So what’s new, what’s hip in Bangalore? Well, one trend is animal-inspired names: Trippy Goat, Red Rhino, Gawky Goose, Rogue Elephant, Tipsy Bull, Boozy Griffin…. Seriously? Is this the formula? Pick a creature, any creature. Then attach an adjective. Open a restaurant. That said, these restaurants are decent. Trippy Goat is owned by Vishal Nagpal, an old Bangalore restaurant hand– and a friend. Red Rhino is a popular microbrewery. College kids love Gawky Goose for the live music and the large space. Rogue Elephant is in a terrific location in Basavanagudi– opposite Krishna Rao park and next door to Ambara where handcrafted goodies await.
The other restaurant trend is misspelling names which drives me nuts but there it is. This is particularly true for the many microbreweries in Bangalore. Byg Brewski, Brewklyn Microbrewery, Seven Storyss, Shakesbierre, Ssaffron, Communiti. What in heaven’s name are these guys thinking? Is it numerology? Or the attempt to be cool? Bit of both I think.
Independent restaurants closed and opened. Manu Chandra, Bangalore’s beloved chef quit the restaurant he co-founded, Olive Bar and Kitchen, and is en route to do different things. When I last texted him, he was in Gujarat. Abhijit Saha, who introduced molecular gastronomy via his much-feted and now-closed restaurants, Fava and Caperberry, is now a consultant. He has collaborated with two new restaurants, The Pet People Cafe and Glass Bar and Kitchen.
Koshy’s thankfully remains and people keep going to it. Corner House and Airlines Hotel still draw a crowd to their leafy centre of city location. My brother and I still like Tandoor where we used to take our kids– now he takes our Mom. Ebony, which overlooks MG Road, suddenly gained clients during Covid because of its outdoor views.
Hallowed bakeries like O.G. Variar and Iyengar’s still hold their own. Albert Bakery on Mosque road still sells its popular “khava” naan or bread stuffed with khoya. The small red velvet cupcakes with fresh cream from Glen’s Bake House are eminently scarfable. Fabelle’s by the ITC group, has– and I hate to say this, given this is a giant five-star chain in the company of Iyengar’s and Variar’s bakeries— excellent dark chocolates. Zed the Baker has made Zaid Sait a hit in Bangalore.
Military hotels are going strong. Empire hotel on Church Street where the drunk and the depressed show up at 3 am still survives.
Nagarjuna and Bheema’s haven’t messed with their Andhra menu, thank God. Eden Park with its hearty biryanis and strong liquor is popular among college kids.
Hunan’s signature sauces are now delivered home thanks to Covid.
People-watching is still possible, even in laidback Bangalore at UB City’s many restaurants.
12th Main in Indiranagar is where you need to go for dining choices.
Konark is an old haunt that still serves excellent breakfasts.
Bangaloreans finally don’t have to crib about the terrible paneer here. We each have our neighbourhood place– I buy mine at Infinitea Cafe on Cunningham Road which imports Delhi paneer daily.