Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Pepper Cafe

As a group, this place forever has been on our list but somehow it never happened. And finally on Saturday, we made it to Pepper Café. I had heard a lot of good things about this place from various sources, making it all the more important for us to visit.

Pepper Café is situated on St John’s road and is easy to locate and with a little eyebrow twitching on the parking front, we were all set to indulge in some good Euro food. The restaurant has two levels of seating and is well lit giving it a bright ambience. We settled on the first floor and soon were engrossed reading the menu and their detailed fancy descriptions. Soups, salads, steaks, risottos and pizzas…there’s lots to pick from.

We chose to begin with soups. We were 6 of us and decided to share. Robin and Neha ordered the Chicken Corn and Chilly Soup. A variation of the usual sweet corn, except that it had more pepper and spices. The minced chicken in the thick soup tasted great as the warmth travelled down the throat.

Chicken Corn and Chilly Soup
Saritha and me picked the Rock Crab Soup which is a Pepper Café special. It tasted very similar to the chicken soup but yes, it was substituted by crab.

Rock Crab Soup
Lakshmi and Vinod ordered a great sounding sun kissed plum tomato, parmesan and basil soup. It was served with garlic croutons. The closest cousin to this dish would be a homemade tomato soup. Not too tangy and mildly spiced. The portions were just right considering you need place to try starters, main course and dessert.

Sun kissed plum tomato, parmesan and basil soup

For starters, we had Italian Chicken Bites with Vatican Salad and a Thousand Island Dip. Small tikkis of minced chicken were delicately spiced and very well presented. I had heard of Vatican salad for the first time, it predominantly had juliennes of radish in it.

Italian Chicken Bites
We also ordered Thai Fish Cakes which came along with a chick pea salad and some sweet chilli friache. While we were expecting the aroma of the famous Thai fish sauce, this dish fortunately didn’t have any. But overall, it resembled the chicken bites. Both disappeared as soon as they appeared. A sign of good food, I must say!

Thai Fish Cakes
As a veggie starter, we picked the Pizza Florence. This thin crust pizza was richly decorated with roast garlic, egg plant, buffalo mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil. Absolutely didn’t miss the meat in this one!

Pizza Florence
For main course, I had Grilled Lamb Chops with red wine pepper mushroom sauce. I usually never pick lamb, but this time I did. I didn’t regret the taste but wished the meat was cubed. Easier to eat! The chops came with assorted veggies and cheese mash. It’s just like what you are imagining right now- mashed potato with a hint of cheese.

Grilled Lamb Chops
Neha ordered a colourful Dual Pepper and Chicken Pizza which had a delightful mix of chicken and bell peppers, olives, basil and sundried tomatoes all resting on a  thin crust. The base was crispy and tasted absolutely fantastic. I would not be able to single out the different tastes of the pizza but it didn’t have the Indian flavors that most pizzas boast of elsewhere.  
Dual Pepper and Chicken Pizza

Grilled Vietnamese Chicken
Saritha helped herself with Grilled Vietnamese Chicken which was served with a generous portion of Asian sauce and a peanut noodle salad. The chicken was spiced with herbs and was cooked well. The sauce on the other hand was tangy but the glass noodles blended well with the dish and evened out the flavours.

Vinod enjoyed his main course which was Thyme scented Grilled Chicken Breast with a wild mushroom sauce accompanied with a cheese mash. The sauce was creamy and suits all taste buds.

Thyme scented Grilled Chicken
Lakshmi opted for a Pumpkin, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. There is something about pumpkin and spinach together. It made for an amazing soft filling in the cannelloni. What’s more? The cannelloni was almost drowned in a mature cheddar sauce. 

Pumpkin, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
Robin always gets to order the best. He picked Shepherds’ Delight from the pizza section and a Dual Flavored Hummus with Paper Pizza Bread. The pizza, again a thin crust had a generous spread of lamb pepperoni and veggies with cheese of course. The flavours just came alive with every bite. He asked for the beetroot flavour in the Hummus and it was heavenly to say the least. The paper bread also was a great break from the usual pita. 

Shepherds’ Delight
Dual Flavored Hummus with Paper Pizza Bread
Apart from all the food, we also helped ourselves to iced teas, lemonades and other drinks. My inputs on all of them:
Peach iced tea – Fantastic
Fresh lime soda – Great if not the ‘bestest’
Lemon iced tea – Lemon was missing. It was just iced mild tea
Greenapple lemonade – Good if you like the flavor of the fruit
Watermelon lemonade – Stay away!


Iced Teas
As much as we wanted to bite into dessert, we had to skip it as we had a movie waiting for us. But the Oreo Cheese cake on the menu surely sounded inviting. May be next time! Pepper Café was a great experience. It was a treat to some great food after a very long time. This place is good for everyone- be it family, friends, colleagues. However the portions are best to be shared by couples. At Pepper café, it is clear that food is an art. It shows in the ambience, menu, taste and presentation carefully put together by the owners Rohan D’Souza, Ritesh Khandelwal and Atul Khandelwal. And yes, art does not come cheap!

Pay by : Cash and cards
Restroom : Average meal for two Rs 1000 (for 6 of us, it was about Rs 3700)
Mel’s overall rating : 4 out of 5
Location: Near Lavanya Theatre, St John’s Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore

Friday, November 04, 2011


There are some places in Mangalore which I visit every time I make a trip to the city. Guthu is one such place. I stumbled upon this place almost two years ago and it has been one of my favourites every since.  Situated in Falnir, Guthu is a great place to taste good local cuisine.

For those who like a plush ambience, Guthu offers a fine dining ambience as well. But we chose to sit on the terrace which has a traditional village atmosphere to it.  The red stone walls, a boat, a bullock cart, a make-believe well and various other utensils and farm items bring alive the life in a village. The seating is mainly that of cane chairs. To go with the ambience, the food here is served in copper bottom utensils. 

Each time I have visited Guthu, I have gone back happy with the good food. The menu here is multi cuisine but I strongly recommend the local Mangalorean/ Tulunad cuisine. Not the others are not good, but this is definitely worth a try.  My favourite here has always been the Chicken Ghee Roast. The order was placed even before I perused through the menu. And it was as always, Perfect! The meat was tender and had absorbed the masala well to make it juicy. The masala was thick and fried with a lot of ghee. Fiery red and full of spices. Keep a tissue handy while enjoying this dish. 
Chicken Ghee Roast

This time around we also picked our salad to compliment our food. Chicken Tikka salad it was! Cubes of chicken grilled in a tandoor and served with an assortment of peppers and other cold veggies tossed together with a Vinaigrette like dressing. The vegetables were crunchy and fresh while the chunks of chicken were soft. The quantity on this was good too. 

Chicken Tikka Salad


Magic Drinks

For a drink, I chose a Cosmopolitan which is Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Cointreu and lime juice. Vinod ordered a mocktail called Magic Drinks – a unique blend of Strawberry crush, orange juice, 7up and blue curacao. 

For main course Vinod suggested we try various items in small portions. Going by the suggestion we asked for Gattis, Pundis and Neer dosa. Gattis are rice stripes steamed wrapped in banana leaves. Pundis are rice dumplings while Neer Dosas are very thin dosa made of a watery rice batter. 



Neer Dosa

Chicken Puli Munchi
To go with it, we ordered a Chicken Puli Munchi, a very well known delicacy of the Malnad region. This a gravy with a red chilli base but has a dominant tangy flavour to it lent by tamarind. This goes well with rice too.  Guthu scores high on the spice meter so be watchful when you order. In case you are here for lunch, you could also opt for their non-veg thali options which are well worth the money. These along with an additional side dish make a complete meal. Not too crowded, this place is great for team outings, family dinners and even impromptu ‘treat’ sessions. 

Pay by : Cash and cards
Restroom : Clean but basic, unisex
Average meal for two : Rs 800 with a cocktail and mocktail
Mel’s overall rating : 3.5 out of 5
Location: Pailand Plaza, Falnir Road, Mangalore. Ph: 0824 2420224/ 2420225.