When I was recently invited to sample the offerings of Route 42, a new entry in the pub-cafe scene in Bangalore, I was skeptical. I don’t drink and am a vegetarian to boot, so what would I have to sample in a pub-cum-cafe?, I asked the concerned PR. I was assured there would be plenty for me to sample and write about. Today, I am glad I went – the eatery is beautiful, the food is good and reasonably priced, and there was, indeed, a whole lot for me to sample and write home about. Most importantly, I am happy I went because I think, in the process, I discovered a place that I would be happy to revisit and spend time in.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritties, shall we?
Route 42 (which gets its name from the number of the block it is located in, and co-owner Ashish’s desire for everyone to take the ‘route’ to the eatery on their way back home from work!) is located in the hip-and-happening locality of Koramangala, near another pub called Tilt. The location is definitely upmarket and not one bit tough to find.
BTW, Ashish is not a new name in the hotel industry – he is a veteran, the man behind pubs and cafes like Le Rock, Legends of Rock, and Moscow Mule.
Decor and ambience
The place boasts of some unique and funky decor, and has a welcoming, comforting vibe to it.
There is ample seating available, both downstairs and upstairs. The downstairs seating area is a smoke-free zone, with a separate zone for smokers provided. A large bar adorns one whole side of the downstairs seating area.
I really loved the mural near the entrance, a tribute to Bangalore – depicting all things that are intrinsic to the city, from masala dosa and vada, the Metro, and the Big Bull temple to actor Rajkumar and the Electronic City flyover.
I found I was able to talk very comfortably with the other food bloggers present at the sampling, in spite of the music playing. I soon got to know the reason from Kumar, a co-owner of the property. The eatery has a special sound system which defracts noise and ensures that music is spread out evenly throughout, and does not hit one’s ears harshly even if played at a loud volume. I loved, loved, loved this kind of attention to detail, considering that the OH and I have been disappointed several times over with not being able to hear a word over the loud music in a number of restaurants we have visited. When you go out with your partner or friends to eat, you seek conversation as much as you seek delicious food, right?
The smoking area downstairs has also been fitted with a special kind of exhaust system, we were told. Cigarette smoke and the smell of smoke clears within minutes thanks to this kind of exhaust.
Kumar went on to tell us about the decibel meter they have invested in, to ensure that the sound of the music system does not spill out of the pub, as is popular fashion these days.
I am impressed by this attention to such minute details, I must say. There are a whole lot of little things which have been taken care of, after detailed thought, to make sure the customers have a nice, relaxing experience at the pub.
Route 42 has a decent selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
I tried out a few of their mocktails and loved most of them.
My personal favourites were the Mango Mock-O-Lada (oh, it had a lovely mango-ey taste!) and the Strawberry & Banana Smoothie (just the right amount of tang and sweetness!).
Some of the food bloggers with us ordered cocktails and alcohol from the menu, all of which was great, I was told.
Mocktails and cocktails alike, the presentation of the drinks was very appealing.
Route 42 serves a mix of Indian and Continental food, an extensive array of starters and main course items. Some of the items on the menu – like Akki Roti with Pandi Curry, for instance – are quite unique and difficult to find in a pub-cafe of this sort.
I am thrilled to tell you that Route 42 has as big a list of vegetarian starters and main course dishes as it does for the non-vegetarian ones. The OH and I have eagerly been to so many eateries with friends, only to discover that there were nothing much for us to explore – maybe some French Fries or a salad. Thankfully, Route 42 is different.
Ashish went on to tell us of how he has some old-fashioned things like Chilly Chicken Manchurian and Cheese Chilly Toast on the menu as a throwback to the olden times when pubbing in Bangalore wasn’t as fancy a thing as it is today. This is thanks to Ashish’s vision for Route 42 – he wants it to be a simple pub/cafe that people love coming to, nothing fancy, nothing elaborate.
We sampled quite a few of their starters, all presented beautifully, and liked most of them.
I loved the Cheesy Shrooms and the Kung Pao Baby Potatoes – both very well done, with the perfect blend of spices. Different starters came with different sauces, all of which were very flavourful.
We heard from the bloggers who sampled the non-vegetarian starters that they were great, too.
For main course, I decided to taste their pizzas, all of which are thin-crust, done the authentic Italian way unlike the biscuit-y crust we have encountered in a lot of eateries.
I am now a big, big fan of Route 42’s pizzas! I loved the flavours of the pizzas here. In fact, the pizzas were the star of the day for me.
The non-vegetarian pizzas were very well done too, I was told. Apparently, the other non-vegetarian main course dishes that my fellow food bloggers tasted were good, too.
Ashish told us of how he orders a special type of masala, which goes into most dishes prepared by the restaurant, accounting for their lovely taste.
After all of that lovely food, we moved on to the desserts, of which there are only two on the menu – I do hope this is improved upon soon!
We sampled their Banana and Nutella Croquettes, something very unique to me. I fell in love with them instantly – they were lovely, hot and chocolate-ey, with the banana slices inside them fried to perfection. Just gorgeous, I say!
All of us food bloggers present for the sampling at Route 42 felt that prices are very reasonable, as compared to those at other similar pubs and cafes. Especially so when you consider the great taste of the food and its good quality – there’s nothing cheap about the food here.
The drinks are also priced quite reasonably, we felt.
Considering the lovely ambience of the place, the food is definitely a steal. In fact, the price is one of the factors Ashish wants to use to differentiate the pub from others in the area, at least in the initial stages. He wants the pub to become the ‘watering hole everyone loves dropping into’, which is why he wants to try and maintain the affordable prices.
Another thing I would like to mention here is – we were assured that the quality of the food, its presentation, its taste is always the same as what was served to us. The quality or taste wasn’t upgraded simply for the day, just because we food bloggers would be visiting.
All in all, I loved the experience of visiting and lunching at Route 42. It is the kind of place that I would actually like recommending to you people. Do visit!
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My review is based on the food and drinks served to us at Route 42, as part of the sampling. The sampling was free of cost for us. The thoughts expressed herein are purely my own, not influenced by anyone or anything. I do not stand to any kind of gain by recommending this eatery.