As a Bangalorean youth in 2012, it was highly likely that on any given Sunday morning you found yourself rubbing shoulders with other nubile types at Fava in UB City. There was al fresco dining, live music floating in from neighbouring restaurants, and cheap cocktails that embodied #SundayFunday avant la lettre (avant le hashtag?).
The newly opened Fava Bistro recreates this experience in Koramangala, the very backyard of the young and restless, albeit only with beer and beer cocktails. A more grown-up aperitif would not have been amiss, especially at first sight, when the classic blue and white of every Mediterranean restaurant ever opened greets us at the entrance (Bangalore, we need to talk about this).
But we’ll go with the theme, starting in on shards of lavaash that appear with the menus, before saving our appetite for black olive and pistachio labneh and Moroccan briouats stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, almonds and toasted sesame. It’s a weekday afternoon, not quite the best time for a boozy brunch - then again, we didn’t cross thirty to feel guilty about drinking decisions.
We ask for a Michelada, while the gym rat accompanying us sticks to a more pious mixed berry smoothie. The food appears with haste - points to the servers for recognising a starving woman when they see one - and we bite into beautiful balls of gleaming black and sunny green labneh. Each scoop is dusted in black olive mince or chopped pistachios, salty and melting. But something is off - these are more firm cream cheese than creamy labneh. Briouats are pleasingly crunchy on the outside, but for all their big promises, disappointingly tasteless inside.
The Michelada, a beer-y Bloody Mary, is ale and tomato juice that seem to be fighting each other instead of harmonising, making us turn to more sober pursuits. The mixed berry smoothie is solid - a bit too sweet and mercifully ice-cold, These drinks aren’t going to fuel any afternoon delights, either.
Pots of pickled veggies start to appear heralding the arrival of Persian chicken jujeh kebabs, and a daring lamb and avocado shawarma. In spite of any dreams inspired by Yasmin Khan, these tender, delicately spiced kebabs are - like most of the meal has been so far - kind of unremarkable. There is no honeyed hint of saffron. The thick robustness of a yoghurt marinade is missing. The shawarma fares a bit better, with spicy meat happily cuddling up to creamy avocado. Vinegared vegetables and the occasional crunchy nut pop in with greetings. It is easily the best part of this holiday meal so far; ur gym rat friend guards his portion with jealousy.
Emboldened, we give in fully to the colour scheme and order a culturally appropriate baklava - as appropriate as one that comes with “homemade liquid nitrogen infused 100% natural” honey and fig ice-cream. In a lament for waning summer, our companion gets himself a mango delight topped with saffron and pistachio crumble.
Fava proves itself fickle again on both counts: baklava is overwhelmingly oily, instead of flaky and syrupy, while the ice-chip mango ice-cream wouldn’t make it to a top ten list on this very street. Thinking longingly of Art of Delight, a stone’s throw away, we pack up from this mini-break, and sail away from the Med. In some instances, Bangalore just can’t be beat.
Getting There: #KorzKids, this has replaced Ministry of Pizza on JNC Road. The rest of you, make your way to 8, Jailaxmi Nivas in Koramangala, 5th Block. A meal for two will set you back Rs. 2784.
Accessibility: A few outsize steps (with no railing support) up from the pavement lead to al fresco dining. Another two take you indoors.
Sushmita Sundaram writes about funny people, odd things, and anything edible. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
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