When a place has Elvis inspired items on their menu, and when you’re as much of an Elvis fan as I am, Elvis songs like the title to this post are sure to be doing duty in your head as you eat up a storm! The latest venture from Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality, Church Street Social at the edge of Church Street and Museum Road, is the first of its kind – yes, we in Bangalore are getting first dibs on brands, rather than waiting in line until they get started in Mumbai or Delhi (Social opens in these cities next). The idea for Social is that it serves as a combination of play and workspace, where you bring your laptop and work and feel like you’re in a coffee shop during the week day, and in the evening can seamlessly transition to party spot when you meet your buddies at the bar. The upstairs area is more cafe style, though both spaces have a bar and lots of stripped wood and exposed brickwork and an overall log cabin vibe. The menus (separate for food and drink) are like mini newspapers – you’ll feel like you are perusing the special section.
We ended up there for Sunday brunch, wanting to avoid the Saturday night drink and party crowd when the noise and activity are not conducive to savoring the menu (yes, we’re serious about our food like that!). And I revisited for a girls brunch the following Sunday. In fact, I see Social becoming one of my go-to places for weekend meetups. The menu is brilliant, and the drinks are not pricey and rather fun, each with a twist in taste and presentation. From beakers to humungous test tubes, bowls to glass bathtubs, your drink is sure to attract attention and remind you of Chemistry class, in a good way!
I recommend that you or someone in your party orders the Cosmo-Explosion (280) and the Old Smoke (280). The former, as the name suggests, is Social’s take on the classic Cosmo, involving cranberry juice, triple sec and vodka, poured over a mass of Cotton Candy and then, for an additional flourish, your server will set orange rind on fire and toss it in. Old Smoke is whiskey, sweet & sour, orange zest and of course, smoke. The Earl of Gin piqued my interest – I like gin and I pretty much am an Earl Grey tea addict, but I think this one needs a little work: the teabag is served on the side, with the iced drink and you’re to dip the bag into it. Now, since tea requires hot water to actually brew, the Earl Grey flavor doesn’t infuse and its more of a gimmick.
The Elvis Presley French Toast (150) was something I just HAD to have, and my reaction to it elicited this rejoinder from an amused friend: “You’ve died and gone to heaven and are busy making out with Elvis right now, aren’t you?” Yes, it was that good – thick Texas style toast slathered in peanut butter, banana pieces with cinnamon butter, toffee syrup and powdered sugar, browned on the griddle. And for the truly glutenous like yours truly, you can add a side order of bacon (60). Saddlebags (180) was pancakes with bacon in them, served with chicken sausages, fried eggs and maple syrup and made me wonder why its taken me until this year to eat bacon-laced pancakes.
Social Breakfast Trays (250/280), insane amounts of food (and a beverage) packed into a large wooden tray, come in a variety of options, from English breakfast to a healthy option to a couple Indianized. Achmed’s Mezze Platter (280) was quite good and a hearty good meal for a vegetarian – it is served on a thali, with metal bowls of Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh and Falafel. One of the group had The Sausage Fest (350), grilled pork and chicken sausages served with mashed potato and gravy – really yum and a very hearty portion, made for sharing, as much of the Social menu is.
From the Pita Sliders section, we chose the Thai Sweet Chilli Fish Bao (180) which was a big hit – the prawn crackers deserve special mention, and the dish had the requisite Thai flavors, perfectly balanced. The Anda Shammi S/W (120) is a must try for any Shammi kebab lover. It came as two mini pav sliders, with folded fried eggs and fixings. As someone who knows her Shammi kebabs, let me tell ya – these are as good as my Mamma makes! The fries that came with one of the dishes was good, so we ordered a Mexican Poutine (220), house fries with Mexican toppings though we were too stuffed to do it justice. It will take a few more visits to get to even half the expansive menu, which has burgers, Social Dawgs, a range of mains, some Chinese and Sizzler dishes and a page long list of desserts which I eyed but had to decline, having taken in my dessert quota via Elvis’ favorite snack.
Social is already a hit, less than a month after its opened, which is no surprise given its affordability and the setting, as well as Bangaloreans’ constant love for the next new thing. My only complaint is that the service desperately needs pulling up by the socks – the second time I visited, they were out of bacon and tea, any kind of tea. On a Sunday morning?! That is just plain silly, and while one of the orders we placed came with bacon, my bacon on the side never made an appearance and after a couple of inquiries, we got the sorry all out response. I sure hope they sort their bigger than usual teething troubles, because the food is wonderful and the scattered goings on behind the scenes should not mar one’s experience.