Eating in Bangalore

Well I’ve arrived and it’s been pretty much, eating, sleeping and lots of teaching. It’s great hanging out with all the students (from all our various offices) and even though we don’t seem to leave the complex that much, there’s still so much to do.

Eating out in India is very easy and is relatively cheap for what you can get. Here’s a list of some places that we’ve eaten at and a brief review about them:

  • Bombay Post – Located opposite the Diamond District in a complex that also hosts TGI Friday’s and IndiJoe. It’s a much more upscale Indian restaurant with a wide variety of dishes. I think it tends to focus on North Indian food though we had a plethora of dishes with plenty of rice, bread and various starters. I think between the 9 or 10 of us, it ended up being around INR6000 for both food and drink (Kingfisher beer)
  • BBQ Nation – I think there are several of these restaurants that specialise in serving grilled shish-kebab like foods at the table. Waiters place a charcoal grill into the middle of a table over which they continue to bring pre-grilled sticks of meat and vegetables to continue cooking at the table. They also bring around various curries, tandoor foods, bread and rice to the table in addition to a full buffet covering even more curries, salads, soup and bread. Also on offer is a dessert bar including combining traditional Indian and westernised desserts. I’m not sure how much this one is.
  • IndiJoe – A restaurant located in the complex containing TGI Friday’s and Bombay Post, serving continental food including tex mex, Chinese, Thai, mixed grills, pizza and pasta. A Two for one drink offer continues until about 8pm. Most meals average around INR600 in addition to drinks.
    Gregory’s – An English pub located in the Royal Orchard Hotel serving Chinese, Thai and a small amount of English food. This place tends to attract a more westernised and business crowd, including a couple of plasma screens showing European football. Meals average around INR400 with a pint (330mL) of beer starting at INR120.

Fine Chinese Dining at Hakkasan

It’s not often that you hear about a Chinese restaurant that has a great atmosphere although it is more common in cities such as London and New York. I’ve always tried to save going to them for some special occasion. Fortunately it’s my birthday quite soon and since I’m heading to India, am going to miss celebrating it here in London so my sister and I had a small outing to Alan Yau’s Hakkasan. In terms of restaurateurs, Yau has quite a number of great restaurants under his belt, including the ever popular Wagamama and Busaba Eathai.

Finding out about the Michelin-starred Hakkasan is easy since it’s fine dining concept gets rave reviews on many different websites. Strangely enough it doesn’t have a website much like it’s sister dim sum focused restaurant Yauatcha. Hakkasan is located at the end of a street I frequent to avoid the crowds surrounding the Tottenham Court tube station. It’s out of the way and unless you’d be looking for it, there’s no real reason to stumble across it. You’re greeted by a couple of men upstairs filtering those with reservations and those without although you’ll end up having the same conversation with people downstairs.

The dining room is striking, very much befitting a modern Chinese restaurant. Ornamental black lacquered carved walls separate the dining room from the bar and the kitchen continuing the traditional Asian theme. The room itself is otherwise quite dark with each table lit with at least one strong downlight. Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed (probably as a way of maintaining the dining experience).

Their cocktail and wine list is extensive, and it’s no wonder people can spend a fortune at this restaurant with at least ten bottles of wine well over one thousand pounds and many of the cocktails matching club prices. Fortunately they also offer an extensive non-alcoholic cocktail list, and a long list of teas supplied by sister restaurant Yauatcha.

Hakkasan’s menu is quite large and definitely not at all like what you would have in most other Chinese restaurants. They offered plenty of unique dishes, yet none of them seemed to really jump out at me screaming to be put on trial. Perhaps it was because many of them seemed to be some proper Chinese dish supplemented by some sort of exotic ingredient such as foie gras. We definitely splashed out, starting with a mango roast duck in a lemon sauce and jasmine tea smoked ribs. Out of the two, my sister and I agreed the ribs were the best out of the two with the sweet sauce covering an absolutely tender meat – the waiter comes along to cut the ribs into individual pieces and he was literally pushing the meat off the bone clean with only a fork and a butter knife. Unfortunately although the duck was impeccably presented, the tangy mango and lemon sauce didn’t quite work well with the duck.

For mains we had a grilled sea bass covered in Chinese honey, black bean vegetarian prawns and a stir fried chilli and spring onion duck dish presented on a bed of crispy vermicelli noodles. Out of the mains, I really enjoyed the duck although the sea bass came in a very close second. The duck was unfortunately not the amazingly spicy one I’d hoped it was be – instead a very gentle heat accompanying a rather sweet sauce that was still enjoyable. The sea bass was perfectly cooked, slightly glazed and served with a few greens.l They also had some deep fried mushrooms that almost seemed a little out of place given they didn’t stay crispy for very long swimming in the sweet sauce. Nothing very remarkable about the prawn dish, other than it seemed a little sweeter than your classic black bean sauce and some nice fresh chillies to eat with it.

We both skipped the dessert option since the choices didn’t seem as good as what I’d read about. Chinese cuisine isn’t particular well known for their sweets and Hakkasan’s offerings on our night seemed to match this perception with nothing particularly exotic.

In terms of service, I didn’t feel the place met its 13% stated worth despite the number of people buzzing about. It wasn’t exactly terrible but I did have to wait for a number of very simple things (such as the drinks menu) throughout the evening. Overall it’s a great experience and although I think you’ll get much better value at a large number of other Chinese restaurant, the dining experience is definitely worth it at least once.

Details: Hakkasan
Found on: 8 Hanway Place, London, W1T 1HD
Contactable on: 020 7907 1888
Highlights: Exquisite dining room, plenty of cocktail choices, and lots of exotic ingredients in classic Chinese dishes.
Room for improvement: Despite exotic ingredients, some of the dishes are not as exciting as they could be.
The Kua Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Melting Moments

This weekend I was caught up with the baking bug and so ended up making some Melting Moments. What are they? Two delicious shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with a sweet vanilla butter cream. What more do I need to say? I tried two batches, one with plenty of vanilla and the other, substituting lemon juice and lots of lemon zest to give them just the right amount of citrus twist.

Melting Moments

Read on for the recipe. Read more “Melting Moments”

The Fat Badger

There are so many gastropubs around London so before heading off, I thought a leisurely lunch at one near Westbourne Grove would be a good place to catch up with some people. Ben and Michelle made a huge effort to come out, especially considering they’d been hit really hard with the flu that’s going around at the moment. Thanks to everyone else that came along on Sunday – it was a great lunch and awesome to see you all.

Fat Badger Outing

We arrived at The Fat Badger right before the rush hour. It’s found right up the far end of Portobello Road, right past where all the markets would normally be. Being a Sunday, it start getting quite busy after 1pm. We scored a couple of very comfy leather couches downstairs. Unfortunately the restaurant upstairs was booked out already although they serve most of the same foods downstairs where we picked a few from the main menu and, I think, almost went through most of their gastro bar snacks such as Quails Eggs with Celery Salt and Kentish Cobnuts. A few of us, including myself, had the smoked haddock served with a mussel and bacon chowder. It wasn’t as chowder-like as it could have been, though extremely tasty and filling.

The Fat Badger is found on 310 Portobello Road, W105TA and is open on Sunday from noon through to 10:30pm.


Crab and Chicken ParcelsAfter using a deal from the AllInLondon site, I recently ate at the Thai restaurant Lemongrass found in Hackney. I can’t say that it was terribly easy to get to, first requiring a tube ride to either Angel or Highbury Islington and then a bus ride. The restaurant itself is quite spacious, with a skylight-lit dining room accommodating quite a large number of tables. During our evening it was surprisingly quiet, which is why I guess they offer a deal for dining during weekdays. I imagine it could be quite busy during the weekend.

Ostrich Green CurryLemongrass’ menu offers an extensive range of your typical Thai dishes, split into two sections – for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In addition to their standard range of dishes they offer quite a number of very unique dishes including a number of Ostrich dishes and House Speciality ones. They also offer a number of very unique alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails and blended ice drinks that are well worth trying (the melon was was especially good).

Given that the deal was effectively 50% off the main meals, we tried a wide variety of their dishes including Hoi Joi (dumpling-crab meat minced chicken wrapped in delicate bean curd pastry served with dumpling sauce on top), an Ostrich Green Curry, their Chef Special Tiger Cry (a traditional Thai dish of char grilled beef steak, sliced and served with chilli sauce) and their Chef Special Tornado Scallop (stir fried win a special mild curry paste, with asparagus, pepper & spring onions.)

Chef Special Tornado ScallopOut of the dishes that we had, I would definitely recommend the Ostrich Green Curry or the Scallop dish and stay far away from their Tiger Cry dish. The ostrich dish, though slightly gamey had the difference it needed to make it your out of the ordinary green curry. The scallop dish had at least twenty or so scallops in it, and although the curry mixture was very subtle suited the dish quite well. The Chef Special Tiger Cry was hugely disappointing, served on a sizzling plate though wasn’t sizzling when it arrived and though asked to be served medium had been cooked to over well done. More than that, it simply had nothing going for it like very bland strips of excessively toughened beef.

Details: Lemongrass Thai Restaurant
Found on: 58 Stoke Newington Church Street, London. N16 0NB
Contactable on: 020 7254 2473 or
Highlights: Bright airy dining room, extensive menu with unique dishes including many unique drinks at reasonable prices
Room for improvement: Very disappointing chef special and considering how empty the restaurant was, lacking in reasonable service.
The Kua Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Tonight’s Dinner

One of the benefits of living near Smithfields is access to a wonderful range of butchers offering fantastic cuts of meats at very affordable prices. If you get up early enough, you can find any sort of cut of most types, as well as plenty of other products made from them including black puddings and various smoked meats.

Tonight I got to finally try some sticky maple ribs that looked fantastic. Here it is served with honey spiced squash, mashed potatoes and romaine heart leaves.

Sticky Maple Ribs

Singapore Chilli Crab Festival

Chinese LanternThis weekend the Truman Brewery played host to the Tiger beer sponsored Signapore Chilli Crab Festival. What looks like a yearly event, this one celebrates one of the Singaporean most famous dishes with a small amount of entertainment and food available for purchase. We turned up at about 4 in the afternoon, which was probably much too late with a line extending all the way out of the Truman Brewery, around the corner down Brick Lane and what looked like a couple of blocks (and that was just for the food).

At some point even later in the afternoon, they stopped people joining the food queue as they had apparently run out of food for the day. All of the food looked like it was sponsored by a restaurant in Bayswater called Kiasu and apparently you could order the crab there instead. Although Tiger sponsored the event and had set up a number of stalls serving their beer, I was surprised to find that their “special” of 4 beers at £12 was so expensively priced.

Although entertainment lacked any real bite (we caught a small glimpse of a Chinese magician and a lone Chinese Dragon dance) and we did not end up tasting their famous crab, we still had a pretty nice time enjoying the last vestiges of summer. Here’s the small number of photos from the day.

Firehouse Rotisserie

Duck QuesadillasAfter looking for somewhere nice to eat in Bath and discounting all the Michelin starred restaurants because they were not really accessible without a car, we ended up booking dinner at the Firehouse Rotisserie, a Californian themed restaurant serving modern American cuisine. Forget burgers and think more of wood fired pizzas and, as the name suggests, rotisserie cooked meats. We started with the Goats Cheese Fondue and the Duck Quesadillas, both of which I think we could have both skipped. The Goats Cheese Fondue looked like it was simply bubbling Goats Cheese served with some corn chips and the Duck Quesadillas were disappointingly dry and not very spicy at all. The only good thing about the quesadillas is that it had been served with two small salads.

BBQ ChickenThe mains looked much more promising, with both of getting the two different rotisserie cooked chickens – a dry rubbed BBQ one, and a lemon and herb infused one. Each serve had two pieces of chicken, a breast and a leg, both of which remained surprisingly moist despite looking rather dry. The herb encrusted one had plenty of flavour, though was much more subtle than the salty and spiced BBQ one. I’d say that the herb chicken dish definitely had far too much going on their plate, including bacon, cooked lemons and a dijon tarragon aioli that would not have been missed had it not been there. The BBQ chicken was a bit more balanced with a delicious jalapeno coleslaw complementing the sweet and spicy chicken.

Brownie with Coconut Ice CreamWe finished with dessert, firstly a mango and white chocolate brulee and a chocolate brownie served with a refreshing coconut ice-cream. The brulee mixture really didn’t work very well with the subtle creamy texture of the white chocolate brulee ruined by a watery and over-poweringly sweet mango base. Though still very nice and an exceptionally large portion, I don’t think I’d order it again. The brownie on the other hand went down very well and the coconut ice cream surprisingly went well with it, though it is a dish that’s pretty hard to get wrong.

Details: Firehouse Rotisserie (Bath)
Found on: 2 John Street, Bath, BA1 2JL
Contactable on: 01225 482070
Highlights: Different California cuisine with interesting rotisserie offerings. Good selection of extras and reasonable main dish prices.
Room for improvement: Very ordinary starters, service nothing special and could simplify a number of their dishes as it looks like they’re trying just too hard.
The Kua Rating: 7 out of 10