Start your weekend with breakfast at Sly Granny

I am not a morning person, much preferring the wee hours to the sunrise and early start. Night owl and all that. So breakfast isn’t really a meal I give that much importance to. That being said, I love eggs and count them as comfort food. Breakfast foods and dishes I can eat any time of the day. Indeed, I have been known to make dinner out of breakfast foods, and Eggs Benedict is in my list of top ten things to eat.

Of recent, doing lavish breakfast menus seems to be the new thing in town, and since these brekkies don’t end by 10 and go on until noon or later, they work for brunch too – which makes me happy, ’cause that’s a much more civilized hour of the weekend that I can totally wake up for and then dig into eggs and such with gusto.

Sly Granny on 12th Main in Indiranagar has been in existence for a year now, and to commemorate that anniversary, they’ve recently launched a sumptuous and decadent breakfast spread that is available between 9am and 1pm on the weekends. All the dishes have interesting twists and ingredients, and whether you love eggs and bacon or pancakes and doughnuts, they’ve got you sorted. Along with pots of tea and coffee and a couple of healthy fresh juice concoctions. Aside from the usual breakfasty options, there are things like Duck Pao, Keema Rolls, Shrimp Fritters, and even a Cheeseburger.

I missed taking pictures of the dishes from the SWEET ONES section of the menu. My bad! Definitely try the OG Doughnut and Pineapple Upside Down pancakes, and for the Elvis Presley lover like myself, The Elvis Pancake marries traditional pancakes with banana, peanut butter, nutella, milk crumbs, powdered sugar, and wait for it – crispy bacon too.

Generous portions mean that having a friend or three along will make it possible to order and try more. Here’s a look at and explanation of the various dishes we ate, and since we covered about a quarter of the menu, a repeat visit is on the horizon!

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The Morning Bun: Think savory cinnamon roll with creamy broccoli and pesto. Flaky and very delish! This is made fresh and in limited quantity – so order it as soon as you arrive!

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Skewers for breakfast?! Yes, when they are these fragrant and flavorful Lime Leaf Chicken ones that have a punch of lime leaf and lemongrass, and a hot salsa sauce!

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This was the only dish I didn’t think highly of – Fried Chicken Bun – not bad, just ho hum and not worth the space when there’s so much more interesting stuff to try!

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HASH – Corned pork, sweet potato cubes, peas and turnip, topped with a crisp fried egg. A meal unto itself!

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This dish of fried eggs on a bed of Yoghurt with spices, herbs and Labeneh was quite spectacular! Who knew yoghurt and eggs would go so well together? A must-order from the EGGY ONES section of the menu.

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Eggs Benedict upped its game with this version! A buttermilk biscuit base (to which I am most partial), thick sliced maple and brown sugar bacon and a chipotle hollandaise sauce gave this all sorts of fantastic flavor and crunch. Happiness on a plate!

Details: Sly Granny, Indiranagar 12th Main; Breakfast menu available between 9am and 1pm on weekends; INR 1200 plus taxes for breakfast for two.

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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Brunch at the New Radisson Blu Atria

We all love Sunday brunch, don’t we? Sunday being, for many, the only day of rest in the week, the idea of waking late, then heading out to a long, leisurely, luscious brunch, has quite an appeal. I’ve always been a Sunday bruncher – it was something my mother instituted at home when I was growing up, and living in the U.S, Sunday brunch for Mother’s Day and the like was a given. Over the last couple of years, almost all the hotels in the city have started serving up Sunday brunches – some extravagant, some elegant, all enjoyable. One of the latest additions to the scene is at the Radisson Blue Atria Bengaluru. The old Atria Hotel has had a facelift and a brand makeover, and now under the Radisson Blu label, has launched a lovely Sunday brunch, which can be enjoyed poolside or indoors in the restaurant’s air conditioned comfort (which is what we opted for on a sweltering May afternoon). Oh, and a dip in the pool is part of the package, so make sure to carry your swimwear!

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The live grills counter and a bar counter were set up outside – it’s an IMFL beverage package at INR 1950 plus taxes, which means you can drink and eat to your heart’s content – now that’s a nice way to spend Sunday afternoon! There was a nice spread, with Indian, Asian, Continental, and Mediterranean offerings across the salads, appetizers, and mains. What we were impressed with was the range of salads, the live grill counter, and the meats. The Papdi Chaat and Pani Puri (I liked the way it was served to the table) went down well – we all being chaat people. There was also Pav counter with both veg and non-veg, and dim sum and tacos, as also a pasta station and kebab corner.

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I always pile my plate with the fancy salads at buffets, and this time was no exception. The Prawn salad with tomato salsa, Pesto rubbed fish  with orange segments, Seared tenderloin salad with wild mushroom, roasted shallots and Dijon mustard, and the Tuscan pork and bean salad were all nice flavor combinations and made a good chilled start to the meal on the hot day. There were the Middle Eastern dips of Baba Ghanoush and Hummus and Tabbouleh salad too – but we couldn’t find pita bread to go with it, and made do with the fresh breads from the bread counter which was quite nice. There were also Oysters served on the half shell, which were dressed with onions, lemon juice, and cilantro, and we went for a couple of rounds of these – fresh, beautiful, and definitely a treat!

From the live grills, we loved the prawns which were large and fresh and simply prepared with a spice rub, letting the shellfish speak for itself. The Olive and Pepper Lamb Chops were also a big hit – perfectly cooked and again, with balanced spicing that did not overwhelm the meat. There was also a Mustard Marinated Fish, and Pesto Chicken. The Barbecue Pork Belly from the carving station was another item we went back for seconds off – the jus, the pork belly with the soft fat and the crackling skin – so good! There was also a selection of fairly typical mains – paneer, fish and chicken curries, biryani, dal makhani and more for those wanting Indian food, and Thai green curry chicken, an Oriental fish prep, veggies, fried rice, and noodles for those wanting Asian.

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Such was the heat of the day that we stuck to beers and fresh juices, but were told they have some nice cocktails – next time! Dessert was not as vast as one sees in buffets, but everything was nicely put together, with around 8 pastries/puddings/mousses, and half a dozen Indian sweets including Kulfi, Sandesh, Ladoo, and Moong dal halwa. There was also ice cream and fresh fruits. I chose to end with the live banana fosters counter – there were various toppings and sauces to choose from and it was a good ending to the meal. Pancakes and waffles were also being made to order. I noticed a kids section with items more in tune to little appetites, like burgers, fries and smileys. All in all, a very pleasant experience at a good price point, and everyone’s sure to find stuff to their liking.

The new dishes at Smoke House Deli

When an invitation landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago, to a special Chef’s Table at Smoke House Deli where they would be showcasing dishes off their new menu, I paused a moment. The memory of the last such new menu party at SHD was still fresh in my mind – where had the two years since that event, flown by?! Prepared for an afternoon of food and drink, I thus presented myself at the SHD on Lavelle Road, and awaited Chef Saurabh Arora’s line-up from the 35 new dishes on the menu. Seated in the courtyard section outdoors, we were a big group, which turned out to be rather useful when it came to sharing all that food!

Our afternoon began with a specially-made-for-us, off menu cocktail of Martini Rosso, orange juice and bitters, which had a sweet and smooth finish and potency too. The first appetizer was Crunchy Mozzarella Fritters, cheese on the inside surrounded by a noodle-like crunchy exterior – tasted cheesy (in a good way) and was not overpowering in flavor, making it a go-to with any drink. I also enjoyed the Prawn Fritters + Spiced Mayo, which managed to keep their crispiness and crunchiness in terms of both the batter cover and the prawns within. Not so much to my taste was the Panko Crusted Kashmiri Chilli + Cottage Cheese, Corn Flat Bread – too mushy in texture. The standout of the appetizer course was definitely the Smoked Black Pepper Chicken, skewers of juicy and well-marinated chicken with a kick from the pepper.

The SHD Tomato + Bocconcini Salad, Queen Olives, Pesto Vinaigrette is a great addition to the new menu, especially for olive lovers. The Spanish Queen Olives are almost the size of a fruit with less pungency than the usual green olives. There was Boccocini – egg-sized Mozzarella – as well as crisp greens and I will definitely be ordering this on my next visit. I contented myself with just a couple of spoons of the Roasted Sweet Corn Soup + Sour Cream; Truffle Oil because I wanted to keep space for the pasta and mains that were coming up, especially since there were two Risottos to sample. I love me some Risotto, and neither the Pepper Crusted Chicken + Rosemary nor the Slow Roasted Cauliflower + Mascarpone disappointed. However, it was the Potato Gnocchi + 3 Cheese Sauce, Roasted Vegetables that delivered the knockout punch of the course. Three cheeses, Parmesan, English Cheddar, and Emmental were pressed into service, and cheese crisps on top completed the serving. Am quite happy to be vegetarian when presented with such a dish!

Of the five mains served, I literally took a single bite of each, and then dug into the Half Roast Rosemary Chicken, Wild Mushroom AOP as that was my favorite. With some lettuce on the side and delicious mushrooms and a poached egg that added depth to the already lovely flavors of the dish, I would happily have licked the wooden bowl in came in, clean. Slow Braised Belgian Pork Spare Ribs + Apple Slaw and Pan Grilled Fresh Bhetki + Jalapeno Corn Sauce were the other two non-veg offerings – and the Bhetki sure had fans at the table, but it’s just too strong a fish for my palate. The two veg offerings didn’t make much of an impression: Three way Polenta cake + Bean & Chickpeas Stew, and Roasted Vegetables + Red Cheddar Melt. Utilizing different alcohols infused in-house (with Dill, Kaffir Lime, Star Anise – respectively), the three cocktails from the new menu we enjoyed went well with our food. Sadly, I don’t have the names on hand, but the Kaffir Lime infused one was the definite winner of the three!

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SHD is known for its mouth-watering desserts, and this time was no exception. We loved three of the four we ate, and the other (Lemon Tart + Orange Mascarpone Cream) just needed some tweaking so that the lemon and citrus flavors came out, as we told Chef. Milk Cake + Toasted Hazelnuts looked gorgeous and tasted so too – in fact it was a toss-up between this and the White Chocolate + Lemon Molten Cake, the latter had spot on lemony goodness that literally oozed out of the cake once it was cut. The Prune Crumble Tart + Dark Chocolate Mousse was rich and I stopped after a couple of bites, mostly because the Lemon Molten Cake was beckoning! I’ll be heading back to SHD soon to enjoy my favorites from the new menu…maybe the salad and then dessert to maintain some “balance”!

Details: Smoke House Deli, Lavelle Road & Indiranagar; INR 2000 plus taxes for two with drinks.

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Ginseng (Hotel Royal Orchid)

Gong hei fat choy! Happy Chinese New Year! The Chinese Zodiac works on a Lunar calendar, and each year is represented by an animal, repeated every twelve years. Tomorrow, January 28th heralds the start of the Year of the Rooster. And some of the fine dine Chinese restaurants in Bangalore are creating special menus to celebrate, and the first one I got to experience is the festival menu at Ginseng, the Pan Asian restaurant at The Hotel Royal Orchid Hotel, which runs for just the week, ending Saturday, January 28th.

The menu is a compilation of Chef Neeraj’s favorite dishes and was quite expansive, considering the duration of the festival! There was plenty to choose from for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. While everyone who knows me knows that I am a dedicated carnivore, this is one of those occasions when the seconds I went back for all ended up being the veg dishes. The Crispy Waterchestnut Honey Mustard was unusual and it’s not often that one gets waterchestnuts on the menu here, so that was a total winner, as was the Stir Fried Chinese Greens with Burnt Garlic. A special shout-out to the man behind the bar – the cocktails we ordered (from the regular menu) were all really good, well-balanced, and with nice flavors. The fortune cookies we ended the meal on was a nice touch, and again, something that’s rare to find locally. And now, here are the photos from the lovely meal we enjoyed a couple of nights ago.

Fatty Turns Two: Fatty Travel Tales are on!

It’s The Fatty Bao’s 2nd birthday, and they are celebrating the milestone with a special festival, the Fatty Travel Tales menu that traverses ten East and South East Asian countries. Starting today, August 11, and running until the 28th, the special menu of cocktails, appetizers, mains and desserts will be available. There’s also a chance to win tickets from Tiger Airways, to do a spot of Asia exploring yourself!

DSCN0878 (2)Of the cocktails, my favorites were the potent (whiskey + Lapsang Souchang tea infused vodka made for quite the smokey drink) Master Po and the smoother Silk Route (vodka, lime juice, jamun, and the glass rimmed with black salt). There are a total of six special cocktails, each at INR 400.

DSCN0884 (2)We were a group of four, and thus managed to taste pretty much every item on the Travel Tales menu. I’m going to let the photographs do the talking  – suffice it to say, you won’t be short choices, or countries, from Indonesia to Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia Singapore, and Korea. Each dish on the menu has the country’s flag alongside it – a nice touch.

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Bicol Express: Pork stew with garlic fried rice

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Dish of the Day: Cheung Fung – rice dumplings in a lovely yellow curry

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Raindrop Cake – prettiness!

Details: August 11 – 28; The Fatty Bao, Indiranagar; INR 2500 plus taxes for two people

Sunday Brunching in Style: Movenpick Hotel & Spa

Sunday brunch brings back memories of awakening late, fighting the pater for the Sunday newspaper and drinking tea out on the balcony at home. Sitting in my PJs until way past decent, and finally only being goaded into showering and dressing with the promise of mum’s brunch. Some weeks it would be Indian – parathas and egg bhurji or the Hyderabadi egg dish Khageena, while other times it would be sausages, eggs, bacon, baked beans and toast. Whatever the main course, a fab dessert was always there to end on. Oh man, those were the days! The grown up me has to either prepare the brunch herself, or else head out to one of the many restaurants in town that offer a special brunch on the day of rest. When an invite to such an afternoon comes along, gathering with the fellow food writer pals and our other halves makes it all the sweeter. Such was the occasion a couple weeks ago, when four couples and two munchkins arrived at The Movenpick Hotel & Spa for their 250 dish and cocktails/beer/wine/champagne Sunday brunch.

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Sushi to start us off

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