Friday, December 19, 2008

Hello from India

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! I'm in foodie heaven right now. Noteworthy foodie trips - a restaurant called Swadh Desi in JP Nagar, Bangalore, which serves Lucknowi and Awadh cuisine. For starters we had Bharwan Shimla Mirch, which was delicious! For the main course, we had spinach filled kofta curry that was slightly sweet as well as tangy in a creamy sauce and a vegetable-heavy Sabzi Tawa Masala in a tomato gravy, both of which out of this world! The Chatni Biryani was refreshingly different from the usual biryanis with a distinctly mint flavor. The bread basket had delicious breads. I understand that the Ulta Tawa ke Parathe are super delicious, something to try next time!
Update from Feb 2010: So after waxing eloquent to my famoily on the wonderful food Swadh Desi served, went there again a few days ago. What a disappointment! The service sucked big time. The wait time for pretty much everything, including desserts, was too long. Appetizers were just so-so. Had Murgh Afghani, which was really delicious and a Navrathan Korma that was quite good. The Shahi Paneer Pasanda was runny and bland. Would not recommend this restaurant.

The other restaurant in South Bangalore that I recommend was simply called “1947”, for the year of Indian Independence. The interiors were simple and rustic. All their tables had small easel stands with info on little known freedom fighters of India. The food was delicious and very reasonably priced. Both of these restaurants were recommendations from my cousin, who’s probably tried all the restaurants in Bangalore by now!
Update in Feb 2010: Again, another disappointment! Except for the rabdi, nothing we ordered was great or even good. I'm revoking this recommendation too!

Another restaurant that is a must-visit is called “Jwala” near Kalidasa Road in Mysore. This is a small eatery which serves authentic Punjabi food and is run by a friendly Sikh couple. Apart from their regular menu fare, they have specials of the day that have been different both the times we visited. The desserts are all home made. Rabdi and gulab jamuns are both a must-try.

The last foodie piece I have to mention is the Mysore Dasara Exhibition, which I’d visited last about 15 years ago. The shopping was about the same as I remembered but the displays from various State Departments and Zilla Panchayats were truly amazing! Even more amazing were the food stalls. We had the customary Delhi Papad, sprinkled with red chilly powder and chaat masala as well as the baalekayi bajji, which are raw plaintain fritters. Both as delicious as I remembered them to be. Other things that were new, for me at least, were dill leaves akki rotti (flattened rotis made with rice flour, chopped onion, chillies, cilantro and dill leaves) served with a dollop of butter, chutney and kurma. They were delicious just as is, without any accompaniments. I also tried benne masala dosa, which was as tasty as it was buttery and it surely was the butter that made it as yum as it was! We tried mallige idlies, which were soft and fluffy served with two chutneys. Also had veggie noodles and gobi Manchurian, both “Indo-Chinese” dishes that were really good. For my next visit to the food stalls, I have to try the jolada rotti (jowar rotis) with yennegai (brinjal curry), both signature dishes from North Karnataka, Chana Batura and masala chai.

I wish I had taken my camera along on these jaunts so I could show what they looked like. Well, next time maybe. For next weekend, we’re planning a trip to Coorg and I’ll post about Coorgi food, which is very different from other Kannadiga cuisines.

Until then, ciao and wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas!