India. Bangalore: To be ale and hearty

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Whitefield might have its share of infrastructural woes, but in the meanwhile, the number of microbreweries opening up in the neighbourhood means that someone is at least raising ‘hops’! The beer would be available only in early September, we were told when we visited Biergarten, but we are used to waiting in, and for things, in Whitefield, so we weren’t surprised.

Sooner or later, things will hopefully get ‘bitter’. The place covers a fairly large area – at the centre is an alfresco section, with long tables that are perfect for the shared table concept of a conventional biergarten. Surrounding this, but a level above, is a mix of seating options – bar stools, plush sofas for lounging, and functional seating. The bright lights and the green glow give a lively feel to the place, the music is upbeat and the overall ambiance is quite relaxing. The courteous and accommodating service also helps.

Entree: The craft beer wasn’t available, but there were enough options to keep our spirits up. From the house specials, we tried a Southern Wild. The rum based drink with orange bitters, lime chunks and sugar, was well balanced, and the curry leaves added just the right zing. The Exotic Punch was a rather sweet fruit punch – peach, mango and orange flavours – with vodka.

The look and the feel of the menu – in terms of form as well as colours used – reminded us of a microbrewery nearby. But the menu itself was different and had a multitude of cuisines. The Char Siu Bao arrived first, and if it hadn’t been for the overly clingy paper square that refused to be separated from the bun, this would have been perfect! But in terms of taste, the steamed BBQ pork was undeniably fantastic. The Biergarten sausages had to be tried, and though the assorted sausages were only average, the potato salad and the sauerkraut that came with it, over delivered, largely thanks to the bacon in the latter! The Tellicherry Pepper Prawns had flavourful, soft meat, and though there was a tinge of coconut flavour, the overall taste, we felt, was more Chettinad than Kerala. The veg version of Yakitori Skewers was a pleasant surprise – superbly cooked tofu and shitake with a wonderful hot and sweet sauce. The Orange Scented Spiced Chargrilled Chicken was the only minor disappointment, not because it lacked in taste, but more because we really couldn’t discern any orange zest flavour. It was just a well-cooked tandoori chicken.

Main Course: The Smoked Chicken and Pesto pizza seemed a good place to start, and our faith was rewarded with an excellent thin crust pizza with grilled chicken, pesto sauce and mozzarella. The only misfit was the peppercorn, which when bit into, actually took away from the dish. From a standard pasta menu, we tried a Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Risotto. Well cooked rice with parmesan made for a rich, delicious dish! The Lamb Prik Thai was the absolute opposite in terms of flavours – bird eye chilli, and lemon leaves providing a fine tang and spice combination. Our nemesis, the green peppercorn, was here too, but we were wiser now and avoided it. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the only issue we had with this otherwise superb dish was the inconsistent spread of the chilli. The Stir Fried Pork Chilli Pork Chops was the table favourite – succulent pork served with sticky rice that did a fantastic complementary job.

Desserts: The Biergarten Deconstructed Black Forest Cake was an obvious choice and it didn’t disappoint at all. Superb mix of texture and flavours, with wonderful dark chocolate and “nutties” flavours popping up in between, I really liked this! But the table was divided on desserts – the ladies loved the Red Velvet Coconut Cheese Cake, smooth, light and with a mild coconut flavour.

2016-08-26_12h19_27In a nutshell: The prices are a bit on the higher side, especially the house cocktails, but in all the dishes we tried, there wasn’t really anything that we found bad. A good time to mention that the plating was really good, especially the starters. The ambiance is vibrant yet relaxing, and the service was excellent and absolutely prompt even with the place being practically full. In short, if the craft beer turns out to be as good as everything else here, it’s reason for more cheers in yeast Bangalore!