Plan B’s Burger Fest

What does one do when their favorite burger joint in town has a festival that’s basically an ode to the burger, featuring 21 different burgers with influences from many different places? Well if that someone is me, then you head to said place as many times as possible to savor the deliciousness! I have long maintained that Plan B’s burgers are the best – the flavors, the portion size, the fillings, and of course, all that bacon and beef. Their burgers are the closest I have gotten in India to the gourmet burgers I would eat at various restaurants and pubs in the US. That they have fantastic cocktails as well is a plus!

 

They have now upped their burger game with a month long burger fest that features 21 new burgers – yup, you read that right – 21! And fear not, the options cover every spectrum from vegetarian to chicken, seafood, and full on red meat eaters. Having been part of a large table to taste the burgers, I was able to try pretty much everything on the menu. The fact that they have both slider and full size options is great, though be warned, when Plan B says slider, its more like what fast food chains hand out as full size burgers! We ordered slider portions and asked for Wedges on the side, and yes, each of our burgers came with a flag bearing our name – perks of being a part of “The Official Tasting Crew”! Now with such a range, it is kind of hard to pinpoint favorites, but there are three that I ordered the next time I went, and will be going back to eat again, before the fest concludes on the 18th of March.

 

The Belgian Waffle Pork Burger won my heart as much for the BBQ pulled pork as for the actual waffle, for the batter of said waffle was a spiced Southern biscuit one, which gave the waffle incredible texture and taste. I have also always been a blue cheese gal, so the Black and Blue which comes with a liberal dousing of Blue Cheese sauce, made me all kinds of happy. And then there was the unique combo – the Clam and Bacon Burger, which was a definite ode to the Po Boys from the American south. A generous portion of crispy fried clams and even crisper bacon – what’s not to love?! The Japanese Tonkatsu and Korean Pork Bulgogi Burger bring a touch of the Far East to the proceedings. The Surf and Turf Burger which has pulled chicken or pork and beer battered prawns, and the Baconator which is a minced bacon patty are decadent. The Zucchini Burger was a hit at our table of mostly staunch non vegetarians – that should say it all!

 

You’ve got a full two weeks to take advantage of the Plan B Burger Fest 2018, and you really should! The festival menu is available at all three of their outlets (Castle Street, Indiranagar, Shanthi Nagar) and the sliders are all well under INR 200 while the full sized burgers range between INR 348 and INR 448 plus taxes, and the latter come with wedges.

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Sea Rock: A Golden Oldie

I have developed quite the love for Mangalorean food over the last few years. This was a cuisine I had never tried until moving to Bangalore, and my first introduction was via the delectable neer dosa. A Mangalorean best friend, visits to Mangalore, and a growing appreciation of seafood means that today, this cuisine is one of my go-to choices when I want Indian food. I have eaten home style Mangalorean as well as at a range of restaurants across the city, and a good neer dosa and ghee roast make me a very contented gal.

My new favored spot in town is a golden oldie, if you will – Sea Rock, which bills itself as a family restaurant and bar. The restaurant has changed venue a few times in the thirty plus years of its existence, and has undergone transformations. But one thing it has always been known for, is its great seafood, especially Mangalore preps. And I have friends who have eaten here as kids and now are rediscovering its goodness as adults. The menu shows Chinese, North and South Indian dishes in addition to the Mangalorean delicacies, but those in the know come here especially for the seafood, and indeed, the regulars don’t even bother to glance at a menu, just reeling off their favorites. As will I, in the future!

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Clams Sukka

The choices are many, from shellfish to fish to chicken and mutton, as well as plenty for vegetarian diners. But, well, seafood is really what you should be ordering, unless you don’t eat it! The Mangalore Sukka Marwai (clams) is what I would recommend starting off with for the shellfish lovers. Sukka, which features grated coconut in addition to a blend of spices, is a very Mangy, very delicious preparation! Follow this up with the Squid (Bondas) Masala Fry, or if you’re not into squid, try another fish, but definitely do NOT miss out on the Masala Fry at Sea Rock. Silken, coconutty (thanks to being fried up in coconut oil), and just a little spicy – this will, if you’re anything like me, induce yummy sounds from within.

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Masala Fry Squid

Now, the larger the group you’re with, the more you can order, and since I’ve been with 6 or so people each time, we have been lavish. For the fish fans, Pomfret (Maanji) in Tandoori masala and Anjal (Seer Fish) Tawa Fry will leave you very happy. And for the hardcore fish fans, both the Rava Fry for Kane (Lady Fish) and Silver Fish are great. The Silver Fish, which can be crunched up whole, bones and all, goes really well with beer, and after the fiery masala dishes, it is both taste and texture wise, a change of scene. I can personally eat a half a dozen of these babies easily, and devour an entire slice of Anjal as well, and more of Pomfret than I usually eat, because well, those masalas! I’ll just let the pictures do the talking!

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Anjal Masala Fry

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Pomfret Tandoori Masala

If you’ve left space for main course, then Mangalorean staples like Kori Rotti, Chicken or Fish Pullimunchi, Mangalore Fish Curry, Gassi, Sukka, Ghee Roast et all await. Kori Rotti, which is country chicken curry with a crisp papad-like roti accompanying it, is usually a must-order, as there will always be that one soul at the table who has heart emojis when they hear the name! For me however, there is only one thing that will make the meal complete, as I said right at the beginning – Ghee Roast! Sea Rock does a killer Prawn Ghee Roast, a portion of which I am one day going to order and refuse to share! That, along with a plate or two of neer dosa, and happiness has been achieved.

Sea Rock tends to get quite packed on weekdays for lunch especially, as a lot of people from the high courts and other offices nearby come to eat there. But the service will be impeccable, however busy they are, and the beer chilled. And of course, a more family crowd will be seen on weekends. A lovely meal in old school surroundings and service are what await, and a very full belly!

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Kane Rava Fry

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Silver Fish Fry

Details: Sea Rock, Seshadripuram (Above Shivananda Stores); Open for Lunch and Dinner; INR 1000 plus taxes for a meal for two.

Return of Aquafest at Karavalli

Aquafest has been an annual event at Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel, for as many years as the restaurant has been in existence – namely: 26. It is no mean feat that so many years down the line, this once a year food festival is still eagerly anticipated, looked forward to, and visited by seafood lovers. What’s so special, you ask? Well, how about a mix of well-loved Karavalli specials (check out the West Coast Seafood Grill section of the menu), alongside dishes that are curated just for Aquafest, for the run of the 2 week festival? We’re talking the best of seafood, from clams and mussels, to scampi and crab, and fish galore! Chef Naren, whose presence and influence are very much part and parcel of Karavalli’s fame and charm, and his team dig out home style and family favorite recipes they’ve come across over the years, to create a menu that features the treasures of the ocean, from Mangalore, Kerala, Goa (aka the Malabar and Konkan coast).

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Scampi Tawa Fry

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Ari Kadukka – the innovative mussel dish

I visited on day 2 of the festival (yes I was that eager, plus traveling soon thereafter means it was my only chance!) and we got to taste 8 of the starters, 2 curries, and 2 desserts off the Aquafest menu. Scampi Tawa Fry (fresh Scampi grilled in spicy Mangalorean masala)  was the first shellfish to make an appearance, and was eaten with the alacrity that such deliciousness demanded. Karuapila Konju (Tiger Prawns pan fried with onions, tomatoes and fresh curry leaves), was another delectable morsel. One dish that was different, and which I found rather innovative, was the Ari Kadakku (spiced rice dough stuffed mussels, tossed with local spices) – basically, mussel shells were filled with an idly-like batter that had been infused with mussel meat, and then steamed. Another different dish was the Yettida Biscuit Rotti, which was Mangalorean spiced pooris infused with minced shrimp, spiced copra, and semolina. I also loved the Goan Cafreal King Fish – the tangy, green masala and the beautifully cooked fish made me eat every bite!

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Yettida Biscuit Rotti

Now amidst all this goodness, two dishes really blew us away. The first was the Bombil Rawa Fry (Bombay duck marinated with spicy chilly masala, coated with semolina and fried). I like my fish mild and Bombay duck has a reputation for being anything but. However, this prep, with the perfectly crisp coating and a liberal squeeze of lemon on it – oh! The second was the Neitha Denji (sea crab fried with Kundapur spice mix and ghee), a Kundapur masala crab ghee roast that had me diving in with both hands, fingers covered in that luscious ghee roast masala, cracking at the crab claws and shell to get to the sweet meat within. I am one of those finicky seafood eaters, and the fact that I went all out to get every last morsel is testament to my love for this dish! I was tired and looked like I’d done battle by the end of it, much to the amusement of my dining companion and Chef, but it was well worth it!

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Bombil Rawa Fry

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The divine Sea Crab Ghee roast

Meen Moiley, a Kerala style fish curry, and Marwai Pundi, a clam and rice dumplings gravy dish, were our two mains – accompanied by Neer Dosa and as anyone who has ever dined at Karavalli knows, the most out of the world Appams. For dessert, Chef served us Raagi Manni (a fascinating, Dodol-like dessert of raagi flour, jaggery and coconut milk mixed, set, and cut into pieces) that my dining companion loved, and the Mangalorean specialty of Kashi Halwa, a grated white pumpkin sweet that I was happy to round out my meal with. Aquafest is on until the 30th of November, so make sure you drop in for some sumptuous seafood! And umm, Chef, could you please put the Neitha Denji on your regular menu? 🙂

Details: Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel; INR 2500 plus taxes for two

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King Fish Cafreal

 

Mangalore on my Mind (And Plate!)

Mangalorean cuisine is something I got introduced to rather late in my life – only in the last four years of living in Bangalore and having some very good Mangalorean friends, and spending one Christmas in Mangalore at a friend’s parents’, has the cuisine and culture become a part of my life. And I do love it! Whether it’s the simple Neer Dosa or the delectable Chicken Ghee Roast or anything in Sukka prep, or the Sannas, which, while bearing a passing resemblance to the Idli, are much more to my liking than the latter, which I’ve never been a fan of – I heart the cuisine. Now, I am not a big fish eater, especially the more pungent varieties, but fried Kane (Lady Fish) is something I’ve taken a shine to, and learned to eat quite well too, cleaning it to its entire internal structure without any difficulty.

IMG_20160823_235536The current Mangalorean Food Festival at Shangri-La Hotel’s b Café, was another perfect opportunity to indulge in my love for the coastal cuisine, and it is a giant spread indeed that Chef Rounak Kinger and his team have put together. It’s quite the food trail, with four distinct sections of the expansive buffet being taken over by Mangaluru dishes (at dinner time; during lunch it will be a more circumspect spread), featuring appetizers, snacks, mains, desserts, and definitely not to be missed, specially concocted drinks!

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