Thank god for mall mercies
If you, like me, and some of my friends, suffer from mall-phobia, then Bangalore’s most popular recreation activity is not for you. For there they are, the teeming masses, riding the escalators, window-shopping at everything from Archies to Debenhams and crowding the food courts. And a Sunday evening is not a good time to go find out if Kailash Parbat is as good as its original in Mumbai. It took me nearly an hour and much jostling to get my rather sanitized pani puri. So, no, it isn’t as good as in Colaba.
Still, nowadays the foodie has no option but to go to the malls for that’s where all the new restaurants and lounge bars seem to be coming up. Sahib Sindh Sultan and Firangi Paani set the trend all those years ago at Forum Mall and are still pretty good. And after Kobe, Copper Chimney, Spaghetti Kitchen, Toscano and Bon South, there’s now a whole new range of restaurants within malls.
That, for me, is one of the few reasons to go these vast temples of endless shopping. Dinner time is better, because the noisy, gawking crowds have gone home by then. In fact, I had a very pleasant meal at Twenty.21 at the Ascendas Park Square Mall in Whitefield the other night. This is a neat looking restaurant serving modern European fare; it’s a buffet for lunch and a la carte for dinner here.
I was given a tasting by the chef who has had experience of working in London. It shows in his understanding of the ingredients and attractive plating. We began with an amuse bouche of a seafood ceviche. Then, there was a perfectly dressed salad of beets and apples with rucola and goats cheese. The soup was a creamy broccoli topped with slivers of almonds; again, well made. Superb prawns and calamari a la plancha followed. The fish course was pepper-crusted seer with a carrot compote – an uncommon pairing which worked wonderfully. Chefs can sometimes tantalise with their opening course and lose their way towards the end of a meal. But the grilled lamb chops on ratatouille did not disappoint in the least. We drank a nice Merlot through the meal and every element pleased. So, Twenty.21 is certainly a good reason to go mall visiting.
Then, there’s Mai Tai at Brigade Gateway, rubbing shoulders with Orion Mall. More on that in this week’s review.