Thursday, 31 July 2014

Restaurant Review - Leanin' Tree Art Cafe, Basavangudi

So this small little place is just next to southend circle, but such is the hustle- bustle of this busy street, i never even knew it existed here. It's easy to miss really.
It is something of a small house kinds converted into a cafe. The ground floor is the entrance and houses the kitchen. The first floor is where the seating is, very limited. 4-5 tables maybe.
There is a tree in the middle of the place, hello, obviously.. hence the name

The tree could have been decorated much better really. There is scope for creativity there but it was a bit dull.
The cafe has a small food and drinks menu, but we were very disappointed to know there is hardly any variety in hot tea and coffee.
More of smoothies, milkshakes and cold coffees which the younger college going crowd will appreciate more.

We ordered for a hot coffee and a hot chocolate. Both were only average at best. You'll get better in most decent cafes.
We also ordered for some Loaded potato skins, which are not baked but fried in this case.
Knowing the risk associated with that we still ordered it. Much to our dismay our fears were realised as we got a really oily plate of potatoes which was difficult to have as it was covered in oil literally. Still we had a piece each and the filling was not bad, could have been much better had it been baked instead.

They have also recently started waffles so the owners were kind enough to send us a sampler alongside 3 sauces, a chocolate one, a caramel sauce and another one which we couldn't figure out as it didn't really taste like anything.
The waffles were quite good i must add. The texture was very nice, not too soft, just enough of a bite in it.

Service is poor, i know its really difficult to get the right staff in Bangalore and this is something the management here also must be battling with. The communication and food knowledge of the staff was simply poor.

The major turn off also is the huge amount of noise from the busy street which percolates into this open place and really doesn't make for a quiet outing. Also if it rains, its likely to get pretty bad here.

Overall it can be visited if you stay nearby, not worth travelling specially.

Rating - 3/5

Monday, 28 July 2014

Restaurant Review - Meghana's Biryani, Jayanagar

My friend had been craving for Meghana's Biryani for a week before we met on a Sunday, so he really didn't give me an option to even consider another restaurant.
I didn't know what to expect so went there with a clear mind, this was for dinner on a Sunday.
And the moment we entered the premises, I was reminded of a song by Sepultura called Chaos B.C.

The place was jam packed, there was hardly room to stand, waiters running about everywhere.. their hands balancing filled or empty dishes.
Food everywhere, including on the floor. Loud and constant buzz of people clamouring away while their eyes are fixed on the plates, and their hands are busy grabbing whatever food is within reach.
I froze at the spot while my friend dared to ask for a table. I took a deep breath and said to myself - Aall izz well

To my surprise we were seated within 5 minutes, and the not so clean dishes were laid out in front of us.
We decided to try a couple of starters, the apollo fish and aloo 65.
Even the greek god Apollo could not have had this fish, it was that bad.. I had no more than 3 pieces before i decided losing money was better than losing your appetite. It was filled with batter and was very soggy and tasteless except for the chillies.
The aloo 65 though was merely bad, it was like samosa aloo covered in andhra spicy masala.

They are known for their Biryani and that's what we decided to have, a chicken and a veg version.They don't serve meals here by the way, so this is the only option really.
Now, we examined both bowls very closely and finally came to the conclusion that the rice used is the same.
They put in marinated chicken or mixed vegetables in the biryani depending on what is ordered.
The rice though was not bad, long grain rice and rather flavourful.
The chicken or veg masala was quite good. Chicken was cooked well and it must have been marinated for long time too cos the flavours had really penetrated.

The overwhelming tongue burning taste of chillis was a bit overpowering, but it was not a bad biryani.

Unhappy about the cleanliness, noise and the terrible and overpriced starters.
I would recommend this place for a biryani parcel maybe, no more.

Rating - 3/5

Restaurant Review - Plan B Loaded, Shantinagar

Here's another watering hole in the glorious pub driven Bengaluru. The location is a little odd, but there's nothing much nearby so it caters to a certain area of clientele.
A few friends decided to hang out here for a sunday evening booze plan.
The decore deliberately has an industrial sort of unfinished look. Brick walls, uncushioned chairs and tall stools. No fancy lighting or decore here. They have a large screen which plays your popular sports and music was more of the old popular english numbers, the hits of the 90s and 2000s..

We began our order with a pitcher of draught beer and some chicken wings to go with it.
Now chicken wings are known to be the specialty at Plan B and i know lots of people who drool over them too.
But its just something that i never like here. There is too much sauce on it for my liking making the wings completely soggy.
They do have some flavours for the sauce including ABS (ass burning spicy) and firecraker. So choose your heat wisely.
The poor veggie friend of ours opted for some sauteed mushrooms, which were pretty decent actually.

Another pitcher later we also tried the fried chicken strips and some loaded fries. The chicken was fried in a nice crispy batter and was not oily. The fries were topped with cheese and some chilli flakes. Both items were fine quality and helped the beer go down faster.

We had a burger each for the main which was a mistake cause we really didn't have the capacity to take down one full burger. I had the lamb one, and midway through it started getting this strange giddiness and couldn't carry on any further. Maybe it was the sauce or maybe the drinks and the creamy, cheese food together.
I didn't relish the burger anyway. The mushroom and veg burgers were nothing extra ordinary either.

Service is a tad slow but not a major cause for worry.
Pricing is competitive and it won't burn a hole in your pocket.

It's a regular bar with slightly better food i'd say, not bad to spend an evening of decadence with your buddies. Not too many pics in this one, cause it was just a chill out session with friends. Putting up a couple though.

Rating - 3.5/5

Friday, 25 July 2014

Restaurant Review - Punjabi By Nature, Koramangala

Punjabi by Nature is one of my favourite places for Punjabi food in Bangalore. Punjabi food, i hope you all know is rather heavy with inclusions of lots of butter, ghee and is very filling but yummy.

The standout here though is the ambiance. Large and spacious with lot of seating, but it is usually packed, even for a weekday dinner. They have 2-3 distinct dining areas and even a small waterfall facade.
The service is good and professional. There are lots of waiting staff to cater to you and the kitchen keeps up with the pace and doles out food in good time considering the numbers.

Now coming to the star of the show - the food
They serve fresh beer, so we tried a beer sampler which comes with 6 beers. I've noted them down to make your life easier. They have German pilsner lager, Wheat beer, Dark special roasted beer, American pale ale, Imperial stout and Citron wit beer. 

There is a host of veg and non veg starters to choose from, including rare specialties like dahi ke kabab and veg galauti. We tried the stuffed tandoori mushroom.                                                                                                                  Though the image looks like a piece of chicken but it was a really nice vegetarian kabab. Pieces of mushroom mixed with really tiny bits of paneer and rolled into a wonderful ball with some marination or sauce. Dipped in a batter and grilled in a tandoor, it was good stuff. 
Unfortunately the company I had didn't enable me to have any non-veg starters, but by my previous experiences i must say the chicken here is superb.

We knew the main course has large portions but still the 3 of us wanted to sample more things, i definitely wanted to have some chicken on my plate, so we generously ordered 3 main course dishes.  A dal makhani, some butter chicken and tawa vegetables it would be.                                                  Their breads are also quite huge and two is enough for 3 people.The dal makhani was a shade below expectation, not the creamy rich dal that i had expected. A slight letdown this. The tawa vegetables was good, mildly spiced and veggies were cooked well enough to be soft without disintegrating.  The butter chicken was super tasty, the gravy itself was so nice, i parceled the leftover and took it home to have it the next day. The chicken was tender and though it was not boneless, it made for a good meal. The lachha parathas were perfect and the aloo bharwan kulcha was amazing. My mouth is watering remembering the food again.
Though we were stuffed, we took the courageous step to order for some gulab jamuns with vanilla ice cream.

Fortune favours the brave they say, and so it did in our case too. 
This was anyway a safe bet as i had eaten it earlier even though my friend's hadn't.
The gulab jamuns are so delicate and come into your spoon with ease, immersing themselves in the mildly sweet sugar syrup sprinkled with pistachios. You dip the spoon in the glass of vanilla ice cream to blend the hot and the cold elements together before they all just melt in your mouth.
Silence gripped the table for the next 3 minutes as we relished the dessert, before we all fell back deep into our chairs realising how stuffed we all were. The 100 meter walk back to the car seemed endless after this filling meal.

It is priced steeply but it is definitely specialty dining and not a routine affair.
If there are official guests and you need to showcase punjabi food in Bangalore, this is one of the good options alongside few others.

I had a good meal and will definitely be back for more. 
Rating - 4/5 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Restaurant Review - Buff Buffet Buff, Koramangala

Firstly, i thought long and hard about the name - "Buff Buffet Buff", but i cant correlate it with anything really.
We happened to be here by chance while we had come to Blu Petal Hotel to try out Sultans of Spice.
Located on the ground floor, we decided to take a peek in as we had been hearing lots of radio advertisements of the huge menu on offer.
We were seated inside, and on a sunday afternoon the place was not too crowded.

They serve soups and starters on the table, and 20 starters at that.
Yup, the placard on the table had listed down 10 veg and 10 non veg starters.
I'm putting up a couple of images with the names of the dishes as well.

So the soup on this Sunday happened to be a chicken lemon corriander and a cream of mushroom soup.
We tried both, and both were just about average. This was the first time though that I had a spicy cream of mushroom soup.

The starters service began and soon our plates were laden with stuff coming in. We tried quite a few veg and non veg starters. Some were mediocre, some less so, but none were spectacular.
Besides, the service staff didn't seem to know what they were serving, many of the names were unknown to them.
We were also given some mocktails, there were 3 variants in fact. They were not bad, quite ok.
Half an hour into our starter service, we understood there were about a dozen starters doing the rounds repeatedly and others were missing. Not ready in the kitchen maybe, but it was disappointing.

We each took a bit of the maincourse dishes. Again spread was quite large, there were about 5-6 veg and 5-6 non veg dishes spread across asian and north indian. They had a decent spread of salads as well, although very few people tried them maybe due to the abundant options.

I tried the chicken biryani - run off the mill stuff.
The dal and rice was above average, and the noodles with kung pao chicken and diced fish were the saving grace for me.

So far i wasn't too impressed by the overall experience and was looking forward to the desserts and live ice cream counter to bring a smile back on my face.
Unfortunately though, the spread of desserts was not large enough and in fact most items didn't look too appetizing either.
I tried the gulab jamun which was good and soft and also the rasagulla, the kiwi mousse and some ice cream teppanyaki. It was sooo poor it almost broke my heart.
Why can't you bring in skilled labour in the kitchen and service staff if you are charging a premium.
The buffet at 700 per head is not bad considering the spread, but the service and food quality are a real letdown.

Felt very bad ruining my sunday lunch here, but anyway had to give it one try sometime.

Rating - 3/5

Friday, 18 July 2014

Trip Advisor Update

Great news! 66,609 travellers have read your reviews
Hi, ravim84
This Monthly Update is all about you. Keep those reviews coming!
helpful votes
Add a review
Your readers are from
 52% India 
 13% Malaysia 
 6% United States 
 29% other countries 
Your badges
Top ContributorTop ContributorHelpful Vote100 helpful votesHotel Expert34 cities
Hotel Expert
37 hotels
Restaurant Expert
112 restaurants
Attraction Expert
40 attractions
As a Triple Expert, you're one of our most generous, sharing members. Thank you!Add a review
Your most popular review
"Outstanding property"
Atlantis, The Palm
Reviewed March 15, 2012
Your most helpful review

"Good place to spend an even..."
London Street
helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2014

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Movie Review - Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania

Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania has a quirky name, even though the story line is distinctly predictable.
The movie is a twist on the popular DDLJ which released before the current generation of college goers were born.

The director takes a fresh take on the original storyline and instead of falling in love in Europe, the couple hits it off in saddi Dilli. The boy Humpty Sharma is from Delhi. The jugaad king and a constant failure in studies works at his dad's stationery shop and they are not the typical wealthy family we often see in Karan Johar movies.
Neither is the girl's family, though they are better off. Living in Ambala, Alia is getting married to an NRI munda in the coming month and her hunt for a designer lehenga gets her to Delhi.

They meet, and Varun falls for Alia pretty quickly. He tries to woo her by following her all around and helping her with whatever possible.
He even sorts out a major issue threatening her friend's marriage and manages to get her money for the designer lehenga she is looking for.
They get close to each other and the dialogues between the two make for an interesting watch. Not only is the chemistry of our leads great in the movie, but also the hero's best friends Gaurav Pande and Sahil Vaid make us smile laugh for large parts of the movie.
The dialect and style of speaking is fun itself but some of the dialogues and sequences are quite funny too. Sahil vaid in particular is brilliant.

In fact it is the humour that keeps the movie afloat in what could otherwise have become a mundane and cliched love story.

The first half is no doubt better than the second, cause post interval we get into the ddlj phase.
The hero tries to ask the girl's hand from her father who refuses and gets Varun and his friends trashed as well.
Upon his repeated persual and Alia's requests he agrees to give Varun a chance and gives him a task to find out 1 flaw in the boy he has chosen for his daughter.

Ashutosh Rana is a great actor no doubt and playing the bride's father comes easy to this multifaceted talent.

Siddharth Shukla plays the groom to be and he is a man with few flaws, which really annoys the hell out of Varun.

What happens post that? Well i'll leave that for you to discover when you watch the movie.

Cliched in many ways, but given a fresh treatment, it is a light entertainer and can be categorized as a 'RomCom'. The actors deliver well in their respective roles and the movie cuts short before it gets dragged. A run time of less than 2hrs 15 mins is not bad at all. The music could have been better but its not a bad watch.

Rating - 3.5/5

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Restaurant Review - Market, Ritz Carlton, Bangalore

The Ritz Carlton was on our list for quite some time now, but somehow we didn't really have any occasion to splurge.
My birthday dinner ended up being at the Market, Ritz Carlton.

On entering we had smiles on our face looking at the very beautiful decore. 
Ritz standard indeed. The really high roof has very interesting lighting and the large buffet spread occupies a big area of the restaurant floor.

We were quickly seated and handed over the menu card. They have a buffet which is obviously the focus area besides having 3 other restaurants, as a result the a la carte menu is rather restricted in terms of options.

We ordered for a veg minestrone soup, a beautiful creamy broth. Flavourful, and rich in texture. Good one.

We also tried a mezze platter which had good baked pita bread, small pieces at that so that it didnt give a doughy taste. Served with hummus, fatoush and babaganoush and some brilliant light feta which had a great marinated taste.
The bread, cheese and hummus were perfect.

For mains we had 2 very distinct dishes. I had a grilled salmon with mash potatoes and steamed vegetables, though you also have choice of french fries, creamed spinach and saute mushrooms.
They also give you a choice of sauces, namely red wine, pepper sauce or salsa verde. I opted for the pepper sauce.
On being asked for how grilled i wanted my salmon, i asked for a 'well done' version cause our Indian palate is not very accustomed to the slightly raw taste, but if you are from a different place you can choose for it to be grilled less.
When it was served to me I was not sure whether i would enjoy the dish. But I absolutely loved it.
It was cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes were a good accompaniment, although i think having some creamed spinach would have been better than the bland steamed vegetables. Next time maybe.
You choice of grills also includes Tenderloin, lamb chops, chicken breast and tiger prawns.

Our other dish was the seemingly humble whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce. That sounds very ordinary, but i learned on my trip to Italy that great food is not about style but substance, the taste.
This simple dish was a great combination of green olives with the spaghetti and a thick red tomato paste.

We also sipped on a Singapore sling which was not comparable to the original at Raffles, Singapore, but a decent cocktail.

Portions were not too huge but left us sufficiently filled.

We still managed to squeeze in a dessert.
The Orange marmalade cheese cake it would be.
The presentation of the dish was very pleasing, the outer crust was crunchy and the cookie crumble was a good addition, as was the baked toffee. But the taste was not upto the mark.
The sweet content was a bit too much and we found it difficult to finish the dish. So it was a let down at the end of the meal.

During the meal the restaurant manager came to our table and introduced herself and checked if everything was fine. We were also served a cake at the end of our meal as they knew it was my birthday.
It's service like this that makes Ritz truly world class.
We also had a look around the buffet and it is a very large spread with 3 live counters and a huge dessert section. Was tempted to go for it, and priced at less than 2000 per head, it is also a more economical option.
The bill was high no doubt but it's a good experience overall.

Rating - 4/5