We know we’ve been bad girls, because this Whitefield traffic is hell and we live here now. But it might all be worth it, because the makers of a brewery (Windmill Craftworks & Terrace) have taken Kannada food and put it in a fancy setting.
We finally get out of hell and into Oota, where the restaurant floor is overdone with bells and lamps. Almost as ostentatious are the cocktails, which greet us in the balcony section, a welcome respite from all the brass bling.
Two whisky-based cocktails appear: Hogeynakall, made with barrel-aged blended scotch, pine needle infusion, ginger bread, lime juice and tea bitters smoked with pine bark. Kempu Cola holds barrel-aged whisky, lime juice, lemon tea syrup, ratafia, bergamot honey, aromatic bitters and cotton candy smoked in hickory wood. Phew.
They look beautiful, but maiden sips for both reveal that the list of ingredients just don’t add up. The bartenders are trying too hard, and we eventually settle on Windmills’ excellent stout instead.
Before you switch channels, we ask you to stay because the culinary bit of this program is much more interesting. A quick read through the menu will reveal Chef Manjit Singh’s road-trip-researched Kannada cuisine, evident right from the complimentary basket of sandige (rice poppadums) plus tangy tomato and ridge gourd chutneys. We’re tempted to ask if we can buy jars of these for later.
A quick read through the menu will reveal Chef Manjit Singh’s road-trip-researched Kannada cuisine, evident right from the complimentary basket of sandige.
Things go swimmingly when Mandakki and Menasinakayi Bajji (chili bajjis served with puff rice) arrive. This staple street food dish from North Karnataka has many iterations, and here it is served with a subtle stuffing of chilli, perfectly battered and fried. The accompanying coconut chutney is a standout. Chicken sukka, this one not of Mangalorean origin, is your regular rustic chicken and goes great with drinks; Suvarnagedde Kismuri (crispy fried yam) from coastal Karnataka is crisp as it should be, but alas, stripped of all flavour.
Pork And Recreation
Anananas Gojju (pineapple curry), is our first choice for mains but it isn’t available so we order Yenne Badanekai, literally translated to oiled brinjal. Not nearly as greasy as it sounds, the dish brings to the fore chef Singh’s expertise in sourcing and chopping ingredients the way Kannada food demands it. Next we dip pancakes (too thick and greasy), slim neer dosas and akki rottis into steaming bowls of gloriously lardy pork pandi curry with a hit of country vinegar.
Finish your beer in time for poppy seed payasam, because the subtle roasted flavour of poppy seeds will invoke your grandma, who might rap you on the knuckles for drinking too much. Bele Holige or lentil stuffed crepes on the other hand, is neither authentic nor tasty. The trick to a good holige lies in its stuffing, which in this case is barely present. Also, who garnishes a Karnataka dessert with pistachios?
And while Oota is getting rid of this garnish, they might want to consider other unwanted bells and whistles, which will make our return and your first time here much more pleasant.
Getting there: 5B Rd, Shivaji Nagar, Basavanna Nagar, Whitefield, approximately Rs 3,000 for a meal for two.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
This review was conducted by Guru Somayaji, former journalist and drummer who works in the music industry designing lighting rigs and production for live performances. He is also on a constant quest to find excellent craft-beer. Find him on Instagram as @gurureccomends.
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