(Pic Courtesy: Ruth and Sudhakar Prabhu)
I was sick with fever last week…so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed. What bothered me more than being sick, was missing the Zomato Food Guide 2013 launch at the Sheraton! And to add to the misery, Zomato had a special treat lined up for food bloggers over the weekend – a lunch date with NDTV’s Highway on my Plate superstars – Rocky and Mayur!! Saturday morning came and my energy was still zero. I hate to go under medication for a regular fever, but this time I made an exception and popped some pills, tidied my act up and headed to Bak Bak Bar! Oh, come on…don’t roll your eyes…how many times do you get to meet Rocky and Mayur???
I had heard about Bak Bak Bar from a couple of foodie friends, but still hadn’t planned an outing. It’s the old Manchester United Bar – refurbished and redone in a new avatar. The co-resident will be mighty pleased, considering he is a Chelsea fan! The place is bang opposite the rear entrance of Forum Mall in Koramangala. Thank the Lord they have valet, because there is no way you can look for parking on that road. Although you might need to get the valet’s attention when you are 100ft away from the venue so that the people behind you in the road don’t clobber you for stopping! I thought the venue was perfect for this lunch. It’s got a comfortable, casual vibe about it and their name implores you to have conversations or colloquially - ‘Bak Bak’!
Entered the place and was pleasantly surprised to see familiar faces – Karthik (hugs for inviting me) and Pallavi of Zomato and my other food blogger friends – Monika, Ruth and Sudhakar. After explaining why I won’t be having a drink for about half hour – I succumbed and ordered a beer. A room temperature beer. According to ancient legend (ya right!) – a warm beer can help bring down the temperature when you have a fever. So if my comrades thought I was more boisterous than normal – I’m blaming it on the alcohol and meds!
The picture above is of a drink called Gabbar Singh – a vodka cocktail with chilli and salt. Ruth got a taste of it and loved it. Sipping our drinks, we caught up on the trials and tribulations of a food blogger (yes, we do have various trials!) when Rocky and Mayur walked in. My feathers aren’t easily ruffled by celebrities…BUT….these were food celebrities… and people I saw weekly on TV… and they are passionate about food… and they are so funny….. and….. you get the picture. So yes, I was kinda gobsmacked when Rocky walked in and seated himself in what I like to call the ‘naughty end of the table’. Rocky is a roller coaster of interesting escapades, food trivia and photography tips. He even sweetly transformed his phone into a soft light using tissue paper so that we could get better pics of the food! His story of being on the road for the show had us in splits. Can you keep a straight face if the Royal Family of XYZ, introduced themselves to you as the ‘insert Hindi bad word with C’ family. (That’s apparently what they are called!) Rocky and Mayur not only kept a straight face but encouraged them to talk about the “C” family some more. Of course that bit was edited out, but the entire unit had tears in their eyes from laughing. Karthik came and literally dragged Rocky away because we were hogging him for our entertainment. Well, atleast we had some time to compose ourselves and concentrate on the food!
The bread basket was standard. Then the Citrus potatoes arrived. It looked like what my mom would make at home, but the more I ate it, the more I loved the tangy spicy play on my tongue. Squeeze some more lemon over it to make it a fine accompaniment to a sweet cocktail. Beef Kheema with Pav was an instant hit. (I have stopped eating beef, but I vouch for it looking at the expressions of everyone else at the table). Chicken Sausage Kali Mirch which was sliced sausages tossed in a pepper sauce and stir fried onions was nice as well. There was also a veggie cigar (spring roll) stuffed with corn and other goodies. If I was a vegetarian, I would have been pleased. The Chicken wings with a Cola glaze were the next to arrive. It’s a welcome change from the BBQ wings that have become a standard at every pub in Bangalore. But if you still want the BBQ version – they have that on the menu as well. Round one was getting to be a heavy round but we had to sample ‘Porkalicious’ – pork cubes in a green chilli, ginger, onion masala. It was reminiscient of home style cooking and was yummy but because of the more gravy like consistency maybe some bread/ pav would have completed the picture.
(Pic Courtesy: Sudhakar Prabhu)
Now that our bellies were happy, we plotted our way into getting Mayur to sit with us. He happily obliged. Mayur asked the bartender to make a cocktail for him, that could be used to sweet talk the ladies into submission. While the bartender opened and shut his mouth in disbelief, Mayur removed him from his misery by quickly convincing him that he was joking! (Or was he? :P). Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room. (Not him! – he’s fit and fine J) Is Mayur actually Vegetarian? The answer is …..YES. He’s tried to eat non-vegetarian food before but prefers vegetarian, so now that’s what tickles his palate. We ribbed him by saying how exciting can a vegetarian menu be? We got a story on Akhuni. Now Akhuni is a fermented soya bean paste that’s famous in Nagaland. The process involves cleaning and boiling the beans till soft and leaving them in pot in the sun or next to a warm fire to ferment. They are pulled out of the pot after a week or when it just smells right. ‘Try Akhuni for excitement’ he said, ‘just the smell can knock your socks off (and not in a good way!)’.
We moved on to round two. They got us a lovely looking dish. Jalepeno’s stuffed with yoghurt, encased in a light tempura like batter and deep fried. It is gorgeous to see the red of the jalapeno peeking out through the translucent batter. On first bite, I was sadly disappointed. Monika however urged us to take a nice big bite to experience all three flavours - the crunch of the batter, the heat of the jalapeno and ending with the soothing creaminess of the yoghurt within. Interesting order – atleast just for the poetry of how it looks.
Wasabi Prawns! Sounded exciting and even looked exciting but unfortunately did not pack a punch. Maybe I expected the wasabi to explode in my mouth and hit the roof of my nose. No such luck! The portions were generous nevertheless and the prawns were cooked well.
The monk flamed chicken generated a fair buzz of excitement on the table. No, a monk did not arrive to flame our chicken. The monk here refers to Bangalore’s favourite Monk – Old Monk Rum! The waiter arrived with a shot glass of rum, a spoon and a lighter. Everybody loves pyrotechnics - especially if it’s being performed by someone else. (I am a super klutz!). He expertly lit the spoon on fire and spread the flame over the chicken. Oooooo! We wanted more. He performed the routine again. By the end of the third round – the dish was more old monk than chicken! So next time maybe I’ll restrict the fire display to one time!
There are burgers and then there are BURGERS. The Bak Bak version falls under category two. So long have I held the belief that Bacon makes anything better – Bak Bak seemed to have been listening. My burger came loaded (really loaded) with a fat grilled chicken patty, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, Mayo and mustard! Served with a nice paper cone of fries – it is huge! Loved it! The smoked mayo that accompanies it just elevates it to a whole new level. Monkey Bar burgers – you have some serious competition!
It goes without saying that people concluded the beef burger was better. On some level, I have to agree. The fats in red meat are what maketh the burger juicy. A chicken burger will unfortunately falter here. I wish they put a Lamb Burger on the menu. Then I can have my cake and eat it too! Mayur ordered the veggie burger. The patty which was made of red beans and oats was a pleasant upgrade from the insipid aloo patty – Kudos!
We got chatting some more with Mayur as we wolfed down the ginormous burger. We were all ears for Highway on my Plate stories. Mayur told us that Rocky was a cleanliness freak - he cleaned a bathroom before having a bath in it! Another one where they pulled a fast one on a couple who asked them if they were gay – and they said yes and so is our crew! Substituting tea with whisky for a tea tasting that ended up with two presenters who were very ‘high’ in a tea estate. Sleeping with sleeping bags on really dirty beds in remote villages, eating the best food along the coast of India (Their new show is titled Coast to Coast), reading 70 pages of researched scripts for a 18 minute segment and always, always looking for the next hole in the wall eatery that’s going to blow their minds! Rocky and Mayur seriously rock – and I’m not generous with my compliments for people!
Rocky and Mayur are now the Brand Ambassadors for Zomato. So after prodding us to write more reviews on Zomato (they have a wider reach than a single blog) and encouraging us to keep looking out for food gems they got ready to leave. We pounced on them for photographs (yes, we were totally and completely celeb struck by now). Being the sweet hearts they are they willingly obliged and even got the entire group to act goofy! I had a whale of a time and next time I watch HOMP on NDTV, a new found respect for the amount of work these guys put in to deliver an informative and authentic experience!
Rabdi Mishti Doi Cheescake (yes, I got the name right) arrived. I was already stuffed but since Monika (of Sin-a-Mon) helped develop the dessert menu I had to try it. Verdict – Unexpectedly, harmoniously delectable! Take a bow Mon!
I have to say Bak Bak bar were the perfect hosts. Maybe the service and food was up a notch because of celebrity presence, but they served us exactly what was on the menu and the offerings (beverages and food) did impress. If they can manage to impress me even half as much on my next visit it will be a task well done. P.S. I need to go back to sample their cocktails anyway!
BAK BAK BAR,
1, Kira Layout,
Opposite Prestige Acropolis,
Hosur Main Road,
Ph: +91 80 30412940
Cost: Rs.1000/- for two (without alcohol)
Parking: Valet Available