Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Hobson-Jobson Festival at Monkey Bar (Wood Street)

Monkey bar always been a place to visit to chill out with my friends. This time, I was invited for the preview of The Hobson Jobson Festival at Monkey Bar on 29th November, 2014. Chef Varun has designed an Anglo-Indian menu so if you are craving for some tasty Anglo-Indian food then head to Monkey bar between 1st December to 30th December, all days of the week.

I started my afternoon with a mocktail, The Royal Bombay Yatch Club East India having a mix of cherry, orange, pineapple with a twist of lime in it. It was a refreshing drink to start with. Later had a traditional mocktail to refresh my taste buds.

For appetizers, I started with Panthras, crepes stuffed with lamb mince which is pan seared instead of deep fried and served with mint chutney. They make a veggie version with peppers, mushrooms and carrots in spiced tomato chutney. It was as delicious as it looks, rather much more tastier.

Next was Chingree Samosas, prawn balchao and fried brown onions stuffing was nice but less in the baked somasa. Served with mango chutney, but have this without the chutney else chutney taste with over power the taste of the samosa.

I tried very little of Pui Saag and cheese souffle which had a baking of spinach and cheese custard served with toast wedges and tomato chutney. I hate spinach but I wouldn't mind having this again and again. Its excellent.

What tempted me was Chicken Souffle, chicken cakes on a brioche (a light bread) with Mornay sauce and egg salad. It tasted good with the nut and raisin stuffing and I would choose this over the veggie version.

The best was saved for last. Chickpea and smoked fish salad is a delight. A non-salad lover will also enjoy this. Chunks of smoked betki is drizzled with Kasundi (mustard) and lime over organic arugula (rocket leaves), these rocket leaves aren't bitter at all and I strongly suggest Chef Varun, to move this salad to the regular menu for me to have this at anytime ;)

Main course looked interesting, I started with Jalfrezi which had chilli marinated roast beef with baby potatoes, onions, green chillies served with parantha. The beef was perfectly cooked, tender, juicy and spicy to the tongue. It would be the best food to be had on any winter day. I would just make my meal out of this, the next time I visit the festival.

I gave Dak Bungalow Murghi Roast, chicken skewer marinated with spice, lemon and yogurt served on a bed of saffron and coconut pilaf with baked tomato stuffed with mushy peas and roast baby potatoes. Chicken was mildly spicy and the pilaf taste the best due to fried onions. I liked the baked tomatoes the most though.

The veggies tried the Hot Pot, a brown curry with cauliflower, carrots, beans, potatoes and onions served with coriander droppies. The droppies (pancakes) are very cute and taste very well with the coconut curry.

The last main course I tried was Kedgeree, a wholesome meal of long grain rice with smoked fish, ribbons of egg and parsleys and spices. Well, I had this post having a dessert and I would have surely missed something if this was not ordered. A yummy bowl of rice with fish and eggs, squeeze some lemon and you are good to go.

After all the yummy food, my tummy will have some space for dessert. I tried 3 dessert from the menu. Railway Pudding to start with, baked vanilla cake with some Monkey bar homemade jam, cherries, jelly and tutti-frutti, get your childhood back with this sweet dessert.

Next was Brown bread butter pudding, wheat brioche with some vanilla cinnamon custard, tasted best with the ice-cream served.

Plum cake with Vanilla sauce is a killer, warm plum cake, pistachios and brandy butter. Don't have this and drive as it might contain more alcohol than your drinks. I did not try this but the others loved it.

Last dessert was Flagstaff House Chocolate Eclairs, yummy dark chocolate ganache cream could be any day comfort food for me.

You can try these Anglo-Indian dishes at Monkey Bar, Wood street ONLY for which has valet parking too.

Friday, 28 November 2014

White Elephant - A Thai experience

I was recently invited to White Elephant on 100 feet road, Indiranagar to review their menu. On getting to know that it Was authentic THAI restaurant, I was not at all excited as I have tried some 'Indianized' thai food and was not impressed by it. But yes, I was eager to try authentic thai food to decide if I like the cuisine or not.

Entering into a quiet and cosy place, I was pretty much impressed with the interiors, decent and simple with dim lights and table spaced well for everyone to have their private conversations. A huge idol of seated Buddha has a calming effect. I started my evening with a Heart Breaker which was mix of grape, cranberry, lime and blackcurrant. I also tasted Dark House which had hazelnut, vanilla, cola and ice-cream. I was not very impressed with the mocktails so I went with the usual lime juice at the end.

Cocktails had by others:

Lot of people judge a place with the firs sip/bite they take, I would suggest you to not judge this place by that. Wait till you taste the food.

For starters, Khao Pod Thod Naam Prik Pow, Pla Yang, Kai Hor Bai Taey, Manfrang Tod Samros, Choop Bong Thod, Koong Phat Prik Horm Sab and Yum Woonsen was served. I am sure most of you wouldn't understand anything until I describe the dishes to you.

Khao Pod Thod Naam Prik Pow came first, a veg starter. It is babycorn tossed with Thai chilli paste served in rice tartlets. Rice crackers are a great munchkin so this was an advanced version which was good to start with.

Pla Yang was next which was a spicy skewed grilled fish. Oh, this tasted well and I wouldn't mind another serving of it. it was spicy and full of flavors.

Kai Hor Bai Taey was served which was marinated chicken wrapped in a pandana leaf. If this was had before the fish then I would have liked it even more but I loved the fish. Standalone, this dish was good, chicken was cooked well and the flavors of pandana leaves was evident.

Manfrang Tod Samros, is crispy fried potatoes tossed with tri-flavor sauce. Potatoes are my fav veg starter and my comfort food so I will be completely biased in saying that I loved this.

Choop Bong Thod had crispy fried vegetables which were tossed with Thai chilli paste.

Koong Phat Prik Horm Sab had prawns tossed with chilli, onion, garlic in tamarind sauce. The tamarind sauce gave a tangy flavor to the prawns and was loved by my taste buds.

Yum Woonsen is a spicy glass noodles salad. We tried the veg version and I guess this would taste the best in veg and not chicken.

Time for main course, I was impressed with the starters and hoping for better main course. I went with the suggestions of the Chef for main course. I had Kaeng Keow Whan, Kaeng red, Khao Hom Mali, Steamed noodles and Prawns with lime and garlic. Back to explanation ;)

Kaeng Keow Whan is Thai traditional green curry and we had this with fish, served it with steamed noodles. This was ideally the best combination and tasty green curry I had.

 I guess the fish did the magic too. Kaeng red is Thai red curry had we had this with chicken, served with Khao Hom Mali which is jasmine rice, mid taste of jasmine can be tasted.

Chef's special, prawns in lime and garlic was good but other dishes were better.

Veggies enjoyed some Chef's suggestion too which they relished.

During some days, guest would be stunned with magic show by Rakesh Syam, an international famed close up magician from USA. With every jaw dropping act, he left us stunned with his 10 years of experience. This is a special surprise one would get at White Elephant.

Magician in action

After stunning acts by Rakesh, it was time for desserts. Gruay Thod, Tub Tim Grob, Sankhya Fak Thong and ice-creams was served.

Gruay Thod were deep fried banana with honey and sesame seeds. Preparation time>Eating time. I personally like this from the time I had it at Hanoi Vietnamese Cuisine. So this was yummy too but I would want a scoop of ice-cream to accompany it.

Tub Tim Grob is a dessert where water chestnuts are served with sweetened Jasmine flavored coconut milk. I have had this at Tim Tai earlier and loved it more at White Elephant. The sweet content was exact to my taste which me have an extra bowl ;)

I also tasted Sankhya Fak Thong which contains egg. It is a traditional pumpkin custard with coconut ice cream. I wouldn't prefer this over the above two.

Chocolate, coconut and jack fruit ice cream was served. Though I like jack fruit as a fruit as such but the ice-cream did not impress my taste buds but I loved the taste of chocolate and coconut ice-cream.

Over all a good experience, great food, stunning acts by Rakesh Syam made my Saturday evening special.

An evening with Sublime House of Tea during Trousseau Week

On a cool breezy Friday evening, I was invited to 'Sublime from Prestige – Trousseau Week' for an exclusive Tea Extravaganza at Bangalore's most happening building, UB city.

I was welcomed by a well decorated gazebo showcasing the collection of best of gourmet tea from the Sublime along with some soothing live music.

The evening was hosted by the pretty and dynamic, Uzma Irfan, Executive Director, Prestige Group and Founder, Sublime Galleria. She started ‘Sublime House of Tea’, in 2013 which is promoted by the Prestige Group. She is also founder of Sublime Galleria that provides a great platform for various artists to showcase their work. She lead us through the entire tea journey enlightening us on the various gourmet teas that have been pioneered by Sublime.

The first tea which was offered was aromatic 'Seventh Heaven'. This tea can be served hot and cold. This tea has been made from the handpicked Black Tea Leaves from Nigiris, infused with natural aromas and freeze dried tropical fruit. I started my evening with a cold tea and towards the end of the evening, I tried he hot version too. I preferred the hot version. The tea is highly aromatic but the taste was a little mild than the aroma.

'Green Long Ding' was the next tea to be served to us. It is a Green Tea made from fresh tender long tea leaves, carefully treated and rolled using a distinct method. Not being a green tea lover, I was hesitant to try this but to my surprise the taste was different, refreshing and not at all bitter.

Next was 'Moroccan Mint'. We were told that this is a ceremonial tea served to the guest by the Head of the house. This is composed by flavoring the peculiar green tea leaves called gunpowder tea with the mint. It was highly aromatic and refreshing and I would prefer to have this any day and anytime. This was my favorite tea of the the entire Sublime tea treasure.

Next was 'White Tea with Raspberry'. Truly a drink for post noon. It is a lightly oxidized tea with higher antioxidants properties. The taste was very mildly fruity yet energizing.

The last tea from their treasure which was brought to the table was 'Rose in Bloom'. It is inspired by the Persian rose gardens and with the presence of rose-petals, fennel, liquorice, aniseed, black pepper, white pepper and nutmeg, this is one herbal tea which you would want after every meal which has cooling effect and also digestive benefits. A rosy affair after every meal could be the best decision.

The evening with Sublime House of Teas and my 'date' with the various gourmet teas by them was refreshing and informative. My taste buds were delighted with the variety of teas they offered which were never tasted before. I have my favorites, what about you?

Get more information on Sublimed House of Tea here.