Friday, September 6, 2019

Anniversary Celebrations @ Byg Brewski, Hennur, Bengaluru

When I received a call inviting us to join the 5th Anniversary celebrations at Byg Brewski, I readily accepted. Not only because I would have liked to be a part of their celebration or because Byg Brewski highlighted Hennur on the map of Bengaluru or because I live in the vicinity. It was because it is a fun place to visit, their open to the sky ambiance and the grandeur you experience enthralls you. Their friendly service crew also ensures you keep coming back for more. I firmly believe that this is a destination pub in Bengaluru and we, my wife and I, host our outstation guests here with pride.

Matka Magic. 

We made our way to the SYN bar on the upper deck and were welcomed by Arati who offered to and help us get our first drinks of the evening. We consciously stayed away from their well-crafted home brewed beers and stayed with whisky based cocktails.

Crown with edible gold dust
We started with the award winning “Crown”, a whisky based cocktail with edible gold dust. Must have been good as there were several orders of this drink at our table.

I opted for the very popular “Matka Magic”, which is a whisky based cocktail with jalapeno, rosemary, passion fruit and cranberry juice. I personally enjoyed the lingering taste of the jalapeno spice as I sipped the drink through the evening.

Old Fashioned

Whisky Sour
We followed this up with Old Fashioned, whose origin dates back to the early 1800’s.  The drink is popularly made with Jim Beam, sugar, bitters and garnished with a peel of orange. The Whisky sour was also very popular at the table. It is generally made with whisky, lemon juice, sugar with the option of using egg white as well. 

The Byg Brewski famed large ice-cubes stand out in the cocktails. The ice cubes are made with the same water that is used by the brewery for their crafted beers. That probably explains why the cubes are crystal clear. The cubes also have the markings of the Byg Bewrski logo on them. 

Crisp rashers of Bacon with
Pepperoni Pizza

Lamb Chops
While there were plenty of appetizers like tempura prawns, fish tikka, mutton seek kababs, the chef was kind enough to help us with some of our personal favorites that included the cheesy garlic bread our request  with extra cheese and extra spice, hand tossed wood fired pepperoni pizza with crisp bacon rashes on the side and grilled lamb chops. The skillet comes really really hot, so please mind your fingers. I burnt a finger despite the warning given. The Malnad pork is a must try.

 It was a fun evening with the weather gods being kind blessing us with awesome weather including a rain free evening. Unfortunately,  we had to live with the live music ban across the pubs and clubs in the city.

A big thanks to Hitesh, Deepak & Amit for giving us this fantastic experience.  

Executive Chef Sandeep standing to the extreme left,

Rohan, award winning mixologist and
Chief Intoxicating Officer at Byg Brewski, extreme left

The Culinary Parade! 


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Dewar's @ Highland Nectar, ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru

I always love the energy when I walk into the lobby of ITC Gardenia. The gentle to strong breeze through the wind tunnel and especially the open lobby is always inviting and relaxing.

Highland Nectar is ITC Gardenia's Lounge Bar which was host to the Dewar’s Academy, for a learning, tasting and mixing session of Dewar’s whisky.

Dewar’s currently owned by Bacardi, founded in 1846 by John Dewar, John Dewar & Sons Ltd has grown from a small wine and spirits merchant shop in Perth, Scotland, to become a global brand. DEWAR'S is also known for its flair for innovative advertising and promotions. Dewar's White label claims to be the largest selling blended scotch in the United States of America.

Dewar's Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned
On arrival at Highland Nectar, we were welcomed with an Old Fashioned, a cocktail that dates back to the early 1800’s. Here, the ingredients include Dewar’s white label, a dash of bitters, ginger ale and a slice of orange.

Avinash Kapoli - Brand Ambassador Bacardi

Our host, Avinash Kapoli, brand ambassador for Bacardi was at his best both inside and outside the bar. Here we see his drummed-up version of a coconut high-ball with Dewar's.

After the initial ice breaking conversations we settled into our seats and ready for our excitement, we were introduced to Fraser Campbell, global brand ambassador for Dewar’s and co-founder of The Global Bartender Exchange, an online platform for bartenders, now over 150,000 members strong.

Fraser Campbell, Global brand ambassador Dewars interacting with the
whisky  lovers of Bengaluru

At our tables we were taken in by the well appointed display. A platter of crackers and cheese was accompanied with all the great stuff for our master class. Measuring jars, beakers, whisky glasses, tasting note pads, pens et al.

Well appointed tables

Cheese platter

In the first part of the session, we were give 5 decanters with different expressions of whisky fruity, floral, grain, cereal and smokey.

We discussed and experienced all 5 expressions and were left to decide what appealed to us the most. Then came the most interesting part where we created our own blends.

 We were provided a measuring jar and a beaker to mix the whiskies in the proportions to the desired taste.

This was the fun part as we got to name our own created blends.

Drinking responsibly, we started the experience or should I say, the tasting sessions of the three blended scotch whiskies.

Three expressions - Dewar's portfolio

Dewar's 12 years

Dewar's 12 year old blend, called 'Double Aged' due to the 6 months of marrying in oak casks that the whisky does after initial maturation and blending

Tasting Notes
Nose: Fruity like stewed apples, raisins, vanilla, floral, sweet with notes of barley and a tinge of honey.
Palate: Notes of barley malt, buttery, a little honey, and some aniseed spiciness.

Finish: A touch oak, alongside plenty of thick malt and sweetness.

Dewar's 15 years

A 15 year old blended Scotch whisky expression from Dewer's. This is definitely better that the 12 year expression. The finish is interesting and you can feel the spirit come right through.

Tasting Notes
Nose: A good balance spices, nutty elements and fruity.
Palate: Hint of coconut honey, Vanilla toffee.
Finish: A lengthy and warm finish

The famous Dewar's blend aged for 18 years then married in a vat for an extended period, hence the name 'Double Aged’.

Tasting Notes
Nose: Honey poured over fruit. Almond,
Palate: Almond, butterscotch and a little oaky.
Finish: Soft, flavourful and sweet
Overall: This is an easy drinking malt plush, reassuring and lasting

While my friends preferred the Dewar's 15, I personally preferred the Dewar's 18 which was smoother. Overall a very nice evening that went late into the night. 
Flanked by Avinash Kapoli on the left and Fraser Campbell on the right



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Sharief Bhai - Frazer Town, Bengaluru

Sitting at my work desk in office around noon, I took a break to decide what I should order as I had not carried my lunch from home. So I picked up my phone and looked at the two food delivery apps I had downloaded . There were a plethora of restaurant options to choose from. I decided to pick on Sharief Bhai as I had not tried their food and the outlet had a rating of 4.4. Flicking through the very tempting menu, I picked chose the Nalli Nihari and Sheermal.

As I waited for the meal to arrive I was reflecting on how the delivery apps have changed the way we order and consume food. In the pre-app scenario, I would be left with no option but going down to the food court and eat whatever was on offer.

Nalli Nihari

Nihari is a stew from the Indian subcontinent consisting of slow-cooked meat mainly shank meat along with bone marrow. The dish is known for its spiciness and taste and is slow cooked overnight.

 In some restaurants, a few kilos from each day's leftover Nihari is added to the next day's pot. This re-used portion of Nihari is called taar and is believed to provide the unique flavor. Some Nihari outlets in old Delhi boast of an unbroken taar going back more than a century.


Sheermal is a saffron-flavored traditional flatbread from Greater Iran and made its entry to North India along with the Mughal invasion. Sheermal is a mildly sweet naan made out of maida, leavened with yeast, baked in a tandoor or oven.

The meal arrived in about 35 minutes as promised, the Nihari still hot and well packed. The meat was extremely well cooked and the gravy tasty. I would have been happier with a little less oil in the dish but I guess that’s how it is served. The sheermal was average and could be better but for the price of Rs 25/- each you can’t ask for much more.

The Nihari and sheermal make a great combo.

Two sides to a coin:

The restaurant still used plastic containers. They should move away from doing so. 

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dalmore 12 & Jura 10 Whisky Tasting @ Tiamo, Hilton Conrad, Bengaluru

 Tiamo, the open to sky Italian and Mediterranean restaurant at the Hilton- Conrad, Bengaluru was host to Dalmore and Jura’s whisky tasting session earlier this week.

Overlooking the infinity pool surrounded with nicely lit plants, cabanas and with soft music in the background, Tiamo provided the right ambience for the evening. Bengaluru’s famous weather too played its part in being a perfect host. There was a light breeze blowing throughout the evening with the occasional drizzle that encouraged you to reach out for your malt and soak in the complete experience.

We were welcomed to an informal setting where we could stand comfortably and move around meeting and interacting with malt lovers and select members of SMAC, Single Malt Amateurs Club. The evening brought together whisky enthusiasts  from different backgrounds to help share their experiences and tasting notes with each other.

John Barr with Rosemary syrup
and a slice of orange.

 The evening started of with a John Barr based cocktail to possibly announce the launch of John Barr in the Indian market.

The John Barr blend was created for the UK market in the 1970's to imitate the then withdrawn Johnnie Walker Red Label. However, more than four decades later the John Barr Black still has very strong candid resemblances to the Johnnie Walker Black label bottle.

Quoting Sumedh Mandla, CEO of VBev, India on the John Barr’s launch in India, “We are very excited in bringing a great scotch blend to India, especially the current price point.” John Barr retails at about INR 2650 in a few markets

As the evening gathered momentum, we began the tasting of an expression each of the both the malts starting with the Dalmore 12 and followed by the Jura 10.

The Dalmore distillery is located in Alness, Scotland, which is 20 miles  north of Inverness that sits on the banks of the Cromarty Firth overlooking the Black Isle, The Dalmore distillery is owned and operated by Whyte & Mackay. 

Dalmore 12 is aged for the first nine years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, before half is transferred to ex-Oloroso sherry casks for the final three years. The result is a whisky with a combination of sweetness and rich, sherry flavors.

The Dalmore has a reddish orange hue with a fruity aroma and a little spice. Steve, the global brand ambassador of Whyte & Mackay said it tastes like drinking the whisky in a warehouse. This expression definitely is much drier on the palate as compared to the aroma.

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: Orange, dark plums & chocolate.
Taste: Citrus, Christmas cake, coffee, cinnamon.
Finish: Orange, vanilla, plums, cinnamon.

The glasses were SMAC on!

The Jura 10 was the next part of our tasting journey experience.

Jura distillery is a Scotch whisky distillery on the island of Jura in the inner Hebrides off the West coast of Scotland. Jura 10 is a part of the new core range of whiskies launched by Isle of Jura in early 2018. It's initially aged in American white oak bourbon barrels before enjoying a finishing period in Oloroso sherry butts.

Tasting Notes:
Nose: Honeyed barley and peaches in syrup, with lightly smoky
Palate: Subtly spicy followed by a fruity
Finish: Dark chocolate and a touch of smoke rounds things off.

Comparing both expressions most of the people around seemed to be enjoying their Dalmore while I personally enjoyed sipping my Jura through the evening.

While Vbev and SMAC ensured we had a spirited evening, the hotel put up their best in ensuring our stomachs were adequately lined for the malts that were to follow. The finger foods included fried chicken, mutton galouti kabab, baos, cheese rolls, bruschettas and many more. My personal favourite was Arancini.

Kudos to SMAC and the hotel team for putting this together for Bengaluru.

Steve Brand Ambassador Whyte & Mackay &
Hemanth Rao - Co-founder SMAC

Steve with Yash -Brand ambassador Paul John,
Kuldeep Dhawan - General Manager ITC Hotels
Sudesh Pai - Hospitality Professional

Friday, August 23, 2019

WelcomTheatre Goodness Gracious Me @ ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru

Laughter is the best medicine and when ITC Hotels Bengaluru invites you to a theatrical delight, Goodness, Gracious Me directed by Aamir Raza Husain, you cannot refuse. Personally it was nostalgic for me as I was seeing Aamir perform live after almost 24 years the last being the "Legend of Ram" in Mumbai against the backdrop of the erstwhile Welcomgroup Searock Sheraton.

The one set comedy was in the doctor’s common room in a hospital and has you in splits right through the act. It keeps you guessing on what next.
The theatrical performance was preceded with cocktails and delectable short and comfort eats that kept us satiated through the evening.

Folks on our table really enjoyed the Bibimbap, sometimes romanized as bi bim bap or bi bim bop, is a Korean rice dish. The term “bibim” means mixing various ingredients, while the “bap” noun refers to rice. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul or kimchi and gochujang, soy sauce, or doenjang.
Many of the diners were also queing for the Chola -Kulcha.. It is one of the most popular street food of north india specially in Delhi and Amritsar. Kulcha is a flat bread made without using yeast. I personally enjoy my chole with diced onion, lemon juice and a green chilli.

Channa Kulcha



On sets with Aamir Raza Hussain
A very enjoyable and entertaining evening. Thanking the hosts for the evening Amaan Kidwai & Kuldeep Dhawan.


Nadodi Pop Up @ Conrad Bengaluru

At Nadodi- KL, you have the opportunity of experiencing traditional food from the southern lands of the Indian sub-continent - Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka with a modern twist. 

I completely agree when they say We harness completely contemporary techniques and retrofit an age old traditional recipe with modernity. This can result in surprising discoveries and an absolutely fresh perspective on familiar cuisine tropes that must be experienced and savoured to be believed.”

So when we heard that Team Nadodi was doing a Pop-up at the Conrad Bangalore, we grabbed the opportunity to experience the culinary delight in our very own namma Benguluru.

Bisibelabath & Curd rice

Mushroom Masala

Smoked Salmon infused gin with
fennel-basil distillate Vodka

Comfortably settled and seated at our table we started our 11-mile journey. First on our table was a combination of Curd rice – rice crisps sprinkled with curd powder and tempered with mustard seeds. Bisibelabath – small dumplings sprinkled with sambar powder and finally Mushroom masala that was served in small cups. 
This was complimented by a very refreshing cocktail – Smoked Salmon infused tanquery gin with fennel-basil distillate in Ketel One Vodka.

Jackfruit seed Pie Tie &
Chicken Chettinad Burger

Sambar Icecream along with
Caviar & Kalaki
On the second mile, we were served a Jackfruit seed Pie Tie which was refreshing and crunchy – nice textures, Chicken Chettinad burger that was a mini chicken patty served in between macaroons, Sambar ice-cream that had a hint of sambar in a cone that was so cute. The Caviar and Kalaki was interesting, something that I ate for the first time. This course was paired with Pierre Delize Mousseux Blanc de Blancs.

On mile 3 and 4, on our table was an interesting serving of King Crab, river prawns and daikon paired with a nice Rose. This was followed up with Scallops with raw mango curry.  Both mile 3 & 4 with paired with a nice Rose. 

Alaskan King Crab with River Prawn

Scallops with Raw Mango

The Wolftrap, Rose

At the 5th mile, we were in for a treat with Red Beet. This dish had 4 forms of beet that included a kind of mini sorbet. We also got a little break to rekindle our appetites. I like sweetness and the soft ice that came with this dish.

Red Beet

Akshar the mixologist joined us at our table and was talking about the our experiences and  recommended  the Drumstick Cocktail. I really loved the moringa flavoured vodka with tonic. 

 With Askhar from Nandodi.

The Drumstick Vodka Tonic
 Akshar then took us through the journey with one of his specialities...Nandodi Rasam. This was rasam served with Vodka and topped with hot foam. An amazing experience of a chilled vodka and warm foam coming through at the same time. My fried on the table loved it so much, said he could drink this all night. 

Nandodi Rasan

Nandodi Rasan with the foam

Mile 7 we went head on with the fish head curry served with king fish and topped with crisp strips of red cabbage. This was really nice and enjoyed the course but felt the temperature at which it was served could have been higher. It probably turned cold during service. 

Fish Head Curry

This was followed by the " Humble Broth" which was strips of chicken served in rasam which was made with the first press of tomato which gave it a nice subtle flavour. 

Humble broth
From the time I read the menu I was waiting for this milestone - No 9. Lamb & Habanero. I simply loved the lamb. the meat was juicy, tender and full of flavour. It was paired was a lovely Pont Du Rhone. We inquired on the source of the lamb and found out that with was sourced from New Zealand.

Lamb & Habanero

Cruising into our course no 10 with the end to our evening coming in sight, we were served Nadodi Glob with was a Lobster truffle sodhi served on passion fruit sambol along with red rice spring hoppers. Again a fantastic dish.

Nadodi Globe
We ended our gourmet delight with Mind of a coconut which was Pradhaman Ice cream served along with palkova and coffee. I personally enjoyed the pradhaman ice cream.

Mind of a Coconut

Chocolate with sompapdi

Two sides to a coin: While we had a fantastic gourmet experience, the over all service was extremely slow. It was slow to the extent that the entire experience was getting disjointed with long wait times. A meal that should have been completed in around two hours lasted over four hours.

On a lighter note, one of the hotel personal came over to our table and said the delay is because the chef's are making the dishes a-la-minute, I felt like responding it seems more like a-la-hour (ghanta).

Secondly, a message to the hotel management. They seemed to have been hosting a PR event during this evening but the whole restaurant seemed to have been converted  into a private party making the place very loud and intrusive leaving scant respect for paying customers like us. Needless to say our table was given the last priority on being served. The lady waiting our table was excellent and the delay was more because of focus / mis-focus elsewhere. One left the hotel wondering if it was worth the high cover charge paid for the evening.

Thanking Chef Sricharan alumni of WGSHA and the Nadodi team for the gourmet delight they put up...

Autographs -Team Nadodi

with Kartick 


Anniversary Celebrations @ Byg Brewski, Hennur, Bengaluru

When I received a call inviting us to join the 5 th Anniversary celebrations at Byg Brewski, I readily accepted. Not only because I woul...

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