We’ve always thought of Bangalore as more #Occupy than Wall Street, but at this initial public offering, of course, the only sloganeering to be heard is repeats of the last order. This week, we’ve spotted nearly half of east Bangalore and all of Koramangala at new bar 52 Wall Street, trying to game their bills by playing against app-based ‘stock exchange’ pricing that rises and falls per demand for drinks.
We admit we were disconcerted on our first visit on a “special” stock day. Armed with coupons for drinks costing Rs 52, we tried futilely to find a table and to flag down a waiter. When we fought our way to the bar, all we found was warm beer -- the dipping point, if you like, for this visit. We left, gladdened only by a polite -- and very apologetic -- assurance that sanity would return the following day with a regular menu.
Our next visit reveals a remarkably calmer trading floor, from which we can gaze out on an incongruous view of a bright NYC skyline (this feels less like we are in NYC and more like in some really try-hard Bombay suburb), while Uncle Sam watches over the Trader Bar. As you can probably guess from your visits to similar bars in Bombay and Delhi, the prices of drinks at this bar fluctuate per demand. The difference from other models we’ve seen in India is that 52 Wall St asks you to play by app, pre-booking a drink at what you think is a good price, then redeeming it once you’re at the bar.
For dinner, we score superbly seasoned fajitas, thinly rolled out and robustly filled with salsa, guacamole and cream cheese, as rich and sharp as a Wall Street shark.
Stock v/s Broth
Since the app isn’t launched yet, we have to judge 52 Wall Street’s booze by quality alone -- the prices, for now, are listed on a menu, just like at any old recession-proof watering hole. A GBC with gin basil and cucumber juice doesn’t immediately fill us with confidence: lacking freshness in spite of its ingredients, there’s very little to distinguish it from a standard G&T. The ‘Spiced Up,’ with vodka, onion (!) tomato and orange juice is laced with chili and suitably punchy, but makes us think a little too insistently of salad dressing. (Trading starts at approx. Rs 295 per cocktail.)
To accompany this, there are gooey flavoured cheese balls encased in a crisp outer shell, a nice substitute for home-fried pakoras. That may sound like a diss, but it’s not: these little bites perk up the mood at the table, especially given how let down we are by bland Szechwan chili chicken.
For dinner, we score superbly seasoned fajitas, thinly rolled out and robustly filled with salsa, guacamole and cream cheese, as rich and sharp as a Wall Street shark. Just when we think we’ve hit a lucky streak, though, we meet a very unusual BBQ pulled pork waffle that turns our head a bit. We’ve no head for speculation, but something tells us this “signature combination” with a slightly chocolaty waffle and non-spicy pork isn’t going to make it as the new trendy food pairing.
The waffles double up as dessert, with no after-meal specials available yet. We leave wondering if it would count as a form of insider trading to double down on the fajitas next time. Coming? We’ll give you shares.
Getting there: 52, 6th cross, 5th main, 60 feet road, Koramangala, call 9972410052. A meal for two with drinks costs approximately Rs 2,150.
Accessibility: One step up on the pavement to enter the restaurant.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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