Over the weekend, I was invited to be part of a breakfast meet for food bloggers at No. 10 Fort Cochin, a relatively new eatery on the busy St. Marks Road in Bangalore. Along with some of my foodie friends, I had a grand time here, gorging on some typical Keralite fare. This post is all about my experience.
No. 10 Fort Cochin, In a Nutshell
The restaurant, previously called Malabar Kitchen, isn’t a tough spot to find, considering that it is located at a prominent place on St. Marks Road. Basement parking is available, which is a big, big, big plus in a city like Bangalore and, therefore, worth a mention here.
The place prides itself on serving authentic Keralite food, including a full-blown sadya for lunch. Apparently, the chefs have been brought in from a couple of the best restaurants in Kerala, to ensure authenticity. Also, the fish and other seafood used in their meals comes fresh from special places on the coastline of Kerala and Gujarat.
No. 10 Fort Cochin has been used to catering to corporate crowds from the offices nearby, for lunch and dinner. Breakfast, here, though, is something that has very recently launched. They do the typical puttu, appams, egg roast and stew for breakfast, but they also have dosas, idlis and cornflakes forming part of the (limited) menu. You will definitely see a far more extensive menu, including a lot of vegetarian and seafood dishes, during lunch and dinner time here.
The eatery has a simple, no-fuss decor, all clean lines and functionality. The latticework on the walls lets in ample sunlight, ensuring the place is well-lit and ventilated. The wooden chairs and tables, which can seat up to 40 patrons at a time, are comfortable.
The wall decor here is subtle, but impressive. An artist’s impressions of all things Kerala adorn the walls – murals of the famed Dutch Palace in Mattancherry, the streets of Cochin, the ships that you can commonly find in the sea at Fort Kochi, and so on. I couldn’t help but reminisce about the lovely time the husband and I have had vacationing in Kerala, here.
We opted to sample the Keralite fare at No. 10 Fort Cochin over the cornflakes and other stuff (but of course!), and I would say we were richly rewarded. 🙂
Here is a brief overview of the food and drinks I tried out at this place.
Appams with vegetarian stew
I started breakfast with their appams and a vegetarian stew, both of which I loved. I have never had either before, so I am not sure of whether they would match up to the actual thing you get in Kerala. Personally, I quite liked the appams, pillowy soft with a faint hint of tanginess to them.
The vegetarian stew was perfect, with a generous amount of veggies, mild, with a slight kick from ginger. It suited my taste buds perfectly.
I washed down the appams with some good old lemon juice, made in plain water with no soda. It was decent – not exceptionally brilliant, nor too bad either.
Puttu and kadala curry
Next up, I tried out some puttu with its quintessential accompaniment – kadala curry.
The puttu was well done, generously doused with coconut, mild and simple. It was a tad dry and crumbly, but tasted great.
The kadala curry was lovely, and I simply loved it. It was mild and simple too, without any going overboard on the spices, just the way my mommy would make it.
Plain dosas with sambar and chutney
I also tried out the plain dosas here, served with coconut chutney and sambar. I loved the dosas, neither overly crispy nor overly soft, done just right. The coconut chutney was finger-licking delicious, while the sambar was just average and could have been better.
Breakfast for two at No. 10 Fort Cochin would set you back by INR 500 or so, which is pretty reasonable considering the location of the place.
I liked the food here. It was simple, homely and non-restaurant-y, if you know what I mean. The ambience is pleasing, too. This is surely a place I would love to go back to, especially for the Kerala-style sadya.
The views expressed herein are entirely my own, uninfluenced by anyone or anything.
Imagine a cosy little cafe with little tables, big windows that let the sunlight in, plants in pots on the sill.
Imagine porcelain teapots hanging from the ceiling, with decorative roses in them.
Imagine a gorgeous princess bed with net curtains in the vicinity, fairy lights in mason jars, artificial roses in wicker baskets hanging on wooden swings, and paper lanterns strung on trees.
Imagine lights in the shape of a magician’s top hat.
Imagine plates with magical messages on the wall.
Are you wondering if this place is for real or is a figment of my imagination? Are you doubtful if such a cafe really exists? Well, it does! That is exactly how The Mad Teapot Cafe in Indiranagar, Bangalore, looks like, from the inside. I had read, and heard, so many lovely descriptions of the place that I absolutely had to drag the husband here one afternoon, for lunch. We ended up getting equally enchanted by the eatery, too.
The Mad Teapot Cafe is housed within a home decor store called The Wishing Chair, on the bustling 100-foot Road in Indiranagar. The store, and consequently the cafe, has an ambience that can only be described as magical, enchanted, charming, quirky, and fantastical. With names like those, what else does one expect, if not a fairy tale-ish place? And a fairy tale-ish place is exactly what you get.
The magical home decor merchandise on sale at The Wishing Chair doubles up as decor for The Mad Teapot Cafe. It surely is a different-from-the-usual experience eating in the midst of stuff straight out of an Enid Blyton fantasy, an experience we cherished for sure.
The cafe is small, with just about five tables, a good place to stop at for a quick cup of coffee or dessert or some short eats. We lingered over our lunch, just gazing around and taking in the magic of the place, and that is exactly what the other patrons were doing as well. How can you help that, with an ambience like that? The service staff seems to be well used to such gawping, and were relaxed themselves, not exactly hovering over our table, but polite, friendly and responsive when called upon.
What about the food, you ask? I will start by telling you that the menu is straight out of an Enid Blyton book, too. Here is where you will find stuff like Forest Of Pumpkin Blossoms, Moonface Madness, Winter Woodland’s Vegetable Pasta, The White Fairy Pasta, and Island Of Greek Stories. Now, if that doesn’t enchant, what does?
The cafe proclaims that they are ‘proudly vegetarian’. Except for just one dish with eggs in it and the desserts (this latter part I am assuming!), everything on the menu is vegetarian. The cuisine is a mix of Italian and Continental food – no pizzas, but a variety of flat breads (mini pizzas, if you must!), pasta, salads, little bites, sandwiches, tea and coffee, the freak shakes that are all the rage now, and other desserts.
I have heard people raving about the food at this place, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. We had a good experience with the food here, too. To be honest, we didn’t find the food mind-blowingly brilliant, but it was definitely good.
The love affair between me and The Orange Citrus Fancy was immediate. I absolutely loved this pudding, well done, with just the right amount of sweet and sour for my tastebuds, bits and pieces of real orange peel in it, decked up with slightly bitter orange brittle. I have absolutely got to have this again, here!
The husband and I loved The Adventures Of Miss Evergreen, too. Spread with green pesto and topped with mozzarella, ricotta, sundried tomatoes and walnuts, this flatbread was a delight to eat. It was barely warm when it was brought to our table, and we were too hungry to ask for it to be heated up. Had it been served piping hot, I am sure it would have tasted even better.
Winter Woodland’s Vegetable Pasta was a simple but hearty dish, with a lot of grilled veggies, without any sauce. We weren’t really bowled over by this pasta, which actually felt a bit dry.
Twisty’s Tomtom Spaghetti came with a creamy red sauce that was a tad too fiery for me, but flavourful. In hindsight, the sauce would have gone better with penne pasta, rather than the spaghetti we had ordered. Overall, it was a good dish, though.
The cappuccino was decent. The almond cookie it was served with was chewy, but nice and tasty.
We found the portion sizes to be generous.
Price-wise, the husband and I found the cafe to be expensive. We paid about INR 1300 for our meal, including taxes.
I know for sure I will be visiting this place again, to try out the large number of desserts they have on their menu (in spite of the prices being a tad high), and to soak in more of that magical atmosphere. I think the place is best suited to times when you want to linger over some food or desserts, for a very relaxed cup of coffee with a book, or catching up with your friends and loved ones.
Do visit this place, if you haven’t already! It’s well worth it.
Earlier this week, I was invited to be a part of ‘Food Camp’ by celebrity Chef Kunal Kapoor at the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), Bangalore. It was an opportunity I grabbed with both hands, because why would a foodie like me miss a chance to learn from a celebrity chef himself?!
This post is a sneak peek into the event, and what I learned therein.
About Kunal Kapur’s food camp
Since the start of this year, Chef Kunal Kapur has been conducting food camps in hotel management institutes in different Indian cities. Each food camp is basically a workshop, where he trains students of the institute in the basics of molecular gastronomy, plating, food trends prevailing nationally and internationally, and the like. In his own words, ‘these food camps are my way of bridging the gap between actual trends in the culinary world and what these students study in their institutes, as part of their syllabus’.
A sneak peek into the food camp at IIHM, Bangalore
This week, the camp was held at IIHM in Indiranagar, Bangalore. I got an opportunity to be part of the event, in my capacity as a food blogger. It turned out to be one of the best events I have ever attended, very interesting and enlightening. I am sure the things I learnt at this food camp are going to stay with me and be of use to me, for a long time to come.
The approximately 2.5-hour-long session began with an introduction to Chef Kunal Kapur (no one needed it, of course!). Then, the chef came up on stage to talk about how food and the way we perceive food has changed over the course of time.
He talked about how plating is a skill that is crucially important for chefs these days, because everyone expects their food to look good.
Then, to a spell-bound audience, the chef went on to demonstrate three of the widely used approaches to plating food – Classic, Linear and Asymmetrical. He plated the same dish – chicken breast with sauce – using each of these three approaches, something that won him a huge round of applause.
Then, we were shown a variety of techniques to make sauces or purees look attractive while plating food. Using simple kitchen utensils – a juice glass, a spoon, a ketchup bottle – the chef went on to create awe-inspiring patterns on plates. So, so, so very interesting this was!
Lastly came the most impressive, the most interesting, the best part of the entire event – a session on molecular gastronomy!
‘Molecular gastronomy is the ‘in thing’ in restaurants in India and abroad these days. It is nothing but the use of science in cooking and plating,’ said Chef Kapur. ‘Through its use, you can change the form of various ingredients in your dish, as you know them. Through it, you can reinvent the way a traditional dish looks like – change the clients’ perception of how a particular dish is supposed to look like – without changing its taste,’ he added.
‘We drink orange juice. We can use molecular gastronomy to convert the form of orange juice, so people can eat it. This is but one example,’ Chef Kapur said.
Then, Chef Kapur literally spun magic on-stage, as he used substances like Soy Lecithin, Sodium Alginate, Agar Agar and Calcium Lactate to convert the form of certain ingredients as we know them. He converted orange juice into little beads resembling caviar, which burst in your mouth and create a burst of delightful flavour. He converted the imli ki chutney that we have all used a countless number of times in chaats, into foam that would stay put for some time and taste exactly the same as the chutney. He went on to create beautiful, beautiful spheres from sweetened curd and a thick, flavourful gel out of pomegranate juice. By this time, all of us were transfixed, riveted to our seats.
The session ended with a demonstration of Chef Kapur’s version of dahi papdi chaat, a dish that is no doubt delicious, but often isn’t very visually appealing. The chef reinvented dahi papdi chaat as we know it, with potato hummus, imli ki chutney foam, anar gel, and dahi spheres. Super-duper cool!
Overall, this was an event that I thoroughly enjoyed, an experience that I will cherish forever. Chef Kapur was such a sport, humble and sweet, answering questions in such a composed manner, open to sharing the knowledge of his years of kitchen experience with eager students. It made me look at the profession of a chef with new eyes, with new respect. This surely wasn’t an evening I am going to forget for a long time to come.
I can’t thank IIHM-Bangalore for this opportunity to get up close and personal with Chef Kunal Kapur. And, oh, I even managed a little one-on-one conversation and interview with the chef – coming up on the blog soon! Watch out for it!
I recently got the opportunity to witness celebrated Chef Michael Swamy in action, at a cook-off organised by Fairfield By Marriott. It turned out to be a fun evening, as Chef Swamy, alongside Chef Aniket Das (Executive Chef at Fairfield By Marriott, Rajajinagar) demonstrated a few recipes from Maharashtra and Karnataka. The best part? The Chefs showed the audience, consisting of food bloggers and foodies, how to cook these dishes in a healthy way, without having to compromise on the taste.
The cook-off began with Chef Das demonstrating a dish from his childhood in Maharashtra, usal made with moong sprouts. He explained how the dish is full of nutrition, thanks to the addition of moong sprouts and is made with extremely little oil. It can make for a lovely breakfast option, he said.
Next up, Chef Swamy showed the audience how to prepare Fish In Chinchoni Masala. Chinchoni masala is a special kind of spice mix used in the coastal areas of Maharashtra, that adds spicy and sour flavours (‘chinch‘, in Marathi, means ‘sour’). The masala can be prepared very easily at home, and imparts a beautiful reddish-orange colour to any dish that it is used in. The fish used in this particular dish was steamed (rather than fried) and cooked in very little oil, making this a healthy yet flavourful preparation.
Lastly, both the chefs jointly demonstrated a Karnataka-special recipe – Ragi Shavige aka Ragi Vermicelli Upma. All of us know of the numerous health benefits that ragi (finger millet) possesses, and this upma is a delicious way to use all of that goodness, Chef Das stated.
Both the chefs then expressed their desire to make Indian cuisine better known in the world. ‘India has such a vast culinary heritage. Every little part of the country has several indigenous foods to boast of, and yet, when the world talks about Indian cuisine, it is mostly understood to be just a few dishes like chicken tikka, masala dosa and chicken curry. That is so not the real picture,’ said Chef Das.
‘The only way to clarify this misconception is through masterclasses like this, where people get to know the real breadth of Indian cuisine,’ said Chef Swamy. That is so very true, when you come to think of it, no?
The cook-off ended with a beautiful high tea that showcased selected dishes from Maharashtra and Karnataka, like pao bhaji, podi idli, ragi dosa, bhel poori, vada pav, gobi manchurian, mirchi bajji, onion pakoras, thandai, cutting chai, filter coffee, and mango milkshake. Delectable much!
I have to thank the chefs as well as Fairfield By Marriott for this very well-presented, thought-provoking, and informative cook-off!
About Chef Michael Swamy
Chef Michael Swamy is a well-known figure in the Indian and international culinary world, with a career spanning over 20 years. This Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef has had the honour of having cooked for and served several prestigious personalities like Sir Andrew Pagewood and Prince Charles. He has authored two Gourmand Award-winning books, The East Indian Kitchen and Easy Guide To Pairing Indian Food & Wine. His third book, Comfort Food, co-authored with Mugdha Savkar, was released recently.
Chef Swamy has worked as food critic and feature writer for various magazines and periodicals, such as Jetwings and Jetlite (in-flight magazines in Jet Airways), Liquid, and Asian Photography. He has also contributed articles on various aspects of world and Indian cuisine, patisserie, desserts and sweets, for various newspapers, magazines and websites.
In February 2017, Chef Swamy launched his own restaurant, Nueva, in New Delhi, where he serves his take on South American cuisine.
About Chef Aniket Das
Chef Aniket Das heads the kitchen at Fairfield By Marriott, Rajajinagar, Bangalore. This culinary artistry expert has been associated with the Marriott group for over 7 years now, juggling various roles in different hotels in the group. He has also had international exposure with a 2-year stint at the Movenpick Hotel in Doha, Qatar, as Executive Sous Chef.
Chef Das believes in keeping his flavours authentic and his plating artistic.
I’m new to cooking with millets. I know there is a lot of talk, these days, about how millets are extremely good for us health-wise and environment-wise, and how we should be cooking a lot more with them. I haven’t really used millets much, though. At the most, I have used just two varieties of millet – ragi aka finger millet and bajri aka pearl millet – and that too in just a couple of dishes. I understand there’s a whole millet world out there to explore – a whole lot of varieties of millet, a whole lot of things that I could do with them.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a talk by Mr. Jayaram HR, owner of The Green Path, a restaurant that serves a variety of foods made from millets, as well as some ‘forgotten foods’. He has an interesting life story, but that is for another day. His talk on how it is high time millets found more of a foothold in our lives acted as a catalyst for me – it inspired me to do more with them in my kitchen.
And then, close on the heels of this talk, the hugely successful Organics And Millets Mela was held at the Palace Grounds, which I managed to attend. The scale of the event, the effort made by the government to reach out to the commonest of people, and the sheer variety of millet-based dishes on display stunned me. The mela gave further shape to my dreams of cooking with millets. Campaigns by fellow food bloggers for the mela gave rise to the sharing of a huge number of millet dishes, wowing not just me but a whole lot of people.
To cut a long story short, all of this has ensured that I have, finally, jumped up on the millets bandwagon too. I have started cooking with other types of millets too – other than the two varieties I was used to. It’s too early to say whether this has had an good impact on my health or not, but I have started using them for sure, slowly and steadily. I will update you all about my millet journey, as and when I reach significant milestones.
For now, here’s presenting to you a tried and tested recipe for Barnyard Millet (‘Kudhiravaali‘ in Tamil) dosa, which all of us in our family love. These dosas contain absolutely no rice, and taste just like the regular ones – no one can tell the difference! They are supposed to be more filling, yet lighter on the digestive system, than the rice-based dosas.
Here is how I make these barnyard millet dosas.
Ingredients (makes 15-18 dosas):
2 cups of barnyard millet aka kudhiravaali
3/4 cup whole white urad
1/4 cup sago pearls (sabudana)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)
Salt, to taste
Oil, as required to make the dosas
Wash the barnyard millet 2-3 times in running water, or till the water runs clear. Soak it overnight in just enough water to cover it.
Wash the urad thoroughly. Soak it, along with the fenugreek seeds, overnight in enough water to completely cover them.
Soak the sago pearls overnight, in just enough water to cover them.
In the morning, drain out the excess water from the urad and fenugreek seeds, and grind them to a fine paste in the mixer. Remove into a large vessel.
Now, drain out the excess water from the barnyard millet and sago pearls, and grind them together to a fine paste in a mixer. Transfer to the vessel that contains the urad batter. Mix well.
Add salt to taste to the batter.
Keep the batter, covered, in a cool and dry place in the kitchen for about 8 hours, to ferment. Fermenting time might be less than 8 hours in case of hot summer days.
Once the batter has fermented and risen sufficiently, keep the vessel, covered, in the refrigerate.
Get the batter out of the refrigerator only when you are ready to make dosas.
Heat a dosa pan till drops of water dance on it, and then reduce the flame. Spread out a ladleful of the batter in the centre of the pan. Spread about 1 teaspoon of oil around the periphery of the dosa. Cook for a couple of minutes, and then flip the dosa over to the other side. Let cook for a couple of minutes more. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate.
Prepare all the dosas in a similar fashion. Serve hot with sambar or chutney of your choice.
You can substitute barnyard millet with any other type of millet, to make these dosas.
Beaten rice aka poha can be used instead of sago pearls, in the same quantity.
There is no need to add additional water while grinding the urad, sago, fenugreek and barnyard millet. If you feel you aren’t able to grind the batter well, add a little water.
Do not keep the batter at room temperature for too long, after fermentation occurs. This will increase the chances of the batter turning sour.
There is absolutely no difference in the proceedure of making these dosas, vis-a-vis regular rice-based dosas.
You like? I hope you will try out these dosas too, and that you will love them just as much as we did!
Interested in reading about the other millet recipes on my blog? Here you go!
“Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea,” Ralph Waldo Emerson in his Letters And Social Aims, and I would heartily agree.
Tea, for me, is more than just an everyday thing. It is a ritual. It is a thing that brings comfort and solace. It is me time. It is a rejuvenation of the body and soul. It is time for introspection. It is time spent bonding with near and dear ones. It is time to reflect over things trivial and deep. It is time to ponder over your day or life. It is a break from routine. Oh, I could go on and on and on.
Considering the love that I accord to tea, I was thrilled to discover this place called Chai Galli, in Brookefield, that is dedicated to tea. A swarm of food bloggers descended upon this place recently, on an invite, to check it out. This post is all about our experience at Chai Galli.
Location and ambience
Chai Galli is located in Brookefield, alongside a couple of quirky-sounding eateries. It wasn’t difficult to find at all.
Inside, the place is done up beautifully, with simple furniture, but with bits and pieces of colour and quirk thrown in here and there. Indian-style cans of milk deck the ceiling, and the lights are made of glasses of chai. Posters on the walls pay tribute to classy Indian films. A distressed chest of drawers adds oodles of charm to the place. Colourful teapots hold spoons, knives and forks, on each table, at the same time speaking about famous Bollywood movies. One wall is dedicated to that lifeline of India called the Indian Railways. I loved the fun and youthful, yet comfortable vibe that Chai Galli gives off. This is the sort of place where you can sit and have a conversation with friends or family over a cup of tea and some snacks – there’s no rush.
The place is decently sized, and seating is comfortable. Natural light is ample.
There is a lovely outdoor sitting area, too, where you can watch the world go by as you sip on your cup of tea. We chose to sit indoors, though.
Chai Galli, of course, serves chai, and a whole lot of it, too. For the tea lover, there’s lots here to choose from – teas from the mountains of South Africa and Darjeeling, saffron-infused tea from Rajasthan, simple ginger tea done in the style of road-side stalls, and so on. For those who aren’t really into tea, there’s coffee, milkshakes and a variety of juices.
The menu also has on offer some quick bites that you can grab with your drink of choice. There are a few varieties of Maggi, the quintessential maska bun and jam bun, sandwiches, poha, pakoras, pasta, lasagne and chaats. There is some quirky stuff in there too – like pizza made with Gujarati khakras. What attracted me most, though, was khamni, a typical Gujarati dish that isn’t so easy to come across in Bangalore.
The food and drinks story
Now, let’s get on to the nitty-gritties, shall we?
First up, I sampled a Pasta In Red Sauce, which was well done. The pasta was cooked just right, there was a generous amount of veggies in there, and the sauce was tasty.
I also sampled a Khakra Pizza, veggies and cheese and sauce spread out over a khakra and baked. This was decent, but the taste didn’t really stand out. I love the idea of this kind of pizza, though – pizza, definitely, but one that isn’t heavy on the stomach.
Then, I opted for a Desi Tadkewali Maggi, Maggi cooked with Indian spices, which came generously garnished with fried onions. It was simple and mild, yet delish.
From the teas, I chose a Ginger Tea, which came in a little white teapot, along with a couple of glasses and a pack of Parle G biscuits. Ah, nostalgia! I loved the way the tea was done.
For each of the dishes, presentation was simple – I liked how they have kept things natural, instead of going overboard trying to project dishes in a quirky fashion. Portion sizes were decent for one person, as a snack. The teapot of ginger chai was good enough to serve two people, generously.
The prices here are mid-range, neither too low nor too exorbitant. Chai for two, along with three or four snacks should set you back by INR 600 or so.
Chai Galli is a lovely place to head to for a cuppa and some simple eats. It is the sort of place I would go to to unwind and recharge my batteries, as well as for some bonding with loved ones.
The Spanish word ‘Flechazo’ translates into ‘love at first sight’. Flechazo, the Mediterannean-Asian restaurant near Marathahalli, promises to make you fall in love with it, the same way, right from the word go. When a friend recently invited me to visit this relatively new restaurant, it was, indeed, love at first sight for me, too.
Flechazo is located above the Surya Nissan showroom in Doddanekundi, near Marathahalli. It isn’t a tough place to find, quite visible from the main road.
The restaurant is quite popular with employees from the number of IT firms that it is surrounded by, so getting a table on week days can be quite tough. On weekends, too, the place is heavily populated by families and friends. Prior reservation is advisable, if you plan to visit here.
Valet parking services are available.
Cuisine and concept
Like I said before, the restaurant serves Mediterranean-Asian food, catering to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. There’s something for everyone here – from chaat, sushi and tapas to mezze platters, pasta, pizza and daal makhani. And, of course, there are some gorgeous desserts to be tried out, as well.
Flechazo aims at making the dining experience of its patrons an enriching one. Once you choose one of the two types of buffets it offers – vegetarian and non-vegetarian – you are served bread sticks with an assortment of sauces as well as pita bread with a variety of dips. Then, you pick your choice of cocktail or mocktail, while you are served assorted starters. The non-vegetarians are served shawarma at the table, while there’s grilled pineapple for the vegetarians.
There’s a Food Shots counter where you can grab bites of food off a conveyor belt.
There’s a live pasta counter, where you can request for a customised-to-your-tastebuds plate.
At the wood-fired oven next to this, you can make your own pizza (read: don an apron and a chef’s hat, roll out your pizza, choose your own toppings, and shovel it into the oven, posing for pictures simultaneously, too!).
There are a variety of breads that you can choose from at the Breads counter, where you can fill up on soup of your choice as well.
Then, there’s a wide choice of dishes for main course. There’s also a counter serving a variety of chaap for the non-vegetarians, and soya chaap for the vegetarians.
At the live dessert counter, you can watch as your jalebis are fried in a wok of hot oil right in front of you, or your cake pops are decorated with colourful little baubles.
There is also a well-stocked refrigerator, from which you can take your pick of Indian desserts. And, as if all of this isn’t enough, you can choose the flavour of ice cream that you want, and watch it being made before your very eyes, at the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream counter. To bring back sweet memories of childhood, there’s also a live gola counter, where you can order for an ice gola of your choice to be made for you.
The eatery has a busy, yet warm and friendly vibe to it. Seating is comfortable.
The decor is simple, yet quirky and pretty.
The kitchen here is open, so you can watch all the action within. It can get a little noisy and hot near the kitchen, but then, the little discomfort is totally worth in, just for the experience of looking in.
Plenty of photo-ops available at this place – be warned!
The food and drinks story
Here is a round-up of the food and drinks that I sampled at Flechazo.
Non-Alcoholic Fruit Sangria: I opted for the non-alcoholic fruit sangria, which completely wowed me with its presentation. The taste wasn’t bad, but not brilliant either.
The other friends dining with us picked cocktails, all of which were presented wonderfully well. Most of them were well received.
Paani Poori: I grabbed a plate of pani poori from the Food Shots counter. It didn’t really win me over, but wasn’t too bad either. Full marks for presentation, though.
Mezze platter: The mezze platter was absolutely brilliant. The pita bread was perfectly done, and every single one of the dips served with it was lovely.
Bread sticks: The bread sticks we were served were superb, with a hint of spice to them. All of the sauces that the sticks were accompanied by were just gorgeous.
Spiced Pineapple: The spiced pineapple was lovely, fresh and juicy, with a hint of cinnamon to it. It was grilled just right. However, the taste was more on the sweeter side – a little bit of spiciness would have worked wonders for it, I think.
Crispy Corn: Spiced corn, deep fried till crispy – what is to not love? This was another dish that was executed very well. I loved it!
Cheesy Potatoes: These were absolutely stupendous – my personal favourite of the entire dinner, I would say. They tasted so scrumptious that I had to stop myself from eating only these, for fear of missing out on the rest of the items on offer!
Crispy Water Chestnuts: These were lovely, too. They were just perfect, crispy on the outside and juicy within.
Paneer Tikka: This wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed. It was strictly okay, with the cottage cheese a tad chewy and the dish lacking in flavour.
Spring Rolls: I wasn’t enamoured with the spring rolls here, either. The outer shell was crispy and nice, but the filling seemed to lack flavour.
Farm Fresh Pizza: I opted out of the self-pizza-making, and requested for a chef-made one instead. The Farm Fresh Pizza I was served was extremely fresh, but, sadly, the taste didn’t blow me away.
White Sauce Pasta: I am not a great fan of white sauce in my pasta, but I really liked the way it was done here. The sauce was tasty, and the dish was executed well. There was a generous dosing of veggies in the pasta too, which I liked.
French Macaroons: The macaroons looked absolutely beautiful, sitting there in a gorgeous, colourful heap. I simply had to try them out! Sadly, though, they were quite flaky and biscuit-y in texture, lacking the softness that macaroons should possess.
Brownies: The brownies here weren’t the best that I have had. They weren’t soft and moist, but crumbly instead.
Lauki Ka Halwa: This was super-duper gorgeous! The straight-off-the-stove bottlegourd halwa tasted delicious.
Piping Hot Jalebis: When there are jalebis being served piping hot, straight out of the pan, how do I resist? I tried out a couple of them, and they were brilliant.
Gulab Jamun: The gulab jamun was too good, too. Very well made!
Orange Souffle: The orange souffle here was simply gorgeous! I loved, loved, loved it.
Paan Ice Cream: There were several interesting flavours of liquid nitrogen ice creams to choose from at Flechazo. I opted for the paan flavour, just because this particular flavour has been on my mind a lot lately. It was so very thrilling to watch the ice cream being made fresh before my very eyes – a lot like magic, really. The ice cream was super-duper fresh (Had to be, right? It was made just then!), and tasted gorgeous.
Value for money
The vegetarian buffet here is priced at INR 500 (plus taxes), and the non-vegetarian buffet at INR 600 (plus taxes). I think that is absolute value for money, total paisa vasool, considering the huge variety of food you get to sample here, and the range of experiences that you can have. They have some ‘early bird’ offers as well, if you’d like to avail of them.
Flechazo is a lovely place to be at, with friends, family or colleagues. It is wonderful for team lunches, family parties, farewells, and birthdays (How did I forget to tell you about the little celebratory dance that the staff at Flechazo does when you celebrate your birthday here?! We witnessed one such gig, and it was so much fun!). I absolutely loved the feel of the place.
It wasn’t possible for me to sample everything that the place has to offer, on my one visit. Most of what I tasted here, though, was good, though there is definitely room for improvement as far as certain items are concerned. (Pro tip: I’d recommend hogging the beautiful starters here, as well as the gorgeous desserts, with just a customary sampling of the main course fare!)
I would love to visit again, with family, to experience more of it – I would sign up for that in the blink of an eye. Do visit Flechazo, if you haven’t already – highly recommended! Irrespective of whether your food preferences are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, you surely won’t be disappointed. Don’t forget to carry your camera along!
Code of ethics
Since this was an invite, I didn’t pay for the meal. The views expressed herein are completely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone. I don’t stand to receive any sort of gain by recommending this place to you.
Not a single summer goes by without me thinking of the gorgeous Lonavali ice cream that is available in small family-run ice cream parlours in Ahmedabad. These parlours specialise in sort-of home-made ice creams, both common flavours like Kesar Pista and Chocolate and some highly uncommon ones, like Lonavali.
Lonavali ice cream, as the name suggests, is a tribute to the famous chikkis of Lonavala. With a faint hint of rose, a gorgeous green colour, a generous dosing of pistachios, and bits and pieces of crunchy sesame brittle or chikki in it, Lonavali would make for a fabulous treat any time of the year. My friends and I would down cupfuls of this green beauty, especially in the hot summer months. Sadly, though, it has been ages since I had a cup of Lonavali – it isn’t available anywhere in Bangalore.
I had been wanting to try out my own version of this ice cream, at home, since ages, but it kept being pushed to the back burner again and again and again. Finally, the experiment happened yesterday, and was a happy one at that. I managed to create an ice cream with sesame-and-jaggery brittle that was very, very close in taste to the Lonavali, and everyone at home loved it to bits. Coincidentally, yesterday was Ugadi, the Kannada new year day, when it is customary to consume ellu (sesame) and bella (jaggery). So, yay to that!
I’ll be improvising on this recipe with time, but, for now, let me share with you the one that I used yesterday. So, here’s presenting to you Lonavali aka Ellu Bella aka Tilgul ice cream! Ingredients (Makes about 4 servings):
200 ml fresh cream (I used Amul)
200 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon rose essence
1/4 cup sesame-jaggery revdi (use the large ones that have a rose fragrance to them)
1/4 cup jaggery powder or to taste
About 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted, shelled pistachios
Lightly crush the revdi using a mortar and pestle. Do not make a fine powder, and let large-ish chunks of the revdi remain. You should get chunks of the revdi in your mouth as you eat this dish – that is the whole point of this ice cream! Keep aside.
In a large mixing bowl, take the condensed milk, cream, salt, pistachios, rose essence, crushed revdi, and jaggery powder. Whisk well, until everything is well combined together.
Transfer the mixture to an air-tight, clean, dry box.
Put the box, closed, in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. Freeze at maximum temperature for 3-4 hours or until the ice cream is set well. That’s it!
I used fresh cream to create this dish, but you could use whipping cream, too. Whipping cream will give you creamier, richer ice cream.
Adjust the quantity of jaggery that you use, as per your taste preferences.
The jaggery will add a slightly salty undertone to the ice cream. If you are not okay with that, use sugar to taste instead. Alternatively, you could use a mix of jaggery and sugar. It is the jaggery and the revdi together that give this ice cream its lovely caramel colour.
I used revdi to make this ice cream because of the hint of roses that they possess. I would strongly recommend using revdi, but if you don’t have them, you could use sesame chikki instead, too.
The Lonavali ice cream in Ahmedabad makes use of sesame chikki, as far as I remember, so I used revdi with sesame too. You could make this recipe using peanut chikki or peanut brittle as well.
This ice cream melts dreadfully fast, in a matter of seconds. It melted before I could bring a cupful of it from our kitchen to the living room, to take a picture! So, remove the box from the freezer only when you are ready to serve the ice cream.
Add green food colour if you want, if you wish for the ice cream to look exactly like Lonavali from Ahmedabad. I skipped that, though.
You like? I would love it if you could try out this recipe at home, and I hope you’ll love it too!
Just last week, the happening locality of Koramangala in Bangalore saw the launch of a brand new restaurant. This restaurant, however, is very unique. It is different from the rest. In what way?, I hear you ask. Well, this place, Echoes, is different because it promises you a different sort of dining experience.
Echoes, Koramangala, is fully managed by hearing- and speech-impaired staff. This includes the overall running of the outlet, except for the kitchen, as far as I understand. The same hearing- and speech-impaired staff serve customers as well. Noble thought behind the outlet, right? I was humbled to be a part of a bloggers’ table at Echoes, recently.
This is Echoes’ second outlet. The first one, in Delhi, has had a really good innings.
The concept and ambience
Echoes has a wonderful warm and friendly vibe to it. The decor is absolutely beautiful, there is no doubt about that. Brick walls, tastefully chosen knick-knacks, cosy nooks, a spacious sit-out, the smiling crew, the thoughtful quotes on the walls, the lovely motto on the T-shirts of the service staff – everything adds to the effect. It is clear that a whole lot of thought has gone into creating just the right sort of place and atmosphere at Echoes.
I especially loved the way they have done up one of the walls entirely using kitchen utensils. Classy!
Echoes has taken several steps to ensure a hassle-free ordering and dining experience for its patrons. Each dish on the menu, for instance, has a number alongside it, which is to be written down on a notepad when the service staff visits a table to take an order. (Each tubelight, fan and bulb here also has a number, to facilitate things for the staff – I loved the way they have paid attention to these little details!).
Furthermore, each table is equipped with a calling bell, which will summon the service staff when pressed. The tables at Echoes also have a set of placards, each one containing a word that is commonly used in communication between the patrons of a restaurant and the wait staff – ‘Menu’ and ‘Plates’, for instance, or ‘Please get the manager’. Hold up the right card, get your word across to the service crew!
Very well thought-out, right?
The food and drinks story
Now, let’s move on to the grub we had at Echoes, shall we?
Echoes has a mixed sort of menu – there’s a little bit of everything on it. There’s Italian, Mexican, Indian and Chinese, among other cuisines. The eatery serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Here’s a round-up of the food and drinks I sampled at Echoes.
Raju Veg Tiffin Service: This was a beautifully presented dish, with papad, butter roti, and rice on a plate and two different kinds of gravies (butter paneer and rajma) served in an old-world tiffin carrier. I loved the taste of everything that was a part of this combo.
Baked Cheesy Nachos: These were simply lovely! The sauce the nachos were served with were just the right amount of tangy, and the cheese was simply perfect.
Rajma Galouti: I thought this was very ordinary. It seemed to lack flavour.
Vegetarian Steamed and Tandoori Momos: Both the versions of momos lacked flavour, in my humble opinion. There’s definitely scope for improvement here.
Stuffed Shrooms Tikka: This dish, again, was quite unexceptional. It felt quite bland.
Paneer Makhani Pizza: This pizza had paneer as well as two other types of cheese, with a makhani-style gravy. It was quite average, nothing out of the ordinary in terms of taste.
Makhani Pasta: This was something very new to me – penne pasta served with a paneer-butter-masala kind of sauce. Odd combination, probably, and maybe not meant for everyone, but I loved it to bits. I thought it was really well done.
Milkshakes: Echoes has a whole lot of milkshakes for the chocolate-lover, with every conceivable flavour on offer – Oreo cookies, Snickers, Kit Kat, Black Forest, Ferrero Rocher.. you name it, they have it! We tried most of these chocolate-based milkshakes, and they were really very well done. Good job on this! My personal favourite milkshake, though, was the Red Rave, a red velvet cake-based shake that was mildly sweet, with bits of cake in it. Try out the milkshakes here, but don’t miss the amazing Red Rave, I say!
Strawberry Lemonade: This was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful drink, both in terms of taste and looks! The blend of sugar, strawberry and lemon was just perfect, making this a very refreshing thing to have. It sure didn’t have that ‘cough syrup’ taste that I have come across at a lot of other eateries, in case of strawberry-flavoured drinks. This is a must-have here, for sure.
Virgin Mo: The Virgin Mo or mojito at Echoes was just perfect. It was very well executed, with the mint, sugar and lemon all perfectly balanced. Quite the salve for parched throats. This, again, is a must-have, as per me.
The prices here seem to be slightly on the higher side, but not too exorbitant. A meal for two would set you back by about INR 1,000.
I absolutely loved the time I spent at Echoes, Koramangala. The service staff seemed to be so put-together and well-organised, and all of them had a warm and welcoming smile on their faces. That said, I was here as part of a very formal set-up, so I am yet to experience the entire ‘service experience’ as such. I would definitely love to go back to this place, any time!
The place seems to have quite a strong hold over Indian cuisine. We loved the Indian dishes here a whole lot more than the other fare. Likewise, the eatery is very, very strong with respect to its mocktails, juices and milkshakes. Every single one of the drinks we tasted here was beautifully done.
I loved some of the food I sampled here, but was not overly impressed by some stuff. The place is very new, though, so it would only be fair to give them some time to gain a foothold. I would wait and watch as to how the food story here unfolds in the times to come.
The ambience and decor here is absolutely amazing. Full marks to that. I would go back to this place just for the ambience, the service experience and the drinks!
I was served this meal free of cost, along with a group of other food bloggers, in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed herein are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.
Have you been to this place yet? I would definitely urge you to visit!
Serves over 60 different variations of one of your favourite foods i.e. momos
Offers some innovative dishes like street bhel-style momos
Promises to be pocket-friendly
All of your foodie friends who visited are raving about it
… you’ve got to check them out, right? Right! So, that is exactly what I did.
I’m talking about Momo Jojo, the new momo place in town, which recently opened up in BTM Layout, after a good innings at JP Nagar and Koramangala. Recently, I was offered the opportunity to be part of a bloggers’ table at Momo Jojo’s spankin’ new BTM Layout outlet, and sample the menu – an opportunity that I absolutely had to grab with both hands!
I did go on to have a lovely, lovely experience here, and that is exactly what I am going to tell all of you about.
Location and ambience
The place is located in the midst of BTM Layout, not very difficult to locate.
It is a small place, suitable for quick bites and not really suited to long meals and conversations. The eatery is well done up and colourful, and has a friendly, youthful vibe.
Momos of all sorts dominate the menu here. But of course! What else did you expect with a name like that? 🙂
Momo Jojo offers momos with different types of fillings – garlic cheese, mixed vegetables, mushroom onion, seasoned potato, paneer salsa, spinach cheese corn, spicy soya and peanut paneer. You can mix and match the filling you want for your momos with how you want them to be served – steamed, pan-fried, deep-fried, chilly-fied, tandoori, street bhel-style or sizzling. Now, how cool is that?! You can permutate and combine and make over 60 different versions of momos, like I said before – so you have something new to try out even if you visit the place over 60 times!
You can also make your own wok box – choose any one type of rice (from the many they have on offer), and choose a topping to go with it (of which they have many, too). Apart from this, Momo Jojo offers two signature desserts – Sizzling Brownie and Choco Bao. They also have two drinks that you can sip on while you attack your plate of momos – the Mango Tango and Iced Tea.
The food and drink story
Mango Tango and Iced Tea
I started the meal with Momo Jojo’s Mango Tango which is, basically, aam panna in a mason jar. The presentation was nice, and I absolutely loved the drink!
Some fellow food bloggers who opted for the Iced Tea told me it was lovely, too.
Momo sampler platter
Then, of course, we wanted to try out each one of those lovely-sounding fillings! So, we chose a sampler platter that included a couple of momos with every type of filling available, all steamed.
My personal favourites were the mixed vegetable, paneer salsa, garlic cheese and spinach cheese corn stuffings! The mushroom-onion was strictly okay. The peanut-paneer, seasoned potato and spicy soya were good, but I liked the ones I have mentioned earlier, better.
Another thing that I must mention here is that the momos at Momo Jojo are served with three different types of dips – mint, mustard-peanut, and chilli. All three dips tasted just gorgeous. The mustard-peanut dip is what you will commonly be served momos with in Nepal (as Ankit Agarwal, one of Momo Jojo’s partners, who hails from Nepal, told us), but is quite difficult to come across in Bangalore.
Assorted Pan-Fried Momos
Next up, we opted for a platter of pan-fried momos, with assorted fillings.
I much preferred the steamed version to the pan-fried one, but I fell in love with the garlic cheese, spinach cheese corn, paneer salsa and mixed vegetable stuffings all over again!
Spinach cheese corn momos, street bhel-style
Then, we were served bowls of spinach cheese corn momos in street bhel-style (Sandekho– or typical Nepali street food-style, we were told).
This was oh so lovely – a burst of flavours in the mouth. There were potatoes, peanuts, coriander and lemon and all things that make for a lovely chaat, and momos, of course. I would never have thunk I would love a chaat with momos so much!
You have to try this out to believe just how delish it was – I urge you not to miss this whenever you visit Momo Jojo. I don’t think a momo chaat is available elsewhere in Bangalore either.
Assorted Tandoori Momos
Next, we were served momos with assorted fillings, done up in the tandoori style. These momos were served with some very delish slices of onion, over and above the three dips.
The tandoori effect was absolutely lovely – the marinade was perfectly spiced and added beautifully to the taste of the momos instead of detracting from them. This is, again, something I would recommend you to try at Momo Jojo, for sure.
Then, we chose a sizzler with garlic cheese momos on a bed of noodles (You can choose between rice and noodles), which was served with french fries on the side.
The sizzler was, again, absolutely scrumptious. The sauce that coated the momos was packed with flavour, and the noodles were thin and lovely, unlike the thick noodles that you typically get in a sizzler. This is another must-have at Momo Jojo, I say!
Next, we decided to sample one of their wok boxes, and opted for Schezwan rice with an Exotic Veggies topping.
This one was pretty average, most of us felt. Neither the rice nor the topping was anything special. But then, I wouldn’t choose a wok box in a place that primarily specialises in momos – I would choose momos any day!
Sizzling brownie and choco bao
We ended our meal at Momo Jojo by trying out both of the desserts they have on offer – Sizzling Brownie and Choco Bao.
Both of the desserts were lovely! The sizzling brownie was perfectly done, as was the choco bao. I loved, loved, loved the coconut-ty, chocolate-ey filling of the bao, though the outer shell was a wee bit tougher than it should be.
Everything on the menu at Momo Jojo is very reasonably priced, for the quality of food that they offer. A meal for two here would set you back by INR 350 or so.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Momo Jojo. Most of the items we tried out were delish, and there’s a whole lot on the menu that we need to try out, still. This is definitely a place I’ll be visiting again and again, and dragging the husband to, too.
Good job, Team Momo Jojo!
You guys, do visit this place to satiate all your momo cravings and more!
This meal was served to us free of cost, in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.