Sunny’s – Off the leash! ;-)

Rach and Zoe IMG_20140622_160334017_HDR
As a dog owner and animal lover, weekends are hard. You have to make the choice between spending time with your precious pooch or socializing with fellow humans.
But don’t let the lack of options where you can take your dog along get you down. There are plenty of pet friendly places in Bangalore for those who care to look!
As and when I personally try most of the places I will post them up 🙂
Sunny’s – Lavelle Road
So when a restaurant is named after the owner’s dog, there’s no room for a second thought. I visited with my best friend and my Zoe! It’s the pretentious kind of place obviously so do not expect everyone to be nice.  Sunday lunch , the place was crowded and we had made a reservation. At a first glance we were quite uncomfortable, dozens of judging eyes looked at us like we were aliens.
It all changed when the  polite staff and escorted us to our table without any fuss. They didn’t insist that I tie her up or anything. In fact when Zoe was being her usual self and jumped to greet the waiter, he smiled and greeted her right back.
The table could have been less closer to the kitchen but it worked out since not many people had to cross that area giving Zoe a chance to calm down.
Lets start with decor, the outside is pretty with a lawn setting and perfect for Bangalore weather! The inside is cozy and for a more intimate group.
Food: The crab cakes were recommended by my friend and she was right! They were tiny portions of heaven!
Sunny’s golden fried prawn are a must have! Yakitori Chicken skewers were just okay.
For main course we had Fettuccine with chicken breast and sun-dried tomatoes and the sea food pasta, both were fantastic! The portion sizes were a bit too large and we ended up having to take it home but not complaining at all!
Zoe tried some grilled chicken and of course since she thinks left over cheese is yummy, so  she was overjoyed.
The experience: Making sure your dog is well-behaved is your responsibility at least in terms of ensuring they don’t soil the place.
Zoe is  extremely hyper and hardly understands social conduct so getting her to sit was an achievement in the middle of a crowd.
There was a family with 2 adorable little girls who spent their entire lunch at our table to the embarrassment of their mother. But it was wonderful watching them. Zoe was at her best given she loves kids and more than happy to give high fives and sit when asked. She’s an attention seeker this one. Overall it was a great Sunday afternoon and we got to meet Sunny on the way out .
Definitely going back! If you are looking to mix your friends and your pets, perfect place for lunch.
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Fatty Bao – despite my love for Mickey Ninja -Bèi gāo gū

baoSo you’ve google translated the title and either agree or disagree. Either way, its time to burst the bubble. Fatty Bao is an Asian gastro pub on Indiranagar, 12th main which has increasingly become popular over the last few months. Reservation on a weekend or any holiday is recommended. The seating area is small hence you may end up waiting almost an hour. After 3 visits to convince myself that all the hoopla could not have been for nothing, I’m still drawing a blank.

Since they charge exorbitantly for small portions, the expectations are higher  and so here’s saying it as it is

Drinks – Great

The Mickey Ninja makes you think of spas and the beach, the blast of cucumber and the balance of flavors is fantastic, it tastes like vacation and has generous amounts of vodka. Definitely a star for the bartender. The Bora Bora is also quite pleasant, the flavor of tender coconut makes it absolutely delicious especially if you’re a sucker for fruit flavored cocktails.

Food – Inconsistent flavor ,terribly small portions and few good options

Before you think I’m bitter, I do think that there are few items on the menu that are fantastic (Charsui, shaking beef, beef ramen) but unless you know what those are, you are bound to be disappointed. If you are a vegetarian, stop here and don’t bother visiting unless you like tofu or cabbage, although to be fair, it is an Asian restaurant so that’s expected.

The things that I would eat again would be the California roll and the Steak Bao. I definitely recommend the shaking beef and duck pizza. The PB&J was great the first time I tried it, the second time however, it tasted completely different which was a let down. I prefer consistency across multiple preparations of the same dish since that’s the reason most customers come back to the same restaurant.

Chilli basil fried rice, veg fried rice, both are okay but definitely not a deciding factor when picking a dinner place. I’ve heard the ramen is great from many of my friends who have visited before, I tried the sea food ramen and my opinion is I’m never shelling out that much for a bowl of water and noodles and 3 prawns with no flavor other than a hint of pepper and salt ever again.

The grilled lamp chops were more bone than lamb, we had to actually chew on the bone to find any meat at all so that’s a never order again too. Slow coked lamb, another lamb dish gone wrong. I personally did not care much for the patty bao, The dumplings were a hit and miss, sticky outer coats, prawn and sesame could use some flavor, spicy chicken and celery , beef and jalapenos and anything with steamed pork tasted overlay raw or confused flavors.

Ambience – average

The staff is very friendly and the service is great. The bottom floor is cute with the red and green theme but looks almost like every other tiny street corner Chinese place, nothing innovative. The top floor is nicely done, the slim bar counter, wooden floors and the paper lanterns give you a feel good vibe but don’t expect to be overly impressed for the price you are about to pay

Must confess I haven’t tried their deserts so nothing to share on that front. I do love their mascot and the minimalistic menu designs. Overall I’d say for a first visit you might like it if you order your food carefully since the drinks are all great. On the second visit, the urge to try other options on the menu will leave you both unsatisfied and un happy.

Spinach and Feta Free flowing pastry!

In a all new appreciation for free flowing pastry , I decided to experiment with a classic combination feta and spinach! The inspiration for this comes from hours of watching TLC and one amazing Donna Hay!

Base:

  • 125 grams plain flour (all purpose flour)
  • 80 grams butter
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream (optional , I like to add it in )

Add the flour and the butter first, slowly blend in sour cream and knead it into a soft dough. Let it sit in the fridge for 1/2 an hour.

Filling:

  • 1 onion
  • 250 grams spinach
  • 1 crush garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • 200 grams feta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pepper

In a pan on medium heat, cook the chopped onion in olive oil. When they turn translucent, add the garlic clove then add the hand torn spinach, (keep the leaves long) . Let them cook together for about 5-10 mins till the flavours blend and there is almost no liquid. Then cool the mixture.

Roll out flat bread from the dough and grease the shape leaving a 2 inch border with oilve oil. Add the spinach mixture onto the middle, top with pieces of feta and sprinkle with pepper and oregano. Fold the borders of the pastry to form a wall around the topping.

Gently brush the wall with beaten egg. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top to give a brown color to the pastry. Pop it in an over preheated to 200 degrees for about 20 minutes!

**Feel free to add bakes cherry tomatoes if you like.

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2 weeks of indulgence!

Perfectly cooked meat in a combination of mild flavors, enveloped in a thin delicate steamed coating served with sweet and spicy dip. No Chinese eat out is complete without dim-sums!  Today I begin my 2 weeks of indulgence before my vacation in Muscat ends. It’s time to work the appetite and tick as many boxes as I can.What better start to this than a review of one of the most popular pan-Asian restaurants in Muscat. The golden Oryx!

As a childhood favorite of mine , this place never disappoints. The ambiance is peaceful with high walls and wood work all around. The decorations are traditional with golden borders and large paintings. The seating is spacious with large tables. My favorite being the round rotating tables. The staff is always polite makes you feel comfortable even on the worst of days.

The Chinese and Thai options are both equally delicious. Of-course we started with a portion of steamed chicken dim-sums! The main course was Mei Foon ( rice noodles) , crispy fried duck, shanghai fried rice and chicken in lemon sauce. The portions were generous and the staff was polite while being attentive to every plate that needed a refill. The rice noodles were light with almost no trace of oil and melted in your mouth. The duck was cooked perfectly, a crispy exterior with soft  meat your could tear away inside. The spices was evenly spread and the accompanying shallots were bursting with flavor.

The Shanghai fried rice was ordinary only to be made exquisite with the chicken. Lemon can always be an overpowering flavor in the hands of an amateur but not this time. The chicken was soft and the hint of lemon was almost not there until it suddenly surprised you mid bite. This meal gave us every reason to be happy and of-course the glasses of Malibu we ordered made it a happier evening.

Overall a great dining experience, one you’ll fondly remember!

Sobrevalorado Caro!

Its been a while since I’ve posted so looking forward to your comments.

Mexican food brings to mind spice, zest, tangy cocktails and crunchy tacos. These are a few of my favorite things… that I did not find at Pavo Real, Oman.The restaurant is located in Madinat Qaboos , right next to the Starbucks in front of Kargeens. After reading all the reviews, I was expecting a fully satisfied palette. The enchiladas I tried 6 years ago were fantastic. When I was younger, the restaurant drew in crowds thanks to lively ambiance and live entertainment. The presence of a full house always creates a perception that the food must be great.

We arrived at around 8 pm, which is a good time to get a table on a weekend and ordered margaritas, which I have admit were delicious. However, the food was a complete let down. The only thing we like was the complimentary after a basket of crispy plain nachos with salsa. We may have gone wrong with our choices but a plate of soggy chicken nachos leaves a sour taste in a customer’s mouth.

The starters were greasy and a little too oily to be sinfully appealing, the dips were screaming for more flavor, the cheese was dry. As a dining experience, I cannot say I’ll go back.

The restaurant also has small bar section, it’s a rather congested setting. Definitely a better experience than the dining though and you get enjoy the delicious margaritas without feeling sick with greasy food. Definitely not worth the buck in my opinion!

 

Worth Getting Your Hands Dirty

What comes to mind when you think of sweaty vendors,tiny carts, newspaper wrapped packets, steal tumblers attached to a rope, people talking all at once, ridiculously catchy slogans ,sticky fingers and that tempting aroma of calories??

There is something about street food that cancels out good judgement. Be it “pani puri” , “99 variety dosa” ,hot dogs, tacos or kebabs. That taste just cannot be replicated in a four walled surrounding! It’s a wonderful concept which provides a means of income to hundreds of people and secretly brings people together. Untouched by social classification, you can be rich or poor, black or white, you are powerless to the grasp of this sinful indulgence.

With our lives getting faster and faster, street food outlets are booming. The idea is timeless but the industry is changing everyday.

Why the makers love it: With more and more entrepreneurs going mobile to reduce their overhead costs, innovation is all around. Mobile restaurants take the business to the consumer. It gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to experiment with location without the fear of permanent losses. Opens up a wider consumer base and ability to get first hand feedback. Flexibility to change menu and reach a wider audience faster. The options have expanded from the traditional rolls and such to items like pizza.

Why the consumers love it : Choices! Economical, flexible portions, Ability to try exotic food or varieties in small portions, Time saving, An excuse to get out in the open and breathe fresh air.

Looks like a win-win but.. This is also becoming a pressing issue for the Health and safety regulators. It is hard to keep a count and ensure the quality of the food. There is a need to find some common ground between encouraging this wonderful culture and ensuring it doesn’t lead to health disaster.

If you’ve been to India or the middle east ; You haven’t really eaten if you haven’t licked your fingers after indulging in:

1. Pani puri ( always end with a sukha and if its not in a tiny leaf bowl served to you with the stuffing covered hands of a local vendor, its not right!)

2. Cheese palak dosa

3. Vada pav

4. Bhel

5. Steamed chicken and prawn momos

6. Shawarma with garlic mayonnaise (If you didn’t get it from a fat Arab guy, with a side of salted pickle, while you drooled staring at the large stand he was cutting the chicken from, its just a roll)

7. Saruk (Apologies if that’s not the way its spelt)

8. Fire roasted peanuts

9. Mutton Kababs

10. Hareesa

I have to stop because its late and I’m hungry.

Ps: Even though Bangalore doesn’t have great street food culture compared to Delhi and Mumbai, I would recommend the pani puri guy in Indranagar right next to Calafornia Pizza Kitchen, Right across the road is a Nandini milk stand and since you have gone all the way, do try the dosa guy next to it, walk ahead , buy yourself some peanuts and acknowledge how right I was !

Pani Puri
Pani Puri

chicken_shawarma pani puri place shawarma

Riunite on ice. Riunite so nice

Melting cheese, oozing sauce, the smell of basil and oregano ….a little piece of heaven..instantly transports you to a happy place. Life without Pizza is unimaginable and pizza without pepperoni is no pizza at all!

This classic, all time favorite is made ever so perfectly at Pizzeria Romano in Bangalore, it keeps you coming back for more. Tucked away on Koramangla 60 ft. road, a few steps away from Banana Beach Bar, this pizzeria is the perfect spot for a lazy dinner. The ambiance if friendly and casual, comfortable seating, a selection of both wine and hard liquor. The beige couches and woodwork set the mood for a relaxing evening. The restaurant serves a variety of Italian dishes and has a mean desert collection.

Of-course I recommend the pepperoni pizza, wash it down with a glass of Riunite lambrusco and end with a Tiramisu. Also something to remember!  “Riunite on ice. Riunite so nice”

There are few things we can enjoy as deeply as food and this would come very close! Bon appetit!

pizzeria romano-Image: Courtesy- Abhishek Roy 🙂