Saturday, May 21, 2011

Froth on Top

‘Froth on Top’ the name itself is inviting. This was a favourite hangout for Vinod and his bachelor friends and that’s how I found my way to this cozy beer joint at Balmatta, Mangalore. And boy, am I happy or what! And quiet a nice name for a beer joint!

It’s not one of those run-of-the-mill dingy, noisy pubs. FOT is a quaint house with a tiled roof renovated to make place for  this pub. Tall shrubs placed all around the house surely cuts down the din from the busy street.  Thanks to the shrubs, many students make themselves comfortable with a mug of beer away from the sight of passersby.

The décor of the place is simple. White walls with wacky sing boards and posters. The seating is very basic and is arranged to fit in a maximum crowd. Each room of the house is converted to provide seating. To make ordering food simple, the menu is placed under the glass toped table so you can look at it all the time while you’re wondering what to order next. On second thoughts, a good strategy to get the guests to order more!

The menu has a lot to offer and FOT is definitely the place to be if you like to spend half a day with your beer and friends. You can start your day with their good breakfast offerings. The American breakfast here is something you’d love to begin your day with. Apart from this, there are a whole variety of starters spanning across chicken, pork, seafood and of course veggies. There’s almost everything on a menu. The various cuisines at FOT are Goan, Mangalorean, Continental, Chinese and Thai. If you’re looking for a no-frill order, then there are always the burgers and sandwiches which are a good bet.

We reached Froth on Top for an early lunch. The bachelor boys, hubby and wifey! As ritual demands, beer was ordered first. Nothing to write home about KF Premium here. Bibhash, one of the boys ordered French Fries until he decided on what he actually wanted to order. The fries are yummy, similar to the ones you get at McD. Moderately plump and not follow in the centre like many other fries. The good thing is, there’s absolutely no oil sticking to your fingers. You can order a second and a third helping without feeling guilty.

French Fries

Vinod does not miss his Sausage and Corn Hash when he visits FOT. Chicken sausages chopped and tossed with corn hash and mashed potatoes in a white creamy sauce go into the making of this splendid dish. The dish is low on spice and can suit any palate. A dash of pepper is all it has. Top it with a little ketchup for a tangy twist and voila! Highly recommended, the Sausage and Corn Hash will make its way to your list of favourites.

Sausage and Corn Hash

The good thing about FOT is that many a times, they have new introductions to their menu. Bibhash ordered a pasta with chicken and corn. This dish does not feature on the menu but was one of those limited edition dishes they introduced. Bibhash being a regular here, gets to order it anyways. It looked like any other pasta. Penne with chunks of crunchy grilled chicken, steamed sweet corn in white sauce combined with spinach make it a whole meal. The combination of tastes is incredible in this dish but personally I would have preferred more sauce in it. I usually like pasta swimming in sauce rather than a mere coating.

Pasta with Chicken and Corn

Pasta from up close

Yashpal, another of our friends ordered a Paneer Shanghai. A starter which he chose to make the main course. Thanks to the back to back weddings in the month of May, the tummy craves for some simple vegetarian food. Not ours as yet, but Yashpal’s. The Panner Shanghai with its dark red colour looked tempting as compared to the previous two dishes. It tasted equally good with thinly sliced panner pieces in a semi spicy sauce of Capsicum and spring Onions. This dish would taste best when accompanied with a fried rice. The panner was not rubbery  and sufficiently soft, just enough to hold it together. The flavor of the soy sauce came out very well but at the same time blended with the other spices as well.

Paneer Shanghai

After a lot of speculation, I ordered a Chicken and Sausage Steak. Yes sausage once again! By now you know what my favourite food is. This dish had a generous amount of sausages and sliced of grilled chicken. The meats were stirred in a brown sauce. I do not know the exact name of the sauce but yes it was medium spicy and had a lot of pepper in it. The steak was served with a helping of buttered veggies and mashed potatoes. While the sausage and chicken tasted great as always, the hero in this dish was the portion of mashed potatoes. The texture was smooth and was tasted fantastic with its creamy flavor. Unlike other mashed potatoes, there was a distinct cheesy/ creamy taste to it.

Chicken and sausage steak

There are many reasons why you should go to Froth on Top. The menu is vast, the ambience is good, the food is great, the service is fast and above all it does not cost much. The bill for the four of us for a light lunch including the beer came up a little more than a 1000 bucks.

Pay by : Cash and cards
Restroom : Did not explore
Average meal for two : approx Rs 500
Mel’s overall rating : 4 out of 5
Location: Balmatta, Balmatta Arya Samaj Rd, Mangalore - 575001, Karnataka, India. Phone : 0824-4256855

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pizzeria Romano

When we intended to go out on dinner that weekend, we had a place serving coastal food in mind. As we were travelling, all of a sudden we decided to try a different place. We had seen Pizzeria Romano many times before but never really ventured inside. Vinod and me had lots to “discuss” and decided we could give ourselves a luxury meal that evening.

The restaurant is situated amongst many other restaurants in Koramangala 6th block. As we entered the gate, a waitress ushered us to the first floor. Posters covering every inch of the wall is what welcomes you as you take the flight of stairs. As you enter the restaurant, the décor screams out the theme of music and movies. Every rock star you can think of has found a place on the wall here. We took a while just to look around. Though at first everything looked crowded and cluttered, it didn’t take time for us to slip into nostalgia. The place sure reminds you of your favourite singers and movies through your growing years.

The contemporary, plush interiors offer different sections of seating depending on the kind of privacy you expect. The lighting of the place gives it a very warm look. We forgot we had to “discuss” something and took the seats right opposite the band. Yes, there was a band playing that night. The three member band sang some fabulous cover versions.  A perfect way to start the evening I must say.

Now the objective of this review- the food! Pizzeria Romano believes in serving superb Italian and continental food. The menu runs into pages and offers a wide variety of pizzas and a vast choice of pastas, risottos, chargrilled, meats, exotic salads and desserts. This is no average priced place. Be ready to cough up a good amount if you want to enjoy a meal.

For starters, we ordered a Tex Max Buffalo Wings. This was the first time I actually ordered wings at a restaurant other than KFC. The dish was fiery red and rested on white plate. The sharp tangy and spicy smell of it had my mouth watering. With no delay, I dug my knife and fork into grilled chicken wings marinated in Indian spices served with sun dried tomato chilly pesto. The so called marinade looks like the Indian masala and tastes fantastic. The hot spice of the chilli as against the tangy taste of the sundried tomatoes created a superb blend of flavours. The wings though grilled were easy to bite into. The meat was absolutely tender and delectable.

Tex Max Buffalo Wings

To beat the heat, we ordered some mocktails. We decided to skip alcohol this time. I was brave to try a mocktail called Crazy Knockers. I specifically asked for a spicy drink. This one had a spicy syrup mixed with a ginger syrup and topped with soda and Sprite. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It tasted crazy too, but in the good sense. It shook my senses thoroughly. Don’t try this if you are not in for some adventure.

Crazy Knockers

Vinod orders safe and chose a Virgin Pina Colada. The usual concoction of pineapple juice staright out of the can, thick coconut milk, cream and sugar to sweeten it. It was filling to say the least considering the tall glass it was served in.

Virgin Pina Colada

At Pizzeria Romano don’t skip the pizzas. There are a zillion options to choose from. Ask the staff there to help you choose. I am meat lover. The more I can get my hands on, the happier I am. After giving a lot of thought I opted for a Joyride pizza. Perfectly baked pepperoni, hot Italian sausage, pepper bacon made sure the meats absolutely pleased the senses. Not just this, the pizza was also topped with caramelized onions, garlic, oregano and hot chilli peppers all laid on a thin crust. I am fan of the deep dish crust at Dominos and usually avoid thin crusts but given the toppings of this one, the crust didn’t matter at all.  Spicy is an understatement for this pizza.

I went a step ahead and ate it with some red chilli pepper saucy. Super hot! The waitress suggested we try a wood fired pizza. The cooking surface of these ovens is apparently between 500-600 degrees, the upper chamber of the oven can reach over 900 degrees. The heat produced is very dry, which is perfect for quickly sealing in flavors. We’ll buy that explanation anyways since the pizza was like a mouthful of heaven in every bite.

Vinod wanted something from the steak section and chose a Chicken Pepperonata. Exotic as the name sounds, this dish came like a mountain on a plate as against a steak in a sauce that we were expecting. The long pieces of chicken were very visible amongst the bell peppers and was a delight to the eyes. The meat was exceptionally tender and was marinated with mild spices and herbs. The bell peppers were of all colours the market had to offer. After two pieces of chicken, we were left with a heap of peppers. The tomato sauce in it made it palatable but it was definitely a rip off. For the rest of the meal, Vinod and me kept finishing the peppers.

Chicken Pepperonata
Pizzeria Romano is great place to take your special someone on a nice dinner or lunch. A little overpriced, I cannot really say that it is value for money. The prices on the menu are without taxes and amount to a good sum on the bill. The cocktails are priced way too high to leave your throat dry. Will I go there again? Sure I will! But only when I feel rich.

Pay by : Cash and cards
Restroom : Did not explore
Average meal for two : approx Rs 1500 (including mocktails)
Mel’s overall rating : 3.5 out of 5
Location: 55, 5th Cross, 6th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Ph: 080 40953751 / 52,

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Vinod selected this place as a birthday surprise for me. After a lot of research, he zeroed in on Zeebop going by the numerous reviews on the net.

A beach front restaurant at Utorda, South Goa, Zeebop is known for its seafood. The approach to this place is through a narrow dusky lane beyond the Royal Orchid Resorts. The décor is simple with white tables and chairs. Candles on every table give the ambience a soft look.

To begin the celebration, we ordered two cocktails. A Long Island Iced Tea for Vinod and a Bloody Mary for me. The Long Island Iced tea, with its smooth blend of white spirits and splash of cola topped with a slice of lime provided a good start to a great evening.

Long Island Iced Tea

The Bloody Mary was perfect with vodka, tomato juice, spice and tobasco or Worcestershire sauce. I wonder why most people don’t like this cocktail. There’s something special and nice in a spicy drink.

Bloody Mary

For starters, we had Prawn Stuffed Papadams. Quite an innovative and interesting recipe, I must say. Semi crispy papadam wrapped around a mixture of prawn and onion held together with a tooth pick, this is something you would want to try at home as well with a variety of stuffing.

Prawn Stuffed Papadams

To put the slightly salty flavor of the papadam to rest, we ordered the Mussel Fry. Vinod was just getting used to the taste of mussels, though he hails from a coastal town. Considering the reputation that Zeebop has built for seafood, we had our expectations set high. But the mussels fry let us down. To begin with, the mussels carried the fishy smell and was a turn-off. Very bland to say the least but the dash of lime made it palatable. The mussels which were extremely overpriced were served with potato wedges, slices of garlic bread and buttered vegetables.

Mussel Fry

As it was a birthday dinner, we wanted to indulge in some exotic food and hence chose to try lobsters. After choosing the lobster we wanted to be served, we were asked our preference of sauces. Being a fan of Goan food, I opted for the recheiado. The lobster was big and so was the let-down. The accompaniments were the same as the earlier dish. Having tasted authentic recheido masala several times, I could vouch that this was nowhere close. The meat didn’t suffice even for four spoonfuls.
As this was not too filling we ordered a Chicken Cafreal and Seafood Pulao.

Lobster @ Zeebop

The Cafreal was just average like anywhere else in Goa but has an excess of onions making the quantity look huge. The pulao had a very amateur home-made taste to it. The Goans add soup cubes to many pulaos but if you use this ingredient regularly, you would know that a little in excess can ruin your dish. And same was the case with this dish. It didn’t matter that there were squids, prawns and crab meat, the salt overruled everything else.

Chicken Cafreal

Seafood Pulao

This got us wondering about what is it that makes Zeebop so popular. Team Zeebop, you have a great place but the food didn’t just do the magic.

Pay by : Cash and cards
Restroom : Very clean with great art work
Average meal for two : Rs 2700 (with drinks)
Mel’s overall rating : 1.5 out of 5
Location: Utorda Beach, South Goa

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Martin's Corner

Martin’s Corner had been on my list of favourite restaurants in Goa for a long time now. I’ve been there at least thrice before. The last visit in 2010 was a little disappointing. But keeping that aside, we decided to try MC this time around as well. And Martin’s Corner lived up to the reputation of dishing out some of the best Goan Cuisine you can lay your hands on.

Tucked away in a residential area in Betalbatim (South Goa), this place is a must visit while in the south of this paradise state and especially if you want to know where the celebs dine while in Goa.

Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt, Sachin Tendulkar, Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachchan, Aiswarya Rai-Bachchan, John Abhraham and a host of other biggies have visited this place. Sachin Tendulkar frequents this place so often that there is a dish named after him as well. Thanks to the Wall of photos, Martin’s Corner gives you a feeling of dining like the celebrities. While we were there for dinner, we too spotted a television anchor, whose name I have never known. Nonetheless, despite the rush of people throughout the day, the place still provides the Goan respite.

This restaurant was started with just four tables by Late Martin Pereira. Today it is run by his wife and sons. The ambience is that of an old house. Initially it was just the front portion of the house but over the years they’ve managed to expand in all directions – left, right and centre.

Every night there is live music at the restaurant. We were treated some great cover versions by one of the performers.

Now to the main attraction – the food. Martin’s Corner boasts of the best Goan food and rightly so. They have an extensive menu that covers Indian, Chinese and has a variety of seafood too.

In Goa and not drinking? That can never happen to us. We started our dinner with cocktails. I ordered a Sex on the Sunset Beach which is an enticing mix of Vodka, Peach schnapps, orange juice and lime juice. Vinod opted for the Coco Loco which is a creamy concoction of palm feni, gin, white rum, pineapple juice with coconut cream. Very Goan to say the least! The cocktails sure did lift our spirits high, literally.

Sex on the Sunset Beach

Coco Loco
For appetizers, we chose the Pork Chilli Fry. Not too spicy but at the same time tangy, this dish thoroughly teases the tastebuds. The kokum gave it its tangy flavour while red chillies added spice. 

Pork Chilli Fry
Fish Fingers
We then ordered Fish Fingers. Filleted fish, crumb fried and served with fries and a sour cream make a great snack. We totally enjoyed every bite.
Planters Punch
 Vinod ordered a Planters Punch (a mix of rum, grenadine and orange, pineapple and lime juice for his second round of drink and me a Breezer. For main course we selected the Prawn Pulao. The taste was good if not excellent.

As a side dish, we ordered the Chicken Masala Fry (Goan Style). The chicken tasted as good as it looked. The meat was tender and cooked with ground spices. The tinge of sweetness in the dish hinted at caramelized sugar. A perfect blend of spices and sweetness, every ingredient was in the right proportion and made it a great dish.

Chicken Masala Fry

A closer look at the masala coated chicken
To finish our lovely dinner, we decided to share a Caramel Custard. Steamed to perfection i must say! The dish was not too sweet and was done just right. It was a perfect ending to a superb meal.

Caramel Custard

Martin’s Corner also has a lodging facility attached to it by the name of Martin’s Comforts. But whether you stay there or not, make sure you visit Martin’s Corner at least once. Who knows which celebrity you would bump into!

Pay by : Cash or Credit Card
Restroom : Average clean. But you cant expect much with the large crowds they cater too
Average meal for two : Rs 1700 (including drinks)
Mel’s overall rating : 2.5 out of 5

Location: Binvaddo, Betalbatim, Salcete – Goa. Ph: 0832 2880061/ 6481518