Secret Garden Café, Edward Road

Secret Garden Pasta

Making pasta at Secret Garden Café

Secret. Garden. Café. Three of my favorite words, all in a row.

Tucked away on Edward Road (betcha dunno where that is) off Queens Road (a clue, but eight out of 10 of you still won’t find it), this garden – okay, rooftop – café is so secret that only a select few know it exists. Which is a pity, really, since they serve some very good food indeed.

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Café Thulp: Burgers, Sandwiches, Milkshakes, More

Ever since the sad and sudden decline of the Indiana Burger (if you’ve been in Bangalore for more than 10 years, you know what I’m referring to), I’ve been trying to find a suitable equivalent. The Ice and Spice burger comes close, but really, who wants to squish themselves into a 2’x2′ space, or wait half an hour to grab one of three tables?  And then share the ketchup and mayo squeeze bottles between tables, because there aren’t enough to go around?

Go Thulp!

Go Thulp!

For those of you who share my idea of the perfect burger, I am happy to inform you that I have discovered a kickass post-Indiana burger that surpasses its predecessor in size, flavor, and succulence (and, I must warn you, price). Best of all, it’s available right here in my backyard – Koramangala – and comes to you from the kitchen of Gautam Krishnankutty, the man who gave us Tai Tai and the hugely popular Asia in a Box. Appropriately, he’s called his latest venture Café Thulp! (such a Bangalore word – I’m lovin’ it!)

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Daddy’s Deli, Indiranagar: Parsi Cuisine in Bangalore

Daddy's Deli, Indiranagar

Daddy's Deli, Indiranagar

I’ve been hoarding this one for ages.

I first encountered Daddy’s Deli in 2002. At that time, friend-of-many-years Rajesh Nair was subsisting on their egg and chutney sandwiches and chicken subs – to the point where the delivery boy would arrive with a garland and agarbathis and perform a brief pooja prior to handing over the food. Um, yes – of course I’m joking, but only just.

At that time, the Parsi owners, Zarine and Nozer Daroga intended Daddy’s Deli to be just that – a deli that dished out sandwiches, subs, and burgers. When they outgrew the Richmond Town property, they shifted to Koramangala, and after a brief and unsuccessful stint there, to their current location in Indiranagar. Along the way, Daddy’s Deli morphed into a full-fledged restaurant serving home-style Parsi food. Continue reading

Wild Spice: Pandi Curry and More

Wild Spice: A taste of Coorg

Wild Spice: A taste of Coorg

Call a native of Coorg a “Coorgi” and you’re asking for trouble. “I’m Kodava”, you’ll be told haughtily, “or, if you must, a Coorg. There’s no such thing as a ‘Coorgi’.” Make the same mistake twice, and you’ll be excommunicated from the Kodava party schedule for life – and that, my friend, is a hard-drinking, heavy-eating scene you really do not want to miss for anything in the world.

Yet an inconspicuous little eatery on the junction of Museum Road and Residency Road proudly proclaims that it serves “Authentic Coorgi Restaurant.” Far from having the place shut down, Kodavas actually recommend it. If, that is, you are particularly skilled at extracting information in, ahem, somewhat unconventional ways (think Hitler’s storm troopers). Keep reading…

Truffles: Move Over Piedmont, Here Comes Balehonnur

As Susan Boyle recently showed the world, appearances can be deceptive. Take the truffle, for example. It’s never going to win a culinary beauty contest – heck, it’s not even going to qualify for the first round. Yet this butt-ugly mofo manages to find its way into the kitchens of the rich, the famous, the culinary Rembrandts, the nouveaux riche, the wannabes and even the don’t-wannabes. People pay hundreds of dollars for a single top-quality truffle: an astronomical sum for a gastronomical luxury (okay, that was uncool, but I couldn’t resist).

Made in India...

Made in India...

To learn that these stinky, blob-like mycorrhizae (look it up, baby!) have been growing right under our noses, uncelebrated, right next door in Chikmaglur, came as a bit of a shock. When chef extraordinaire Abhijit Saha invited me to his swish new restaurant Caperberry to check out ‘The Great Indian Truffle’, I was there before you could say “tuberous fungifus”.

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Benjarong Gets Thai Food Wrong

Okay, so you all know I don’t really bitch, whine, or complain much. (‘Scuse me a minute while I cover my ears to shut out the vehement dissent of The Spouse and my children, the derisive laughter of my friends, and the collective gasp of disbelief from everyone else who knows me). Right now though, if I had a pen instead of a keyboard, I’d be dipping it in acid. This restaurant should change its name to Benja-wrong.

Oriental decor...

Vaguely Oriental decor...

Last week, Giant Vacuum Cleaner and I had two hours to kill between buying him a “light grey zip-up hoodie with fleece lining” and dropping him off for a movie (yes, he has a busier social schedule than I do). I thought Benjarong would be an good choice for a quick meal in a nice ambience. Given the chilly weather, we were both craving the spice and flavors of Thai cuisine. Keep reading…