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Cocktails and Lunch at The Studio bar

Orion Mall in Bangalore is a beautiful and convenient place to shop and dine. It has many fine dining places and the other day I was in one of them. Here's a picture tour from my visit to the Studio Bar, featuring their signature cocktails and food...


 Ambiance is of a typical lounge bar with very comfortable seating...


Cinema inspired theme...

Some tables have beautiful cover photos of CineBlitz magazine...


The bartender at work...


First cocktail of the day is All About Eva. A beautiful concoction of Tequila, Vermouth, Triple Sec, Lemon Juice and Cranberry juice...



Next is Sotally Tober made from gin, fresh apple chunks, cilantro, sugar syrup and peri peri salt all blended in a blender. After drinking I was sotally tober...

    

Bahama Mama - a delicious cocktail of coffee liqueur Kahlua, white rum, dark rum, Ouzo, apple juice and lemon juice...


Electric ice tea - Combination of Vodka, Tequila, white rum, gin, blue curacao, lime juice and sprite...


Some flaming shots with brandy, Baileys, Kahlua, Blue Curacao, Tequila, gin, white rum and Grenadina...


Appetizers included Peshawari Murgh Tikka - morsels of chicken with aromatic spices and garlic, cooked in a tandoor. It was tangy and nice. The chunks were little bigger for a bite than I would have liked it...

My favorite of the day was Barbecued Pork Spare ribs...


Melt in the mouth pot roasted pork spare ribs were so tasty...

Jog's Chicken Wings - spicy chicken wings  with hot and sweet sauce...
 

Beef Steak -  Mustard and rosemary marinated tender beef fillet served with melange salad. The beef was slightly more well done than my liking but the flavors were delightful...

Creamy Pesto was amazing with the basil flavors...

 Napolean Chocolate bomb - an imploding chocolate filled dessert...

Aftermath of the implosion.... 


The Studio Bar experience left me very satisfied. Leaving you with the lovely smile of one of my co-diners...

Kababs and curry at Saffron

Last weekend, I was at Park Plaza, Bangalore for the CK Menu launch at Saffron. Saffron is a North West Frontier Cuisine fine dine restaurant at Park Plaza and CK stands for Curry & Kabab. I was sufficiently excited as I love curry & kabab. Here's a picture tour...



 
The new menu included some delectable selection of curry and kababs, handpicked by Chef de cuisine Ishtiyak. Remembrance of an ancient route that once ran between Old Delhi and Lahore... 

The ambiance gives the feel of the old world while providing the modern sophistication... 


 Artistically folded napkins...
 

While we waited for the food to arrive, it was nice to have a conversation with Chef Narendra, Director F&B...
 

Soup arrived. Kharoday - Paya Ras. Lamb trotters simmered in aromatic broth. It was perfect to ready my palate for the appetizers...


Soon, the first platter of Kababs arrived. Saufiyana Murgh Tikke is succulant chicken pieces marinated with fresh fennel leaves and char grilled in clay pot. The pieces were dewy and soft...
  



If not careful, this dinner could easily be a heavy affair. Shami Kabab made from shoulder meat of kid lamb simmered in lentils and whole spices, stuffed with fresh pomegranate , hung curd and pan fried. They were irresistibly tasty...

Sizzling wonderfully is Jhinga kali Mirch Sarson. Tiger Prawns marinated with yoghurt, crushed peppercorns and homemade Indian spices, delicately cooked in clay oven. The prawns melted in my mouth. One thing I liked about all the kababs served was that the spice level was modest and allowed the meat to be the star...

 



All the kababs were served with Missi Roti...
For the mains there was Bhati Chowk da Nalli Ghosht - delicacy from the streets of Lahore, Lamb shanks cooked in rich onion and yoghurt gravy flavored with saffron. Then there was Safed Makhan ka Chooza Makhni -  young chicken cooked in homemade white butter with satin smooth tomato gravy. Anarkali Bazaar de Bater was Quails cooked in Punjabi Style. All the curry went perfectly well with the assorted Roti...
 

Maah di Dal - delicacy of whole urad dal, tomato puree and garlic simmered overnight on tandoor, enriched with cream and served with dollop of butter... 

Saffroni Murgh Biryani - Long grain Basmati rice cooked in Dum with marinated chicken flavored with saffron. The chicken pieces were tender and the rice was fragrant and good...
 


 

The dessert platter had Kulfi Falooda, Kesar Rasmalai and Gajar Ka Halwa. Who cares for calories when you already had Biryani...


Paan shot is a digestive after meal drink made from betel leaves. It is delish and refreshing...
 

Overall, I was quite happy with the meal and the hospitality. Leaving you with the smile of the doorman, Nityananda. If you are unable to see the smile hidden under the thicket, you can definitely see it in his eyes...


Bangalore to Mangalore - A culinary adventure

Last Friday, the wonderful chefs from JW Marriott led by Chef Jolly, Director of F&B embarked on a culinary trip to Mangalore and surrounding south western coast of India. The idea was to explore the unique cuisines of the region and learn the tricks from the natives. I was lucky to join the adventure. Here's what my camera captured... 


The plan was to travel by road, halting at interesting places. The three main destinations were Mangalore, Udupi and Coorg (Madikeri). A total distance of around 600 km...


Early morning, I had some snacks from JW Kitchen...


Shapely cut tender coconut were pouting at me...


I went for the coffee...


Soon the cars arrived and we set out...
 

It was still dark at 5:30 AM and we were cruising along the National Highway 48...    

 Daylight brought us closer to our first pit stop...

At Hassan, we saw street food vendors along the highway and decided to halt for breakfast...
 



 Dosa was being made with skill...

 The crepes were very tasty...

 Puri...
    

 A man was selling green chickpeas...

 We resumed our journey after having the most satisfying breakfast...
  
Our next stop was at Sakleshpur, where we ventured inside a restaurant that specializes in Akki Roti (bread made of cooked rice). Cooked rice is kneaded into a dough without adding water... 
 
 
 The dough is then pressed...
 

Flame puffs up the roti...
 

Here's the simple Akki Roti with the right amount of char...  


After some more coffee we continued our journey to Mangalore...


I found Mangalore to be pleasant...


 It was time for lunch, and we headed straight to Foodlands to try some authentic Shetty cuisine...
 


 Pomfret masala fry...
 

 Kane Rawa fry - Lady fish marinated in red chili paste, coated in semolina and fried...
 

 Kori rotti -  A crispy rice bread...


Ashish, the owner of Foodlands explaining the nuances of Mangalorean cuisine. Chef Jolly is all ears...



Next, we headed north along the coast to Udupi...
 

 Deep in interior Udupi we halted...



The place was covered with coconut trees...
 

 We were here to experience the traditional Udupi Brahmin spread from Mr Bhat who is quite accomplished in Udupi Brahmin cuisine...

  

The Bhat family greeted us with smiles...
 


 They served simple vegetarian dishes. Gula Huli is a sour eggplant dish...



 Kosambari - Lentil and vegetable salad...
 

They demonstrated the making of Holigae, a sweet bread made by stuffing lentils...
 


 

Holigae turned out to be really good with its mild sweetness and flavours...
 

 Mr Bhat is good at drums and soon we have his young son performing the tiger dance. And our good chef joins with his own version of tiger dance...



We call it a day and head back to our hotel rooms in Mangalore. We plan to go to the Mangalore Jetty to buy some fresh fish. Early morning is the right time as the fishing boats are unloaded. It was still dark at 5:30 AM. Here's my shadow at the Jetty...



There were a variety of fishes...
 

 The large one got the chefs excited...
 


I liked the patterns on these...
 

This is me with a big one...



I took a time-lapse video of the commotion at the fish market...
A video posted by Shiju Sugunan (@shijuvenate) on


A slow motion video of a man crushing ice...
A video posted by Shiju Sugunan (@shijuvenate) on



More commotion at the fish market...
A video posted by Shiju Sugunan (@shijuvenate) on



With the fish we sailed to a small island to do the cooking...

Mangrove around the island...
As the chefs started setting up for the cookout with the native expert, I walked around the island for some photography inspiration...
  



 I liked the pattern on the dry leaves...
 



Pomfret fry...
 
  
 Prawn curry...

An impromptu return gift from chef Jolly. On an abandoned terracotta tile he found on the island, he lays marinated tiger prawns on a bed of cilantro leaves...
 

As the prawns sizzle, he pours his special spicy glaze...

It turned out to be a masterpiece with amazing flavors...

After the cookout we returned to the mainland. Saw a couple of fishermen trying their luck...
  

In the evening we went to the famous ice cream joint, Pabba's...

 Gadbad ice cream...
 


Pabba's special ice cream...

Dinner was had  at Tandoor...
 

 It was a great selection from the Mangalorean cuisine. I liked the Mutton Ghee Roast best...
 

 The third day saw us heading south to Coorg...

The early morning drive was comfortable...
 

We stopped at a small hotel on the highway for breakfast...


We found this unique cake from Kasargod called Kalathappam. It is a delicious rice cake made of ground rice, water, coconut oil, jaggery, fried onions or shallots and coconut flakes...
  
Some Betel nut trees around the hotel...



The hills became prominent as we were nearing Coorg, which is a hill station...

We reached Coorg well before noon...
The market at Coorg sold spices, coffee and Coorg chocolates...


We were hosted by a Kodava couple at their beautiful home...
 
As the chefs and the host got busy with cooking the traditional Kodava lunch, I decided to explore the views in their backyard...



Manilkara Zapota tree...


Hydrangea flowers...






Ornamental strawberry...
 

 Lunch was ready.
Kumbla curry made from pumpkin...
 

Koli Curry...


Kadambuttu rice balls...
My favorite of the day, Pandi curry - pork curry...

Overall it was a pleasant experience. I am eager to see how Chef Jolly and his team will incorporate the learning from this trip in their delectable menu at JW Marriott.

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