Happy New Year everyone!
Back in 2007 with more....
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Happy New Year everyone!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I love Christmas even if I do tend to get maudlin. And the food is always excellent. Over the years, I’ve fallen into routine and been in Madras for Christmas as my Grandparents, from both sides, live there but I wasn’t able to make it this year and hence will have to eat vicariously.
When my Grandfather was alive I have recollections of large Christmas parties with hundreds of people, two bars and a mahogany dining table that fair protested under the sheer weight of food. And what a spread it was.
Post-Church breakfast, on Christmas day, was always appam and chicken stew, with a side of egg roast. And dinner, that followed the massive lunch (detailed below), is almost always from Buharis or Blue Diamond. Buharis, being past its prime (even if it did create the original Chicken 65, chicken kebab was item number 65 on their menu and no other explanation is valid.) has more or less given way to the fabulous Sri Lankan Muslim food from Blue Diamond, egg and kheema parathas, ghee parathas, mutton kurma, kotthu paratahas…oh, so good.
Yes, so on with lunch. Us being Mallu, there’d have to be some food from “Our Land”, usually a chicken curry, beef fry, fish fry, red fish curry, two vegetables, papad and some pickle, and the ‘Continental’ side would feature roast turkey, roast chicken, duck if we were lucky, glazed leg of ham, sausages, roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Russian salad, bread rolls and crumb fried fish. The menu almost never changed, and still remains the same, except for one year when the Grandmother decided that a roast pig would be a good addition. Minor variations are allowed, some years we have smoked salmon and the Mallu food is prone to change. But the basic nature of the buffet remains unchanged, to this day. Dessert is always a steamed Christmas pudding (with a silver coin in it, for one lucky soul to wish upon.), served with brandy butter, lemon juice and Bosoto Brother’s cream (cream so thick you could invert the tub and it wouldn’t fall.)
This year, being in Bangalore and not having access to my traditional meal, I dined at Sunny’s. They had a set menu, which featured a French onion soup or a pumpkin and apple soup (both were good. Thought the latter could have used more spice to hide the overbearingly sweet base.), starters of smoked salmon rolls, fried nori shrimp, Vietnamese rolls and grilled Shitake mushrooms (all of them, barring the rolls were very good.), a salad of warm goats cheese, green apples and romaine (a fabulous paring but rocket would have worked even better.), a pomegranate sorbet (excellent. But obviously made from juice and hence maybe a little too sweet.) and a main course of turkey served with a sweet potato puree, stuffing and cranberry jelly. (I'm betting that it was a Butterball turkey. Not bad, but I like mine more flavorful, leg meat and all. Good gravy, I can't stand the cranberry jelly, and the whole thing was too nouveau with the sweet potato crap. I wanted roast potatoes. Stuffing was okay, but politically correct as it had chicken sausage and no organ meat) Unfortunately, there was no glazed leg of ham. And the X'mas pudding was more a cake. And no cream and piddlingly little brandy butter.
But for the company, I’d rather have been in Madras.
So, what did you eat for Christmas?
Posted by blr bytes at 10:42 AM
Monday, December 25, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Last night a bunch of us went to Opus for the Christmas edition of their weekly Booze & Brains quiz. Didn't eat much apart from some all too fishy fish fingers and potato wedges.
Mark Rego managed to get atleast one question wrong, or so I firmly believe. Where is Tabasco sauce made? His answer was Mexico. Mine was the USA. He claims it's made only in Mexico and bottled in many countries, India included. I'm pretty sure he's wrong. On both counts.
A few pictures below of the special Christmas food counter Opus has set up with grilled chicken, turkey, duck and quail; roast leg of lamb and pork; baked pork rolls and glazed legs of ham, prawns and live crabs. All looks very good and maybe someone who's tried it can let me know if it's any good?
And for the record, we came third.
Posted by blr bytes at 9:46 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Bangalore features twice, once with this gem from "gourmet writer Ajit Saldanha" who remarks on the rise of these expensive dining haunts thus:
"I call it trophy dining. If you've got it and don't flaunt it, well, what's the point?"
Posted by blr bytes at 4:38 PM
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Hey! You! Yes, you dear reader!
Now that I've got your attention can I ask you to direct it to our Link Blog? Go on, take a look at it and you'll find the most interesting reads such as:
Heck, and that's just for this week! Go on, read it, or better yet, subscribe to it.
You know you want to...
Posted by blr bytes at 3:58 PM
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Our evening began at Windsor Pub where the beer was accompanied by the usual 'snackes' followed by a short detour to, ummm, build appetite as it were.
So there, my review. Finally. Feel free to disagree/agree/comment below. I'd love to hear from you. As an aside, what's with the bombastic names? Imperial? Empire? Paramount?
Posted by blr bytes at 9:54 AM
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
But then, it's only about the food. And good God, it's incredible with one disclaimer, you need to be a carnivore, failing which, a poultry-vore.
Richies is on MM Road, about half way down. Hard to miss. But do go.
Posted by blr bytes at 10:12 PM
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Spencer's (the erstwhile Food World) has a very interesting looking Delicatessen (Deli, you say?) on their premises. One chiller has a wide range of cheeses.
While the other has a variety of chicken and pork sausages and other assorted cold meats. They're predominantly from the Keells stable, a Sri Lankan brand. And they're pretty damn good.
Posted by blr bytes at 8:31 PM
"a discount of 15% on your ... entire bill, including [their] nice cocktails in the cocktail lounge."Run, don't walk and make a reservation.
Oh, and congratulations!
Posted by blr bytes at 5:33 PM
Monday, December 11, 2006
But they look funny undressed! Then again, so do most of us...
We must protest this base objectification of our bodies. We must ask for more realistic portrayals of the male body.
"...that people of both sexes reckon the sexual competition they face is stronger than it really is."Take that you immobile mannequin!
Posted by blr bytes at 6:13 PM
Sunday, December 10, 2006
We started with a cured beef and rice paper rolls with roast duck, the former being outstandingly good while the latter suffered solely on account of the paper being far thicker than ideal. The main courses were a Burmese Lamb Stew served with Noodles and the usual accompaniments, a Grilled Beef with a Soya Sabayon and Steamed Sea Bass with Basil and Mango Relish. The entrees were, and I'm being repetitive, fabulous. Balance, flavour, colour; plated Asian food works at this restaurant. And how!
Dessert was far less exciting than the rest of the meal but still very good on its own merits. A Peach Cobbler with Kiwi Coulis and a Chocolate Almond Mud Pie.
Posted by blr bytes at 4:44 PM
Saturday, December 09, 2006
But first, when I say VAT what number do you think of? 4%? 12.5%? Chances are, it'll be one of the two as it's the two most familiar numbers we have come to associate with the VAT charged in our fair Bangalore.
Now, think back to your last meal and recollect what the VAT component was. Did they charge you 4% VAT? Or 12.5 VAT? Or did they sneakily charge you a 12.5% "Service Charge"? The trouble is, if we see 12.5 on the bill and it's vaguely associated with the words Service or Tax or VAT or Charge we, subconsciously, write it off as a tax.
Today, after lunching at Tangerine, the bill showed a Service Charge of 12.5% and when I inquired, they stated that it was 4% VAT and and an 8.5% Service Charge. How bloody convenient. And now I'm left wondering how many restaurants pull this stunt with patrons being none the wiser.
And while on the subject of tipping, isn't it pathetic how badly Indians tip? There aren't too many people I know who decide the tip amount based on the bill value but rather on some perceived notions of charity and personal vanity. Leave 10%, at minimum and up to a maximum of 20%, if you're happy with the service calculated on the pre-tax amount.
Leave a comment. Let me know.
Update: MadMan points me to an old post of his where he states:
I also would like to mention that 80% of guests are unbelievably lousy tippers. The other 20% are the saving grace. When I see a Rs. 19 tip for a bill of Rs. 1581, I feel sad, even though I don't keep a cent for myself. Please be nice... tip in the region of 10% if the service was good. You will be remembered. Keep a cap of Rs. 200 if you want so you don't need to leave Rs. 500 for a bill of Rs. 5000.
Posted by blr bytes at 4:53 PM
Friday, December 08, 2006
If you vote for "Somewhere Else", please leave us a comment and let us know where.
Posted by blr bytes at 12:56 PM
It's a funny feeling to exit the lift on the 3rd floor of the Bombay Store only to be accosted by wait-staff from Tiger Bay, which has given up half their floor space to Maya if not more (and that's a good thing. The only thing they've ever offered me was a bout of serious gastric distress.), asking and then pleading with you to dine at their now-emasculated-dining-establishment. It's easy enough to refuse and I headed to Maya.
At Maya, we had a few drinks, my Caipiroska was good, the Mojito wasn't a patch on the one I have at Shiok and the fruit flavoured Margaritas were a tad too sweet. Their snacks menu is small, both in size and content, and it matches the size of the portions which are minuscule. Then again, the prices are most reasonable. The food was good and much enjoyment was had by all.
As for dinner, by popular vote, we landed up at Imperial. I can't say that I was disappointed. Oh, and the highlight of the evening was when two dining companions, both Empire fans, exclaimed, with much delight, that the kebabs were far superior and that they wouldn't be going back to Empire any time soon. Score one for the home team!
Does anyone know what was happening on Brigade Road? A demolition? A renovation?
Posted by blr bytes at 9:38 AM
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Some links for you compulsive eater-outers:
"Bangalore Belly is a blog about eating out in Bangalore. I am not an expert foodie but I love eating out and am always looking out for exciting restaurants in Bangalore. If you want some tips on what to do for lunch, dinner or dessert, read on! And don’t forget to tell me about your favourite places in Bangalore to eat and drink."
"Burrp! is a fun and easy way to check out and share reviews and recommendations about establishments in your city and your neighborhood" started when "...five buddies traveled to Mumbai one December, they found it very difficult to just find the right places to go to. Hotel concierges were of some help, but they were probably getting kickbacks to drop certain establishment names. Professional journalists and reviewers had nothing in common with us. What did the people of Mumbai actually think? Walking around asking people wasn’t the best way to get those answers. We all thought, this city really needs…Burrp!"
Sig Food, Bangalore
Sig Food @ Ryze
"SIGFood stands for Special Interest Group in Food. What that means is pretty obvious. The idea is very simple - explore a new good food joint as often as possible. Sometimes budget is a concern, sometimes we just let go."
And in other good news, Anonymous Foodie is back, after many many months, with his take on Kaati Zone.
Posted by blr bytes at 1:35 PM
Voting on the site isn't easy and requires registration . So follow this link, sign up and vote. An alternative, and easier, way to vote is to send an SMS with "TAJ" to 6767 and it'll cost you a maximum of three rupees. (within India only. For other countries check here.)
Oh, and vote even if you believe it was a temple and called Tejo Mahalaya as Mr. PN Oaks believes. The name has hint of Caucasian credibility, does it not? Till you realize that PN stands for Purushottam Nagesh and that he's previously claimed the Vatican, the Pyramids and the Stonehenge as Hindu constructions.
So yes, vote. By the internets or by the phone. But vote.
Posted by blr bytes at 11:13 AM
Monday, December 04, 2006
A few pictures from the trip, please click on them to view them full size, and two videos that will appeal to the power hungry, male readers.
A long-ish video of my boat ride from the Kottayam Sailing Club to the Mankotta House. Dang, it was fast, at 60 MPH!
Posted by blr bytes at 11:22 AM
Landed up at this place at 10:20 last night.
(Why? Well, a couple of my friends said they'd buy me birthday drinks at Geoffrey's last night. Was there from 8:30 to 9:40. Got serious sticker shock - Rs. 450 for Long Island Iced Tea - and watered down cocktails, and then my friends dropped a "we have to work tomorrow so we have to leave now" bomb. So had to quickly phone around to see who was available. Only one dude, who happened to be at Le Rock.)
Right, so drove to Le Rock and met my friend. Decided to go upstairs and have a drink or two. Ordered a Black Russian and later a Banana Martini. Both arrived in 90 ml liqueur martini-shaped glasses, which was odd. (In other words, not a lot of booze in there.) Cost was about Rs. 250 each.
For starters, ordered a "seafood basket" for Rs. 200, and while the prawns had a bit too much batter, the dish as a whole was surprisingly good. It came with a lot of fries and potato wedges too, which my vegetarian friend happily ate. Everything was well-seasoned and not greasy, which made me happy. The waiter seemed awfully keen to push the "tandoor" items on us, so I'm guessing it didn't sell too well that day.
Alas, at 10:40, the waiter bloke came and told us "last order", which surprised both of us (but I know the cop action in that area is harsh, which probably explains it.)
I wanted to order some main course, and was told that much of the main course section was unavailable, and once again was persuaded to try the "tandoor" dishes, and he finally recommended the "grill chicken", which turned out to be a chicken tikka redesigned. Except that it was hideous. I could taste little except for raw chilli.
The lights came on at 11 PM and 10 minutes after that, everyone was rushed to finish up. Our waiter even told us that he'd pack my friend's beer in a takeaway container if he wanted (there was half a bottle left.)
The place had emptied out at 11:25 PM.
Total cost - Rs. 1211 - for:
1 Mixed seafood basket
1 Chicken tikka aka grilled chicken
(There is a 5% service charge added to bills.)
I like the big plasma screens and the sound quality is definitely good, though the music was a tad too loud (personal bias disclosure: I'm not a fan of loud music.)
And hey, I didn't have to shell out Rs. 325 per chicken dish like at Geoffrey's. (3 drinks and 3 starters there were about Rs. 2200.)
Posted by blr bytes at 10:45 AM
As a wedding location it is stunning. However, it does have one drawback. Nine levels of steps that can be treacherous when you've imbibed more than your fair share. And when it's dark, it's downright scary. The food was simple, but very good. The views National Geographic-esque and even more pretty at night. They put on a wonderful fireworks display and the place was decorated with flowers of every hue. It was wonderful.
Go! Go! eM, do you hear me?
Posted by blr bytes at 8:53 AM
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Following Chamique's take, I did a few touristy things in Delhi. Like riding the Metro and gawking like wide eyed villagers at the progress our Capital has made, breathing fresh, relatively unpolluted air that CNG has wrought and marveling at the history within the city. The sound and light show at the Red Fort was worth every paise of the fifty rupees we paid. It's amazing how they've crammed Metro stations into places like Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar.
Lastly, never forget:
Posted by blr bytes at 10:55 PM
Friday, December 01, 2006
...is back. And you can get your passes at these locations.
It's a pity we no longer associate the word habba with Vasantahabba, but Bengalooru Habba (Other than Dasara-habba, Gowri-Ganesha habba, Christmas-habba, etc., of course).
Anyway, it seems like there are no "mega-events" at Palace Grounds which, invariably, had one show choreographed by Prasad Bidappa, who, I guess is busy dropping names to get various family members away from the long arm of the law. But, the mega-events did have some pretty cool performers - everyone from Pt. Shivkmar Sharma and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan to Strings and Indian Ocean. Good stuff, that.
What we do have this year are, a lot of smaller events at Ravindra Kalakshetra and Chowdiah Memorial Hall, rather a lot more attention is being paid to these venues. The Food Festival should be investigated, though. Last year the food festival (which got it's footfalls from the mega-events) was jolada-roti types jostling with the Sagar-types.
No news of the Artistes' Walkway, which was amongst the coolest things about that week.
Will keep you posted on anything that might happen.
Posted by Dilettante at 1:54 PM