Friday, April 17, 2009

A French Corner in the City

The measure of any restaurant is its cheese cake.
And one place that serves some good cheese cake is French Quarter Bistro on 100 ft road. Despite problems in accessing the bistro due to the bad road, it is worth the trouble.

Once inside this quaint little restaurant, you are least aware of the traffic or time passing as you tuck into some supposedly authentic French food. The ambiance and location are a plus in favor of this cottage like restaurant. The furniture adds to the ambiance.

The menu has a limited variety and it is quite disconcerting that they have started serving Italian food like pasta in a French restaurant. The desserts are awesome, though again with limited variety. The breads we sampled were tough and the FQ chicken was far from tender. The fish needed more spice.

The restaurant is worth one visit. It's worth the visit for the ambiance. Do try the hors de oeuvres and the dessert. If you are vegetarian then you would have a better choice with the entrees.

Tax on the purse: 500 - 700 per head. The hors de oeuvres cost 200 upwards and the same for the main course.

Address: 298, 100 ft road, Indiranagar
bangalore, Karnataka 560038
Phone: 080 42171998
Timings: Open Daily 12pm-11:30pm

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Soul Kitchen

Feeling Rebellious?
Need a drink and don't care if the place is dingy and a bit grimy, but you can feast on a great Sunday brunch of bacon and beer? Then Pecos is THE place for you.

Located in a dark corner off Brigade Road this pub is a small two story tribute to Rock Music. With pictures of Doors front man Jim Morisson, Jimi Hendrix and other Rock artists, it is the best place to sit unwind on a friday night with a bunch of your best friends with cold beer and some tacos and chilli beef fry. The music complements the ambience and classic rock songs are played.
The food isn't something to write home about (except the sunday brunch of course) and the beer that is served has been a bit weak lately.

Tax on the purse: The prices are average here. A pitcher of beer costs around Rs. 120.

Address: Pecos, Off Brigade Road, Rest House Road, Bangalore.
Ph: 5586047
Timings:11:30 A.M to 11 P.M

Cafe Frescos

This place always reminds me of the song "Strangers in the night" by Frank Sinatra.

Imagine a restaurant in the most romantic place like on a pier or by the bay and this is it.. except it is in the heart of the city. Frescos is, I think, the best patio style restaurant in Bangalore. Located inside Hartworks Boulevard, it is a quiet, romantic place a with stone paved walkway quite reminiscent of an old European Cafe.
Frescos is bangalore-reknowned for its choice of desserts. Considering a whole room is dedicated to showcase them, desserts include dishes as simple as a chocolate rum tart to something as exotic as a multilayered pastry.
Frescoes is a good option for a nice romantic dinner, also for a quiet lunch on a harrassing weekday but a bad idea for a brunch. The menu is quite limited and I would recommend ordering a chicken or fish based dish. The entrees are not very exotic or different from what other continental style restaurants offer but the main course should make up for that.
Tax on the purse: Frescos is a bit expensive. The Entrees range from Rs. 180 to Rs. 360 (approx) and the main course from Rs. 200 onwards. The desserts range anywhere between Rs. 50 and 150.

Hatworks Boulevard, 32, Cunningham Road, Bangalore - 560052.
Phone: 080 41327551/41327555

Monday, November 3, 2008

Enjoy your food...

How do we eat? What a dumb question, right? How do we eat - just like every one else eats. Get the food in the plate, take a spoonful or hand full, shove it into the mouth, and chomp  chomp chomp... a la Hagar style. 

When we eat, most of our conscious part is not aware of the taste of the food. Most of the time, we don't even realize the various flavors present in the food. 

To experience the taste for the food, one need to invoke all the five senses - touch, smell, sight, hear and taste. First set the ambiance right, if you can. No strong scenting candles, no wafting odors from kitchen. 

First, see the food properly. Eat with your eyes. Take time to get accustomed to the way the food is presented. Enjoy the riot of colors and textures. 

The next step is to smell your food. Yes, you heard me right - go ahead and smell the food. Enjoy the aromas, inhale deeply and try to recognize the spices you are familiar with. Sometimes, you can smell the taste. Try guessing how the food will taste. 

Touch the food, and feel the texture. Feel the food with your fingers or spoon or fork. Is the food soft, grainy, chewy or smooth? Does the food resist the spoon / fork or does it let the spoon/fork sink in. Touch and feel all this and more. 

Listen to the food - food really talks. Most of us never associate the sense of hear with food. But in reality, it is the other way. The clucking of cutleries, the first contact of your spoon or fork with the food, the sound of the crumbling outer shell. As you start eating, listen to the various sounds. 

And now take a small portion, put it into mouth, chew slowly, and feel the flavour.

Let the taste buds get acquiescence with the taste.

Let the taste sink in. Try to decipher the various flavors. Is the food sweet, sour, hot, bitter, salty, earthy, bland or smoky? Can you recognize any more flavors? The taste of the food is usually a complex interplay of various flavors, and it is a treat to let your taste buds guide you through the nook and cranny of the complex constructions of various flavors. 

If you cannot concentrate, close your eye, and leave everything else from your mind. Enjoy your food.  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I SCREAM ...for only icecream !!!!

(Featured model....SOME LIKE IT HOT...MANGALORE)

Ice creams are perhaps one of the few foodie things, that produce no aroma, but yet manage to lure us,even when, we have little or (most of the times) no appetite for any food at all.Ask any ice cream lover,and they share a common view.The dessert ,IC to be more precise is the main course,than the grand finale.That's the magic of IC(as i shall call it for matters of conv).

Every noticed people, near an ice cream counter.I often do.Firstly, everybody is busy waiting to check what the other man's err woman's ice cream tastes and looks like.(the grass is always greener on the other side).Right from the moment the order is placed you track the service guy with hawk eyes.People can't take their eyes off the IC tubs and containers.As he flops the dollop of IC over the cup or if you are adventurous,on a cone,you silently say a prayer and wish he could add that teeny miny bit more.

It's requires more than a quick flick of the tongue to do justice to your cone.It's a great inherited skill,to move your tongue and catch the IC just before it drips,down and those who can do all of that and still engage in conversation are gifted indeed.The winner is left standing spotless .

We know it'll be cold and sweet,just the way we want our favourite ice cream to be.Still,most of us often stick to our favourite flavours.A kind of salute to that wonderful flavour that fills our hearts ...our ALREADY FULL stomach and settles all over in the form of fat.SIGH.

The flavour you choose,tells a lot about you.The no fuss simpletons go in for the uncomplicated vanilla,those who believe that life has lost its sweetness and wish to replace it with a ample dose,maybe a strawberry or the sugary sweet tutti fruity,for those who have a kid alive in them,MANGO.CHOCOLATE,for the naughty, bitter sweet ones,for those who wish to indulge in dark pleasures.

This post was actually inspired by a small incident,that happened over the weekend.After one such meal,where you know,you have eaten like prax says,'show me the bed now'.We waited,to choose our grand finale.Just then,a lady who was prob working at the neighbouring construction site came to fed her kids some cold water from the water cooler kept near the entrance.The kids were,all full with cement and looked liked lil white angels.Their eyes were glued to the IC counter and all the goodies that were magically popping up.

"I'll have a strawberry.......and err... a chocolate too please.",I said.
My family was amazed at this huge order.

The little kids were real pros at the cone,though I am sure they don't get much practise,often.

IC NEVER FELT SO GOOD.It surprisingly felt sweet and WARM this time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Special bond !

All of us have a relationship with food - some may know it, some may not. What started as a primeval release of pleasure hormones after a filling meal back in the stone ages - has evolved slowly into something infinitely complex, along with the evolution of the neocortex.

We can best see this relationship come to life when not super-hungry, or as I like to call it - "I could even eat a mouse right now" hungry. When your brain switches to that mode, its really about the primitive brain - the raw animal urge to feed. The hunger in your stomach is releasing all kinds of panic hormones, that in the stone age would have caused mr.stone age/ms. stone age to forage for food harder, or to take a higher risk to hunt something. Eitherways, at this mode - all you'd really care for is food. Whether its a plate of raw rice with sambhar or a gourmet meal, it would pretty much feel the same.

At the other end of the spectrum, when you're "really full" - or as I call it - "just leave me alone, I wanna sleep" full - thats another time you couldnt care less for what you're eating. Your blood is slowly receding from your brain (hence the sleepiness) and your stomach is working overtime, and your brain slowly releases hormones that cause displeasure.

That brings me to my philosophy - if you really want to appreciate food, eat it when you're "kinda hungry" or "kinda full" - but NEVER when you're "really hungry" or "really full". It might sound weird when you first hear this line. But again - I'm talking about "appreciating" food, and not just "eating food". Appreciating food means a full sensual assault. Not just "feeding" !

Here's a quick test.

Whenever you hear the sound of an old familiar song (Rafi et al) on the radio, doesn't your memory suddenly revert to the "good ol' days" and you suddenly start craving for your childhood comfort food to chew on while the song plays ? For me it might be hot dosas (droooool)

Or for those who grew up near a beach - doesn't just the sight of waves crashing, sound of the ocean, or the sense of wet sand seeping through your toes bring about a barrage of memories - one of which would definitely be an extreme craving for "churmuri" or "bhelpuri" on the beach, watching the sunset with someone special !

Smell and taste on the other hand have a more intimate relationship to food, compared the other senses, primarily because they were the first "senses" that developed in the evolutionary chain - that were related to food. Hence we see more of the "food flashbacks" or sudden cravings initiated by the taste or smell of something familiar.

So where am I going with all this?

To prove a point that we all share a "relationship" with food. Just like the other relationships in life, which revolve around all senses - so does food. And just like all relationships, the subtle yet important hues come out when not under extreme stress or extreme relaxation (totally hungry/totally full).

Just like all relationships - the best comes out when in a state of calmness, with all the senses on alert, to take on every inch of the experience, when your primitive brain is no longer in control, but instead, the higher complex parts of the brain (what makes us different from the apes) take control.

Most of the high-society eateries often capitalize on this. Ever notice how the food portions get tinier and tinier as the price and "status" of the food grows ?? But if you notice closer, you'd also see that these tiny foods are always

1) well dressed - visual appeal
2) extremely aromatic - olfactory appeal
3) whirlwind textured (very unusual, uniquely textured) - stimulates the touch sensors on the tongue
4) interestingly flavored - mix of various subtle flavours that can be uniquely identified and enjoyed, or even enjoyed as an entity greater than the sum of its parts.
5) accompanied by mood music - usually soft "plinky plunky" music that creates a whole different aura of pleasantness.

Thats why I keep telling people who want a "high society" dinner. Eat before you go to such restaurants. Eat just enough to stop your "hunger reflex". And then you'll appreciate the subtleties of the thousands you'll pay for !!

Although, having said that - I'll also present the quick antithesis for expensive tiny food.

You dont necessarily need food to be expensive and tiny for a full sensual assault. Just eating hot masala puri or tangy pani puri on the beach, during light drizzle (droooooool)...can have the same effect. But again, its just me.
Everyone has their own "special place" where they have experienced this full sensual assault. It could well be a cool winter night, sitting on the roof of dadi's house, eating piping hot paratha's and butter chicken (drooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool)...sigh

I'm hungry....I knew i shouldn't have started writing this without food ready on the side.


ps. The author is a poor, unfed waif. Anyone wishing to contribute to the gastronomical well being of the author, please contact the blog administrators.