Saturday, October 27, 2012

Istanbul Doner & Turkish Grill

We read about it on the net and the very next day we made it to the place. This definitely does not happen to us often. But lucky this time, I guess. Istanbul Doner Turkish Grill is the latest addition to the restaurants dishing out Turkish delicacies (or so they claim).

The restaurant is tucked away in a bylane near the Indiranagar BDA complex. Calling the restaurant can get you there faster if you are not familiar with the place. The place is small and can accommodate about 20 people to the max and its bright red interiors are pleasing but far from Turkish.

A woman welcomed us and politely ushered us to a table. We later realized she was the owner of the place. Through the meal we caught up with her and this was her story. Jolly is a Keralite, settled in Kuwait. She has two sons who were in the UK and loved Turkish food. So they got a Turkish chef to train them with doners. A tour around the world, and this restaurant found its place in Bangalore. Leave your judgement aside!

The menu is not too vast but has a decent selection of doners and other sides. For starters we ordered the Istanbul Special Salad and Chicken Shish Tawook. A good start to a meal. Chunks of meat on satay sticks. The spices and the ginger and garlic paste were evident but yet did not mar the taste. The salad had the usual green veggies but the mayo and sour cream really took it to a different level. I was almost going to ask for a second helping but decided to try something else instead.
Chicken Shish Tawook

Istanbul Special salad
We then tried the Lamb Kebabs. What came was lamb sheikh, very good nonetheless. The spices were very Indian and went well on the palate. This one surely had its share of mint and coriander in it.
Lamb Kebabs

The menu had a few beverages as well and we picked the Sparkling Cranberry Berry and the Ayran ( a thick buttermilk claimed as a Turkish original).

For main course, Vinod opted for a mixed doner and I ordered a Chicken Doner with French Fries & Hummus. A doner is basically a taco or a thick roti  filled with meat. It’s similar to a shawarma. The meat is marinated and cooked on a  large sweker. The mixed doner had lamb and chicken with a few veggies tucked in. The taste of smoked meat is hard to resist. I was expecting my doner to arrive with French fries and hummus but interestingly these were fillings. With every bite, I got crunchy fries and chilled hummus. This one was good too. The portions look small but we felt full quite soon.
Chicken Doner with French Fries and Hummus

Mixed Doner
Istanbul Doner was a good experience and is a great option for a quick snack or lunch on a  working day. A little more Turkish influence on the food and interiors would definitely make this place a great hit. The food overall is good and not heavy on spice as well. Vinod rarely rates a restaurant and he liked this one. So that’s make a reason enough for us to go back there.        
Pay by : Cash and cards (though the machine did not work while we were there)
Restroom : Basic
Average meal for two : Rs 600
Mel’s overall rating : 2.5 out of 5
Location: #27, 7th Cross (Behind the Airtel Office), HAL 1st Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore - 560038. Ph No. 080 080 40932542

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bistro Claytopia

There’s no dearth of good places to eat in Bangalore. Bistro Claytopia is my new favourite. With their successful hangout at Indiranagar, they have now started a place closer home in Koramangala. And for long we were looking for a place where we could sit for hours and not be disturbed and Claytopia seemed like the answer.

We headed there for a weekend dinner. The place was not crowded considering it had opened about 10 days ago. As I entered the place, everything reminded me of Goa. They have a part indoor and part outdoor seating. Set in the front yard of a house, this place looks like any Goan restaurant with trees lit up and bences to sit on. What’s more they even played Goan Konkani music for a while.

The name Claytopia comes from the fact that guests here can paint items made of clay. You can pick (read buy) the item of your choice and paint it, the team will then process this and call you when its ready to be picked up, which generally is about 7 days.

We were meeting our friends Neha and Abhi after long and chose not to ‘clay’ around. We went straight for the food. The menu is that of a coffee shop with no specific dinner options. But if you’re not fussy about what to eat for lunch or dinner, this is just the place. Mark, one of the persons incharge here was sweet and very considerate about our needs.

The milkshakes looked extremely tempting and we had to order them that very minute. So the Creamy Oreo shake and Brownie shake it was! Both of them were extremely thick and were generous on the oreo and brownie. Guys, good job done…but I hope you retain the same quality each time unlike other places that are inconsistent. We even ordered  another Crazy Nutty Hazelnut which was espresso with cream, double scoop ice cream, torani hazel nut topped with whipped cream and nuts. Sounds exciting na? Well they forgot to serve us this and we too forgot about it until I returned home and checked the bill where we were charged for a coffee we never had. Well, we should have been more careful.
The Creamy Oreo Milkshake
Brownie shake
Irish Coffee
 First on order were the Barbecues Chicken wings followed by Spicy Chicken Strips and Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers. The wings were soft with the bbq sauce while the strips were tangy and flavourful. The cheesy poppers are anyway an all-time favourite and had to be good. For more reasons that one this place reminded me Jamie’s Place in Goa which is still my ‘favouritest’ restaurant in the ‘world’. Phew! That reminds me of school!
Chicken Wings
Spicy Chicken Strips

For the main course, all of us picked burgers with no prior planning. Neha enjoyed her Double Delight Chicken Burger combo which was a delicious combo of crispy chicken, minced chicken and chicken salami with egg, mushhrooms and cheese. Vinod went in for The Ultimate Sausage which was a chicken mortadella (cold cut sausage)  and a chicken patty with cheese, mushrooms, egg and gherkins. Both these were combos and were to come with fries and coke. Well, they forgot the coke. I remembered it while I was writing this review. We were too busy chit chatting that day. Well, a sure shot lesson learnt now.
Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers
Double Delight Chicken Burger
Bbq Chicken Burger
The Ultimate Sausage
Abhi chose a simple Barbecued chicken burger while I took a Street Side Cheesy Double Dog. The menu read that this dish had sausage with minced chicken, jalapeno, olive and cheese. But mine had barbecues chicken cocktail sausage with grilled onions, olive and cheese, which means they swapped my order with another.  Claytopia has another dish called The Lick-a-licious Dog which has the same ingredients. And how did I know this? I brought home a take-away menu and read through the descriptions.
Supposedly The Street Side Cheesy Double Dog
Double Chocolate Mousse
All the burgers were good, though I would not say they were extraordinary. For dessert we coaxed ourselves to a Double chocolate mousse (I hope I got the name right) which was very good and didn’t seem less though shared by four.

Despite all the goof-ups I think the ambience and company did it for me. I still would go back there, only to be careful the next time around.

Pay by : Cash and cards (the line will be up shortly)
Restroom : Very neat with potted plants
Average meal for two : Rs 800
Mel's overal rating : 3 out of 5 (I could have rated this place better had i not realized the numerous goof-ups)
Location : Next to SBI, Diagonally opposite to Koramangala Wipro Park, Koramangala I Block, Bangalore 560095. Phone No. 080 64350526