Beer and 'Touchings' with Geistronomy Edition II at The Local

In their second edition of Geistronomy, the team at Geist brewing have chosen to celebrate local Bengaluru dishes, or ‘touchings’ as it is sometimes referred to colloquially, by tying up with The Local in Kammanhalli, Bengaluru. I was invited for a preview of the specially curated menu, earlier this week.

DSC03167.JPG

The dishes are simple, yet scrumptious, and will instantly bring back a comfortable sense of nostalgia to any old-school Bangalorean. (Are we now Bengalureans?) Some of my favourites from the evening included Uncle Naidu’s Mutton Chops, a delightful peppery mutton that pairs wonderfully with both the Weiss Guy and the Kamacitra. The Classic Prawn Ghee Roast hit the spot and is balanced out wonderfully with the sweet flavours of the Uncle Dunkel, also fabulous with the Kamacitra.

Uncle Naidu’s Mutton Chops

Uncle Naidu’s Mutton Chops

Prawn Ghee Roast

Prawn Ghee Roast

Both variations of the bovine delicacy (I do not use the other B word any more… tis mother and all no), the teriyaki and the chilli were tender, delicious and had everyone at the table falling in love almost instantly. The former is wonderfully accentuated by the Uncle Dunkel while the latter goes great with both the Weiss and the Kamacitra. The beer battered squid was classic, uncomplicated and easily pairs with the Witty Wit.

Chilli Moo

Chilli Moo

Geist Golden Ale

Geist Golden Ale

My favourite from the evening though was the Crispy Bitter Gourd Rings. The batter was light, and mildly coated the karela. I’d gladly replace my regular bowl of chips for this. In terms of pairing, the Weiss was an ideal fit. Other dishes included the Kentucky Fried Paneer (#NoPaneer), Tawa Fried Chicken, Pork Sausages and Spare Ribs, and Apple Pie and Brownie for dessert!

Crispy Bitter Gourd Rings

Crispy Bitter Gourd Rings

Geist Kamacitra

Geist Kamacitra

The Geistronomy festival at the Local is on till December 6th.  For INR 499, you get a pint of Geist beer and a Geistronomy dish. Not a bad deal at all! Now, I only wish either The Local were located closer to home so that I could either walk down or have the food delivered over.

It's 'Raining Ramen' at Fatty Bao

My very first experience of authentic ramen goes back to 2013 when I made my first trip to Hong Kong. Now, before you go “machaan… Ramen is Japanese da. What food blogger you are?”, the origins of ramen aren’t quite clear with historical records stating that it was the Chinese who created the noodle ( known as lamian) and the dish perfected by the Japanese in the early 20th century; among other theories, none of which are relevant to my love for this wonderful dish.

While we witness the end of summer, and all the mango inspired food festivals and beers, Fatty Bao welcomes the monsoon with their ramen festival. Aptly title ‘Raining Ramen’, the festival showcases soulful ramen bowls from across south East Asia. I was invited to experience what the team had to offer. That afternoon, I didn’t have any reinforcements who could order different bowls and I could get a taste of almost everything on the menu. Requesting for smaller portions so that I could try more than just one bowl, I started off with the Spicy Crab Gyoza & Miso Butter Ramen. This bowl of ramen was so wonderfully balanced with flavours of the smoked tomato shining through without overpowering the otherwise delicate flavour of the crab and the sinful miso butter. The team had done a fabulous job of having delicate and robust flavours in one dish. This particular bowl of ramen makes it to the list of ‘food that hits your soul’. The ramen was accompanied by a pleasing Thai-inspired mocktail called Bora Bora, a mixture of passion fruit, coconut water and green apple. Put together, these two were ideal companions for a cloudy monsoon afternoon of reading and ‘me time’.

DSC05944.JPG
DSC05934.JPG
IMG_20180629_100329.jpg

The second ramen bowl I ordered was intense and in-your-face. The Braised Lamb Tantamen Ramen offered a very meaty slow-cooked lamb bone broth that would bring joy to the heart of only a staunch non-vegetarian. Served with curly noodles, peanuts and chilli, this bowl was Trooper by Iron Maiden compared to last bowl which was a Nocturne by Chopin. While there was nothing wrong with any of the flavours, this one is recommended only to the hard core non veg lover… you know the kind that enjoys bone marrow… definitely not the ‘leg piece chicken biryani’ eater. This bowl was paired with a far more sober mocktail of watermelon, basil and chamomile tea called the Melon Sipper.

DSC05954.JPG
DSC05950.JPG

Dessert was another delightful affair. Not a part of the ramen food festival menu, I ordered the Lemon Tart. This was a very pretty dish comprising of lemon mousse, pistachio crumble, mint meringue, raspberry sorbet and an almond sable. Perfectly balanced out without being too citrusy or too sweet, the dessert was just what the doctor ordered (or the waiter recommended) to mute the very intense flavours of the lamb broth from earlier.

DSC05986.JPG

The festival offers a range of ramen bowls from pork to duck breast to even green tea. The festival runs till the 20th of July, across all Fatty Bao restaurants in India. The price starts at INR 395++ for the vegetarian options and INR 425++ for the non-vegetarian options.

PS – I made the mistake of writing this post late at night, and am craving for some ramen right now. I’ll have to make do with fruit ( Bah!)

 

Burma Burma Restaurant & Tea Room comes to the Uru

“We’ll grab a few beers and some non veg after we hit this place. After all, how are any of us going to be satisfied with a vegetarian meal that doesn’t even have any liquor being served?”

These were my exact words to a friend and fellow food enthusiast, when we received the invitation to come over and try out what the Burma Burma Restaurant and Tea Room had to offer. I had heard that they’re all vegetarian and don’t have a liquor licence (courtesy a friend from Delhi), I went in with no expectations.

My mind is blown! I stand humbled; bowing down to the power a vegetarian meal that much like a Rahul Dravid performance silenced the critics and doubters.

DSC09971.JPG

Located on the already bustling 12th main of Indiranagar , the Burma Burma Restaurant and Tea Room boasts of delightful warm interiors, and is decorated with numerous curios and artefacts from Burma. As I sat down, more eager to catch up with friends as opposed to focussing on the meal because my sheer arrogance of ‘how could a vegetarian meal possibly impress me more than a dish or two’, the first punch was thrown. We were served the Hincho, a delightful tangy soup with a samosa inside. Expecting a Chinese hot and sour like flavour, I had my first sip… and by the end of the bowl, I was eagerly looking forward to what more the team had to offer. With delightful roasted flavours of the vegetables and chickpea, the soup was absolutely homely and hit the spot.

DSC09925.JPG

This was followed by two spectacular salads; the Mandalay Laphet Thoke and the Tayat Ti Thoke. The former is scrumptious tea leaf salad consisting of fermented tea leaves, garlic nuts, sesame seeds, tomato and lettuce. The dish was absolutely soulful and brought about the same sort of glee one has after devouring a chaat from the street vendors. With crunchy elements, citrus elements, and earthy flavours of tea, this was love at first bite. The latter was a spicier salad with raw mango shreds with chilly and onions.

DSC09927.JPG
DSC09928.JPG

The Pyaan Boo Palata, a lip-smacking creamy corn mash cooked with coconut milk, spices and brown onions continued our journey down the path of redemption for our arrogance. We very quickly gobbled up the dish with the paratha. I was all set to be uncouth and use my fingers to clean up the serving bowl, but better sense prevailed. This dish was accompanied by Crunchy Tofu Steamed Buns; I would have never guessed tofu was an ingredient unless someone had told me. We were at that point in the meal where we weren’t sure whether we ought to polish off the dish or sample it while we continue to salivate in anticipation for the next dish that was going to come our way.

DSC09932.JPG
DSC09934.JPG

And then they brought out the big gun… the Oh No Khow Suey. A signature dish of the country and of Burma Burma, this dish was fantastic. I shall not attempt to describe it with words, just go and order a bowl. The khow suey was accompanied by a Burmese style stir fried vegetables with brown onion and roasted chilly grilled fried rice. But the poor chaps were left largely ignored thanks to the khow suey.

DSC09943.JPG
DSC09945.JPG

Dessert was another delightful affair with the Smokey Avocado Honey Caviar Ice cream, coupled with the Tagu Pyian ( a dish of sago with jaggery and coconut custard). Just the kind of thing that doesn’t over power the wonderful mix of flavours left behind in your mouth, yet satisfies one’s sweet tooth.

DSC09953.JPG
DSC09955.JPG

At the end of the meal, I had absolutely no craving for a beer or a cocktail or even the slightest hankering for some non veg. It takes a lot to impress someone like me with veg food. But that evening, I was a believer that vegetarian food in Indian restaurants can go beyond paneer and glorified home cooked food. I was at work the next day, and like a born-again Christian, told anyone who cared to listen about my experience the previous evening. Fellow hard-core non vegetarians looked at me as thought I were delusional from some form of malaria.

DSC09969.JPG
DSC09957.JPG

Kudos to Ankit Gupta and chef Ansab Khan for giving me, and numerous friends of mine who’ve gone after me to verify why this Happy Panda had gone stark raving mad talking about vegetarian food, an experience that floored us. The only problem now is that after having a chat with Ankit Gupta, I’ve got an acute case of wanderlust with Burma written on it. It’s definitely making it to the top three destinations I travel to next. While the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, the wait is almost an hour for a table, but is well worth your time. Head over to have your taste buds blown away. My estimate is that a meal for two should work out to about INR 3500.