Don’t be fooled by appearances: this secret lair with a blink-and-miss signboard may look like it needs a password to enter, but they’ll have you at Hello with their warm lights, warmer service and no-fuss, bare-brick décor. We go in expecting Jim Morrison, and end up with Lionel Richie.
Conversation will halt at the bar - there’s no alcohol yet - but good acquaintances may be made with virgin concoctions of creamy rich ‘mango mint’ and a towering glass of watermelon laced with black pepper, punchy yet refreshing. A basket of fresh homemade bread that lands up at the table is so surprisingly handsome we’d buy the baker a drink.
We manage to tear ourselves away from the challah to order jalapeno cheese poppers and chicken tupelo. Crumb fried and juicy, the strips of chicken are deliciously light, but the poppers, while unexceptionable, make us miss beer.
A basket of fresh homemade bread that lands up at the table is so surprisingly handsome we’d buy the baker a drink.
Hello’s menu is partial to meat eaters: vegetarians, be prepared to content yourselves with cheese and white sauce. Glazed chicken is made with peppery mushroom sauce, a high note that plays over the dutiful alto voices of the grilled vegetables and buttery potato mash (of which we confess we demanded an encore). Lamb burger, with a fat patty and a slice of cheese, is rather less musical — under-seasoned and virtually unsalted, it could do with some personality of its own, instead of coasting on fries and ketchup, already the seedy hobo of the diner menu these days.
If you’ve eaten as much as we have by this point, take a friend along for a mid-meal constitutional behind the bistro, where a tiny garden and swanky service suites may conjure up visions of afternoon delights, a hop away from the otherwise super-crowded EGL Tech Park. No such luck in store for us, but we return to some pretty excellent dessert: a much-recommended molten lava cake and sticky date pudding. The lava flows out generously out of the cake, saccharine-sweet and overwhelming, a volcano placated only with the restraint of ice-cream. Sticky pudding is much gentler on the palate, and is served with a spring-timey crown of crisped coconut shavings and autumnal walnuts. “Come back when the live performances start,” we’re told. Sure, if Lionel’s on the playlist.
Getting there: 157/A, Wind Tunnel Road, Behind EGL, Murugeshpalya, call 080 49653216. A meal for two without alcohol costs approximately Rs 1800.
Accessibility: A step up to the ground floor seating. Parking available on premises.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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