or three (Three Hummus, INR 260) as a Chilli spicy coriander chicken (INR 280). If you are a fish fan, then don’t miss out on the Rava fried fish (INR 350) or the Mini fish and chip cones, served with sea salt and malt vinegar (INR 350).

 

The interiors
The interiors

When it comes to salads, I find they do a good job with them all and though it may seem a bit of an oxymoron to have a salad with your pint, I always do here. Meaty mains run the course from English style chicken tikka (INR 400) and Chicken Massaman curry (INR 400) to Beef Stroganoff (INR 460) served in a jar and steaks, pork and lamb chops. Other than the Stroganoff, which came cutely served in a mason jar, but was not great in taste, we liked all the other offerings. I was almost scared to take a look at the desserts, fearing my two favorites would be absent, but breathed a sigh of relief! They, the sticky toffee pudding (INR 200), the warm chocolate stodge cake (INR 220), remain, as has another crowd favorite, the Knickerbockerglory sundae (INR 220). To this already decadent list has now been added, amongst others, Deep fried bounty bars with vanilla ice cream (INR 200), an ode to Elvis and State fairs, I dare say.

 

KEEP ON INNOVATING
A lot of people might go with the ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broke’ philosophy, but like their 1st floor experiment with The Chophouse (sadly now defunct), I admire and applaud The Biere Club’s efforts to  keep innovating and trying different things. It adds that element of something new to try at every visit, it means you have new items to add to your favorites list, and of course, you’re always assured of a choice of half a dozen beers on tap to accompany your meal (or maybe the reverse, and some new nosh to accompany your cold brew!). However you slice it, there’s a reason The Biere Club remains a favored spot, and that has not, and will not, be changing for me!

 

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Chocolate Takes the Stage

Chocolate – the word evokes a certain something in us all. For one person it’s the smooth taste of milk chocolate, for others it’s the darker and richer notes of dark chocolate that hit the spot. There are days when I just want me something chocolaty – who hasn’t right? Anyways, when a mail popped into my inbox declaring “Sweet Endings” at ITC Gardenia’s Cubbon Pavilion, with chocolate concoctions front and center on the dinner buffet, it was a siren call. One that I answered, accompanied by the man who has an even sweeter tooth than mine! On until the 27th of September, this ‘Reve de Chocolat’ fest, with the passionate and knowledgeable Chef Arvind catering to chocolate fantasies galore, is a treat, both visually and for the taste buds!

A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY
I was wondering if this would be a case of chocolate, chocolate everywhere, with garnishes and sauces in the mains, apart from the dessert spread. It can become a little forced, in such cases. To my surprise Chef had chosen to keep the focus on desserts, and added just a couple touches of chocolate to other dishes, like the beautifully delicate grilled fish with cocoa/cacao beans atop. He has also created an amuse bouche of in-house made chocolates, that start the journey off with a bang! Served with a flourish, in a glass platter atop dry ice, you will find yourself oohing and aahing as much at the presentation as at the taste and texture of the chocolates as they hit your mouth. One does of course have the entire buffet at one’s command, but really, it’s not often that you actually have a good reason to eat just desserts for your dinner, now is it? We lined our tummies with some judicious choices off the buffet (appetizers that came to the table and then salads mainly for me, and because there was a station preparing Pad Thai, and I can’t resist Thai food, a shrimp Pad Thai that was spot on); then under the watchful eyes of Chef Arvind, headed to chocolate heaven.

CHOCOLATE HEAVEN

Just one part of the spread!
Just one part of the spread!

From a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, fruits and such to dip into it, to a ganache dipped in rich chocolate and served with a few touches of almond or other accents (the ganache pieces had been made, once you showed up at the live station, the dipping and rolling happened), and also jars of chocolate covered raisins, almonds that had been rolled in chocolate and a little chilli (loved this!), there was an element of drama and a whole lot of planning and technique evident in the proceedings. This came to the fore even more, when after loading our plates with gateau, chocolate puddings and more, Chef insisted we try the Kullad Surprise (a gold foil capped Kullad jar). This was brought to the table and then hot chocolate from a kettle poured over it, causing quite a sensual delight, with the smells and overflowing chocolate! Inside, there was passionfruit, nuts, cake and more chocolate. This, along with another citrus and chocolate combo, were my desserts of the night – though truth be told, there was no going wrong here – everything was fantastic, rich, decadent and delicious! I felt elated at the end of the meal – from listening to Chef’s notes on chocolate and chocolate making, and thus learning new and interesting stuff, and from all that rich chocolate!

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SodaBottleOpenerWala: A Delicious Mouthful!

YAADON KI BAARAT
 I don’t know what it is about Parsi food – it seems to engender reminiscing over childhood moments and meals at Parsi friends’ homes. Last month I went over to SodaBottleOpenerWala (henceforth to be called SBOW, ’cause I am, well, lazy!) with the usual bunch of suspects (fellow food writers and best gal pals) for a Sunday luncheon, and literally every one of us had a story or three that involved childhood Parsi friends – and we all grew up in a different city across India. So there was definitely both nostalgia and sensory memories involved when we all gathered at SBOW, of Gurgaon and Mumbai fame (and now, Hyderabad too). The place was packed to the gills, and I felt sorry for the people waiting hopefully for tables, especially when a friend and wife walked in and had to deposit themselves at the bar, and were still there, when we left. But I totally get why its the rage. The food’s lovely, the ambience is quaint, cute and vibrant, and with old Hindi standards piping from speakers, not to mention the toy train that placidly chugs across the space, on tracks suspended above our heads, as well as the huge suspended copper tea kettle doing duty as a fountain, there’s really so much to love! You should take the time and effort (you will have to jostle a chair or two and navigate across the space) to check out the signage, posters and chalk written warnings that dot the interior. And any little kids visiting will demand a ride on the teeny metal bikes outside.
Interiors that will keep you entertained
Interiors that will keep you entertained

GETTING OUR DAARU ON
Drink is an essential Sunday lunch component, for us bewda public at least! Part of the fun of the cocktails at SBOW is the presentation, and saying the decidedly quirky names out loud. From goli soda bottles and old milk bottles to huge thick glasses, the drinks command attention. Over the course of the afternoon, we tried almost all their SBOW Specials, and also noted that there were beers, wines and hard alcohol aplenty on the bar menu. In other words time to get your drink on! Parsiana (INR 295), a concoction of Old Monk, plums and oranges was a bit cough syrup like, but nice. Daaru Wala Vimto (INR 325) was a potent tequila and five berries mix that won favor across the board, as did the Masala Vodka (INR 315). Sol of Colaba (INR 315) combined vodka and kokum – the latter being a favorite of mine, while the Brandied Bawi (INR 315) brought raspberry, brandy and sours together. Rustom Bantawala (INR 325) was mango plus vodka and the mango lovers on the table were happy people. Next time I want to try the Bloody Bawa – a Parsi version of Bloody Mary – hell ya!

EEDU MERI JAAN
Eedu, egg, is a constant in Parsi dishes. And to me, egg is and always will be, comfort food. So it went without saying that a few egg dishes came to the table that day. Eggs Kejriwal (INR 195) and Tomato Papeta Par Eeda (INR 165) were both demolished in short order, alongside Spicy Mushroom on Khari (INR 195) – khari biscuit topped with mushrooms and cheese, aka more comfort food to the likes of me, Chicken Baida Roti (INR 275), parantha stuffed with mince chicken and eggs (what is it about a meat stuffed parantha that is so satisfying?!) and Goan Sausage Pao (INR 425). To keep our cholesterol levels elevated, we supplemented these starters with the goodness of fried onions, the Kanda Bhajji (INR125). Oh and just because I am not mentioning much of the veg fare, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, just that I’m a confirmed non-vegetarian!
Carrier Time!
Carrier Time!

We were already somewhat full by this point (I feel you rolling your eyes and saying obviously) but we manfully moved on to the mains. Breach Candy Awesome Okra (INR 245) is slivers of fried okra in a lovely masala that will (a) make you forget that you’re eating bhindi, and (b) make you want to keep crunching! I was excited to try a dish called Bacon Keema Macaroni ((INR 425) but wasn’t thrilled with it once it arrived, while the Bhendi Bazaar Sheekh Parantha (INR 325) which I was not initially drawn to, turned out to be superb! You can’t go to a Parsi eatery and not eat Mutton Dhansak (INR 500) or its veg counterpart if you’re so inclined, as well as Paatra Ni Macchi (INR 645). Both dishes were expertly executed; special mention for the tiffin carrier presentation of the dhansak. But the star of the show and the dish I will insist on ordering on future visits, is that other Parsi specialty, Berry Pulao (INR 445/475; chicken/mutton). I have a weakness for rice with dry fruits and a hint of sweetness, especially when paired with meat and this one with nuts, berries and fried onions just hit the spot.

Caramel Custard that was spot on
Caramel Custard that was spot on

CHAI AND CUSTARD
Dessert had to include Caramel Custard (INR 145) an old standard that many places just don’t get right. Luckily SBOW did not disappoint. I also really loved the Toblerone Mousse (INR 195) which had a rich texture and a wonderful taste. The establishment also boasts a small bakery from where you can procure fresh baked Shrewsbury Biscuits and Naan Khatai. With a father who grew up in Pune, Kayani’s Shrewsbury biscuits are the stuff of legend, and having something akin available locally is a treat…not that it will stop me demanding and cajoling boxes of Shrewsbury from Kayani’s out of Pune-ites! We rounded out this meal with, what else, chai! Irani Special Chai (INR 60), Masala Ni Chai (INR 70) and Parsi Choy (INR 80) – black tea delicately flavored with lemongrass and mint helped us kick start our digestive systems, and we left a very happy bunch. One word of warning: if you’re doing valet, expect to wait a bit – given the location and full house.