It was an enriching and enlightening experience for me to be part of The Culinary Symposium On Millets, held recently at MS Ramaiah University, New BEL Road.
Dignitaries like Shri Krishna Byre Gowda, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture for State, Government of Karnataka; Karnataka State Agriculture Commissioner Shri Satheesh; Executive Chefs from The Oberoi, The Taj and a number of other hotels of great repute, representatives of eateries like SodaBottleOpenerWala and MTR as well as from food delivery services like FreshMenu, producers of millet-based foods, food critics and other well-known figures from the food scene in India, as well as select food bloggers.
The Symposium was a run-up to the Organics & Millets International Trade Fair 2018, which is to be held at the Bangalore Palace in January 2018. The event was a huge success in 2017, and it is expected to be even bigger and better in 2018!
The event served as a meeting point for various stakeholders to meet and discuss the road map to the very promising Organics & Millets International Trade Fair 2018. Restaurants, food bloggers, social media experts, home chefs, hotel management institutes, culinary studios, everyone has a role to play to make the upcoming event a success all over again, something that was discussed in great detail at the symposium.
Some of the key points discussed were:
What restaurants could do to educate patrons on the importance of consuming millets and how to gain better acceptance for them.
Organising millet-based cooking competitions to encourage more people to cook with millets, especially homemakers.
Organising workshops at various places to teach people how to cook using millets.
Involving street carts and stalls in the millet cause, and encouraging them to use more millets in their offerings.
Including millets in the curriculum at hotel management institutes.
Introducing healthy millet-based foods in school and college canteens, as well as hospitals.
Training of the staff at hotels in how to use millets in cooking.
Ensuring a steady supply of various kinds of millets to restaurant kitchens.
Spreading awareness about the benefits of consuming millets, in schools and colleges.
Spreading the word about millets through Instagram and other social media networks, so that the campaign can reach the younger generation.
Another reason for the organisation of this Symposium was to showcase the huge variety of foods (traditional as well as contemporary, vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian) that can be prepared using millets. These dishes were all thoughtfully conceptualised and prepared by students and chefs of MS Ramaiah University.
I was surely awed by the sheer variety of millet-based dishes on display! Mind = Blown! I could see the other guests at the Symposium having the same awe-struck reaction on their faces, too. Of course, how could they not?!
Along with the other guests, I sampled the dishes on offer – the vegetarian part of it, that is. Most of what I tried out was absolutely, finger-lickingly delicious!
Drooling yet? No? 😦
Well, the desserts will make you drool for sure! Take a look at them!
Mind you, this is just a small part of the millet feast that was on display at the Symposium – this is just for the purpose of representation; there was much more!
I hope you enjoyed the visuals! Do drop in a note, through the comments, to tell me what you thought of this post and the pics.
May this inspire all of us to do more with millets in the days to come! And, oh, don’t miss visiting the Organics & Millets International Trade Fair 2018!
For more pictures from the event, check out my Facebook album here!
If you have been reading my blog regularly, you would know that, as a family, we are consciously working towards a more eco-friendly, simpler and healthier lifestyle, one little step at a time. We are constantly looking out for sustainable, chemical-free alternatives for various products we use for ourselves and for our home, that are made conscientiously.
I am all too aware of the loads of chemicals that go into the making of the sanitary pads I use, and have been looking out for a better alternative for quite some time now. So, I was super happy when I recently discovered Purganics, an organic cotton no-chemicals sanitary pad. They were kind enough to send across samples of their pads for an honest review, along with a bamboo toothbrush.
My experience with Purganics Organic Cotton Sanitary Pads
What I loved:
~ These sanitary pads are made out of 100% good-quality organic cotton, sourced from around the world. I love the fact that organic cotton has less of a negative impact on the environment as opposed to the regular cotton.
~ They were super comfortable to use, a far cry from the skin-irritating plastic-like pads that are commonly commercially available today.
~ They are free of chlorine, plastics, synthetics, perfumes, super absorbent polymers (a harmful petroleum derivative that is commonly found in several commercially available sanitary pads), or chemicals of any kind.
~ They did not bunch up with use and, at the same time, were quite breathable. They did not stick to the skin, something I have experienced with most disposable sanitary pad brands.
~ They were soft, light and thin, with wings attached, and were quite easy to carry.
~ Absorbency was really good in case of both pads.
~ These pads come in various sizes, so there’s something for everyone – irrespective of whether you are a woman with moderate, heavy or very heavy flow. I tried out the ‘heavy flow’ and ‘moderate flow’ pads at different times in my menstrual cycle.
~ They are disposable, so there is no hassle of soaking and washing which comes with cloth sanitary pads. If, like me, you don’t think a menstrual cup is for you and are not comfortable with the processes of caring for a cloth sanitary pad, this is a great middle path.
~ They are biodegradable, and even the backing is made of plant-based material.
~ They come with a cute little cotton bag, which comes in handy to carry a couple of pads in your purse while stepping out of home.
~ Priced at INR 399 for 10 Moderate Flow pads, INR 420 for 10 Heavy Flow pads, and INR 450 for 10 Super Plus Flow Pads, they are quite expensive. That is almost twice the cost of most commercially available disposable sanitary pads. I do understand how superior in quality and eco-friendliness these pads are, but I don’t think they are affordable for everyone. If you are the sort of person who wouldn’t mind shelling out some extra money for an eco-friendly, healthier pad, these are just great! There are no other cons that I can think of.
My experience with Purganics Adult Soft Bamboo Toothbrush
What I loved:
~ Bamboo is completely bio-degradable. I love that by using a bamboo toothbrush, I reduce my plastic footprint and do not contribute to the ever-increasing pollution of oceans and teeming landfills. Also, even the packaging of this toothbrush is entirely bio-degradable.
~ The bristles are made of Dupont Nylon 6, a faster degradable form of nylon as compared to the other lower nylon grades. They are free of the toxin called BPA that is present in most commercial-grade toothbrushes. The nylon is used because there is simply no natural alternative to help create a toothbrush that you can use effectively for the dentist recommended 3 months’ time.
~ These toothbrushes are available in different sizes and softness levels – Soft and Medium for adults and Soft for kids. You can take your pick. I love that the brushes are available with different-coloured bristles, to make brushing fun.
~ The design of the handle makes it very comfortable to hold and use.
~ After a couple of days’ usage, the Adult Soft bamboo toothbrush that I was using developed black spots on the handle, in spite of being kept open on a shelf in our bathroom. I am not sure what caused it, but it does make me slightly uncomfortable with the brushing.
~ I am very, very particular about the toothbrushes that I buy considering that I have very sensitive gums that bleed very easily. Though it was a Soft toothbrush that I tried out, the bristles were a tad harsh for me – they were softer than those of most commercial brands, but still a little hard for me. It would be great if a Super Soft toothbrush could be introduced, for people like me.
~ At INR 165 per toothbrush (both the Adult and Kid version), these are indeed expensive. That’s almost double the price of a good-quality Super Soft toothbrush, which I am not sure everyone would be ready to invest.
If you have been looking out for better, healthier alternatives for your home and personal care, too, Purganics is definitely one brand that you should try out.
Other products: Apart from sanitary pads, tampons and bamboo toothbrushes, Purganics also offers panty liners.
I was sent free samples of the above-mentioned products to use and review honestly, and that is exactly what I have done. The views expressed herein are completely honest, entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.
I’m always looking for healthier, more eco-friendly alternatives to the things we use around our home on a daily basis. So, when I was asked if I would like to try out a sample of Oddy Uniwraps, an organic food wrapping paper, I agreed immediately. And… I’m so loving it!
Oddy Uniwraps food wrapping paper is the latest product introduced by Atul Paper Pvt. Ltd., a renowned player in stationery and paper products for the last 20 minutes. The firm sells several office stationery products under the brand name of Oddy (short for ‘on demand’).
What I love about Oddy Uniwraps’ food wrapping paper
Though this product is termed as ‘food wrapping paper’, it is actually a multi-purpose paper, which serves several purposes other than just wrapping up food. I have been using it to line baking tins while making cakes, to pack food for the husband to take to work, and to line boxes of coriander and mint before placing them in the refrigerator. If you make chocolates at home, I think you could use this paper to wrap them too, rather than plastic wrappers. I love how versatile this product is, how handy it is in the kitchen.
There’s no plastic or aluminium content in this paper, and it is apparently 100% organic. Studies have proved that aluminium foil, very commonly used in wrapping food, has several harmful effects. This food wrapping paper offers all of the convenience of aluminium foil, without any of its dangerous side effects.
This product can be used as a substitute for cling film as well. Paper trumps any day over plastic cling wrap, right?
I love the cutesy print on this paper. Call me pedantic, but using it surely cheers me up.
This paper is completely bio-degradable. If you use it, you place a lesser burden on the environment as opposed to that when you use cling film or aluminium foil. Any little step we take in this direction is good, I believe – just imagine how much of an impact we can make on the environment if we start paying closer attention to such little things as the material our food is wrapped in.
This product is entirely microwave-safe and can be used in OTG ovens up to a temperature of 220 degrees Celsius.
This paper is food-grade certified. The ink used for the doodles on the paper is food-grade certified as well.
Food wrapped in this paper stays fresher, I have noted, as against that wrapped in aluminium foil.
I love that this paper is so easy to use. The roll that I received as a sample has an in-built cutter, so you don’t even have to go looking for a pair of scissors to cut it.
I don’t use aluminium foil regularly, so I am not really aware of prices, but, I understand that this paper is less expensive.
The quality of the paper is really good. You can make that out while you use it.
What could have been better?
As of now, I see that this paper is available in only this particular print. Cute as it is, it would be great to have a few more designs to choose from.
Price and availability
A 20-metre roll of Oddy Uniwraps’ food wrapping paper costs INR 199.
I really liked this product, its versatility, its eco-friendliness and its ease of use. It is definitely something I would like to buy, and would heartily recommend.
I was sent a sample of the product free of cost to test and review. This is not a paid review. The views expressed herein are entirely honest, and entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.
If Day 1 of the Workshop On Millet Foods For Dieticians And Chefs was enlightening, Day 2 was even more so. Day 2 was when all participants couldn’t take their eyes off stage, when they watched goggle-eyed the magic being spun before them, riveted to their seats. Day 2 was as full of practical sessions as Day 1 was of technical ones, with a number of chefs coming up on stage to demonstrate all the delicacies that can be cooked using millets.
The point was to prove just how versatile millets are, how they can lend themselves to a variety of dishes, Indian and international, healthy and not-so-healthy, simple and five-star-menu worthy, sweet and savoury, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Together, I think, the chefs more than proved this!
Here is an overview of Day 2 of the workshop, for your viewing and reading pleasure. I think I’ll mostly let the pictures of the food do the talking – that left all of us speechless, for sure!
Day 2 began with Shri Krishna Byre Gowda, Honourable Minister of Agriculture for the state of Karnataka, addressing those present. In his speech, he recapped most of what was discussed on the first day – enunciating how exactly millets are good for you, for the farmers, and for the environment as well.
Then, Dr. Bhaskarachary of the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad, came up on stage to talk about the role of millets in today’s society. He talked at length about how the inclusion of millets would go a long way towards creating a balanced diet, as opposed to the wheat- or rice-heavy diets that most people these days seem to use. He spoke of how the high nutritional value of millets is not something that we should miss out on, especially now, when lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are on the rise. Dr. Bhaskarachary also stressed on the role of chefs, dieticians, home cooks and food bloggers to spread the right information about millets, and to encourage more people to include them in their diets.
After this, some heavy-duty action began on stage! It was the turn of chefs from all over Bangalore to showcase their delectable millet confections!
Chef Ramaswamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef of Vivanta By Taj, Bangalore, went first. He demonstrated how to make a beautiful Spinach-Stuffed Millet Ravioli With Primavera Sauce, as well as some Pan-Seared Chicken With Millet Stew And Sauternes Sauce and Smoked Chicken And Baby Pineapple Salad With Crispy Foxtail Millet.
Next, Ms. Vani Anamdas, Manager – Housing & Food Services, International Crops Research Institute For The Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, came up on stage. Her team demonstrated the making of Finger Millet Cake With Hot Garlic Sauce, Millet Manchurian, and Millet Kashmiri Kofta In Palak Gravy.
Ms. Anamdas’s team from ICRISAT also went on to demonstrate how to make Ragi Shots, Sorghum Stuffed Kulcha, Millet Waffles, Ragi Banana Bread, and Sorghum Flakes-Fried Chicken.
Post this, Chef Nagarekha Palli of Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) came up on stage to demonstrate two more millet-based recipes – Foxtail Millet Crisps With Millet Sprouts and Smoked Kodo Millet Kabab With Yogurt Dip. She also demonstrated how to get millets to sprout beautifully into long, delicate, green shoots, over a period of four or five days.
Chef Shyam Prasad of RUAS then came up on stage to show the audience how to make Millet Paella (yes, you read that right!) and Finger Millet Tacos.
Chef Shashi Sharma of RUAS then showed everyone the method of preparation of his Millet Paneer And Spinach Tikki and Millet Chicken Risotto.
After this, Chef Sridhar Krishnan of RUAS demonstrated how to make two beautiful, beautiful, beautiful millet-based desserts – Greek Yogurt Cake With Citrus Glaze and Toffee Chocolate Tart.
Day 2 of the workshop concluded with a panel discussion, where participants could ask relevant questions to the experts on stage. The experts included Chef Shashi Sharma, Chef Shyam Kumar, Chef Sridhar Krishnan, food blogger Ruth D’Souza Prabhu of the Bangalore’s Restaurants fame, Chef Nagarekha Palli, Chef Vani Anamdas, and the Joint Director of Agriculture, Mr. Jayaswamy.
Key take-aways from Day 2 of the workshop
~ Millets can be used to cook a huge variety of dishes, ranging from traditional Indian fare to the highly exotic. And millet-based food can look great, too!
~ Millets can be used to create healthy dishes as well as junk food like manchurian and calorie-heavy dishes like cakes and other desserts. The dishes demonstrated at the workshop were a mix of both these types. I admit some the dishes shown to us weren’t very healthy, but I guess the aim of the workshop was to demonstrate the vast range of possibilities. Also, as the experts stated, people would be more amenable to using millets if they saw them being used to make contemporary food that is tasty as well.
~ While cooking with millets, one needs to be aware of the inherent properties that each type possesses. Some types of millets, for instance, needs to be soaked for a while before cooking, to ensure that they are cooked well and not very chewy. This understanding comes with trial and error, experimenting with millets in your kitchen on a regular basis.
~ Baking with millets can be a tad tough, since they do not possess any gluten. Hence, it becomes essential to mix maida or whole wheat flour with them, to get a good-quality finished product.
~ When you substitute millets for rice in a dish well-known to you, there might be a change in the texture of the dish as it is known to you. This is something you must be ready for, when beginning to cook with millets.
Well, that was all about the beautiful millet workshop I attended. I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it will be of help to you.
The 25th and 26th of July, 2017, saw a beautiful workshop on millet foods being conducted at the MS Ramaiah campus in Matthikere. This workshop – Workshop On Millet Foods For Dieticians And Chefs – was organised by the Government of Karnataka, in association with MS Ramaiah Institute, with the intention of spreading more awareness about millets and millet-based foods. This is an extension to the #LetsMillet campaign being vigorously undertaken by the Government of Karnataka, an attempt to reach out to the masses after the hugely successful Organics And Millets Mela held in April 2017.
I am thankful to have been offered an invite to attend and cover the workshop which, I think, was just as successful as the Organics And Millets Mela. It was met with a wonderful, enthusiastic response from chefs, dieticians, students, home cooks and various dignitaries from the worlds of food, nutrition and politics.
To say I am overwhelmed and enlightened by the experience of attending the workshop would be an understatement. I’ve learnt so much in these two days; watched so much of magic being unravelled; life in my kitchen is never going to be the same again, I’m sure.
Some of the most commonly asked questions about millets were answered, this first day of the workshop. Here’s a glimpse of all that happened on Day 1 of the workshop, and the key take-aways, for your viewing and reading pleasure.
We’ve been hearing about this ‘millets’ thing day in and day out. But what are they, really?
Millets are actually grasses with tiny seeds, something that has been cultivated in India since ages. They are hardy crops that can be grown with little investment and little usage of water, and hold immense nutrition within their tiny selves.
If they are so good for us, why aren’t we using more of millets?
Once upon a time, millets were consumed in generous quantities by Indians, and were extensively used to feed cattle as well. However, with advancing times and the increasing influence of Western culture, millets began to be looked down upon. They began to be called ‘poor man’s food’ or ‘cattle feed’, and our diets changed to include primarily wheat- or rice-based products. Our consumption of millets has gone down drastically, both in urban and rural areas, so much so that it is negligible. People have forgotten how to use these ancient powerhouses of nutrition aka millets.
Today, when global warming is a scary reality that we are slowly waking up to and water conservation is the need of the hour, millets can be of great help. Growing 1 kg. of rice consumes about 4,000-5,500 thousand litres of water, while growing a kg. of millets needs just about 20% of that.Moreover, millets can be grown even in bad weather conditions, in poor soil conditions.They are sturdy crops that aren’t usually infested by insects or diseases and, hence, require little or no pesticides and fertilisers. Therefore, the cost of growing millets is much, much lower than that of cultivating wheat or rice.
Sadly, though, there is little demand for millets today. Today, millets are grown only by those farmers who are unable to grow anything else, because they are extremely pressed for money or have land that has extremely poor conditions. Millets are good for the farmer in a lot of ways.So, if you begin to include more millets in your daily diets, you are actually helping the poorest of farmers, saving them from a life of misery.
By buying millets, you also contribute to environmental good health, by reducing the stress on already stressed-out water resources. You also help in cutting down the use of fertilisers and pesticides. Millets are, therefore, good for the environment, too.
This is not all. Millets are good for our health, too.Today, non-communicable or lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol are rampant in rural and urban India. Many of these diseases occur because of our sedentary lifestyles, increasing stress levels, and an unbalanced diet (read: increasing use of junk food and drinks, a high level of wheat- or rice-based foods, and a lack of inclusion of different types of fruits, grains, vegetables and other ingredients). Thanks to their high nutritional content, the inclusion of millets in our daily diets can be one of the ways out of this situation. It is rather sad that people today are turning to foreign grains like quinoa and oats for their nutritional values, but ignoring our very own millets, which are far superior to these foods (even to rice and wheat, in case of most nutrients).
What’s this #LetsMillet thing? Who are the various stakeholders?
The Government of Karnataka is presently on a mission to propagate awareness about millets through workshops like this one, to encourage people to use more of them, and to teach them different ways in which they can do so. Check out the #LetsMillet hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to take a look at the considerable work that has been done in this regard.
Chefs, dieticians, food bloggers and other social media influencers have an important role to play in contributing towards this end.
So, millets can be used just to make stuff like ragi mudde, right?
Millets can be used in a variety of dishes, traditional and contemporary, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Also, people take millets to mean just ragi (finger millet) or bajri (pearl millet), while that is so not the case. These are just two types of millet – there’s a whole millet family out there, for you to explore and get the benefit of. Pearl millet, kodo millet, little millet, proso millet, finger millet, barnyard millet.. there are so many varieties of millets! Most people today don’t even know what these grains look like!
Further, these grains can be used to make anything from gobi manchurian, dosa, idli, curd rice and bisi bele bath to risotto, ravioli, cakes and breads. For the last two years or so, chefs, home cooks and food bloggers have been experimenting with different types of millets, and there is now a wealth of recipes to be explored. So, millets does not translate into just stuff like ragi mudde.. almost anything can be made from them! They can be used in place of wheat and rice in all the dishes you commonly consume today, like curd rice or sambar rice, and they can be made into delicacies like payasam and kesari bath, too. That said, millets possess certain qualities that are inherent to them, and a chef should work around them while trying to develop dishes with them.
Should I use millets just because my ancestors used them?
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture ended his speech with a request to everyone to consider increasing the use of millets in their daily diets. He stated that he does not solicit people’s co-operation because increasing consumption of millets is a political agenda, or because our ancestors used these grains, but because they are good for us in so many different ways, a fact that has been backed up by a whole lot of systematic scientific research.
What are the various nutrients that millets possess?
They are high in dietary fibre, so they fill you up with lesser portion sizes. Therefore, they are helpful in weight management. They also help in lowering constipation.
They possess a low Glycemic Index (GI), and are thus useful in controlling diabetes.
They have anti-tumour and anti-carcinogenic properties too.
They are low in sodium, so they are helpful in the management of hypertension.
They help in the lowering of serum cholesterol and triglycerides.
They possess a highly alkaline nature, thereby helping in preventing and lowering the effects of irritable bowel syndrome, acidity, gallstones and stomach ulcers.
They are rich in anti-oxidants.
They possess hypo-allergenic properties and, hence, help in preventing allergic reactions.
They are rich in iron, thereby helping in the prevention of anaemia.
They are useful in the prevention of liver disorders.
They are completely gluten-free.
Millets are far superior to wheat and rice and even quinoa, as far as various micro-nutrients are concerned.
They are quite high in protein, and hence, play a crucial role in a vegetarian diet, wherein protein sources are limited.
If millets are so high in nutrients, should I be switching over to an all-millet diet then?
No, that kind of extreme switching over in diet is not advisable, not recommended by dieticians or nutritionists. Yes, millets are very high in nutrients, but they do need to be supplemented by wheat, rice, pulses, vegetables, milk, meat, eggs and a variety of other foods, so as to provide complete health to a human being.
What is advocated, really, through campaigns like this is an open mind, an acceptance to trying out different kinds of millets, at least a basic introduction of millets in your daily diet. All meals/snacks that you consume in a day need not be millet-heavy, but it would be great if at least one of them is.
Also, millets are not a miracle cure for all your ailments. The increase in lifestyle diseases in today’s times in not just a product of an imbalanced diet, which can be cured by the introduction of millets in your diet. There are other steps that need to be taken, too, to curb this, such as lowering overall stress levels, incorporating more physical activity in our lives, etc.
What are the things that I should keep in mind while introducing millets in my daily diet?
Millets can be used by people of all age groups, from a 6-month-old baby to a geriatric person, irrespective of their health condition. However, millets are believed to be goitrogenous in nature (i.e. they can enlarge one’s thyroid gland) and, hence, it would be advisable to consult a doctor before beginning to consume millets if you have a thyroid condition. If you have any other chronic ailment, too, you should ideally consult with a doctor to check on how much of millets you should consume in your daily diet, and in what form.
Soaking millets and throwing away the water, sprouting, cooking, roasting and fermenting are some techniques that are recommended to reduce the negative goiterogenous properties of millets.
Do not get carried away when you are just beginning to introduce millets into your daily diet. Do not go overboard. Introduce them slowly, little by little, into your diets, and wait and check whether they suit you. To start with, you may consume just one type of millet for a while, mixing it with rice or pulses, about twice a week, to see how they agree with you. Slowly and gradually, you may increase the quantity of millets you use.
Since millets are non-glutinous, baking with them can be tough. You might have to mix whole wheat flour or maida to them, to get good results.
There might be a slight difference in texture, when you substitute millets for rice in a dish known to you. For instance, pongal made with barnyard millet or proso millet might be grainier in texture as compared to that made with rice. That is something you should keep in mind while using millets.
Well, that’s how Day 1 of the workshop ended. I hope you enjoyed reading the post, and found it informative!
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!