Hallimane (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

Hallimane was one of the best restaurants that Archana introduced me and Kenny to last fall, and we returned this week with our Seattle friends for a decadent lunch feast. It is conveniently located in Malleswaram, just a short walk from Sean and Archana’s apartment and an even shorter walk from the wedding hotel.

Its name is Kannada for “village house,” indicating that the menu features the typical foods of rural Karnataka. Of course, for variety, there is also an array of North Indian dishes available, but everything is vegetarian.

Like many casual lunch joints here in Bangalore, Hallimane has a system where customers order and pay at the counter and then deliver receipts to various stations to collect their food. Most hot dishes can be picked up indoors, while ragi and akki rotis as well as parotas must be collected from the men working the flat grill outside. Because Hallimane is always packed, this process involves elbowing your way through throngs of people, and is not recommended for claustrophobics.

Two of their signature dishes are made of ragi, the grain of Karnataka: ragi roti, and ragi mudde, which is a mushy steamed ball of grain. The mudde was certainly not for me, but Kenny and I love love loved the roti, which is made from a batter that includes onions, chilies and dill. We even tried making our own in Archana’s kitchen last fall, but had problems with the rotis falling apart. Thus was born our invention of the ragi waffle.

On our visit with the Seattle friends, we devoured a huge two-round feast, including several orders of ragi roti, two akki roti (made of rice flour), two aloo parota, one ragi mudde for everyone to try (no one enjoyed it much more than I had on the first visit), and a rava idly. We even tried a couple of North Indian dishes this time – channa masala, shahi paneer, naan, and kulcha – and they were excellent, probably the best North Indian I’ve had in Bangalore. For less than $2/person everyone was in food heaven, followed by a huge food coma that threatened to impede our last-minute wedding reception shopping.

Overall, it was an epic food day, starting with Veena for breakfast, continuing with Hallimane for lunch, and finishing off with a huge dinner buffet at Jayamahal for Sean and Archana’s wedding reception.

Lunch at Hallimane
Mini-feast at Hallimane with Kenny and Archana last fall

Kenny and Archana
Kenny and Archana love Hallimane

Hallimane feast
Hallimane feast with the Seattle friends

Hallimane chefs
These guys make the delicious ragi and akki rotis

Hallimane
3rd cross Sampige Road
Malleswaram
Bangalore, India 560003
+91-80-65611222

Hotel Fanoos (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

Hotel Fanoos is a hole-in-the-wall establishment in Johnson Market, a Muslim quarter of town, serving up delicious grilled meats from the tandoor, rotis, and shwarmas for rock-bottom prices. Sean took us on a walk over there one evening recently when we were working late in the Babajob office. I had been keeping a mostly veg diet, but breaking it with mouth-watering shwarma and bright green chicken hariyali kebab was so good I knew it had to be right. The roomali rotis were paper-thin and the hariyali was spicy, juicy, and delicious. The kebabs were not quite as tasty as those at Khan Chacha, but certainly the best I’d tried in South India so far.

Two weeks later, we were working late in the office again and craving kebabs fresh out of the tandoor. We made the 15-minute walk over, and again ordered our favorites: chicken hariyali, roomali roti, and chicken shwarma. While we waited for our order, Sean ventured through the service area upstairs to wash his hands, and when he rejoined us had a look of disgust on his face that I will not forget. Per his warning, I did not go check it out myself.

When our shwarmas arrived, we were all quite hungry and didn’t inspect them too closely before we started devouring them. Admittedly, we had all noticed that the shwarma spit was almost bare, and that our sandwiches were made with some of the dregs lying at the bottom. It hadn’t occurred to us until we had each finished about half a sandwich that these strips of chicken would be raw. But indeed they were quite undercooked.

At this point, we had mostly lost our appetites. We nibbled on the hariyali kebabs and rotis that we had ordered but didn’t feel inspired to finish them. We each took a precautionary Cipro tablet that night and swore that we wouldn’t darken Fanoos’s door again. Everyone was fine the next morning, so we congratulated ourselves on conquering Fanoos and thanked the Cipro for whatever role it may have played in our success. After all that, the truth is I’ll probably be back, but I’ll stick to the grilled items and pass on the shwarma.

Bottom line: this place serves mouth-wateringly delicious kebabs, but it certainly comes with risks, even for well-conditioned stomachs like ours. I generally have no problem eating street food, or even the raw vegetables and chutneys that everyone warned me about, but I don’t mess around with raw chicken. If you stick to anything cooked in the tandoor, you’re probably fine, and if you must try a shwarma just make sure there’s more than the dregs left on the spit.

We have no branches
They have no branches

Hotel Fanoos menu 
The huge menu of dirt-cheap deliciousness

Hanging chicken
Kebabs ready for the tandoor

Roomali roti and chicken hariyali
Delicous roomali roti and chicken hariyali kebab

Kenny at the Chicken CounterSean and Lauren eating shwarma
Happy, unsuspecting customers dining on shwarmas at the chicken counter

Hotel Fanoos
17 Hosur Rd, Johnson Market
Bangalore, India
+91 55362712

Jayamahal Palace Brunch (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

After a lazy morning playing cards at home, Archana suggested that we head over to Jayamahal Palace Hotel for brunch. She had been before, and had fond memories of the beautiful garden atmosphere, coupled with an all-you-can-eat brunch with unlimited beer for Rs 500.

When we arrived, we learned that brunch was no longer served in the garden; we were initially disappointed, until we learned that the new brunch location was at the swimming pool and that the brunch price included use of the pool facilities. We conveniently even had our swimwear with us, as we had originally intended to hit the Bangalore Club pool after brunch!

Kenny and I were still recovering from two consecutive nights of excessive wine consumption, so we did not avail ourselves of the unlimited beer, but we did enjoy unlimited fresh lime sodas (salt, no sweet) from the bar. The brunch buffet consisted of a barbecue area with delicious kebabs grilling in the tandoor (I’ve been sticking to mostly veg food lately, but I did indulge in some spicy chicken tikka), and an array of curries, rice, dal and Indian breads. The tandoor was certainly the highlight of the buffet, but the other items were passable and the dal was very good after I mixed in some spicy red chutney.

Jayamahal was a great place to spend a hot lazy Sunday and, while pricy by Indian standards, is certainly worth the price of admission if you take advantage of the pool. Hopefully we’ll be back when we return to Bangalore for the wedding in June.

IMG_0117

Jayamahal Palace
#1 Jayamahal Road
Bangalore, India
+91 80 40580444

Coconut Grove (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

Sadly, this is another review with no photos, because we dined at Coconut Grove during the period in which we were PowerShot-less (which we remedied later the same night).

We visited Coconut Grove on a Sunday evening in a large group; when we arrived, we had the run of the place (and it is not small). The dining area is a large open patio, with coconut trees and tile floors. The food is served on banana leaves and the beverages in copper cups. I haven’t been to Kerala yet, but I assume that they’re going for an authentic Keralan feel.

“The” thing to order at Coconut Grove (and other Keralan restaurants, I’m told) is appams – the appam is to Keralan food what naan, rotis, and chappatis are to the cuisines of other parts of India. It is simply a round rice batter pancake, but it’s thick and spongy in the middle, and is perfect for soaking up delicious coconutty curries. I was also told that they’re wonderful with a fried egg on top, but we had to save something for our next visit.

We ordered several curries for the table:

  • Chicken Stew – the most popular appam accompaniment, a coconut curry with chicken and potatoes. I was actually a bit disappointed by this one, as the flavors were bland compared to the other spicy tomato-ey curries that we ordered.
  • Veggie Stew – a vegetarian version of the above.
  • Kuraliach Kadi – crabs in a fiery red masala with a hint of tamarind. Spicy and delicious, but lots of work dissecting the crab.
  • Nadan Chemeen Curry – this was basically the same as the Kurialach Kadi, but with prawns instead of crabs. The prawns were slightly less flavorful than the crab meat, but much easier to eat, so I think this dish actually wins for overall enjoyment (we ended up ordering a second round of this one).
  • Kozhi Melagu – a Chettinad chicken dish with a masala curry and black pepper. Yum.

Coconut Grove was delicious and fun. I can’t wait to go back with the camera.

Coconut Grove
No. 86, Spencers Building, Church Street
Bangalore 560 001, India
+(91) (80) 25596149