There I was, walking up and down 5th block Koramangala, trying to figure out where to eat. Yeah, yeah, I can see those eyebrows shooting up. Searching, you ask? The road is an eatery by itself. Anything, right from vada pav, to dosas of all kind, cuisines from all possible corners of the world, you name it, that stretch has it. Ok, may be not Iceland. But you get the drift, right?
The young friend who I was meeting for lunch called and said, “look out for Om Made Coffee. It’s a lovely place, organic stuff.” I am very conscious about what I eat. Once in a very rare blue moon. Anyway, as is my wont, I went in search of this exotic place. In the opposite direction. The husband wouldn’t even have blinked before giving that knowing shake of his head that is perfectly synchronised with a shrug that doesn’t move his shoulders. How he does that is a mystery, even after all these years. Let me not lose my way here too.
With my head high up in the air, looking at all those sign boards, I trudged along. On the right was Habaenro, had heard the name quite a few times. Must admit the temptation was strong, but something held me back. Round the corner, it was a mela. All possible kinds of eateries, from Biriyani joints, coffee shops, the quintessential thattu kadas, Hatte Kaapi, Chai Point, you name it, that small patch of road has it. No wonder, the central building in that area is one of the city’s well known girl’s colleges. Long before reaching the end of the road, I knew I’d taken the wrong turn. Time is what I had in plenty that day. A rarity these days. An about turn, a rerun of all those restaurants.
Crossing a park on the right side, it was as if I’d reached an entirely different part of the city. Stately homes on either side, well guarded by Gurkhas, and old trees towering over them. The place smelled class, of the high end kind. ‘Kobe’ on the right side was done many times over. ‘Mainland China’ on the left beckoned. I am a sucker for Chinese food, the non greasy variety. And then I saw the ‘Om’ sign above it. Huffed and puffed my way up to realize it would be open only by 4. A stately building on the right caught my glance. Tall glass doors framed in wood, red bricks, a welcoming balcony with wide windows on top. And a huge tree with its wide green branches sheltering it from above. One look and a feeling of serenity descended on me. Before deciding to saunter in there, I tried peeking into two more joints. First was ‘Cafe 132,’ I even took a seat there. The menu sounded run of the mill and the seating was too impersonal. ‘Bon South’ apparently needed a reservation for entry. Yes, some things are meant to be.
The facade was tall, with glass doors framed in old wood. You can see the wine bottles racked on one side as you enter. Maybe this is how a Parisian restaurant would look like. Oh wait, this place is Italian, named after a famous red wine from that alluring country. “Table for two?” I asked. Thankfully, there were none, on the ground floor. One of the guys escorted me upstairs. One look and I knew where I wanted to sit. A cozy balcony, wooden benches at tables for four and chairs to seat twosomes. Wide open windows, with the lush green leaves outside blowing the cool breeze in. The bottle of olive oil looked inviting.
Mushroms are an acquired taste. Soaked in masalas , it makes me throw up. Give to it me sautéed , with just a hint of oil and some mild spices, it can be pure bliss. My friend hadn’t arrived yet. But I went ahead ordered this mushroom dish. A couple of minutes later a wooden tray arrived.
The guy placed it in front of me with a smile on his lips. He was pulling on a pair of fresh gloves on to his hands.
“May I? he asked.
I was intrigued.
Trying to act like a connoisseur, I answered, “Please.”
He took the bruschetta and placed it gently into his hands, as if it was a new born baby.
I can eat garlic raw, “Of course.”
He slowly rubbed the garlic in, then took a basil leaf, rubbed that in as well. A few drops of olive oil, some salt and pepper and finished it with a rub of baby tomatoes.
As in wit, subtle wins the game in taste. The only wish was the bread was a little softer. But then, it wouldn’t be a bruschetta, I guess.
The plate of mushrooms arrived with my friend. It was done to perfection. Crushed red chillies, garlic and olive oil. This one is definitely going to come out of The Weekend Kitchen soon. We enjoyed it so much, that we forgot to click pictures. Good food anyway is meant to be savoured, not framed.
For main course, we ordered a chicken in lime and garlic. Yes, garlic. I just love it. And some sauce that I have now forgotten. The chicken looked like sliced banana, but tasted exactly like it was meant to be. You could make out the individual flavours, but none of it too obvious. A perfect blend.
The place is as conducive to solitude as it is to conversations. You can sit on one of those wooden benches and get lost in a book. If you are one who loves to work while having good food, that corner seat is for you. The balcony is the place. To stretch your legs and relax, stare at the dancing leaves and ponder about life, catch up with your friends and chattter away, or just eat good food.
The only regret was, it is too far from where we live. But, it is one place I will definitely go back to.
12, 5th A Block, 1st A Cross Rd, 4 Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560095