Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cafe Thulp

It was the first “Girlies” Outing and we decided that it was going to be Café Thulp. I had passed by this place a couple of times and wanted to visit it for long. Finally the day had come.

We decided to meet for lunch and I happened to reach the place ‘early’. I had checked their site for timings and they were to open their doors at 11am. However at 11.45, just when I thought I’d make myself comfortable at one of the tables, I was ushered out and was not-so-politely told that the restaurant opens at 12pm. That was probably a not-so-good start.
 Once the entire group had arrived we entered the place. The interiors are chic and a lot of thought has gone into the art work on the walls. Looking around, I was convinced that this was the place for a relaxed meal. There was a bookshelf at one corner and some board games. Random photographs found their place on the walls. Also the main wall had a black and red Manga art work and looked very neat. Each wall wore a different look and didn’t quite match the other.  A pastry counter with a display of mouth-watering cheese cakes and pies was indicative of the good things in store for us. 
Café Thulp can seat about 40-50 people. We were six of us (incidentally two boys too). We asked for a 4 and a 2 seater to be joined, obviously because there were no large tables. And again the waiter refused to oblige. Instead he brought in two more chairs and asked us to adjust. Rubbing our elbows against each other and touching shoulders, we didn’t have a choice, did we? This was somehow not going too well.
 With no options for us to whine about the pitiful service, we went through the menu given to us. Interesting is the word! The wacky names and their descriptions can keep you entertained for at least 10 minutes. Not many places would call their French fries The Heart Attack or their prawn cocktail Prawnic Healing. The options are vast and are a promise of a feast for lovers of meat. For the veggies, you might as well drive past this place.
The engaging menu

To begin our eating spree, we started with the Buffalo Bill. The first dish to arrive at the table and the first to disappear too. Fiery, red buffalo chicken wings served with a cream cheese dip. Crispy on the outside, tangy and absolutely hot, the tender chicken burns the tongue. A generous dash of vinegar and lots of red chilli pepper sauce along with some soy had surely made its way into the marinade.  Saritha and me love bacon and zeroed in on the Shot Through The Heart. Chunks of beef wrapped in bacon, braised with Teriyaki sauce and pierced on satay sticks. How does that sound for a starter? The beef in steak language was medium done, a little tough to eat but was tasty nonetheless. The bacon was crispy fried and the sauce had its soy with a tinge of honey /sugar flavour but was not very sweet as in some places.
Buffallo Bill

Shot Through The Heart

A closer look
Next in line was the Spuds Papunzie. The decoded version is spicy potato salad dressed with mayo, English mustard and red chilli sauce, laid on a bed of lettuce. Yummy would be an understatement. The succulent pieces of potato married to perfection with the dressing.  Abhi chose the Koli Dosa which was nothing but a masala omelet.
Spuds Papunzie

Koli Dosa
 Café Thulp offers a great choice of smoothies and shakes as well. From the Shiekh Yerbooty’s Old Fashioned Milkshakes, Neha and me ordered the Oreo Cookie shake and the Snickers Blizzard. The cookie shake was out of this world even if you were not a fan of the cookies. Thick and creamy, you can actually enjoy crushed cookies in every sip.
Oreo Cookie Shake

Snickers Blizzard
The Snickers Blizzard was a bar of snickers blended with milk of course. Nothing to write home about but I wished it were a little thicker. Saritha chose to take the diet track and ordered a Sour Puss – the basic home style lizzy lemonade with mint.
Sour Puss
For main course, Preeti selected the Veg Alphonso Hankypants. The dish was penne pasta with Alfredo sauce, mushrooms and red peppers. Bland to every bite, the pasta did not even contain salt. The white cream sauce was too little to even remotely coat the pasta. Preeti did her bit by adding chilli flakes, salt, pepper, ketchup and everything she could find and put together something palatable. The revamped pasta got over faster than expected. 
Veg Alphonso Hankypants
Karthik and Neha ordered the El Pollo Loco. This dish was a big wow, at least for me. Fried chicken strips with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.  The quantity was impressive with about 7 large strips, dipped in a light batter and fried to perfection. The enormous helping of mashed potatoes with herbs was a mini meal in itself.
El Pollo Loco

Moo burger with bacon and cheese
My choice from the menu was Moo with Bacon and Cheese from the burger section. The best beef burger patty I have tasted, topped with pieces of bacon and cheese. This couldn’t get any better. Absolutely soft, this patty melts in the mouth. What’s more! It comes with fries and coleslaw. A must-try while at CT. 
Abhi carefully selected the Wok with Me.  Stir fried vegetables in a watery sauce/ gravy with fried rice and Thai papaya salad. Nothing special in this one.  The stir fried veggies were almost bland but partnered well with the rice. The salad did not carry the original Thai taste but a good attempt nonetheless.
Wok with Me
Fried rice with papaya salad

Crispy Pork Pomegranate Orange Salad
Another superhit dish was the Crispy Pork Pomegranate Orange Salad that Saritha picked from the ‘specials’ of the day. Green was the first impression. Shredded spinach stir fried in olive oil, the leaves were softened yet retained their freshness. This was tossed with white sesame seeds, garlic, peeled oranges, pomegranate and bits of red chillies. But the star of the dish was the roast pork and lots of it.  What a fusion of flavours! This salad thoroughly seduces the taste buds. The sweetness of the pomegranate and orange, mixed with the light taste of spinach, the saltiness of the pork and the olive oil dressing comes together to form an absolutely scrumptious salad.
Needless to say, after eating so much we did not have space for desserts. Café Thulp definitely knows how to strike the right chord with its customers. Though the service was not good, the food almost made up for it. Most dishes can be shared by two and hence watch out and don’t over order. The pricing cannot be termed cheap but considering the quantity and quality it is completely worth it. For six of us, the meal cost close to Rs 2000.
Pay by : Cash or Credit Card
Restroom : Didn’t try
Average meal for two : Rs 600 (including drinks).
Mel’s overall rating : 4 out of 5
Location: Near Wipro Park, Koramangala 1st block.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Saanjhi Dopahar

Saanjhi Dopahar, a small eatery with a catchy black and red board caught my attention each time I passed the place. Over the weekend, going by the recommendation of a friend who was new to Bangalore, I decided to have lunch at SD.

The restaurant is situated in a lane near the Airtel Showroom in Koramangala, almost next to Furtados music store (if you’re familiar with the area). It's located at the corner of a building and has an entrance from two sides. As soon as I entered I realized it could hardly accommodate about 15 people. The ambience was very basic with a few tables and chairs with tall back rests. Being a very small place, there is not much place to move around.

We were handed the menu as soon as we were seated – two of them. One had a multi cuisine selection of food items while the other had a array of combo meals. My first impression – this place reminds you of home food. Especially for those from up north, the Rajma curry and Rice can be quite inviting. The menu ran into about four sides of a card and we chose to order some chicken tikkas and kebabs from the tandoori section and some butter naan with Chicken masala. It was a lunch we had to hurry through and quickly called for the waiter. As we listed our preferences, we were told that none of them were available. Not a nice thing I must say, considering we did not order anything exotic.

Of the 8-10 sections of the menu, the waiter told us to choose what we wanted only form about 3 sections. And with the limited choice, we placed our order a second time. Chicken 65 , Chicken Dum Biryani and Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani after confirming all were available. After a few minutes, the waiter returned to tell us that Chicken Dum Biryani and Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani were the same. Did we have a choice now? But why mention two names in a menu if both meant the same?

Chicken 65
Chicken Biryani
The Chicken 65 was a shade of bright red and had a generous amount of lime juice sprinkled on it. I like it that way. Spicy and tangy. The quantity was a too little for the price. The chicken was not dry as in other restaurants but the taste was not bad.

Soon followed the biryani. My friend liked it but having tasted some great biryanis, this did not live up to its name. It possibly had every ingredient off the kitchen shelf into it, the biryani was laden with spice. Very amateur to say the least. This simple dish could have been made much better. The quantity was good with a good helping of chicken pieces. But again, it failed to impress.

What was worse was that the kitchen did not have a proper exhaust/ chimney facility and all the fumes were out in the dining area. The pedestral fan obstructed the smoke from going out. For the rest of our meal, we had our eyes burning. The ‘not-so-clean’ wash basin near our table was a put-off as well.

Saanjhi Dopahar is probably a restaurant you would like to try for daily lunch if you were studying or working near-by. I would like to believe the Rajma and rice was far better than what we ordered. This place is a complete no for a leisure lunch.

Pay by : Cash. Not sure of Credit Cards
Restroom : Looking at the wash basin, I avoided using the loo. Could not see one either!
Average meal for two : Rs 350 (including soft drinks)
Mel’s overall rating : NA

Location: Next to Furtados Music Store, near the Airtel Showroom Koramangala. The first right turn after HDFC bank junction, if you are coming from the Forum.