The next time you find yourself longing for some maternal affection, might we recommend skipping the ham-handed attempts at cooking your own puliyogare and heading to FabIndia instead? We were sorely reminded at how far from adulthood we are during a recent visit to its newest outlet at Trinity Circle ourselves. Stepping into the cool interiors, inhaling the smell of a well-kept home, eying all the bedspreads we could own if we had just listened to Amma and learned our times table by heart...we want to curl onto a handy love seat and never leave.
Better sense prevails, however, and we find ourselves drifting up to the in-house restaurant instead. Cool slate blue and white drapes welcome us into a bright room, signalling this as an oasis of calm. Sinking into our seats at honeyed tables, we begin to peruse a menu that is equally wholesome. Drawing on local ingredients yet catering to hipster desires, Fab Cafe is where we can imagine writing the next big novel full of parched earths and meaningful mangoes as we watch Namma Metro whiz past.
Instead, we settle for an Ice Kahwa Tea and a Wild Berry slow pressed juice that promises three kinds of berries and no additives - an antidote to the sweltering heat the Ooru insists on punishing us with. The kahwa appears first and it takes just one icy gulp of slivered almonds swimming in calming tannins, to soothe our fractious nerves . The berries - a virulent pink concoction bursting with energy - perks us up with each luxurious sip.
We find ourselves restored and eager for our appetisers. Delicate roomali roti baskets containing minced chicken bathed in cashew cheese arrives - our surprise at this vegan nonsense disappears a bite in. We’re still hoping our desi John Legend sees our inner Teigan and puts a whole wheel of the good stuff in our stockings this winter, but we wouldn’t be loathe to eat spoonfuls of this nutty alternative as we wait. Our attention turns to beetroot and lotus stem tikki chaat, which turns out to be beetroot tikkis in a pool of creamy dahi, criss-crossed with green and imli chutneys and dusted with lotus stem chips. The cutlets are soft, offsetting the crispy lotus stem pleasingly and we polish off the dish with alacrity.
Next up is an ajwain croissant breakfast sandwich. Sheltering eggs over easy with lashings of sun-dried achari tomatoes and bacon, this croissant isn’t exactly authentic. It’s more cake like than flaky, but that doesn’t stop us from tearing off shreds of this seeded pain. The achari tomatoes titillate the tongue and soon we’re left with only crumbs. As we wait for the star of the show to appear, we exchange notes about how we feel nourished but not stuffed - a feat we only thought our mama could achieve. But before we consider filling out an application for adoption, three pastel green covered dishes are placed before us. Steam lets out as they are uncovered with a flourish by our kindly server, and we ooh and aah in delight. In a light saffron infused cashew gravy rests slow-cooked mutton, accompanied by jackfruit flour chapati and a flaky six grain paratha. We dig in immediately - the mutton pulls apart easily, releasing rivers of the creamy cashew gravy onto our tongues. While the jackfruit chapatis leave far too bitter an aftertaste to ignore, its real love turns out to be the paratha. Its layers successfully shelter little rivulets of the gravy, melting in our mouths with each bite.
Forgoing dessert seems impolite after a meal like this and we were raised better, so we settle on a baked strawberry and nolen gurh cheesecake and vegan lemon poppyseed ice-cream. The latter is more mithai than frozen treat - in this regard we shall continue our dairy devouring ways - but the cheesecake more than makes up for it. We are no cheesecake experts (yet!), but this might be the best one we have eaten in a while - the strawberry topping blanketing this beauty is tart, with bursts of sweet nolen gur that catch us by surprise. But the real MVP is the cheesecake itself - creamy and not rubbery (a pox upon your house if you add gelatin to your cheesecakes, bakers) and resting on a sturdy gur spiked base, it cleaves to our spoon with a slow tenderness we wish the men in our lives would learn. Our hands slow dance between our plate and lips until every bite of this divine dessert disappears.
We push back from our tables with distended bellies and satisfied groans. FabIndia might be nearly as pretty as our mums, but only FabCafe comes close to lovingly overfeeding us like she does.
Getting There: 18, Ramanashree Arcade, MG Road (at Trinity Circle). Legacy Bangaloreans, this is where the Big Kids Kemp used to be. A meal for two will set you back Rs. 2308.
Accessibility: Poor. A short flight of stairs leads to the store, and another full one leads to the cafe.
Sushmita Sundaram writes about food, culture, and discovering your city. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city