Sunday, July 20, 2014

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Indiranagar is one my favourite areas to dine at in the city. And when a friend told me that she'd like to meet me for a nice dinner and drinks, I figured a hotspot in the area had to do. 4 of us decided to meet up at Loft38, the uber flashy bar located on 100 feet, Indiranagar on a Wednesday night.

We got there early, and while we didn't make a reservation, we were seated immediately with no fuss. The ambience of Loft38 is quite unparalleled to most of Bangalore's popular bars. The space is *huge*, sprawled across three floors and lighting is wonderfully done. The well-stocked bar is replete with bartenders with fancy tricks up their sleeve who put up quite a show when you want your drinks done. Also, with at least 3 dedicated bartenders at all times, you never have to worry to wait too long for your drink.

Some cocktails to get started with.
We were seated upstairs and got started with our drinks and a few appetizers. The first pick was a unanimous one, with me ordering the Mezze Platter. It consisted of Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Tzatziki, Falafel, marinated olives, kidney bean salad, Syrian Fattoush, Pita bread and crackers. I loved the Baba Ghanoush and Hummus - the texture wasn't too grainy, and the dips weren't too runny. They were of the right consistency. The kidney bean salad was a first for me in a Mezze platter and didn't stand out. The breads were fresh and delicious, and the Kibbeh wasn't too dry. My favourite picks were clearly the Hummus and Baba Ghanoush with Pita bread from this platter.

Mezze Platter

Keeping the Meditteranean theme in mind, my friend ordered the Spicy Falafel. The deep-fried spicy falafel was served with tarator and Pita pockets. The falafel, unfortunately, fell flat for me as it was too dry for my taste and was under seasoned as well. The tarator (sesame sauce) was light and fresh and managed to make up for the vapidness of the falafel.

Spicy Falafel

The Spicy Prawns Yakitori was the next dish that caught our eye. "Yakitori" generally refers to grilled meat, most often chicken, so I was curious to see how the prawns Yakitori would turn out. They weren't served on a skewer and while they tasted delicious, they weren't exactly grilled. The sesame coated prawns were packed with flavour, cooked well and firm, but the strong hit of chilli doesn't get to you until it passes down your throat. Served atop a slice of cucumber, the prawns took no time to disappear at our table, easily making it one of the best dishes of the night.

Next, we ordered the Thai Grilled Mackerel, which were fresh mackerel fillets marinated with turmeric, galangal, lemon grass, skewered up and grilled. I might be a little biased here because of my love for Thai food, but the mackerel tasted out of this world. Perfectly seasoned with the right balance of galangal and lemon grass and grilled beautifully. Since we enjoyed the mackerels, we ordered the Harissa Prawns, also on skewers, which were coated with a Tunisian style spicy marinade. These prawns, while uniquely stretched across a skewer, lacked depth in flavour and failed to impress as the Yakitori Prawns had.

Thai Grilled Mackerel

Harissa Prawns

My friend who enjoys vegetarian food, placed an order for Grilled Cottage Cheese. I generally detest cottage cheese, so I wasn't looking forward to trying this. Though when the server did bring it, I was a bit curious to try it out. The dish was presented well, and the cottage cheese slices were coated in a homemade marinade layered atop one another with a delicious filling of apricot and chilli salsa. The strong flavour from the herbs of the cottage cheese cut through the sweet heat of the apricot and chilli salsa. Would I order this again? I'm not sure. Did it leave an impression? Yes.

Grilled Cottage Cheese with Apricot and Chilli Salsa

And while our stomachs were beginning to get filled up, we quickly ordered our main courses before we changed our minds. I knew what I needed. Some good pork. The Roasted Pork Belly made itself conspicuous to my eye and I couldn't help but order it. The roasted pork belly was marinated in a yellow bean paste and Hoisin sauce and served with Japanese sticky rice. This dish made my night; there was nothing more that I could have wanted. The pork belly was tender, juicy, fatty and bouncing of such strong flavours of the sweet spicy Hoisin that I wanted to marry it. The sticky rice served as a perfect complement to the fatty belly and both the pork and rice served my belly perfectly. ;)

Yummy Pork Belly with sticky rice

My friend wanted to try something in beef and so he ordered for the Beef Tenderloin. The roasted beef tenderloin was topped with a caramelized onion jus and was served along with sauteed mushrooms and mashed potato. We had specifically asked our server to get the beef done medium rare as we like that pinkness in our meat. The beef we got was cooked beyond just medium rare and as a result, a little tougher. Unfortunately, we didn't enjoy this too much because of the way the meat was cooked, and despite telling our server this, he simply said that this is how they cooked their meat. It was quite disappointing.

Beef Tenderloin with caramelized onion jus

We also ordered the Roasted Spring Chicken which was herb marinated and served with roasted vegetables and jus. The chicken was well cooked and the marinade was vibrant, redolent of a freshly made pesto, and went well with veggies and mash. The marinade was also slightly similar to that of the cottage cheese dish that we had earlier, making me wonder whether they were the same or not.

Roasted Spring Chicken with veggies and mash

Despite being full, we obviously had another stomach kept aside for downing some desserts. My friend ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake was infused with orange caramel and served with vanilla ice-cream. I found the fact that the cake was flourless quite intriguing and wondered how the texture would turn out to be. To my delight, the cake was almost velvety soft and the bitterness of the orange caramel had a light undertone to the cake that went extremely well with the vanilla ice-cream.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice-cream

Our next dessert conquest was the Churros con Chocolate. Yes, at the table, the belief was that there could be no such thing as too much chocolate. Plus, I love Churros. There was no way I wasn't going to order them. The fried choux pastries were served with assorted chocolate dips with percentages of dark chocolate and milk chocolate varying, as can be told by the levels of bitterness in the dips. This was an outstandingly good dessert and the different chocolate dips brought a whole new dimension of flavour to regular ol' chocolate based desserts. It's a must try and not to be ignored, especially if you like chocolate.

Churros con Chocolate

During the whole evening, we found the service extremely pleasant and courteous, and they always checked on us if they noticed our glasses/plates empty. Being in countless situations where I've walked to the counter to get someone to take our order, this was a nice change. The music being played was also phenomenal. Loud enough to get your foot tapping and get you to groove but not too loud that you can't hear any conversations.

Overall, we had a great time, and there were a few hits and misses with the food. But the ambience, service, music and some dishes stood out well enough for me to make a repeat visit. My rating:
Food - 6.5/10
Service - 9/10
Ambience - 10/10
Verdict - Visit if you like Asian food and are looking to have a great night out with your friends.

Loft 38 is located at: 763, 100 Feet Road, Near Sony World, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone: 080-4933-7555
Parking: Valet parking available

Friday, June 27, 2014

I have been hogging so much lately, that it seems like all I do everyday is eat half a dozen times (maybe even more). New restaurants to try out, blogger meets, all-you-can-eat buffets, all catch my fancy, and are somehow getting the better of me. In another blogger meet at California Pizza Kitchen last week, I tried out their new menu inspired from Mexico, or as they like to call it, their Mexifornia menu.

When I entered the restaurant, the servers greeted me with a big smile wearing cute sombreros (the Mexican hat, that I absolutely adore). Keeping in mind the theme of Mexico, everything from the music to the decor was suited well to it. After being seated, Chef Kuldeep Bharani began to outline the menu for the night and mentioned that CPK introduces a Mexican style menu every year and loves experimenting with the flavours. With the state of California bordering Mexico, it only made sense that the brand stayed true to its roots and paid a tribute to the neighbouring country's cuisine.

We started off with the CPK Nachos - these were regular nachos, topped with oodles of cheese sauces, jalapenos, cilantro, tomatoes and a nice dollop of sour cream. I believe it's hard to go wrong with nachos, and well, that stayed true here too. I enjoyed the nachos, but I would have enjoyed a nice big blob of guacamole as well. Nachos + cheese + guacamole + sour cream = Heaven!

CPK Nachos

Next up, we had to Tick Our Pick, where we got to create our own Tapas platter by choosing a base (flat tostada, tacos, chalupa), topping (chipotle salsa, roasted corn, checca, sonora chicken, southern chicken), sauce (jalapeno guacamole, sour cream, spicy tomato) and garnish (shredded lettuce, sour cream, scallion). Since there were 8 of us at the table, we all experimented with the various toppings, bases and sauces. I selected a crunchy taco with roasted corn, jalapeno guacamole, sour cream and shredded lettuce. I thought the flavours really came together in this and the heat of the jalapeno in the guacamole cut through the sourness of the cream wonderfully.

Crunchy taco with roast corn, jalapeno guacamole and sour cream

The pizza menu was then laid out in front of us and before I could order, the chef said he'd be dishing out every pizza there was in the menu for us to try. Unflinchingly and with no complaints, I patiently waited for the pizzas to arrive. We kicked off with the Serrano Cotija Pizza which had marinated Baja cottage cheese on a regular crust with mozzarella, roasted corn and mushrooms. I personally do not like cottage cheese, but this pizza made me think otherwise. Baja marinade is a very tangy, Mexican-style blend of garlic, citrus, chilli pepper and cilantro that gives a kick to meats and vegetables in most Mexican dishes. The Baja cottage cheese was lovely here and the corn and mushrooms were perfect accompaniments.

Serrano Cotija Pizza

Next, we were given the Egg & Chicken Pizza, a spicy but simple pizza with minced chicken, eggs and red bell peppers. I didn't like this pizza at all, and felt that the flavours didn't work. I personally thought this would be an egg Florentine of sorts (with a bubbly egg cracked in the middle of the pizza). It tasted too, for the lack of a better word, eggy. Yes, egg pizza that tastes eggy is expected, but it did not taste good and it just didn't work. The chicken mince also lacked seasoning. The rest of the bloggers at my table agreed.

Egg and Chicken Pizza with red bell peppers

The Sonora Salsa Pizza was queued up next, a thin crust pizza topped with roasted tomato salsa, mozzarella, homemade roasted corn and black bean salsa, garnished with jalapeno guacamole sauce and cilantro. This pizza to me, represented Mexico at its best. The roasted corn and black bean salsa were redolent of flavours from Mexico, forged with the acidity of the tomato salsa, along with the heat of that jalapeno guacamole that I loved made for a light pizza packed with powerful flavours.

Sonora Salsa Pizza

The Tijuana Chicken Pizza, which Chef Bharani said was the most selling pizza of the menu, soon made its rounds. Albuquerque sauce smeared on a thin crust with mozzarella, grilled onions, shredded chicken and sliced jalapenos topped this pizza. I'm partial to jalapenos, so I did enjoy this pizza, but these jalapenos weren't from the bottled ones soaked in a brine solution. Fresh jalapenos used on this pizza elevated the flavour profile of all the toppings as well and made for a spicy-licious pizza that we all enjoyed.

Tijuana Pizza

The final pizza was the Southwestern Pizza, with refried bean sauce on a regular crust topped with grilled onions, tomatoes, baby corn, broccoli and sour cream. This pizza didn't excite me too much, and somehow the sourness of the cream dominated the flavour of the refried beans making this just another pizza with veggies and chicken that lacked character.

Southwestern Pizza

With our tummies nearly full with the pizzas, we learnt that there were 'Specialties' from the Mexifornia menu that weren't to be missed. With a heavy heart because of a heavy stomach, I reached out to take a bite of the beautiful Baja Fish in Banana Leaf - a lovely Baja marinated Basa fish that was wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in a hearth oven. Chef Bharani mentioned that the fish was cooked with two techniques - steaming and baking. The fish was perfectly moist and tender, and the citrusy kick of the Baja marinade made love to the fish so delicately, that I gorged it down in quick mouthfuls.

Baja Fish in Banana Leaf

With me being stuffed up nearly to my neck, I went ahead and tried the Tex Mex Fajita served with sauteed onions, bell peppers, shredded chicken tossed in soy sauce and fajita spice with homemade tortillas with quintessential sides of guacamole, sour cream and roasted tomato salsa. The soy sauce in the meat in a Mexican menu seemed a little off to me, but the chef explained that it was to give it a salty kick that would work well with the flavours of the sour cream and guacamole. In a strange way, he turned out to be right, but yet again, the guacamole and sour cream dominated the flavours, though I'm not entirely complaining. I've always had a soft spot for fajitas with guacamole after all.

Tex Mex Fajita

The California Styled Burritto Wrap arrived in all its glory, filled with California rice, refried black bean sauce, cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce, drizzled with sour cream and served with spicy BBQ sauce and fries. Now this is a massive burritto, and a portion that could easily feed at least two people. Standard burritto filling, nothing to write home about, except that it was quite heavy. I would have liked some jalapenos/chilli and a dash of lemon to give it some zing, as it tasted a little too vapid to me.

California Styled Burritto Wrap

If you don't already know, there is one stomach for food, and another for dessert. So while I had stuffed myself uptil my brain, my second tummy immediately opened up to welcome dessert with open arms. The first dessert I tried was the Apple Enchilada - crisp wonton sheets with apple compote and Philadelphias cheese, which were fried until sweet and golden brown, served with apple sauce and vanilla ice-cream. When it comes to fruits in desserts, I love the use of apple; when it's deep fried in wonton sheets, even more so. This was truly a magical dessert that had the right balance of different textures of crunchy and soft, different flavours, and even the hot and cold between the wontons and ice-cream, all work a little too well to create an orgasmic dessert that will leave you wanting more (I'm not kidding, I was halfway home when my third craving got to me).

Apple Enchiladas

The other dessert was the Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cake, which is a popular Mexican dessert, and had a light and fluffy texture, dominant with flavours of coconut and lime. The flavour of the coconut milk is quite distinct and is cut sharply with the citric acidity of the lime; despite that, the fluffy texture and the flavours somehow didn't create the best of desserts for me. The table was divided on the verdict of this dish, so it's really a matter of personal preference (as is in all cases).

Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cake

Now that I had my share of dessert(s), I was officially stuffed and couldn't eat a morsel more. Overall, I enjoyed the Mexifornia menu that CPK had to offer and definitely recommend it to those who like Mexican food. Must-trys include the Sonora Salsa PIzza, Tijuana Chicken Pizza, Baja Fish in Banana Leaf and the Apple Enchiladas.

Note: The special Mexifornia menu is available only till July 6th, so make sure you visit soon. Also, they have a special menu for Margaritas, but due to license issues, it's only served in the CPK outlet in Whitefield. If you do try the drinks there, please leave a comment below and let me know! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

There's only so much of ignorance you can afford when a new restaurant pops up in town. Especially when people start raving about its food, when it is in a convenient location like Indiranagar, and when the man behind it is Manu Chandra, a chef Bangalore loves.

So it was no surprise that my sister and I decided earlier last week that we needed to find time over the weekend to visit Fatty Bao to enter Asian food heaven. The gastro bar opened a fortnight ago in Indiranagar, next door to Monkey Bar (run by the same management). We visited on a Sunday night with no reservation because that's how much of a smart ass I was as I believed Sunday night wouldn't be too crowded at 7:30 pm. WRONG!

We couldn't find a table on the 3rd floor, so we were seated upstairs, in the terrace area. I actually liked this better, the top floor looked much nicer, and while I would have liked to be seated at one of the empty tables (every single table was reserved), we made do with being seated at the bar. I generally don't mind bar seating, I have a strange penchant for bar stools, but that's only when I'm in a let's-get-guzzling-mood, which I wasn't sadly, on a Sunday night.

We had to get started with getting us some Bao (open faced steam buns). In all honesty, the delectable picture of the pork belly Bao that Kunal Chandra had put up on Facebook recently made me nearly cry at work and make me want to visit the place at the earliest. Damn that guy with his amazing food pictures! So, as I was saying, we got started with a meaty Bao, the rolls and the salmon carpaccio. My friend and I ordered a beer while my sister ordered the Micky Ninja, one of their signature cocktails - vodka shaken with muddled fresh orange slices and cucumber with a dash of Jameson whisky. It was fresh and lovely, though I found the cucumber taste to be a little too dominant for my liking, and dash of whiskey would be quite accurate.

Micky Ninja!
We waited nearly 30 minutes for our first dish to arrive, and we were pretty frustrated by then. We were famished, and after half an hour, our first dish, the Salmon Carpaccio finally made its appearance. Delicate slices of salmon with ginger & garlic juice, soy, yuzu and topped with sliced jalapeno and radish made for a pretty sight. And while it was delicious, it was over in exactly 2 bites. I would have liked the carpaccio to be a bit thinner, I personally found the salmon to have a bit too much of body here.

Salmon Carpaccio

Another ten minutes and a lot of bothering-our-server later, our food finally turned up (with the rat race in our tummies and estimating the long wait for our food, we ordered a few more dishes while waiting). First up, the dish that had me drooling at my laptop screen all week - Char Siu Bao, BBQ pork belly and green apple kimchi in Hoisin sauce in a Bao. One bite of this and I had angels singing "Hallelujah!" inside my head. It was THAT good. Pork is my favourite meat, so this may be a little biased, but you won't regret ordering this dish. The pork is succulent, meaty and melts in your mouth. Hoisin sauce also renders it a nice sweet, salty and tangy taste that I enjoy, so I'm giving you the heads up anyway. Also, this is messy. Ensure you're not ordering this on a first date or anything (unless your date would devour this messily too, in which case GAME ON!).


This was promptly followed by the California Roll - your standard fare of cucumber and crab meat in a Sushi roll sprinkled with Tobiko (flying fish roe). This didn't disappoint, and was light and fresh. And as you may have guessed, disappeared in 60 seconds.

California Roll

My sister and I enjoy duck and since there are not too many places in town that serve good duck, we decided to experiment with the duck-based dishes at Fatty Bao. They had two options - the Crispy Duck Spring Rolls and the pan-fried Bao with duck. We told our server to give us what he felt was the best, and he served us the Sheng Jian Bao (steamed buns pan fried on a cast iron) with duck in Hoisin and spring onion. I will be called the layman here, but these tasted like regular pot stickers with duck meat that failed to leave a mark. That, or maybe my expectations were too high, but I wasn't its biggest fan. With only four Baos, this was the only dish that didn't fly within a minute, with the last steamed Bao being untouched.

Sheng Jian Bao

Since we generally like Sushi rolls, we ordered a couple more - the Spicy Tuna Tartare and the Prawn Tempura. Delicious, and also disappeared 60 seconds later. I felt that I could have 12 plates of the rolls and still continue to eat with no shame whatsoever.

Spicy Tuna Tartare and Prawn Tempura rolls

We were almost done, when we decided to order another Bao - with Braised Beef Cheeks, because who doesn't like beef cheeks? Stuffed with pickled radish, pickled red onion and cucumber,  the flavour and texture of the beef cheeks stood out. The richness of the meat with the acidity of the pickled veggies combined very well to create a delicious dish. Having said that, I still prefer the BBQ pork belly Bao to the beef cheeks, but you could give the latter a try if you like to experiment (P.S. Bao take at least about 15 - 25 minutes for preparation, I was told later).

Bao with Braised Beef Cheeks

I think we were finally full (were we?), and the place was packed by the time we left (which was around 10 30 pm) Our bill for all of the above came up to Rs.4000 for 3 people that included 3 beers and a cocktail. While all the dishes are priced between Rs.250 - 400, since the portions are small, they might not exactly 'fill' you up. And well, I guess that comes with being a gastro bar, because the idea is to serve you bar food with bar style portions. I'm a heavy eater, so maybe my opinion shouldn't always apply to the general bar-going crowd. ;)

My rating:
Food - 8/10
Ambience - 6/10
Service - 5.5/10
Verdict: If Asian food is your thing and you like to experiment, then give this place a go. Visit for yummy Baos and meat cooked to perfection, but be willing to patiently wait and settle for smaller portions.

I would definitely visit Fatty Bao again, they've won me over with their food. And I'm hoping my next visit doesn't have such a high wait period. Also, the music is a little too low-key for me. It almost sounds like it's a jazz lounge for the hoity toity, but I'll save my judgment on that. The tempo could be brought up though, since good music is key to a bar's overall ambience.

Fatty Bao is located at: 610, 3rd Floor, Above Monkey Bar, 12th Main, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone: 080-4513-3582 (please make a reservation)
Parking: Parking space available in the bylanes of Indiranagar

Friday, May 30, 2014

I love breakfasts. They're my favourite meal of the day. The first thing on my mind when I get out of bed is food, and I can't wait to down a huge breakfast every morning that gets me through my day. And the best part about breakfast? You can eat it any time of the day! And it can be savoury, sweet, savoury and sweet, and it has no rules.

So it comes as no surprise that I'm doing yet another breakfast post, and this time, on one of my favourite bars in Bangalore, Monkey Bar in Indiranagar. Oh, my apologies, they call it Breakfirst.

Having tried out the Breakfirst menu in the Wood Street bar already, I was curious to check out the menu in the Indiranagar one and couldn't wait to dig in. We entered the bar around 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and despite it being early (anything before 12pm on a weekend is early for me), the bar had a decent crowd. And if you think Monkey Bar looks warm, rustic and lovely in the evenings,  a visit in the morning would greet you with rays of sunshine finding their way through the crannies and kissing the glass windows that create for a very magical ambience as well.

With no time to waste, we kickstarted our meal with ordering the Egg Kejriwal (there are signs all over about this dish), and our server couldn't stop talking about it either, so we had to give it a try . I was sincerely hoping the dish wouldn't quit on me in 15 minutes and then refuse to be served (#YepIJustWentThere). The Egg Kejriwal is a grilled pav laden with fried egg, onion, tomato, coriander, green chilli and cheese. All of those elements work very well together and the Egg Kejriwal elevates the classic bread and egg dish to the next level. It was moist and not overly gooey, the heat from the chilli gave it a nice kick, and combined with the onion, tomato and coriander, the dish overall runs a nostalgic memory in your head. Top it up with cheese and we have something you can't have enough of!

Egg Kejriwal

Next, for something a little more 'meaty', we decided to venture with the Scotch Eggs. The Scotch Egg was a soft-boiled egg enclosed in house-made sausage mixture, crumbed & fried, and served in a lettuce and straw potato nest. The egg was perfectly done, and as my knife sliced through it, the yellow goodness of the yolk oozed out in a delicate stream and coated the meat well. I found the meat to be a little underseasoned for my liking, but very tender and moist. The potatoes went well with the eggs, but the lettuce was a tad too bitter for me.

Scotch Eggs

A signature special that our server absolutely pushed us to try was the decadent Brekkie Burger Bang! This was truly a burger like no other, and is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It's an open faced 200 grams burger, topped with bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, cheese, avocado, grilled onions, lettuce, served with coleslaw and pickle. If this doesn't kickstart your morning, I don't know what will. The meat was perfectly done and that crisp bacon on top added a lovely crunchy texture to it. The yummy mushroom, gooey melted cheese, crunchy onions, all came together with the meat with a perfectly runny egg yolk coating all of this hunk of a burger. My only grouse was with the red kidney beans; I felt that it didn't add anything to the burger and it already had too much going on for itself, so they could have been avoided (neither was it mentioned in the menu).

We managed to polish our plates clean, and decided to settle for one helping of a dessert. Having already tried the absolutely sinful Red Velvet Waffles countless times before, we were intrigued by another special, the MoBar take on the traditional French Toast, aptly named Toast to France. In addition to the bread being soaked in milk, eggs and vanilla, this twist added dimensions of orange zest, wine and honey, which was then pan fried and served with house syrup. To click it up a notch, the bread was sandwiched with peanut butter and jelly. I can't tell you how good this dish tasted over a mere blog post. This is 100% pure indulgence. I'm not a big fan of jelly, but was curious to see how this would work in a French Toast, and work it did. All of the flavour profiles came together very well to make one helluva sandwich. You can also order the challah without the peanut butter and jelly, as this makes it quite heavy and you'll find yourself getting filled up rather quickly and slowly finding a place by the wall and table, nestled in a corner so that you can take a short and satisfied nap.

Toast to France with peanut butter and jelly

Overall, we had an amazing time. The service was excellent, the ambience cannot get any better, the music was fun and the food left us wanting for more. Consider your Sunday well spent here when you drop by to devour their breakfast, and also know that you're going to leave heavier with possibly a popped button from your jeans.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 8/10
Ambience - 9/10
Verdict - Whether you want a cure for your hangover breakfast or looking to chill with friends and family on a weekend morning, MoBar will offer you the perfect pick-me-up. Must visit.
Cost for 2: Rs.1200

Monkey Bar is located at: 610, Diagonally Opposite SBI Bank, Near Apple of My I, 12th Main, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone: 080-4411-4455
Parking: Parking space available in the bylanes of Indiranagar

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Last week, I was invited for the Four Seasons Gourmet Diaries with Swiss chef Peter Wyss from Gstaad Palace. The event was held at ITC Gardenia and it was a small gathering of people that included bloggers, journalists and other members from the media industry.

Four Seasons Wines are famous for chronicling gourmet food pairings with the award winning Four Seasons varietals and French oak cask matured Reserve range. Chef Peter Wyss has created culinary delights at the Gstaad Palace for the last forty years, balancing contemporary influences with the rich freshness of traditional ingredients and recipes. His food draws subtle inspirations from Swiss, German and French, amongst the most revered international gourmet capitals of the world.

Our evening kicked off with a round of delicious breads with Bouvet Brut Rose Excellence (which, by the end of the night, was deemed the best wine unanimously). The lightly salmon pink sparkling wine with a flavours of ripe strawberries and floral notes from the Loire region of France had everyone at the table giving it the nod of approval. It was light, fresh and perfect to kickstart the evening.

The delectable journey of the evening unfolded with our first course, thyme’s light fragrance adding a nostalgic aroma to Champignons Paris, the Cappuccino soup with local mushrooms. I'm usually not a big fan of mushrooms in soup as I think it's a waste of perfectly good mushrooms, but this soup made me change my mind. Firstly, the mushrooms weren't finely chopped, so it wasn't those floating bits that you get but slices of chunky mushrooms, which added double the flavour to the soup.  The foam also blended in quite well.

Champignon Paris Soup

Following this, we had a quick appetizer of Potato Timbale topped with Smoked Salmon. It was a cold appetizer, something that I relished, and the chef said it served as a small serving of a salad. The potato bits were nice and moist and the smoked salmon added a very refreshing touch.

Potato Timbale with Smoked Salmon
For our next course, we had the Simmered local Sea Bass medallion with asparagus crust and tomato marmalade paired with the zesty, fresh and herbaceous Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc. While I found the sea bass  to be perfectly cooked, I felt it was a tad too bland for my taste and felt it needed more seasoning. The mashed potatoes were of a lovely, silky consistency, but again a bland pairing with the fish.The fruity acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc made up for my fish, so I wasn't complaining.

Sea Bass with Asparagus Crust & Tomato Marmalade

For the main course, we tried the Roasted Lamb rack with Espelette pepper jelly, Barolo sauce with shallots, Spätzli with wild garlic, served with Seasonal vegetables. The lamb was done a perfect pink, just the way I like it, and the pepper jelly added a whole new dimension of flavour. The Barolo sauce wasn't overpowering and the Spätzli was a little too dry for my liking. The lamb was served with French Oak Cask matured Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The complex aromas of this wine with blackcurrant and spices heightened the senses with lamb, yet, not too spicy to dominate the flavour of the jelly and Barolo sauce.

Roasted Lamb Rack with Espelette Pepper Jelly

The pièce de résistance of the night was the dessert, that we couldn't wait to try. Chef Wyss
presented a magnificent dessert prepared with Lindt bitter chocolate sweet with lemon mousse and raspberries and raspberry ice-cream and natural yoghurt. While I was a bit skeptical about there being a bit too many flavour profiles, one bite of this dessert made me change my mind. The bitterness of the chocolate, sourness of the lemon mousse and sweetness from raspberries all worked well in harmony. The ice-cream had an intriguing, yet a pleasant taste. The dessert was paired with Four Seasons Blush that beautifully accentuated the contrasting flavours of the dessert. I ended up going for seconds for dessert and one (maybe two) more glass(es) of wine.

Lindt bitter chocolate sweet with lemon mousse and raspberries

Petit Fours
Post dessert, we concluded with a delightful batch of Petit Fours that we couldn't stay away from. 5 minutes down, all the plates were clean. Overall, we had an amazing night with good food and good wine. The food and wine pairings were excellent, and the chef and the management took exceptional care of us, especially to those of us who were firing questions by the minute. Also, The Four Seasons Bouvet Rose is now officially in my wine collection. I would love to experiment with it for different kinds of food pairings. Can't wait! :)