We the residents of Bangalore are blessed when it comes to weather. Except for a couple months when it can be really hot, the rest of the year the weather here is conducive to outdoor gatherings like BBQs. Thus it was that with much anticipation, our CaL Blogger’s Table gathered at ALiLA in Whitefield on a recent Friday evening for their BBQ night. This was an event where families were included, so some of the gang had husbands/kids in tow. Whitefield being well, the other end of the world from South Bangalore, and our driver for the evening deciding to take us on a tour of the city and its most traffic-ridden spots en route, we spent a good two hours in the car and were the last to arrive. Once hugs and greetings were exchanged, we got down to the business of eating and drinking to soothe our shattered nerves. A range of cocktails from Mojitos to Martinis came to the table: Pomegranate Martini, Cardamom Lemonade, Pineapple Mojito, Peach Daiquiri, Pina Colada, Strawberry and Chilli Martini, but unfortunately we found the flavor balance lacking in some. The Strawberry and Chilli Martini was the best amongst the lot (it packs a chilli and alcohol punch), and its not on the menu – having tried it on an earlier visit to ALiLA, I requested it for the table. There is also beer if you’d rather stick to something simple.
The food was all to be found outdoors (BBQ night is held downstairs, next to the Tiffin Room restaurant), where different grill stations had been set up. each calling out to the diner via a handwritten chalk board sign which announced its wares. There was one exclusively veg station, a salad station, an Arabian one, a Western station, a Tandoor one (with an assortment of chicken and paneer offerings) and one just for desserts. No prizes for guessing that I hung out at the Western and Arabic grills, though I tried and liked the grilled marinated beetroot and maple glazed sweet potatoes from the veg section and the bacon potato salad was a hit with us all. The Western grill offered some delicious meats, grilled to order and with delectable sauces. We enjoyed mini beef steaks, chicken and pork sausages, lamb chops, perfect chicken yakitori and Thai fish cakes, and the best Nasi Goreng I have eaten in India (comparable to what I ate when I lived in Jakarta). The Arabic grill offered koobideh kebabs, chicken kefta kebabs, grilled sardines with hara sauce, Arabic style chicken wings, along with pita and a vegetable Maklouba rice that I really loved.
In comparison, the dessert counter was sparse, with Mango Malpua, BBQ/grilled fruits, various ice creams and grilled cupcakes/muffins served with a variety of preserves (I was the only one from our group who really liked the muffins – loved the charred texture and flavor). The general feeling was that there needed to be more options, but kudos on being creative and serving grilled desserts. I was happy with the food and think it a very good deal, INR 1199 for unlimited food and drink! The place was packed, with guests of the hotel and Whitefield residents, alike. Clearly, this is a great concept that’s doing well. Given its popularity, I would recommend another hand at each station, since it, at times, took a while to get served one’s choice and I felt bad for the single person manning each station, and made us diners a tad grouchy having to wait, plate in hand. Still, overall, we had a lovely evening and there is plenty of space for the kids to run around and be noisy without causing other diners angst, and in this weather, it is quite the perfect way to unwind on a Friday evening.