El Tablao: Spanish Tapas in Koramangala

El tablao

From Spain with love

Tapas, tapas everywhere – excessive, don’t you think? Seems to me that every  Tom, Vik, and Hari thinks he can plop down a minuscule amount of food on a teeny tiny plate and charge a premium for it by calling “tapas”. Was that what El Tablao, this new, supposedly Spanish restaurant in Koramangala, was going to be about?

Thankfully not. In my opinion, there are very few restaurant owners or chefs in this city who understand what tapas are supposed to be – you can count them on the fingers of one hand, even if a couple of your fingers have been amputated. To that very short list, I am happy to be able to add new kid on the block Sachin Nair of El Tablao.

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Naati Manae in Koramangala: Cuisine of Karnataka

Naati Manae in Koramangala

Naati Manae's rustic theme

Once in a way, a dining experience makes an impression. If you are well-traveled and eat out more often than not, that kind of experience becomes especially elusive. That’s why I am happy to report that I recently discovered an experience of that sort – pretty much on my own doorstep. It’s called Naati Manae (naati = rustic/country-style; manae = house), serves only typical Karnataka cuisine, and (this was a surprise) as of now, only non-vegetarian dishes. K. Girish and B. Ravi Shankar, Koramangala-based friends and real estate developers, got so tired of having to schlep off to Cubbonpet or Malleswaram every time they needed a fix of honest-to-goodness local oota (meal) that they decided to go the DIY route. The result is an unpretentious little eatery that dishes out specialties like raagi mudde (raagi = finger millet; mudde = balls), donne biriyani (biriyani served in a cup made of dry leaves), naati koli saaru (naati koli = free range chicken; saaru = a thin, soupy curry), and more. Disclaimer: In a break with my standard policy, I have only dined at this restaurant ONCE. It was good enough to share.

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12th Main, Koramangala

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Um, no. That’s not my address. It’s the name of a restaurant situated on (no prizes for guessing) 12th Main in (no prizes here either) Koramangala. And a very good one it is too.

Although the food at 12th Main is excellent, I want to focus for once on service – an area that many mid-range fine dining restaurants seem to neglect (two notable exceptions, off the top of my head: Caperberry and Via Milano). 12th Main has gotten service down to a T. Partly because I enjoyed the food immensely, but mostly because I simply couldn’t believe they’d gotten it so, so right, I visited 12th Main on several separate occasions. My conclusion: these guys know a little secret – service is an attitude, not a script.

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Mezze: World Cuisine Network, Indiranagar

Mezze at World Cuisine Network

I’d heard several people mention the World Cuisine Network in Indiranagar, but hadn’t been motivated enough to check it out until musician Avril Quadros suggested I do so.

World Cuisine Network, part of a Dubai-based chain, serves multiple specialty cuisines in separate restaurants housed under one roof.  The Bangalore establishment comprises Lebanese, Italian, and Indian restaurants, plus a coffee shop. I chose to check out the Lebanese restaurant, Mezze. Keep reading…