Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shiok. 3.60/5.00

Aleph, his brother and I went to Shiok for lunch today. Speaking of today, was it hot or was it hot?

The trouble with Shiok is that it isn’t at eye level and can’t get much of a walk in crowd. The other problem is that it has the most uninspiring interiors. Gladly, the food more than makes up for it.

I had a soup to start with, minced chicken with celery. It was pretty good, light, with pok choy and some black mushrooms.

Our starters were drunken beef and a spiced fish grilled in banana leaf. The beef was immaculate, fiery yet complicated with hints of fish sauce. The beef in particular was excellent; I’d put money on the fact that it was either aged or mallet-ed with love. The basil was an excellent addition.

The spiced fish, while great in its own right, was a bit of a let down. Turned out to be more a cutlet (which had some coconut milk) wrapped in banana leaf and lightly grilled. It tasted superb, fresh fish some wonderful herbs and all, but still…the beef was in the klieg light.

Main course was a coral and jade prawn (coral being the prawn and the jade played by the broccoli) which was excellent, in particular the soy sauce used, a Thai chilly beef, again the beef had me singing, and the cracked pepper went well with the chilly, an Indonesian style stir-fried noodles (which reminded me of Maggie noodles and not in a bad way. Just that it was wheat based and cooked in some broth of sorts, just like Maggie noodles!) and a chilli-basil fried rice that had me searching for the chilly and the basil. The fried rice was good, I like the smoky flavour, intentional or not but the abject lack of basil and chilly was disappointing.

Desserts were an unmitigated disaster. A chocolate mousse cake that tasted and looked like a generous portion of Niligiris icing, a Tiramisu that tasted of nothing (quite literally, like chewing on air!) and a blueberry cheesecake that was strangely anesthetized of any traces of blueberry or cheesecake.

They do magnificent things with seafood and beef, the rice and noodles can be a trifle disappointing (so stick with white rice is my suggestion.) and at all costs, avoid dessert! That and the wait-staff can be a tad over-zealous.

Coca Cola

I couldn't find the Indian version of this tv advert. This one is a Latin American version, if you could substitute "Cricket" for all "Football" references and "Chakkhe" for "Goaaaal" you pretty much have the ad as shown here. You need to have the sound on for this and then click the big "Play" button. Cute, what?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Where Do We Dine On The 2nd?

Awright, poll time again!

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Restaurant Reviews via Rediff. Part III

Brahmin's Coffee Bar


Unfortunately, I have not heard of the first place. Have you? Comments?

The second place, well, do I need to say much? :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Be Safe.

Munnabhai and I chased this bus all the way from Ulsoor to Krishnarajapuram just to get this picture for you dear reader. Mind it!

We earlier went for a stand up comic show at ZeroG (which was hilarious in the most perverse sense!) when we saw this. After all the fudgepacking jokes belted out by Phil Nichol.....damn! It be funny!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Road Trip. 2.25/5.00

Aleph and I decided that our occasional workweek lunch was in order today. I thought I’d club it with a hajaam visit at Mirrors & Within followed by lunch at Cha Bar but decided against it, couldn’t bear to sit for the requisite thirty minutes it takes.

So, then, picked Aleph up and headed towards Indiranagar in search of food. Choices were Cha Bar (ruled out since the haircut was off the cards.), Treat (didn’t feel like heavy Indian food.), Take 5 (propensity to be closed at inopportune times.), Annachi (the trauma is too great to sit through office after.), Herbs & Spice (would have been once too often.), The Beach (yeah, right!), 100 ft. (hmmmmm.) and finally landed up at Road Trip.

The place was pretty empty for a Friday afternoon but we were undeterred. For those of you who have not been there it has a very strong biker oriented theme, which is nice if a bit overwhelming. Bikes in the walls, on the tables and strange lighting fixtures, to wit:
I can’t see it being very functional and doubt it discharges sufficient light at night. But then, given the food, you may not really want to see what you are eating.

We shared a plate of fish nuggets as a starter. While we were expecting breaded white fish flakes, what we got was week-old fish in some sort of egg wash and fried to a crisp. To be fair, the texture was good, crunchy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. It’s just the fish that I take objection to. Served with some unrecognizable variant of tartare sauce that turned out to be a rather wishy-washy mayonnaise with onion.

Aleph ordered a fish with lemon-butter-and-parsley and I (in anticipation of my impending conversion to ovo-lacto-pesce-vegetarianism) had the beef stroganoff. I get lots of grief for ordering the stroganoff, whether it is at Only Place, Casa Picola or Sunny’s on grounds that it is no better than a curry-rice combination. That has never been truer than at Road Trip. It was an abomination of an excuse for a stroganoff more like a Mallu curry with rice. All that was missing was the ubiquitous pappadum. It wasn’t bad for a curry but it was horrid as a stroganoff. No cream, no sour cream, no onions, nada. Stick to the chicken stroganoff with rice at Only Place. Aleph’s fish was a debacle on a similar scale. Icky fish, no signs of the rumored lemon-butter-and-parsley sauce and covered in some unrecognizable goopy potato concoction, boiled fettuccine drenched in soy cream, I could go on but then I’d have to ponder the meal all over again.
Dessert, which I hoped would save grace, was a choice of coffee or vanilla ice cream. Coffee it was, turned out to be a frozen version of Southern Railways coffee. Sickly sweet with a hint of caramelization, a pale milky imitation of coffee.

This place doesn’t really have much going for it. Someone put it out of its misery and pull the trigger already! Leave a comment if you disagree. Heck, leave a comment if you agree!

P.S. The only good reason, to shop at Namdari nearby. Which is a story in itself, organic my ass!

Update: Upped the rating from 1.50 to 2.25. Maybe I was a bit too harsh and hasty.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Diddy Gowda feat. HDK

Hi Bengaluru! has to be at the cutting-edge of pop culture references. The cover of last week's mag says "Hodi Maga, Kadi Maga" with father and son duo Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy.

Translated literally it means "Hit Son, Chop Son" and is from the hit film Jogi starring Shivraj (the venerable Doc's eldest son).

Sugar Daddy

So there I was eating by myself at Bhat's Canteen (aka Bhattre Canteen) and decided to do dessert also. "Ondu jamun-ice".

A small bowl containing gulab jamun floating in the sweetest sugar syrup known to mankind with a scoop (spoonful, actually) of ice-cream and some 10 slices of banana (local flavour). One spoonful in your mouth is like a sugar bomb going off. *ka-boom*

Must find healthier ways to gain weight so people I meet (usually at at weddings) don't say I look thin.

Cast Iron Stomach

Alpeh sent me this link to a very interesting article on strange food. I, of course, have to put down what I have eaten from the list.

Guinea Pig – Unfortunately not.
Veal Testicles – Oh yeah! Hell ya! Rocky Mountain Oysters is what they were called. [San Diego]
Spicy Beef Penis – It wasn’t spicy. The version I ate was cold, clammy and pickled. [Singapore]
Tongue Polonaise – Used to have an Anglo-Indian classmate who’d bring the best tongue sandwiches. Also available at Lusitania Cold Store. [Bangalore]
Braised Smothered Chitlins – Yes. Unfortunately I have. Give me regular tripe in green peppers any day. [East Central Los Angeles]
Pig Foot Milanese – Yes, but it was more knuckles and trotters. Absolutely fabulous. [New Orleans]
Balut (Fertilized Duck Eggs With Embryo) – Yes. Better than you’d imagine so long as you dip in Nam Pla. Other comestibles ingested simultaneously were spiders, lizards and scorpions. [Bangkok]
Les Rognons De Veau À La Moutarde (Kidneys) – Yes, but tava fried with masala. Also available at Bombay Kebabs as is brain, liver and udder. [Bangalore]
Duck Tongues In Wine Sauce – Nope. Duck/Goose liver pate, yes. [Bangalore]
Chicken Assholes – It’s technically the vent. And it fries very well, it’s only fat. Also yummy is chicken feet curry which is a Tamilian speciality. [Bangalore]

What is the weirdest food you’ve eaten? And squid tentacles don’t count.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Problem Of Evil

Two thousand years ago, God sent down his son. He was a good man who preached compassion and forgiveness, he even died on the cross to teach us the true way of God. But it didn't work. Religions fought with each other over their own interpretations of Christ's teachings. They got in the way of faith. It no longer became an issue of free will but of power and guilt. Where's the free will in a priest saying "Do what I tell you to do or you'll go to Hell?" That isn't free will, that's obeying orders because you fear punishment.

Priests are only men anyway. They don't care about understanding God-they care about building power in this world. But God doesn't want vast churches and adoration. He's not that kind of father. He wants us, His most ambitious creation, to come of age and no longer need Him.

We have always believed in God, our God, who created Mankind in his own image to worship Him. An all-powerful, all-knowing, compassionate God. However, we have always been troubled by what the philosophers call the Problem of Evil. Given all the evil in the world, how can an all-powerful, all-knowing, merciful God exist? Either God knows about evil, cares about it, but can't do anything about it-in which case he is not all-powerful, or he cares about it, can do something about it, but doesn't know what to do about it-in which case he is not all-knowing, or he knows about it, can do something about it, but doesn't care about it-in which case he is neither merciful nor compassionate.

We have always believed this inconsistency by believing that out powerful, omniscient, benign God allowed evil in the world to give us, his greatest creation, the gift of free will. To trust us with the ability and opportunity to choose between good and evil, even in the face of our harshest trials and tribulations. Is the truth so simple that it should have been obvious? After all, what God would create Man simply to worship Him? What Supreme Being could be so vain, so petty?

Perchance there is no Problem of Evil because God did not create us to worship Him. We always assumed God created a perfect ordered world-an Eden-then introduced the serpent of evil to test us. But maybe this isn't true. Maybe our Lord created an evil world then introduced good and the natural state in this world and the next is chaos-entropy. That evil is the normal way of the world, and good was only introduced as a capricious whim; God only created us to enhance his amusement and that is the sole reason for our existence. Where our God allows us to climb higher and higher, believing in virtue and goodness and honor, only to dash us down with random acts of evil. Conceivably, there is no heaven, only arbitrary suffering. Life beyond death could be as cruel and random as life on earth-except that it is eternal. That there is no escape. No karma. No justice. No Elysian fields where the good may find peace after a hard life. That the Soul Truth, is that God-the God we dedicated our lives on earth to-doesn't exist.

Or, perhaps this is all to prove once and for all that God doesn't exist. That only the Devil holds sway. Only then could mankind outgrow the shackles of religion and develop its own sense of right and wrong-true free will. After all, one can only make a truly virtuous choice when there's no promise of reward. So this will be God's gift to us, to erase himself from our consciousness. That's what his son tried to explain. Living a good life is its own is its own reward - at death each individual will experience his own Soul Truth.

But no one listened.

Updated 22.04.06

Religion from South Park

"...you see, it's our tears, Stan, that give God his great power."

Monday, February 20, 2006


When the BJP government came into power in Karnataka, I wondered whether they would portray a kinder, gentler face, hoped even. Current events have betrayed such optimism.

Down in the village a church that has synergistically coexisted for a good ten years or so with the locals was attacked last evening by BJP goons from as far afield as Banashankari. The charge was forced proselytism. I, for one, find that very hard to believe. They run a school, which is denominational but imparted a quality education without discrimination to all that applied. They run a church, which is hardly criminal. I guess their fault was being Christian (or non-Hindu) and adding value to society in which they functioned. I can see how that threatens hierarchy.

And so it begins...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Not Bangalore International Airport Anymore

The original post has been deleted as they were pictures of the Dubai Airport. Sorry.

In its place, here is another picture. Identify the location. Clue: Shakes, Bakes & Steaks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Poll Time!

Where do we eat this weekend? We might even do a review!

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We reserve the right to ask the Supreme Court to intervene!

Update: Went to Zync. Will post a full review after our second visit. Suffice to say there was enough to keep us interested. Recluse ought to be happy.


So I was sitting at the new Coffee Day on Nandidurg Road nursing a Cappuccino awaiting a Police Clearance Certificate for my brother (those of you who know must wonder how he qualifies for one but I digress...) when I noticed they now bring the bill along with your order.
This is the explanation given. Me thinks it is a great way to turn-around tables quicker and cut down on the dilly-dalliers. Can you imagine the furore if Koshys tried a similar stunt? The protests that greeted their short-lived experiment in changing the sugar bowls was loud enough, this would cause tumult!

With this new logic, Coffee Day has no good reason to call themselves a coffee house anymore. Then again, they never did.

The real story however, was unfolding on the road ahead. Keep in mind Nandidurg Road is a one-way down towards Millers Road. Two girls on a scooter were motoring along and go past Coffee Day when it strikes them, “Damn! There be a Coffee Day here now?! Let's go!”. So they not only cut across two lanes of traffic but also against the flow of traffic causing much confusion and frustrated horn-blowing in their wake. The villain of the piece, a gentleman on a motorbike, has to brake at the last possible second to avoid collision, whereupon he remarks, “Iddu one way madaaam.” The ladies cannot seem to stand being challenged so they scream a few un-printables at him. He is unwilling to accept fault, poor guy he committed no fault, so says something to this effect, “Please don't be shouting, it was your fault and not mine. Don't be making angry!” The ladies seem to take this as open season and tear into him with the “Don't harrass women and don't you have sisters/mother/wife line.” The chap seeing he was outnumbered and outclassed stays mum and leaves. Now this is what really upset me, the ladies then say, “Damn, we be kicking his arse good! Oh, lets chase him and make more trouble for him!” and get on their bike and proceed to give chase. I did not witness the end to the incident.

A uterus is no substitute for a conscience.

I can't help but think I committed a crime of omission too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

T&C Islands

Provo claims this is the Bar at his hotel....

My question, what bar?

From SI

Maybe it is
after all, you decide.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine Day Special

Seen @ Brigade Road. Ladies, do we need this in Bangalore?

Update: This "opinion" was too funny to pass up on. The explanations (in brackets) are particularly pointed. Gacked from CobraSpray.

It's official

Random girl at the gym says,
"Do you go out quite a lot? Think I've seen you at a few places."

I really shouldn't go out that often.

Peace Out!

Saw this post on I Am No VIP and then saw an article (Press release really, Medianet.) in the ToI that listed the players in the ongoing tennis tournament in Bangalore and the object of their admiration.

  1. Aiko Nakamura: Admires Monica Seles
  2. Emma Laine: Admires Andre Agassi
  3. Mara Santagelo: Admires Martina Navratilova
  4. Jelena Kostanic: Admires Goran Ivasinevic
  5. Melinda Czink: Admires Boris Becker

and our very own Sania Mirza admires.....?

.....Mahatma Gandhi of course.

And they say Indians lack a killer instinct!

More on the Mania

The Green Dichotomy

I find it interesting that groups who opposed the imposition of global labour and environmental standards on the Indian agricultural sector are inaudible over the present voluntary, self-inflicted request for similar standards in the ship-breaking industry.

1st-world rules in a 3rd-world country will necessitate the loss of 3rd-world jobs.

Update: Seems the Greens won. The ship is headed back.


..which one is my car. Prizes will be given for the right answer.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I'm missing something... :-)

Love In A Hurry

Looks like Speed Dating is the flavour of the season. Two events have been announced over the last few days, one at Spinn and another at Alibi.

If you’ve been for such an event, please do let us know what it was like.

Reminds me of another game, Speed Seduction (Ross Jeffries), that a friend from college used to play. He claimed it was most effective!

I have my doubts.

Update: Radiocity is runing a spot for a Close Up sponsored Speed Date on the 14th.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Gratuitous Subservience

George Bush will not visit Mahatma Gandhi's Samadhi at New Delhi's Raj Ghat during his forthcoming visit to India as “…[his] born again faith precludes his visiting Mahatma Gandhi's Samadhi …[and] Mr. Bush…mumbled something about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ views cremation as a pagan practice.”

Seemingly, he isn’t the first to cite personal religious beliefs as a reason to abstain. “Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…broke a hallowed tradition of paying homage at Raj Ghat observed by every foreign leader…[and] indicated that a visit to the Mahatma's memorial would violate the principles of his faith. By inference, India's current head of State President A P J Abdul Kalam should be guilty of sacrilege for his many visits to the Samadhi.”

More @ Rediff

Thursday, February 09, 2006


A very cute replacement for the usual sugar-in-a-packet and spoon combination.

Sugar & Spice @ Taj Residency

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

India Uncut On Food, Part III

Namak Mandi

"It's vegetarian hell. Carcasses of dead animals are strung up everywhere, and you can take your pick."
Sounds like my kinds place!


Dilettante and I decided to meet at KFC for dinner (no review. We couldn’t bring ourselves to do one!). Junk food is a must, even if only once a month.
On the way, saw this beauty on Dickenson Road. A car park right under a “No Parking” sign. Heh.
Apparently when you enter Commercial Street you also enter a new legal zone, one where freedom of speech is muzzled.
And one where an air-conditioned shop is apparently a guarantee of honesty!
This used to be the best place of gulab-jaumuns in Bangalore, Madjos might even say India.
However, as with all things in Bangalore, it’s out with the old and…
…in with the new!
But some things don’t change, thankfully. It’s 5 bucks a piece now.
They also do some strange purification ritual at closing time. With incense, cleared my sinuses up pronto too!
Thanks to Dilettante I now have a new early morning hobby, even if it is an expensive one. I didn’t think I would like the game but there is some satisfaction in being able to hit an itty-bitty ball straight and true over a 100 yards.

Recluse sent me this link that details the current controversy over depictions of the Prophet. There is also a rather heated debate on at Sepia Mutiny. Freedom of speech? What’s your take?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wan Ley Lunch and Sue's Kitchen Dessert 3.14/4.00

Wan Ley opened more than 12 years ago in a small space in Lakshmipuram. Back in the day when I was giving Bangalore Bytes and Gujju directions to the place the conversation went like so

Gujju: "So where is it?"
Me: "Just beyond Ulsoor in Lakshmipuram, behind the graveyard...."
Gujju: "Let's go elsewhere"

I did manage to take them there after repeated assurances that the dead meat they were eating wasn't from the compound behind the restaurant's.

Last week, Recluse, Dibyo, BB and I did lunch at Wan Ley on Krishna Temple Road in Indiranagar (they moved about 3 km away from the graveyard). It's always been a comfortable-fall back reassuring kinda place. The interiors and cutlery are all rather spartan. The man running the place, Thomas, is always behind the counter with a warm smile on his face. The food is simple and uncomplicated with consistent quality. Everyone has a favourite Indian Chinese place, this is mine.

Soups were ordered, Chicken Wonton for Dibyo and me and Hot(?) Corn Chicken for BB and Recluse.

Dibyo and BB also polished off one Pork-something. Guessing it was good.

Main course was simple enough, Egg Rice and Veg Noodles accompanied by Hunan Chicken. Chung's has better soup but overall I feel Wan Ley is better and is good value for money.

After that, we sauntered across the road to getoffurass and checked out some adventure gear including this evil looking stainless steel machete. Nice.

Dibyo then ran off to work and for various reasons the 3 of us decided not to :-)

Dessert was had at Sue's Kitchen. 4 desserts for 3 people. Pineapple upside-down, Chocolate truffle, some nutty cake and Rum cake. That Rum cake was soaked in rum. Yo-ho-ho.

Resolution #1: Write reviews the same day as the meal, so I'll remember what I've eaten, photographs notwithstanding.

ICH Secret Revealed!

Have you ever wondered how they manage to get the scrambled eggs at India Coffee House so creamy and fluffy? Have you been vexed by the watery remains from their scrambled eggs? Fret not. I have the answer! Finally, after years searching for the answer, I stumbled upon it today.

And the answer is (drum roll please…) Poached Scrambled Eggs.

I tried it today and they came out superbly!

Image from Swanksalot

Monday, February 06, 2006

Anupam's Coastaal Express. 3.95/5.00

Had lunch on Sunday with the folks. In preparation for the Lenten season we decided seafood was the order of the day and chose Anupam's Coastaal Express over Fishland only for prosaic considerations of access. Both restaurants are fabulous with the latter having a slight edge on account of their prawn biriyani, which is a gem to behold.
They serve these crisp fried rice cracker like thing to start with and some jackfruit papadums, free and yummy!
We then had some butter garlic squid (fresh, and done to perfection. Not too much garlic, buttery with a tad too much pepper), rava fried kane (brilliantly done. And fresh, as is all their seafood.) and a masala fried pomfret (which was similarly fabulous.)
Main course was a crab masala (a bit anemic these crabs were.), prawn curry with neer dosa and pundu (the rice balls. Think I have the name all wrong. ). The crab and prawn were superbly done, with the delicate flavour of that pink kokum they use. Nothing was allowed to overpower the freshness and flavour of the seafood. The neer dosa were perhaps too thick but the rice balls are superb for sopping up gravy with.

No dessert, though they do have a wonderful raagi mane.

If you go, order the ghee roast chicken. It will change your opinion of chicken and spice.

Citrus Breakfast Buffet. 3.85/4.00

In spite of my best efforts, I managed to wake up at 5:30 AM on Sunday. Dilettante called to see if we could get breakfast at ICH (India Coffee House, for the uninitiated.) but I had promised Trixie that we’d do a Leela brekker before she left Down Under. I am a morning person but she isn’t, so after much cajoling we settled to meet at 8:15.
The Leela Sunday Brunch is now a Bangalore Institution but their breakfast buffet is pretty good and great value for money. They have an awesome array of breads, fresh fruit, juices, cold cuts, other meats and a whole a la carte menu as well. The cold cuts were pretty good, salami and the other usual suspects of a chicken loaf and some parma ham. They also have smoked salmon, which is nice with eggs, cream cheese and some chives.
Their bread selection is outstanding. All of them freshly baked. My only complaint is that they don’t use Amul butter. That’s they butter we all grew up on and is so the best butter in the world!
Featured on my plate is a Berliner (of JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” fame.), which is a cream, filled donut of sorts, an apple and cinnamon brioche and a blueberry danish. All of them outstanding. Not too sweet for breakfast, fresh and warm even.
We then had some blueberry pancakes with melted butter and maple syrup. Exceptional. The only let down is that it isn’t real maple syrup, you’d think the Leela could spring for the real stuff.
I had a fried egg which is served with grilled potato, tomato and asparagus with a chicken sausage and some baked beans. They are politically correct to a fault, no bacon or pork sausages on the buffet. Maybe one needs to ask for it. They also do super omelets of the rolled over type, not the French soufflé or the Indian chappati type!
Some cheese and fruit to round off the meal. They do, surprisingly, serve some stinky (yet so so good) French cheeses at this early hour. Blue and Camembert might be a wee but too strong for breakfast, what?

For the brave, try the Japanese miso soup along with the fried rice and grilled mackerel. Yes, they eat that for breakfast!

Coffee and tea to round the meal off.

One of my favorite expensive breakfasts in Bangalore!