Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bhojohori Manna

What I enjoy most about these food blogs is that they encourage me to try new places and cuisines. Going with that approach, we ventured out to try the much talked about Bengali Joint – Bhojohori Manna.

When we walked in for lunch on a Saturday, the place had a lot of vacant seats and we chose to sit on the first floor. The interiors are simple and nothing Bengali about them. The AC was not working due to a power cut and we seated ourselves next to an open window. I needed to make myself familiar with the Bengali menu. Though in English, it was hard to comprehend. I was smart I had taken a Bengali translator friend along to help me.

So until she explained the menu and the specialties of ‘Bong’ cuisine, I ordered the only thing I knew – Misti Doi. Mildly chilled sweetened yogurt filled all my senses as I too a spoonful. This was absolutely fantastic. This was followed by a second, third and fourth helping.

Today we were all set to eat what Neha (my friend) chose to order for us. First on it was Luchi-Alur Dom – a home favourite in the Bengal region. This can apparently be eaten at any time of the day and why not. Luchi is similar to poori and the other is ofcourse Aloo dum. Potatoes looked in delicate spices with peas had a sweetish tinge to it while the luchi was soft and fresh.

Luchi Alur Dum

Mishti Doi
The Bengalis love their fish and this forms an integral part of the Bengali meal. At Bhojohori, we ordered for the famous fried Hilsa (also known as Ilish). What I realized is that each dish serves only one. So be it a fry or gravy, the menu indicates one piece, so if you are two of you, you would have to ask for a second piece. The price doubles ofcourse. On the recommendation of my friend and the waiter, I ordered for a Mini Jumbo Ilish fried fish. There was no masala but plain salted fish. The size of the piece was extremely disappointing for the price and to my bad luck, my piece was not well fried.
Fried Hilsa

We met more challenges along the meal. We had to restrict our orders as the hotel ran out of LPG. Never heard of that before! I understand power cuts, but LPG??? And that too at opening time on Saturday afternoon!

So for mains we chose steamed rice and parathas along with Parshe Shorshe, a thin gravy with generous turmeric and mustard. The fish was better than the Ilish and as again a native fish of the Bengalis. The gravy again was juSst enough to finish the rice.
Parshe Shorshe
Mutton Dakbangla

Just to put aside the taste of fish, we ordered for a Mutton Dakbangla which was a thick gravy, well spiced and cooked to perfection. This dish and the Mishti Doi saved the afternoon for us. We could not order any desserts as they apparently had no stock of any, though the menu had an entire write up on Bengali sweets. We ordered the last of the Mishti Doi that was there.

Truly expected better out of this place, but I have my hopes still high on Bengali Cuisine. I hope to have better luck next time.

Pay by                                  : Cash or Credit Card
Restroom                             : Decent and manageable
Average meal for two          : Rs 850
Mel’s overall rating             : 1.5 out of 5
Location                               : No 668/b, 6th block, Koramangala Club Road, Bangalore 560095. Ph : 080 25503666

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Only Place

A few years ago, when there weren’t as many restaurants, this place was a favourite for all special occasions. It was THE ONLY PLACE. There’s something about the place that draws you time and again. Be it the food that tastes like home or the warm interiors.

We made our way to OP this weekend and made it right on time for the last free table. There was a sense of quietness despite the crowd. The ambience reminds me of Goa with the tiled roof, a centre sun-lit area and homely lampshades. The sunlight through the Bamboo and over the pebbles, take you to a different time and place altogether. OK, I might be exaggerating a bit!

The food is European and OP luckily has not succumbed to Indo-European additions like most other places. No Chettinad Chicken steak here! So here is this menu where everything sounds good. I went there to relish the steak but I think I ordered everything but the steak.

First on order was the Chilly Beef. Tender meat, tossed with loads of green and ground pepper. This tasted just like the authentic Beef Chilli in a good Kerala restaurant or like the one that the neighboring Ammachi prepares. This one was ‘unputdownable’ until the last bite. I didn’t spare even the leftover-almost-nonexistent gravy.
Chilli Beef
 For a change we went for a soup. With a rigorous dance workout that was to follow, the hungry instincts suggested a Chicken Chowder Soup. Very few restaurants still have this on their menu. A thick broth of cornstarch and shredded chicken tasted so homemade that I wanted to call mom.
Chicken Chowder Soup

We had to eat ‘light’ and for main course ordered a Chicken Tetrazini out of the steaks and a OP Special Sheperd’s pie. The Chicken Tetrazini featured in both the bakes’ and the steak sections. Though we asked for a steak, I am sure we were served a bake. But there was so much cheese on it that we loved this happy mistake. Though this was Vinod’s lunch, I managed to dig in until the cheese was gone.
OP Special Shepherd's Pie

Chicken Tetrazini

The Sheperd’s pie in front of me was above average. The minced meat with spiced baked in a loaf and hiding under creamed potatoes was very filling. For Bangaloreans who have tried the spice sausages from The Ham Shop, this was like a loaf made of the sausage filling. Why wouldn’t I like it?

To wrap up our ‘light’ lunch we ordered for an Apple Pie that many people recommend at OP. Of course with a heavy heart I had to say no to the other interesting cheesecakes, mousse cakes and pies. Chunks of crunchy apples in a gooey sweet mix resting on a pastry bed made a good ending. Be warned that this dish is extremely sweet and might be an overdose sometimes.
Apple Pie
 I would not bet my money on the food here because there are a lot of great choices in the city. But The Only Place never disappoints if you are looking for a quaint restaurant for a small birthday treat or a date. What also struck me was that they never played any music as long as we were there giving us more time to talk to each other.

Pay by : Cash or Credit Card
Restroom : Outside the restaurant but decent.
Average meal for two : Rs 1200
Mel’s overall rating :3.5 out of 5
Location: No 13, Museum Road, Bangalore 560001. Ph : 080 32718989

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Gullu's Chaat

It’s not often that we find ourselves in a  chaat house. Especially when grab a bite means the nearest KFC. There is no time or day in the week when we are not hungry and recently while we were at Sheshadripuram, we decided to head towards the famous Gullu’s Chaat for a chatpata feast.

We had to ask for directions to reach the place which is tucked away near Kumara park. As expected the place was crowded. There were people all around eating a variety of chaat. We headed right inside for the ‘service’ section. Nothing to mention of the interiors because there aren’t any.  The seating area is run down and functions as wash room, part kitchen and store room. However that did not hamper the good reviews we had heard of the place.

The menu like most snack houses offers chaat, pizzas, sandwiches and juices. I have loved Masala Puri since time immemorial especially at those roadside eateries. The smell of simmering gravy over the kerosene stove still makes my  mouth water. Anyways, so with this masala filled thought, I had to order for a Special Masala Puri. It was good, though not out of this world. When asked what at the must-haves at Gullu’s, the waiter recommended the Dahi Puri. Again not the best in town. We enjoyed both nonetheless, but I definitely would not travel even one extra mile to taste this.
Special Masala Puri

Dahi Puri

For the second round we picked a Pav Bhaji and a Samosa Bhel. The Pav Bhaji was slightly tangy but was fairly high on taste. It reminded me of the Pav Bhaji you get at the Jayanagar 4th Block Shopping complex. The samosa bhel was better than the rest. With crumbled samosa tossed in the usual bhel, this one went down pretty well and fast too.

Pav Bhaji

Samosa Bhel
 And finally to complete the chaat meal, we ordered for Pani Puri. Having had the usual potato and onion filling for the last few years, the peas and curry filling was a good change. Gullu’s Chaat definitely sells good chaat, but with so many chaat counters in the city…there is nothing much to travel here for.

Stepping out of this place, I noticed that the shop next door was jam packed and sold ‘Indian Burger’ and ‘Masala Cola’. I wouldn’t mind giving that a try.

Pay by : Cash
Restroom : Didn’t risk it. No second thoughts, I didn’t come across one.
Average meal for two : Rs 100
Mel’s overall rating : 1.5 out of 5
Location: No 2/1, Serpentine Road, Kumara Park West, Bangalore 560020. Ph: 080 2356 0164