Monday, April 9, 2007

Brahmin's Coffee Bar

Shankarapuram, Bangalore.

Food : 3/5
Ambience : 1/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 50

See the crowd?

This tiny, unassuming eatout had recently been voted as one of the best idli - coffee joints in Bangalore which invoked our curiosity to check out the place ourselves. But as luck would have it, we would always end up here when it was closed - on Sundays and after 7pm on other days. They are also closed between 11 am to 3pm on all days.
It opens at 6-30 am and by the time we reached the place, around 8 am on a Saturday morning, it was packed, with people spilling over to the road and many families even having their tiffin-giffin in the confines of their cars.

Tiffin thintheera?

The coffee bar serves only 3 items - idli, vada and kesari baath - and of course, coffee and tea. Since this is a 'self-service only' joint, you have to first buy the tokens for your items at the counter near the entrance. Then starts the herculean task of squeezing your way through the crowd milling around. When you finally reach the serving counter, catch your breath, get your snacks on a tray and turn back, you realize that you are now faced with the near impossible task of making your way out of the place without spilling tea or dropping a steaming idli on someone around or worse, yourself!
Once outside, there is an old man standing right near the entrance, pouring chutney for everyone on their plates (a prize for making it out of the place in one piece, perhaps? ;)). Now that the hardships are done with :), its time to happily gorge on the simple but superb food. The idlis are quite fluffy and soft, the vada - crisp and not over done. I'm not a huge fan of kesari bath and Balaji found it was fine but a tad too sweet - too much of pineapple, we guess. There is an unlimited supply of chutney, thanks to the thaatha who happily pours it for all who ask.
Nothing better than a steaming cuppa to end an enjoyable breakfast. The coffee and tea -served in Kerala tea house kind of glasses - are quite good and upto the mark.
This place is definitely worth a try for true blue fans of idli-vada-kaapi. We do not have the exact address or phone number of the place but to get there, take the Bull Temple road from the Gandhi Bazaar side. There is a HOPCOMS and then a Neeladri office on the left. Take the right turn in front of this, go a little ahead and to your right, when you see a place teeming with people, some sipping piping hot coffee and some downing steaming idlis - you'll know you are at the right place!

Did you know.......
.......................that the idli finds mention in the Kannada writings of Shivakotiacharya in 920 AD, and it seems to have started as a dish made only of fermented black lentil? One description circa 1025 A.D. says the lentils were first soaked in buttermilk, and after grinding, seasoned with black pepper, coriander, cumin and asafoetida. The Kannada king and scholar Someshwara III, reigning in the area now called Karnataka, included an idli recipe in his encyclopedia, the Manasollasa, written in Sanskrit ca. 1130 A.D.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Roasted Pepper Prawns with Pasta in Arabiatta Sauce

Healthy food is generally perceived as bland and boring. However, a cookery show where Sanjeev Kapoor was featuring a zero-oil recipe - roasted pepper prawns, caught our attention last week.It seemed so easy to make and looked so good that we tried it out later that week. Paired with pasta, it turned out to be a simple, healthy and fulfilling meal - one that can be cooked when you are pressed for time.

The ingredients for the Roasted Pepper Prawns are:
Jumbo or medium sized prawns, cleaned and deveined 250gms
Tomato sauce 2 tbsps
Mustard sauce/paste 1 tbsp
Chopped garlic 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste 2 tsp
Ground black pepper 2 tsp
Broccoli and chopped carrots 1 cup
Lemon juice 1/2 tsp

Few fresh basil leaves (can be substituted with 1/2 tsp of dried basil)
Salt to taste

Ingredients for roasted pepper prawns

Boil the broccoli florets and carrots with very little water in a pressure cooker. Five minutes is enough or else the veggies will end up overcooked and soggy.
Mix the tomato ketchup, ginger garlic paste, mustard paste, cooked carrot and broccoli, prawns, salt and ground black pepper. You can add a little more tomato ketchup if the mixture seems too dry. However, go easy on the mustard paste, since it has an overpowering flavour that can mask the taste of the other ingredients.
Heat a cooking pan and roast the chopped garlic- no oil, remember?- for a minute. Now add the mixture prepared earlier and cook on medium flame for around 8 minutes. Garnish with fresh, torn (this brings out the flavour) basil leaves. Dried basil available in most stores can also be used instead. Add some lemon juice if desired. Serve with pasta cooked as mentioned below.

Roasted Pepper Prawns

Ingredients for Pasta with Arrabiata sauce:
Spaghetti - just enough for 2 (this is usually half of the normal packet size that is available in stores)
Arrabiata Sauce - 3 tbsps
Extra virgin olive oil - 1 tbsps
Dried basil - 1/2 tsp

Dried oregano - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Cook the pasta as per instructions on the pack. Remember not to overcook it; it should be al dente. Make sure you add a couple of drops of olive oil to the boiling water so that the pasta does not turn out sticky. Once cooked, drain and keep aside some of the pasta starch.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan. Add the arrabiata sauce and cook on medium heat for a minute. Add 4 tbsps of the pasta starch and cook for another minute. Now add the cooked pasta and dried basil and oregano. Toss till the sauce and pasta get mixed well. Serve hot.

Pasta with arrabiata sauce

The whole meal took about 30 minutes to make but the end result looks like a lot of time has been spent on it - truly gourmet ;). All the items for the recipes are easily available at departmental stores. Jumbo sized or atleast medium sized prawns would be ideal for the roasted pepper prawns though we used small prawns. The recipes given above serve two.

Did you know.......
......................that the arrabiata sauce is called the angry sauce? The word arrabiata is Italian for "in an angry mood", which describes perfectly the spicy, zingy flavor of a good arrabiata sauce.
......................that "spaghetti" is the plural form of the Italian word "spaghetto", which is a diminutive of "spago," meaning "thin string" or "twine"? The word "spaghetti" can be literally translated as "little strings."

Monday, March 5, 2007

Villa Pottipati

142, 8th Cross, 4th Main Road, Malleswaram, Bangalore - 560003.
Phone : (080)-23360777, 41280832, 41280833
Fax : 41280835
Website :

Food : 2/5
Service : 2.5/5
Ambience : 4/5

Meal for 2 : Rs 800

Tucked in a corner of the ever busy Malleswaram, is a charming colonial bungalow now converted into a hotel, Villa Pottipati. A sprawling property with a lovely house, a pebbled courtyard, abundant trees under which you can have your lunch....hard to believe this is in namma bengalooru. Getting there was a boggling task with all the one-ways, bylanes and the infamous traffic that Malleswaram is never short of! But once we reached this pocket of green, the bustle of the city seemed like a distant memory.
Villa Pottipati has a fixed menu everyday with four courses and a choice of vegetarian and non vegetarian. For the alcoholics, beer is the only drink available. It would be wise to call up to the restaurant a couple of hours in advance for reservations and directions (believe us, you will definitely need that!).

Under an old mango tree with the call of birds in the background, we settled for our meal. It felt like time stood still that afternoon; it was so peaceful and quite. Unfortunately, the food at Villa Pottipati is not so appealing :(
The carrot soup that we started with was bland and passable. Next was the compose salad which turned out to be the ordinary green salad in disguise. Sliced cucumber, shredded capsicum and carrots topped with some kind of sweet brown sauce and mayonnaise, it was nothing special.

Carrot soup

Salad compose

Following that was the capitan grill for me and chicken in orange sauce for Balaji. The capitan grill was a huge slice of grilled fish which tasted very good. The way it was presented, it looked like a dish from an Andhra restaurant, lemon wedges et al!

Capitan grill

The chicken in orange sauce was not bad either, the chicken succulent and the orange sauce, a tad too citrusy but still good.

Chicken in Orange sauce

Choice of dessert included a very ordinary tasting fruit salad and roasted pineapple with honey. Roasting had killed the taste of pineapple and it also smelled a little odd.

Fruit salad

Roasted Pineapple with Honey glaze

Service is good and unintrusive - something that naturally goes well with such an ambience.
If only Villa Pottipati served better and more innovative food, it would be the right place to laze over a satisfying lunch on a deliciously languid afternoon soaking up the old world charm amidst the peace and quite.

Did you know.......
................that the name Pottipati derives from a village in Andhra Pradesh from where the owners, the Reddy family, originally migrated to Bangalore?
................that this 120-year-old garden home was restored by award winning heritage hotel experts Francis Wacziarg and Aman Nath?

Sunday, March 4, 2007


The Park, 14/7, MG Road, Bangalore - 560042
Phone : 25594666
Email :
Website : the

Food : 3.75/5
Service : 3/5
Ambience : 3/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 3000

There is no sincerer love than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw.

Happy Valentines Day!

We chose to go to i-t.ALIA last month on Valentine's day to celebrate our love for food (amongst other things :)). That this Italian restaurant is based in the IT hub of the country is the reason behind the interesting way it is spelt.
The interiors are done up elegantly. Dark wood on the floors and crisp white linen on the tables creates an atmosphere of subdued sophistication. Dim lighting and candles set the mood for a cosy dinner; the fixed menu specially arranged just for Valentine's day.

The meal had four courses with three to four choices in each course and included a glass of sparkling wine. There was ample choice for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. A bread basket with freshly baked goodies, olive oil and vinegar served alongside arrived at the table while we waited for our first course.

Mini pizza hearts

For appetizers, I chose mini pizza hearts. The pizzas were topped with juicy mixed mushrooms, grilled shrimps and chewy mortadella. Delicately spiced, the mortadella was the tastiest topping of the three.
Balaji went for a salad of roast chicken with watermelon, feta and black olives; skeptical about the combination of watermelon with chicken, he nevertheless gave it a try. A unique blend of sweet and meaty tastes, the salad was interesting. The best part of it were the bits of basil that let out a distinctive flavour in the mouth and enhanced the taste of the salad.

Salad of roast chicken with watermelon, feta and black olives

The primo was prawn and fennel risotto with sambuca for me and a four cheese risotto for B. I love the aromatic taste of fennel, so there was no way I could not like the excellent risotto!! The prawn was done just right... not too overcooked, and was fresh.

Prawn and fennel risotto with sambuca

Balaji's risotto was a little too heavy for my taste, what with generous amounts of parmesan, fontino, gorgonzola and mascarpone in it, but is sure a treat for cheesy tastebuds.

Four cheese risotto

This was followed by a rose petal sorbet. This is supposedly a culinary tradition to cleanse the palate between courses.

Rose petal sorbet

Balaji had grilled lamb chops with pistachio crust, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary jus for the secondo. The well done chops were generously seasoned with ground pistachios. Paired with shiitake and button mushrooms, this dish was a delight.

Grilled lamb chops with pistachio crust, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary jus

I opted for olive crusted salmon, couscous and crabmeat sauce. Being the sea'foodie' that I am, I relished the delectable slice of salmon. Salmon, usually quite subtle in flavour was spiked with the crabmeat sauce to make an interseting and delicious combination. The couscous tasted something like our desi upma. It is made of semolina and is cooked in almost the same way!

Olive crusted salmon, couscous and crabmeat sauce

The portion of salmon was quite large and I was nearly full by now but how can I say no to dessert? ;) Succulent strawberries marinated in champagne(reminded me of 'Pretty Woman') seemed to be the perfect way to end a very fulfilling dinner.

Champagne marinated strawberries

Balaji's dessert was nemesis, chocolate and cointreau cup, white chocolate and blueberry mousse. Delicious!

Nemesis, chocolate and cointreau cup, white chocolate and blueberry mousse

Service at i-t.ALIA is spiffy. No complaints on that front. The staff seems knowledgable on the food served and is helpful in suggesting the right choices for you.
i-t.ALIA lives up to its reputation of the best Italian restaurant in town. The right place for a decadent meal well worth the indulgence!!

Did you know.......
..........that the secret behind the perfect risotto are the short-grained classic Italian varieties of rice such as Arborio and Carnaroli? And good news for those who want to try it at home - this rice is now being imported to India.
.........that the constant gentle stirring required while making risotto abrades and removes starch from the rice surface so that it can thicken the cooking liquid to a creamy consistency?
.........that the term 'sherbet' is derived from the Turkish word for sorbet, serbat which in turn comes from Arabic?
...........the word basil comes from the Greek basileus, meaning "king", as it is believed to have grown above the spot where St.Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bobby ka Dhaba

Next to the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara, Ulsoor, Opp to Ulsoor lake, Bangalore - 560001

Food: 2.75/5
Ambience: 1/5
Service: 2.5/5
Meal for 2: Rs 150

Picture this - hot, just-off-the-tawa parathas with a dollop of butter on it, steaming hot channa masala and a tall glass of creamy buttermilk to wash it all down with.....sounds tempting, doesn't it? Then we suggest you set off to Ulsoor where, right next to the Gurudwara, you will find authentic Punjabi ghar ka khana at Bobby ka dhaba.

Bobby ka dhaba - blink and you'll miss it!

The dhaba is easy to miss because neither does this oh-so-tiny place look like a restaurant from the outside, nor does it have a board announcing its existence. And to top it all, the neighbouring restaurants, when asked for directions, will pretend like they do not know where this dhaba is.....they probably cannot digest the competiton :) !

The first time we went here, we were alarmed by the sight of the dhaba from the inside.

A tiled ceiling with quite a few broken tiles here and there, walls that badly needed a coat of paint, furniture that was nothing more than a few tables and stools and an old wheezing refrigerator in the corner. In the middle of it all was Bobby, shouting instructions and orders to his kitchen staff in Punjabi.

'Ik pyaas, do gobhi maar...'

Nothing much has changed now. Except for the ever increasing clientele and the old faithfuls who visit the dhaba for a true taste of surprisingly affordable, Punjabi food.

The menu is very simple and basic at Bobby's dhaba. Five to six kinds of parathas, a few side dishes, kheer and buttermilk are on the offering. Parathas are served with butter, pickle and a plate of sliced cucumber and onion. All side dishes are served in portions just enough for two. The sight of the steaming hot parathas with the butter slowly puddling on top is enough to make you hungry even on a full stomach! The mooli and onion parathas that we tried were soft and piquantly delicious. Channa masala and aloo jeera make for good company along with the parathas. They are not overtly spiced, like you would expect from typical Punjabi cuisine, so it suits all palates.


The egg bhurji, the only non-vegetarian dish available here, is also a good accompaniment to the meal. It is peppered with green chillies and a hint of garam masala which gives it the right amount of zest.
And now coming to Balaji's favourite part of this meal - the buttermilk.


Rich and frothy, served in a tall steel glass, it is the perfect cooler after a heavy meal like this. Our quest for the best buttermilk in town ended here!
Service is quick and efficient. Inspite of the Sunday crowd, the staff made sure we didn't have to wait for too long in between orders.
Bobby da Dhaba is open for lunch between 12-30pm and 3.30pm and for dinner from 7.30pm to 11.30pm. It gets a little too crowded on Sundays due to the devotees from the Gurudwara dropping by, so come prepared to wait a while to be seated.
But take our word for it, the wholesome food here is worth the wait. The right place for foodies to chak de phatte!!!

Did you know......
.......that Indian immigrants took the paratha to Malaysia and Singapore, resulting in variations such as
roti canai and roti prata? In Myanmar (Burma), where it is known as palata, it is eaten with curries or cooked with either egg or mutton, or as a dessert with white sugar.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cafe Inch

57, Milestone, Defence Colony, 100 ft road, Indiranagar, Bangalore - 560 038
Phone : +91 80 4153 8088

Food : 2.75/5
Service : 2/5
Ambience : 2.75/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 250 approx (for breakfast)

The first Indian outlet of a Swiss venture, this cafe offers a refreshing atmosphere to sink into a filling meal. The interiors look inviting with splashes of orange and yellow and comfortable couches as well as tables, both inside and outside (where you can have your meal overlooking the 100ft road - but I guess that wouldn't make for a pleasant view on a weekday, what with choc-a-block traffic on the road!).

The menu listed a whole lot of options for breakfast, starters, soups, items for lunch/dinner, pastas, juices, teas and coffees. We opted for an English breakfast (just realized, I'm blogging about English breakfast for the second time...hmmm) which was scrambled eggs on toast, bacon, sausage, baked beans and juice.

English breakfast

The eggs and bacon were well done. The baked beans tasted quite good too but I suspect this came straight out of a can :). There were also sauteed mushrooms along with the breakfast which was succulent.
However, the service is quite slow at Inch. The waiters look a little lost and take ages to get your order. This kind of mars the experience of a satisfying meal. There is definitely room for improvement in this area.

Our recommendation -go to Cafe Inch for the food but don't expect attentive service. You will come away with a happy tummy!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sweet Sins

No. 421-G, I Main, 3rd Cross, I Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore – 560 038
Phone : 98450 36988, 2525 5534 / 35
Fax : 2525 5532
email :

Food : 4/5
Avg price for a 1kg cake : Rs 500

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. -Ernestine Ulmer. :)
So we set out to Indiranagar first thing on my birthday to collect the Exotic Fruit Gateau from Sangeeta Damani's Sweet Sins. We had read about her luscious pastries and desserts in many blogs and this seemed a good occassion to try them out ourselves.

The gateau was a three layered cake interspersed with layers of fresh fruit. Like the name suggests, the fruits were of the exotic kind - kiwi, strawberries, plums, figs and oranges too. Decorated with soft, fluffy cream - the cake looked good enough to eat (pun intended!)

Exotic Fruit Gateau

If just looking at it was a treat to the eyes, savouring the cake was an out of the world sensory experience! Spongy layers of cake with the fruity bits in between all enveloped in guilt-rich cream had us begging for more. The gateau was not of the sickeningly sweet variety and was quite filling. In fact we were still stuffing ourselves with it the next day too!! (My sweet tooth rejoicing all along! ;) )

The gateau tastes best when eaten fresh and if you are planning to eat it later, it has to be stored in the fridge immediately; though we would suggest you finish it on the same day coz thats when it tastes the way it should - delicately made up, succulent and rich.

This is not a place where you can drop in and have something on the go. To order cakes and desserts, you need to inform Sangeeta in advance over the phone/by email. She also has a range of meringues, pies, tarts, healthy desserts (is that actually possible?), cookies and lasagnas on offer.

Now who was that who said, "You can't have your cake and eat it too"?

Edited to add: Sweet Sins has been renamed 'Spoonful of Sugar' and now serves light continental fare.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Cafe De Lekkerbek

80ft road, Koramangala, Bangalore.
Phone : 57686767

Note: Just after writing this post, the name of this eatery was changed to Cafe Terra

Belgian Cafe on the first floor

Food : 2.75/5
Service : 2/5
Ambience : 2.5/5
Meal for 2: Rs 250 for breakfast

A lazy Sunday morning in December, swathed in wollens, half awake from deep slumber we set out to a Belgian cafe in Koramangala. This suburb is teeming with a profusion of restaurants of all shapes, sizes and cuisines but most of them, according to our experience,turn out to be run of the mill with just a fancy name to attract crowds. However we were pleased to discover that Cafe De Lekkerbek lived up to its reputation and it was well worth dragging ourselves out of bed on a cold morning!!

The cafe is tucked away on 80ft road, Koramangala in the same building as Bandbox. A small cosy looking place with a huge shelf full of Tintin comics (which other Belgian can you think of?)

along with Calvin & Hobbes and Archie comics on one wall,this restaurant looks like the ideal place to sit with a book and coffee for hours.

Gourmet, epicure or glutton - what are you?

Spongy delicious muffins, perfect waffles with maple syrup along with hot tea on a wintry morning.... thats exactly what I had in the Belgian breakfast. The waffles were lovely - crisp on the outside, not too soggy, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup. My hunt for the perfect waffle in Bangalore is over!!!

Belgian Breakfast

Balaji had a filling English breakfast which was toast, a chicken cutlet, eggs (made to order - scrambled in this case) and chicken sausages with coffee. The sausages seemed to have a mild hint of masala in it which tasted so good that he ordered an extra plate of them coz I was polishing off his share with glee! The scrambled eggs were peppered, light and fluffy. The cutlet was crunchy and tasted more Indian than English but who cares coz it tasted good:)

English Breakfast

I think it's something in the air over there, what with the delicious smells of cooking wafting out of the kitchen area, I was tempted into ordering a spanish omlette despite my groaning tummy. The crunchy layers of spinach, baby corn and many more veggies makes for a scrumptious and filling meal in itself. We wolfed it down like we were starved for ages!

The menu also lists food from across the continent for lunch and dinner. Their minestrone soup, banana cakes and various salads are quite popular. This is a place that definitley requires a second visit!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Diana Circle, Udupi - 576101.
Phone - 2520505, 2522586

Food : 2.5/5
Service : 2.5/5
Ambience : 2/5
Meal for 2: Rs 100

Think Udupi and think beaches, temples and gadbad from Diana!!! What better way to chill out in the sweltering weather (yes...even in the middle of December!) than stuff yourself with icecreams renowned for their quality and flavour for decades.

You will find over 50 icecream delicacies in Diana's but the favourite among locals and tourists alike remains the gadbad.


For the uninitiated, the gadbad is a tall glass filled with droolworthy layers of jelly, fresh fruit and dry fruits interspersed with 3 scoops of icecream. Definitely not for the calorie conscious! And it didnt help that my gadbad was topped with a yummy scoop of my favourite flavour - strawberry!!

The superior quality of the icecreams - and I can vouch for that since I've been coming here every other year or so - has been maintained over the years because they are made inhouse in the factory owned by Diana. The icecreams are creamy in texture and come in a whole range of flavours from the standard vanilla to fig-n-honey. And yes, you still get tutti-fruity flavour here! I thought that flavour was extinct - long replaced by the new ones like chocomint or blueberry introduced in the metros by the bigger brands.

The ambience at Diana's is unpretentious. No fussy decor, no snooty waiters. Just a clean, bustling restaurant which has retained its old world charm - and also a few of its old waiters!

This restaurant is not just restricted to icecreams but also serves items ranging from dosas to what seems to be a staple of any vegetarian restaurant - baby corn manchurian :) The channa bhatura is quite a hit here. We did not have a chance to try it though since we were busy devouring the yummy icecreams. Maybe next time.......

Kamat Non-Veg Parcels

Chicken Biryani

Vuda Complex, Siripuram, Vizag; Dwarakanagar Main Road, Opposite Titan showroom, Vizag and Lawson's Bay Colony, Vizag.
Phone: 0891 5560290

Food : 3 /5
Meal for 2 : Rs 300

Imagine savouring on spicy biryani- the recipe for which comes straight from the kings' kitchen! Well, thats exactly what you will find at Kamat Non-Veg Parcels in Vizag which has three outlets in the city. This eatery was conceived by K.Subba Raju who belongs to the Raju dynasty of Vijayanagaram that is known for its delicious Hyderabadi biryani. The same time-tested recipe is used to prepare the biryani at Kamat's.

Kamat Non-Veg Parcels is synonymous with home cooked non-vegetarian Andhra cuisine in Vizag. Yes, all the items in the Kamat outlets are cooked under the supervision of K.Subba Raju's wife. And as the name suggests, this is a take-away place, therefore ambience and service does not count here. The food is laid out in a buffet and the customers walk in, inspect the menu of the day, place their orders and collect their parcels.

Kamat's is best known for its chicken and mutton biryanis, prawn dishes and a wide range of curries. The Andhra curry menu offers chicken, mutton, fish and the very popular crab curry. The crabs are sourced from the Godavari river, which flows past the city of Vizag and the seafood comes fresh from the Bay of Bengal.

We tried the chicken biryani which lived up to its reputation; the spices just right with juicy well-cooked pieces of chicken. The fish curry that we had ordered alongside was a tad too oily for our taste. But the fish was quite up to the mark and tasted good.

Apart from the Andhra menu there are also some Punjabi items on offer as well as a limited Chinese menu. The food is always fresh and once an item is sold out for the day, it is not replaced on the menu.

This bustling place is open from 10-30 am to 3-30 pm and then again from 6 in the evening till it closes at midnight.

Kamat's offers good value for money for foodies who want to try out authentic coastal Andhra food.


Fourth floor, Devatha Plaza, 131, Residency Road, Bangalore.
Phone : 51325757, 57688222

Food : 3.5 /5
Service : 3 /5
Ambience : 3 /5
Meal for 2 : Rs 1800

We had always wanted to try Japanese food but kept putting it off for later. This week provided the perfect opportunity in the guise of our 'half- anniversary' (term coined by Balaji!). We had completed six months of matrimony and what better way to celebrate than pig out (we don't need a reason for that anyway but that's besides the point ;))

Harima is an authentic Japanese restaurant in Devatha Plaza on Residency Road, Bangalore. Trying not to be misled by the dingy walls in the lobby of the building or the creaky elevator, we got off on the fourth floor. Once past the sliding screen door (called Shoji in Japanese), we were transported to the tranquil 'Land of the Rising Sun'! The whole restaurant is done up to reflect the ambience of a Japanese dining room. Soft ambient lighting, lilting oriental music in the background, wooden floors, paper lanterns......far from the maddening traffic just 4 floors below!

We were greeted by the staff in Japanese and ushered to our table. Part of the restaurant is set up with the de rigeur tables and chairs. However, we found out that there was also a washitsu (Japanese style room) and we preferred to dine there instead. We were asked to remove our footwear at the genkan just before entering the washitsu. A genkan is a small entryway where guests are supposed to leave their shoes to avoid bringing dirt into the house/room.

The washitsu has very low dining tables with floor cushions (zabuton) around them for the guests to sit on. To make it easier for guests who aren't used to sitting cross-legged on the floor, Harima actually has space below the tables (something like a depression), where you can dangle your legs, sitting comfortably, fooling others into thinking you are sitting cross legged !! The huge glass windows provide a lovely view of Residency Road.

We ordered for hot sake and Maki Sushi California Roll to start with. I was a bit apprehensive about having raw fish but when the dish arrived, we weren't disappointed. The sake was mildly alcoholic. It is supposed to be consumed before having the sushi.

Maki Sushi California Roll

The sushi was made of vinegared rice, avocado and seafood wrapped inside out with seaweed. It was served with pickled ginger slices, soy sauce and wasabi, which looks like our desi green chutney but don't you be fooled into spooning it generously onto your sushi roll!!! Unfortunately, this is exactly what I did and it felt like someone had shot a bullet through my brain! The 5 seconds that it took for the extremely pungent and spicy vapours to go up my nasal passage to my head felt like eternity. My life flashing before my eyes, I was about to utter some memorable last words for posterity [:P] when the effect ended as quickly as it had begun!

Lesson learnt, I picked just a dot of the wasabi with my next sushi roll and it tasted divine!!! The sticky rice used in the roll is of just the right consistency and the crunchy avocado bits camouflage the fact that you are actually eating raw seafood (in this case, prawn).

Our next course consisted of Sakana No Teriyaki which is the fish of the day grilled and glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with shitake mushrooms and leek. This dish is best eaten with steamed rice. Since I do not prefer main courses that taste sweet, I did not enjoy this but Balaji felt the fish was out of this world!

Gyuu Rousu No Yakiniku

Next on our plate [;)] was grilled tenderloin cooked in a peppery yakiniku sauce - Gyuu Rousu No Yakiniku. The tenderloin strips were well done and succelent. In fact, it tasted like juicy barbecued meat!!

Dessert was Imo Youkan which is nothing but sweet potato cake. The sweet potato is steamed and cut into a thick slice. It tasted deliciously sweet as it went down my throat and was a perfect way to end our meal.

Senses awakened and our tastebuds tickled, we headed home with full tummies and smacking lips!

What's in a name?

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. "Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder. "I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
-Eats, shoots and leaves by Lynne Truss