Monday, August 18, 2008

Chicken 65 and Afgani Delights

I was in Bangalore for an industry conclave in the midst of the greenest stretch in the garden city. There was a nip in the air when I reached the Grand Ashok late in the evening. The drive from the airport took exactly 50 mintues, which wasn't bad at all. On an impulse, I decided to take a auto to Brigade Road. I was trying to see if I could locate a restaurant I used to enjoy a long, long time ago. I was delighted when I finally found it!

RR's Andhra Restaurant BangaloreRR's is a restaurant that serves Andhra cuisine on banana leaves - not very upscale, always crowded - exactly the way I remembered it down to the dog-eared menu (that appears to have lasted a generation). The mutton biryani didn't taste as good as I remembered, but then I am spoilt now. The Chicken 65 was pretty awesome as was the Andra thali. I think I had smoke coming out of my ears by the time I was done with all those dishes that were liberally sprinkled with the most fiery green and red chillies. It was fun to be in this place after all these years!

RR's RestaurantThese short business trips have become so frequent, I now begin packing only in the hour before the car comes to pick me. Which is probably why I forgot to take my camera this time; the pictures here are from the camera on my Blackberry Curve.

On the second day, a friend took me out to Samarkand, a restaurant that specializes in Frontier food. The restaurant was crowded even on a Monday evening. The interiors seemed right out of Afghanistan - flaming torches, brass and copper utensils and waiters in Pathan dresses. Very impressive and authentic, until the time the waiter yelled to another one -- in Kannada!

Samarkand BangaloreSamarkand BangaloreSamarkand BangaloreThe Gilawati Kababs were very, very good. The Tandoori Chaamp, marinated ribs of lamb, were cooked just right too. The Dum Biryani was fragrant and tasty. What made the experience a good one were the small touches, like the menu printed to look like an old newspaper, the drinks menu printed on the side of a bottle, etc.

Samarkand BangaloreSamarkand BangaloreSamarkand BangaloreIf you are in Bangalore and craving for kababs and biryani, I will definitely recommend this place. BTW, North Indians will love the excellent meetha paan for a perfect Nawabi end to a hearty meal. Samarkand is located in Gem Plaza on Infantry Road. Ph: 41113364

The conclave turned out useful and well-attended. The Grand Ashok has a great location, but otherwise the hotel doesn't have much to write about. This being Bangalore, idlis almost entirely monopolized my breakfast - no one in Pune can make them the way they do in Bangalore.

The Independence Day long weekend was a welcome break from all this travel. It felt good spending three days with the family, watching Phelps make history, and playing Zelda on the Wii with my daughter.

I am off to Vienna during the coming weekend. This will be my first time in the land of the wiener schnitzel and apple strudel. Stay tuned!


foodette said...

Very cool and somewhat ominous looking. It will be pretty different in Vienna!


Being Vegan I cannot enjoy those tempting non-veg.dishes, but that does not mean or stop me from enjoying your writing.

Vijayendra Darode said...

Hey Shantanu,

Say hello to you new blog regular. I found this place by accident, and I now I am going to come here till eternity.

Needless to say that I love food, and the way you write about it! Trust me I said atleast a hundred 'wows' when I was reading through all your posts.
You totalllllly rock!

Way to go. God bless you with a bigger appetite.


Lakshmi said...

Its been quite a while since I went out to a restaurant in Bangalore..your post is tempting me..

Anonymous said...

@foodette: I guess it will! :)

@harekrishnaji: Thank you for being a regular visitor here.

@vijendra: Hello! Welcome here.

@lakshmi: Bangalore has quite a lot of variety but I prefer to try the South Indian ones. This time I made an exception.

Vijayendra Darode said...

Hey Shantanu,

I would have loved be called Vijendra Kumar (that famous Indian Olympian), but my name is Vijayendra (and not Vijendra) ;)

And btw, pleasure's all mine to be here and read your reviews.


Anonymous said...

Thats a good place I'd like to go :) Happy journey for the weekend!

Anonymous said...

@vijayendra: Ouch! Thanks for pointing out. :)

@final transit: Thank you.

beaverboosh said...

Dude, I am going to have to find some consultancy work in Bangalore just to appease my appetite.

Anonymous said...

@beaverboosh: Heh! Do that, my friend.

Anonymous said...

@alisha: Thanks! Will do.

Deepti said...

I was in bangalore last weekend. went to Brigade road , but RR's was really crowded .. maybe it was the weekend crowd. Went to a place called "Bombay Post" next to Indijoe's on Old airport road. Loevd the ambience, it has a old hindi movie feel for everything from walls to menu card. food was good too :)

Anonymous said...

@deepti: Cool! Thanks for the info; maybe I will try it the next time.

indicaspecies said...

Oh Samarkand, I've been there quite a few times, and have always enjoyed their food. The atmosphere there is pretty informal and lively.

After a sumptuous meal, I've found its nice to hop next door to Hypnos (pub) and listen to some music over a drink.

Btw, both Samarkand and Hypnos belong to BJN group of restaurants and additionally, Deepti's mention above of Indijoe and Bombay Post also are a part of the same group.

Anonymous said...

@indicaspecies: While the concept is clearly inspired by the Bukhara in Delhi, they still do a good job. I did like the kababs very much. The BJN Group seems to a successful one if that's true!

Anonymous said...

I am loving it.

Anonymous said...

@hobo: Welcome! And you have a great blog on travel; I will be back to read them in more detail later.