Monday, November 3, 2008


Our blog was featured in the Bangalore supplement of Deccan Chronicle on the 21st of October 2008! Yaaaaaaay!!!!

Click here to read the article

Needless to say, we are mighty thrilled about it..because all along, we thought we had like three readers...What with our long spells of absence and chronic laziness we did not expect anyone would even notice this blip of a blog in the big, vast blogosphere. But hey, we are glad someone thought it was worth a mention, albeit three sentences spanning twelve lines - but what precious, precious twelve lines of newsprint!
And now, time to bring out the tissues. Thanks a million to you- our readers. If not for you, we wouldn't be motivated enough to write about our wonderful experiences. Thanks for the comments, suggestions and feedback. And for the ones who haven't given any, please delurk! We would love to hear from you.
We would like to thank our family and friends for their overwhelming support...errr...doesn't matter that most of them didn't even know about the blog till we showed them the article...and we aren't even going to mention the ones who said...'Blog- aa? Andre?*' (Aaaargh!!!)
And who can forget my well known aversion to anything that starts with 'cook' and ends with 'ing' as well as Balaji's insatiable appetite for food (sorry hon...couldn't resist that dig...teeeheeheee!)If not for those, we would not have ventured into uncharted territories in Bangalore and beyond, sampling culinary delicacies and disasters, to regale you with our adventures.
OK. As you can see I am super excited which is why I am getting absurdly wordy....which in turn is why...tadaaaaa....I wrote two posts today! Leaving you to catch up on the post below and thanks once again! Muah!
Psssst...there's a surprise give away coming up this month so hang in there!

* Andre? - Kannada expression for 'Means what?' accompanied by a blank look.

Gourmet Bazaar at The Olive Beach

16, Wood Street,
Ashok Nagar,
Bangalore - 560025.
Phone : 41128400, 9945565483

Website :

Gourmands in Bangalore must by now, be well aware of The Olive Beach, an award winning restaurant cocooned in white washed walls keeping with the Mediterranean theme of the cuisine. Since much has been written already in every possible food review worth its salt, extolling the virtues of its thin crust pizza or the crunchiness of their marinated pear salad, we will not bore you with more of the same!

But we thought we must, absolutely must, make a mention of their gourmet bazaar, a fun concept that started around a year ago and takes place on the third Saturday of every month. This is when you can find tables groaning under the weight of a delectable selection of chocolates, cheeses, jams, pestos, pickles, a rustic European market like setting with wooden boards, checkered table cloths and picnic baskets. The perfect (though pricey) opportunity to furnish your kitchen larder with exotic condiments while munching on some freshly baked goodies.
We stocked up on chunks of toasted almond chocolate, sinful walnut brownies and flavorful Greek feta cheese. We loved the slices of ham pisaladiere (no, I don't know how to pronounce that but its nothing but pizza!) and the chocolate croissants that we had while browsing through the stalls. Not to forget the rosemary and sea salt focaccia - the words alone make my mouth water. It paired wonderfully with bacon at breakfast the next day and tasted deliciously.... delicious on its own or with olive oil mopped up. There was also the awesomest collection of meats available - salty, smoked, cured, dried - good enough to take back home for hearty breakfasts or a quick sandwich.

Freshly baked comfort

Olives - rightly known as 'gift from the gods'

Coonawara wines had a wine sampling counter in the bazaar the day we had dropped by. And who can say no to free wine! Tea tasting sessions, cooking demos, fun kitchen accessories, home made jams and preserves, seasonal produce are other treats you can expect to find in this market.


The happy bonhomie in this colorful bazaar is hard to miss. With all things culinary under one roof, the gourmet bazaar makes for a memorable gastro-shopping experience.

Did you know....................
........................that Olive Beach is co-owned by Sagarika, sister of the popular Indian singer Shaan?
.......................that the word 'gourmet' is from the French term for a wine broker employed by a wine dealer?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hae Kum Gang

20, Paul Castle,
Castle Street, Near Brigade Towers,
Ashoknagar, Bangalore - 5600025.
Phone : 41127730, 41127732
email :

Food: 3.25/5
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 2.5/5
Meal for 2: Rs 700

The food scene in Bangalore never ceases to amaze us. Where else would you find great Korean food, prepared true to its roots, miles away from its land of origin? Hae Kum Gang (named after a river in Korea), on Castle Street, pleasantly surprised us with the lovely cuisine of far away Korea.
Perched on the second level of a drab office building, one would not believe that this restaurant houses a cheerful and homely atmosphere - spilling over with Koreans, busy catching up with each other and with their ghar ka khana! A boisterous group of Korean students occupied the table next to ours and their spirit was infectious. Artefacts from and about Korea filled the simple and well lit dining area.


The staff was courteous and prompt though they hardly spoke any English (definitely room for improvement here). It was getting a bit difficult conversing with them which was when the owner, Mr Chi Jung Sik stepped in and was more than helpful with his suggestions.
Since we were totally clueless about Korean cuisine, he suggested the meal sets (with choices of chicken, seafood, beef, pork and vegetarian) which had a bit of everything that is part of a traditional Korean meal, something like our thalis.

Looks like Greek and Latin? - its actually Korean!

The chicken chulpan gui set had juicy chicken gui (grilled meat in Korean) presented on a sizzling plate (chulpan). And we really enjoyed slurping the outrageously tasty seafood broth that was part of the hemul jeon gol set (hemul means seafood). Rich and aromatic, with succulent pieces of fish, prawn, mussels, squid, shrimp and even crab - this broth alone can make for a wholesome meal even without the accompaniments.

Chicken chulpan gui set

Slurpy broth

Speaking of accompaniments, or banchan as they are known in Korea, the sets were served alongside spinach, sweetened baby potatoes, tofu, batter fried brinjal, vegetable soup and rice - all unlimited. Two kinds of kimchi (Chinese cabbage and radish) complete the meal. We heard that the kimchi is prepared fresh everyday and is also sold by the kilo.
Kimchi, a Korean staple made of fermented vegetables and spices, is traditionally eaten with rice and banchan. Spicy and tangy (sweeter variations are also found in certain regions of Korea) , it is probably Korea's best known food. In fact, the Koreans are so passionate about this food item that in 1986, a museum was established in Seoul to inform and educate the world about it!Thousands of foreigners were introduced to it for the first time during the Summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988!
Bulgogi is another popular meat dish in Korea made from marinated and barbecued beef. We had to give it a miss because we were stuffed (after all the broth and kimchi we gulped down!) but we are sure it is delicious.
We felt the dessert section was woefully inadequate considering that the rest of the menu was full of great choices. Ice creams in different flavours and a fruit dish with seasonal fruits in sugar syrup was all that was on offer.
Strictly for the adventurous foodie, this is the kind of place in Bangalore which will wake up your tastebuds. Jal meokkesseumnida (Bon Appetit) !

Did you know....................
........................that when taking photographs, South Koreans often use the word 'kimchi' in the same way as English speakers say 'cheese'?
........................that unlike the Chinese version, Korean chopsticks are medium length stainless steel rods that taper to a square blunted end, traditionally made of brass or silver? Koreans use a spoon for their rice and soup, and chopsticks for most other things at the table.
.......................that a segment of the population in Korea consume dog meat during the summer since it is believed to keep the body cool? Since 1984, selling dog meat has been illegal in South Korea. Dog meat manufacturing and processing are not allowed, but the order is sometimes ignored. And relax, Hae Kum Gang DOES NOT serve dog meat.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Eastern Trail

Chronicling our adventures with food during our travels in Kolkata, Darjeeling and Gangtok.

We made this trip quite sometime back but all intentions to blog about it were overcome by sheer laziness. I recently dug up the copious amount of food related notes made during the trip which brought back memories of guilt flavoured sweets, kulhad tea by the roadside and puchkas by the park. Here goes!
A meal for two at most of the places mentioned will cost you around or less than Rs 300 except for the ones marked with * which can set you back by Rs 400-600 for a meal for two. Places marked with ^ are on the pricier side (Rs 700-Rs 1000) for a meal for two.

Kolkata: Anyone travelling to Kolkata is sure to have heard of Flurys- a legendary tearoom founded in 1927 by the Flurys couple. This establishment located on the posh Park Street, is now synonymous with an unhurried cup of tea accompanied by one of their gorgeous looking pastries or filling sandwiches. Remember to grab a box of their chocolates for a friend -they are delicious!
Park Street also houses Sourav Ganguly's eponymous restaurant. It looked like a regular unimaginative 24 hour coffee shop from the outside but was filled with his cricket memorabilia and knick knacks. We didn't try anything here but it should figure on your list of places to visit if you are Dada's fan.

The ubiquitous India Coffee House, has several branches in the city, the most famous being the one at Bankim Chatterjee Street, opposite to the Presidency College, popularly known as "College Street Coffee House". This branch is a regular hang out for students, old timers and 'jahaan artist log coffee peete hai' ('where the artist types drink coffee' -to quote someone who gave us directions to the place!). The coffee here is nothing to write home about but a visit here is a must to experience the air thick with political discussions, the rendezvous of versatile minds and informal discourses on art.

Bhojohori Manna*, named after a mythical chef made immortal in a famous Bengali song by Manna Dey, is a chain of restaurants (check link for locations) conceptualised by a bunch of notable Bengalis (film director Gautam Ghose being one of them) who wanted to preserve and perpetuate the traditional delicacies of their land. Bengali cuisine is centered around fish and the Bhetki Rongpuri special, a flaky white fish crumb fried in Bengali marinade, and the meaty Ilish in mustard sauce, redolent of the sharp pungency of mustard are worth a try. We enjoyed eating the Jumbo Spicy crab as well, though it was a bit messy- trying to pry it open with our bare hands! Pomfret Paturi consisting of a succulent slab of the fish infused with mustard and coriander flavours, wrapped in a banana leaf (paturi) and steamed is excellent.

For some mouth watering puchkas (golguppas or panipuri as we know it) that Kolkata is famous for, head to Vivekananda Park in Southern Avenue in the evenings. The footpath is crowded with chaat sellers and tea stalls but the person to look out for is Deepak Shaw - a renowned (you can see newspaper clippings about him displayed around his cart!) puchkaseller whose tangy puchkas have won awards for being the best in town. He claims to specialise in puchkas with chicken filling as well for which you need to give him a day's notice :)

Aaheli, the Indian restaurant at The Peerless Inn^, Dharmatala serves a Bengali vegetarian thali which is a gastronomic delight. The gulab jamoon especially is rich and mouth-watering!

Kewpies*, located on the quiet side of Elgin road, is a homely restaurant where the Bengali thalis (non - veg and veg) are popular. It has often been voted as the best Bengali restaurant in Kolkata and the food is served on the traditional Matir Thala (earthenware) here.

Like any bustling city, Kolkata is dotted with multi cuisine restaurants and Kwality Restaurant, on Park Street and Gariahat Road is one such joint popular with the family crowd, dishing out some decent Indian-Tandoor-Chinese staples.
Kolkata has a strong Chinese community of immigrants and their descendants, who emigrated during the late 18th century to work at the Calcutta port and later during the Sino Indian war of 1962, most of whom live in Chinatown in the northern part of Kolkata, the only Indian city to have one. Therefore it is not surprising that some of the most authentic Chinese grub we have had so far was at the bazaar near Poddar Court, Kolkata. The vacant lot near Poddar Court is transformed into a bustling vegetable and poultry market in the mornings. If you manage to visit early enough (around 6-30...7am), amidst all the chaos, you can feast on filling Chinese breakfast of fish ball soup, dumplings, steaming pau (Chinese bun) stuffed with pork, sausages, fish wafers and much more - all prepared fresh each morning by the Chinese residents from this locality in their own kitchens. The goodies are so popular that they disappear in a couple of hours - happliy devoured by the shoppers around. While we were here, we also stocked up on chopsticks, Chinese five spice powder and chilli sauce from a quaint shop run by a Chinese lady.


Yes..she is using an abacus!

The famous kachoris at Tasty Corner, Mandeville Gardens are a revelation for anyone used to the crusty version available back home. The kachoris in Kolkata are soft like puris, stuffed with potatoes, green peas and lentils and taste fab!
Wild horses and New Year resolutions can't keep us away from desserts and anyway, a trip to Kolkata is incomplete without gorging on delectable sweets, right? Balaji discovered the best mishti doi (sweetened yogurt) in Mithai,Gariahat Road and Syed Amir Ali Avenue. Spongy rasgullas floating in sugary goodness, soft luscious rasmalais in creamy sweetened milk, milky sandesh are other Bengali sweets that are available here as well as in the KC Das outlets all over the city.

Roshogullas from KC Das

Try the Azad Hind Dhaba in Ballygunge for yummy masala chai in cute little kulhads (clay tumblers). This dhaba seemed to be a popular joint milling with customers, some being served at the tables and many in their cars! Tea stalls are scattered all across Kolkata and sipping on refreshing chai from matkas by the roadside is an experience to be savoured in the original tea capital of India.


Darjeeling: Steamy cuppas of Darjeeling tea, the champagne of teas, at the Kurseong Tourist Lodge on the way to misty Darjeeling was a perfect way to start our holiday in the hills. The view from the lodge is breathtaking and the tea, with steam rising slowly onto our faces was right for the nip in the air.

No trip to Darjeeling is complete without a visit to Nathmull's, the best tea shop here. Started by a Rajasthani trader, this establishment is now split between two brothers, both of whom are selling tea under the same name. So you have a one room outlet on Laden La road, crammed from floor to ceiling with tins of tea and another trendier tea boutique in the Rink Mall, selling packets of tea leaves, pretty tea sets and other accessories as well as serving freshly brewed cups of tea. The staff in both places gladly walked us through the various kinds of teas and their virtues and also enlightened us on the correct method of brewing the perfect cuppa. We picked up some packets of first flush to take back with us. First flush is the most prized variety of Darjeeling tea and is harvested in March after the rains in spring. It is light in color and aroma and mildly astringent to taste. Initially apprehensive of how it would taste back home, we must say we were happy with the results!

Due to the influx of foreign tourists in this hill town, there is no dearth of places serving English breakfasts and continental fare. The charming Glenary's on Nehru Road is a popular eatery where we had some of the best croissants this side of the world. Buttery and flaky, I fell in love with it when I had it with strawberry jam!

Proximity to the north eastern border of India also means an abundance of Chinese and Tibetan restaurants in Darjeeling. Dekevas, Gandhi Road, a Tibetan restaurant that is part of Hotel Dekeling was where we had our first taste of Tibetan fare. Soups made from noodles (called gyathug in Chinese and thugpa in Tibetan) in various shapes - thenthug (flat noodles) and sogthug (shaped like macaroni) being some of them - seemed to be popular as well as filling. The shabalay is a meat stuffed griddle bread and is also an intrinsic part of a Tibetan meal. We tried the notorious yak butter tea, which is an acquired taste (its salty!). The various momos are a good choice if you are a non-adventurous foodie.

Gangtok: This friendly hill station is bustling with tourists but has a meagre choice of good restaurants. Masala on MG Road is an option for some not-so-bad vegetarian multicuisine. They have hookahs in various flavours on offer as well.
Roll House, tucked under a stairway between the market and MG Road, is packed with tourists and locals all waiting to have the tasty rolls available here. The egg rolls particularly are a must have.
Sikkim produces 80% of India's large cardamom (badi/moti elaichi). The Indian Cardamom Regional Research Station for large cardamom is also located in Gangtok. We picked up some of this aromatic spice from the main market in Gangtok to take back with us.
A visit to the laal bazaar is also a must for the local produce sold by farmers - soya beans, corn, yak cheese, dried fish, yeast for making chhaang - a local liquour. We bought some interesting wooden cutlery here - bamboo straws typically usd to drink chhaang, wooden spatulas, chopsticks and cute butter knives.
The cuisine of the east, not being overtly spicy, would suit any palate. Availability of fresh fish and a blend of various cultures, thanks to sharing of borders with Nepal, Tibet and Bangladesh has resulted in a delightful variety when it comes to food. Wholesome and filling, it is a cuisine that has been adapted to providing energy on the arduous terrains. Not to forget the cups of comforting chai, the warmth matched only by the friendly faces in the mountains!

Did you know...............

........................that cardamom belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae?

.......................that it is widely believed that in 1868, Nobin Chandra Das, father of K.C Das (founder of the eponymous sweet shop) modified the original recipe for rasgulla to extend the shelf life of the highly perishable sweet and make it marketable?

.....................that only tea that has been cultivated, grown and produced in the 87 registered tea gardens of the District of Darjeeling and, when brewed, has a distinctive, naturally occurring aroma and taste with light tea liquour and the infused leaf of which has a distinctive fragrance can be called as Darjeeling tea? Darjeeling tea is regarded as a Geographical Indicator (GI). Any tea grown in any other region from the same sort of tea plants cannot be called Darjeeling tea.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wild Spice

#1, Cariappa Bhavan,
Field Marshal Cariappa Road (Residency Road),
Bangalore - 560025.

Phone : 9880381009

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

We stumbled upon this hole-in-the-wall restaurant one late evening while looking for some grub after a movie. Easy to miss, it is located in the basement of the Cariappa Bhavan - opposite to Good Shepherd Convent and St. Joseph's College of Business Administration - a short walk from Brigade Road. It looks dingy on the inside, especially at night with dim yellow lights (that's why the 'shady' pics:) ) and a tiny, blaring TV perched close to the ceiling. Don't let that deter you from experiencing some delightful Coorgi fare available in the city.

The kadambattus are well worth a try. Listed as hot, snowy balls on the menu, this staple from Kodava cuisine is nothing but steamed dumplings made from rice. They could have done with a pinch of salt but I guess its only because we weren't used to the taste of it. However, you can't go wrong with the pandi (pork) curry as an accompaniment. The distinct black colour of the curry comes from the homeground roast spices used. Beware! It is quite spicy and it took several cold drinks to get over it!

Hot stuff!

The rice rottis and chicken pepper fry make for a good meal as well. The rottis are soft and very filling and the chicken, cooked in Coorgi style was fiery; lest you forget that the "Land of the Brave" is also the land of spice - what with an abundance of pepper grown in the verdant valley!

We heard that the pumpkin fry and ghee rice are other Coorgi delicacies and that Wild Spice serves a mean version of them but sadly, we were too stuffed with copious amounts of rottis and kadambattus to try anything else.

We would recommend this place to anyone who is looking for traditional and reasonably priced Coorgi food in Bangalore.

PS - Did we mention the amusing quotes printed on the menu, some of them attributed to Confucius? Sample this...'A family that dines together, grows sideways together'! Another smart one - 'For a healthy life, choose your restaurant like you would choose your spouse'. Deep, eh?

Did you know..........
...............................that the Coorg wedding is perhaps the only Hindu wedding where alcohol and meat are served? No wedding in Coorg is complete without kadambattu, pandi curry, koli (chicken) curry to name a few.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


A Square, #565, 8th Main, 4 Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560034.
Phone : 4116 9898, 4146 9595
Email :
Website :

Food : 3.75/5
Service : 2.5/5
Ambience : 2/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 400

Ta'am was touted as a vegetarian restaurant specialising in cuisine from the middle-east and sounded promising enough for us to forego our carnivorous tendencies last weekend! I was hoping to find dim lighting, flimsy curtains, large cushions and trance playing in the background (blame it on my regular dose of Bollywood:)) so I was disappointed to see the stark decor of this no-frills eatery. Impersonal fluorescent lighting, granite topped tables and the only thing that matched my expectations - the comfy low seating against a wall with colourful cushions thrown in.

However, my disappointment at the interiors took a backseat when the food arrived. We had ordered a hummus platter, a vegetarian platter and some extra falafel with hummus and baba ghanoush. The veggie platter had a humungous amount of a crunchy and vibrant looking salad which we just couldn't get enough of! It was accompanied by pita bread, an array of pickled vegetables, olives, tahini, hummus and sauces. The hummus platter, similar to the veggie platter minus the salad, had falafel and a generous helping of hummus as well. The platters were large enough for two people to share easily.

The pita was soft and fluffy and it is eaten with a filling of all the items in the platter. The staff at Ta'am was helpful in showing us how. You break the bread in half, smear the inside with hummus, add the stuffing inside the pocket and top it with tahini and sauces. The stuffed pita tasted deliciously fresh and makes for a wholesome meal in itself. The falafel, which is a fried patty made from chickpeas, tasted very much like our masala vada! It is a common street food in the middle-east and is considered the national food of Israel.

The hummus, again made from chickpeas, was appetizing. Baba Ganoush seemed like the Arabic avataar of the desi baingan bharta and did not taste any different from our version either. Surprisingly, the tahini, a popular accompaniment with many Arab and Mediterranean dishes, paired well and wasn't bitter despite being made from ground sesame seeds. This could be because of the middle-eastern method of making it, by hulling the seeds before they are ground.

The meal ended with a complimentary baklava. The chef somehow got the pastry wrong by adding too much ghee to it but we were ready to forgive him because of the amazingly authentic Arabic food that we had! We heard that he was trained in Israel for three months and it does show in his cooking!

The prices are as honest as the food. The portions were big and the ingredients - fresh and authentic. They do, however, need to work on their service. The food was long in coming and our drink orders did get mixed up. But the servers are polite and were a great help while ordering, offering good suggestions.

Ta'am definitely lives up to its name (it means 'taste' in Hebrew). This place delivers true middle-eastern cooking at incredibly reasonable prices. And they really know how to make you eat your vegetables...the kind of place my mom would approve of!

Did you know.......
...............................that in Egypt, McDonald's has their version of a falafel sandwich - McFalafel?
..............................that according to the urban dictionary baba ganoush is slang for 'a guy or girl from the Middle East or India who is throbbing hot'? ;) !!!!

PS - Here's an easy-breezy recipe for falafel. We haven't tried it yet but it sure seems simple. If you do make it, we would love to know how it turned out.

Edited to add: Ta'am also serves non vegetarian now

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Rajasthan Diaries

Juicy tidbits from our trip to Rajasthan spanning Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur.

We were prepared for a riot of colors in Rajasthan but didn't expect to be bowled over by the food as well- after all what can you expect from an arid state with unfavorable conditions for vegetation, right? Well, we were proved wrong and happily so! Read on to find some delicious discoveries and must visit food haunts across Rajasthan.
A meal for two at most of the places mentioned will cost you around Rs 300 except for the ones marked with * which can set you back by Rs 400-600 for a meal for two.

Jaipur: MI Road is where you should be headed to for tasty khana in the Pink City. This street is teeming with restaurants of all shapes and sizes and reminded us of Church Street in namma Bengaluru. The Rajasthani Thali at Surya Mahal is worth every penny. Rotis and rice served with kadi (yogurt based gravy), churma (coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked in ghee and sugar), dal, aloo ki sabzi, gatte ki sabzi (gram flour dumplings in a yogurt based gravy), raita, dessert, papad and many more items that I don't remember right now make for a wholesome meal. Oh yes - and lassan chutney (garlic chutney) is lipsmackingly good! Wash down this meal with a tall glass of lassi topped with cream from any of the three lassiwalla's across the road. A tip - lassi tastes best in the morning since its freshly set.
Next door to Surya Mahal is Nero's* which is popular among the tourists from outside India - probably because of the not-so-bad Chinese and continental items dished out here.
Another foodie landmark down MI Road is the Moti Mahal* restaurant - a branch of the famous Delhi chain that boasts of having introduced the recipe for tandoori chicken.
Tandoori Chicken at Moti Mahal

The chicken tasted absolutely divine, perfectly tandoored (!) served with green chutney and pickled onions. However, don't waste your time on the butter chicken, even when the waiter insists that it's the most popular dish on their menu. At best, it can be described as bland - slightly tangy but overpoweringly creamy.
Butter Chicken

Another popular joint among the locals (though not known to tourists yet) is Sharma Dhaba in VKI Area.

Always crowded with happy, noisy families it provides a very laid back atmosphere to gorge on excellent dal makhani, dal fry, rotis, naan etc. The cool shikanji and chaach (buttermilk) make for a killer combination with the spicy food served here. The yum rasmalai available here was, in Balaji's words, the creamiest and tastiest he had ever had.
Lakshmi Mishtan Bhandar*, known as LMB, in Johari Bazar is a landmark in Jaipur's culinary history. The sweets here are quite a hit among locals and tourists alike. The story goes that the ghevar - a crunchy honeycomb made of paneer, milk and flour - available here is shipped to eminent sheikhs in the Arab world on popular demand. LMB also has a restaurant attached though we felt the food was overrated and overpriced here. The thali has miniscule helpings of all items and service is a little iffy. The thali at LMB includes the well-known Rajasthani staple - dal bati churma - which was missing in the Surya Mahal thali.
LMB's thali

Try the tea here - spiced with cardamom and a hint of ginger, just right to energize you after hours of shopping in Johari Bazar. Before we forget, coffee is a rarity in Rajasthan but the tea is almost always very good everywhere and is usually served in its masala avataar- with cardamom and ginger in it.
For a typical Rajasthani breakfast, Agarwal Caterers near Vidyadhar nagar is the place to go to. Feast on dhoklas, kachoris (with onion or lentil fillings), samosas and the artery clogging goodness of syrupy jalebis in hot milk! Yes, this is a special breakfast for many families that arrive by the carload on weekends in this nondescript eatery.

Fully loaded at Agarwal Caterers

Chokhi Dhani* on Tonk Road is a must visit attraction for any tourist in Jaipur because of the unique Rajasthani experience it provides. It is designed on the lines of a theme park cum resort with a rustic atmosphere that reflects a typical Rajasthani village or dhani complete with camel rides, astrologers, lassiwallas, chaat wallas, bonfires, folk dancers, game stalls, mud huts, wells, hawkers selling toys and balloons - you name it, they have it. Don't forget to taste rabri here- not the sweet milky dessert we know of but a classic desert dish - bajra mixed with buttermilk in an earthen pot and cooked over dying embers all night long which results in a nutritious porridge. Chokhi Dhani is open from 4-30 pm till 11-30pm on all days and the entry fee of around Rs 300 per person includes a dinner infused with local flavours - bajra and jowar rotis (millet rotis) , kair sangri (locally grown beans cooked in butter milk with spices), dal bati churma, gatta, kadi, salad, malpua (rich, soft pancakes in sugar syrup - a special dessert from Pushkar) and an array of chutneys.
At Chokhi Dhani

Served in desi style on leaves, this meal not only encompasses the ubiquitous Rajasthani dishes but also the warm hospitality of the people - something that we constantly encountered through our trip. Extra rotis, some more butter, a little more of kadi - all pushed on to your plate amidst your wild protestations and their mild chidings - you can't help but stuff yourself at Chokhi Dhani!

Jaisalmer: Due to the profusion of foreign tourists in the Golden City of Rajasthan, it is bursting at the seams with restaurants serving cuisines from different corners of the world - Italian, French, Tibetan, German, Chinese, Mexican and Greek apart from several desi eateries. All of them have signboards loudly proclaiming that they are recommended by the Lonely Planet guide though we wonder how much of that is actually true!
Riddhi Siddhi (excellent aloo jeera) at Hanuman Chauraha, Monica (try the laal maas here) near the fort entrance and The Handi are some good Indian restaurants. Hungry after an escapade in the fort? Little Italy*, inside the fort just beside the entrance dishes up some decent Italian food alongside a good view of the impressive fort. The Artist* in Kalakar Colony is another quaint restaurant run by an Austrian gentleman we met on the train. They serve up a mean Hungarian goulash with Swiss rosti. The menu also mentions Indian food though we did not try them. Not to forget the great view of the citadel from here, especially at night when it's all lit up. The Trio seemed to be a trusted restaurant among tourists but we only had the chance to grab a quick breakfast of omelette and toast here which was not too bad. The locals swear by the makahaniya lassi (blended yoghurt with lumps of butter) available at Kanchan Shree, close to Gadisagar lake. Saffron flavoured, thick and creamy, it gives a good respite from the intense heat in the desert. Craving for sweets? You will definitely fall in love with the ghotua- a Jaisalmer speciality- at Dhanraj Bhatia Sweets in Bhatia market - made right before your eyes.
Don't miss the refreshing tea at Prabhu Tea Stall, Hanuman Chauraha. The kadhai doodh here deserves special mention. This is milk left to simmer in an iron kadhai for hours on end, with the milk becoming thicker and slowly imbibing the taste of the kadhai itself. Saffron and almonds are also added to the milk during the process. Try it for a different take to your daily dose of doodh.
Check out the kadhai!

Oh, and for those kids who don't like milk, this seems like an interesting alternative available just outside the fort! ;)

Jodhpur: Janatha Sweet Home with branches at Swastik Gate and Nayi Sadak was highly recommended to us for its mawa kachoris (a speciality of Jodhpur) and mirchi badas (or vadas as we know them). The kachoris are an anorexic's nightmare - filled with khoya (condensed and dehydrated milk) and drowning in sugar syrup! Too sugary for our taste but we guess it fulfils the Rajasthani's penchant for sweets! Mirchi badas, as the name suggests, are batter fried chillies. However, we were surprised to find the chillies in question to be the normal sized green chillies unlike the large ones that we are used to in Bangalore. A doughy mix of masalas makes up for the rest of the spicy bada thus adding to the size of it. The locals eat it with slices of bread, something like the Mumbai vada pav and it makes for a good snack.
Rocktails*, close to The Umaid Bhawan palace is a cozy place for a fantastic meal under shady neem trees. Ajit Bhawan* down the same road has a restaurant thats well worth a try for some very good Indian food. The vintage setting of the hotel premises, which was once the home of Maharaja Ajit Singh, younger brother of Maharaja Umaid Singh of the erstwhile Jodhpur state , added a serene and old world charm to our last meal on this trip. Don't forget to check out the Maharaja's vintage car collection on display here. Absolutley charming!

Rajasthani cuisine is much spicier than what South Indians are used to and the amount of oil used while cooking is enough to send your dietician into a tizzy. But food is serious business here and that reflects in the recipes, carefully selected and passed down from generations, each one ingeniously devised - more out of geographical compulsion than out of a fetish for the taste. Minimum use of water, generous use of milk products and locally available lentils, spices and vegetables, food that can be stored for longer, yet retaining their high nutritional value are the hallmarks of Rajasthani cuisine - judged the most majestic and richest by Indian food connoisseurs.

Did you know.......
................................that Laal Maas (literal translation - red meat) is the unique creation of the Maharaja of Salwar? It was named Junglee maas then and was a great favourite among the Maharajas. Due to the scarcity of exotic ingredients in the camp kitchen, the game brought in from the hunt was simply cooked in pure ghee, salt and plenty of red chillies. However, now this dish has been adapted to the less controversial ingredients like lamb or poultry.
...............................that the Rajasthanis even have a term for the affectionate force feeding of their guests? It is called manuhar or manvar. The adage 'Athithi Devo Bhava' ('The guest is like God' ) is practised very seriously here. It is considered extremely rude to just lay the food on the table and expect guests to serve themselves.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


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

Food : 3.5/5
Service : 3.5/5
Ambience : 3/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 1500

A quick lunch date on a very busy day took us to Monsoon at the Park. This tastefully done up 24-hour restaurant serves multi-cuisine where you can take your pick from a well planned menu of Mediterranean, Indian and South- East Asian cuisine.

Tenderloin with green pepper sauce

The tenderloin with green pepper sauce was piquant and fresh on the tongue - mind you, these were not green bell peppers but green unripe berries of the pepper plant. The mushrooms and potato fries served alongside were a perfect foil for the mild but fiery taste of the sauce on meat.

BBQ Quail with grilled veggies, jerk seasoning and balsamic reduction

Next was the barbequed quail with jerk seasoning , grilled vegetables and balsamic reduction. Sounds like a mouthful, doesn't it? It tastes equally delectable! The meat was moist and tasty and the seasoning complimented the subtle charred flavour of the dish.

And now for my favouritest part (pardon my English, I lose control when I talk of dessert!) of this review - chocolate mud cake with icecream! I had never had mudcakes earlier and I am glad my first one was at Monsoon. Because I now truly believe that nothing can surpass the lusty mudcake I had here.

No chocolate is too much chocolate!

The sight of rich chocolate sauce oozing out of the warm cake is like poetry to the eyes of a chocoholic! This dessert is meant to be savoured slowly, taking time to enjoy the gooey warmth of the cake with the cold sweetness of icecream. Yummy!!! This is definitely a must try for those with a sweet tooth.
Also on offer at Monsoon is a sumptuous buffet during lunch where I could see some divine looking desserts (needless to say, I always spot these first!).
Pricing is a bit on the higher side but this restaurant is worth a visit - atleast for the mudcake :)

Did you know.......
..........................that chocolate is a mild stimulant to humans mainly due to the presence of theobromine? It is much more potent for horses, and its use in horse racing is prohibited.
..........................that the muscle tissue from where the tenderloin is cut does very little work, so it is the most tender part of the cow and thus the name?