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

Ketan (Mandrem, India)

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

Rating:

Next door to the Dunes is a cute little family-run guesthouse and vegetarian restaurant called Ketan. At Rs100 (about $2), their vegetarian thali is the most expensive, but also one of the most delicious, I’ve had in India. It’s also large enough that Kenny and I can share one for lunch or dinner if we order a couple of extra chapatis.

We dined at Ketan three times during our week in Goa, and each time the thali featured a different combination of vegetables and curries. My favorite thali items were the dal and the delicious pumpkin sabji. Everything was a winner though, including cabbage, beets, and gobi curry.

There was always a very cute little boy running around the restaurant and sharing his toys with the guests. He looked great in my sunglasses. His older brother, Ketan, apparently inspired the guesthouse/restaurant’s name. We also befriended Keshav, who I believe was the patriarch of the family. He gave us a ride down to Anjuna for the weekly market, and also offered a good rate on a taxi to the airport at the end of our week.

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Ketan
Junes Wada, Mandrem Beach, Goa
+91-832-2247943
+91-942-1257616
ketanguest@yahoo.co.in

Well Garden (Mandrem, India)

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

Rating:

As Kenny mentioned, Sean’s good friend Josh planned our Goa trip for us. One of the places he emphatically recommended was Well Garden, a hidden little restaurant behind the mini-mart in Mandrem. One of the common features of Josh’s recommended restaurants seems to be that we can’t find them on our first try; on our first night in Goa, we tried to dine at Well Garden, but after a bit of searching gave up and ate at Dunes. The next day, we had better luck, and we enjoyed a lunch of homemade fettuccine with pesto and a delicious salad of beans, celery, apples, and onions. We learned that the famous wood-fired pizzas were only available at dinner time, so we planned to return the following evening.

On our second visit, we just had to have the delicious bean salad again. We also ordered a pizza with eggplant and capsicum, which was thin and crispy, and featured tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies in just the right proportions.

When Sean and Freeman arrived on Friday, the first item on their agenda was pizza at Well Garden. So back we went, and we also enjoyed a farewell dinner there last night. Unfortunately, after our first two meals, the bean salad was never available again (maybe we consumed all of their beans?), so we tried a few other salads which ended up being much less exciting. The hummus was equally uninspiring. But the pizzas and pastas were reliably good, and we never minded that they were out of chicken so that Sean couldn’t corrupt us while we were in detox mode (no alcohol or meat for a week). The big surprise hit was the chickoo cake, which we enjoyed on two visits in a row, and even ordered a second slice of on our last night.

If you’re headed to Goa, I’d definitely recommend Well Garden, but stick to the pizzas, pastas, bean salad, and chickoo cake. Trust me, I’ve tried most of the menu. ;)

Eggplant and capsicum pizza
Eggplant and capsicum pizza from the wood-fired oven

Bean salad
This delicious salad had beans, apples, celery, and onions. I will certainly be trying to replicate this one at home.

Hummus
Hummus

Chickoo cake
Chickoo cake

Well Garden
Behind the mini-mart 
Mandrem, Goa, India

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.

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