Perching at a place that previously housed favourites such as Café Thulp and Herbs & Spices, Roosters, you might say, has pulled off a coop. But somewhere between its Portuguese slang, Spanish table-top tiles, and Bangalore-themed Paul Fernandes art on the wall, this new pub trips up.
On weekends, we’re told, its penguin suits will push back its couches and corner tables to make room for live music and karaoke. Large projection screens will show matches during the week. For quiet lounging and lazy conversation under their sun-roof, clearly, you must time your visit very judiciously. We are reminded of Ella Fitzgerald: it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that (s)wing.
Check your Ale-ments At The Door
If you must drink here, we suggest sticking to beer on tap. From its limited bar menu, which features some beer cocktails and boozy milkshakes, we sample filter coffee beer: strong and caramel-laden, but we must politely decline refills and look for a safer option. Ginger beer, with notes of ginger, lemon and honey, is refreshing and light, but can’t hold a candle to the classic warm beverage from the mountains.
The food menu is straight-up unimaginative, but bear in mind that Roosters is the brainchild of one of the co-founders of our city institution, the Windsor Pub, which has captured every Bangalorean heart that ever crossed it without ever deviating from its safe, standard, predictable menu. Like Windsor pub, Roosters does get some things spot-on. Its breads, for one, are exemplary. This Malayali heart brims with joy at the sight of a perfect appam, with an inverted dome, crisp, lacy edges and a soft, pillowy center. Ceylon egg parathas are also worth the food coma – these square parcels of paratha have just the right amount of elasticity, and come with a thin, spicy omelette folded in.
Veni, Veddi, Vici
On the other hand, please stay away from Guntur chilli chicken, gloopy, insipid and a terrifying, unnatural green. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to a dish otherwise meant to be zingy and put hairs on the chest. Instead, try veddi erachi, a south Kerala specialty best described as spiced beef floss. With whole shallots and cloves of garlic thrown in, this pub grub is wonderfully addictive, even if you might need to gargle with your beer to get rid of strings of beef from between your teeth. Thread carefully!
The Bad Word Curry, beef meatball curry of Cochin Anglo-Indian lineage, brings to mind other bad words, typically broken out on the occasion of monumental disappointments. The gravy is so thick that the meatballs are almost propped up in it, and tastes like the sort of nondescript curry that you are usually served when you ask for north Indian food in a place run by southern chauvinists. It’s a surprise, then, that crab rasam is good – so good, in fact, that all prior misdemeanours are forgiven. It comes with a generous amount of crab meat, adding a delicate silkiness to the broth. We sigh with relief at the restoration of claw and order.
This alone is worth a visit to Roosters, especially on a cold December night. For dessert, there’s tiramisu, with an enthusiastic sprinkle of cocoa, has an aftertaste that is familiar to anyone who has a mother with a propensity for stashing away perishable goods in a cupboard and forgetting about them long past their expiry date. Rancid cocoa soon overpowers all the other flavours, making it the biggest disappointment of the night. We’ll try the apple pie next time we’re lured in by that crab, beckoning to us from between a cock and a hard place.
Getting there: Sir CV Raman Rd, Hal, HAL 3rd Stage, Stage 3, New
Tippasandra, Bengaluru; Timings: 11:30AM–3:30PM, 7:30–11:30PM; Call:
099866 32408; Accessibility: Flight of stairs. Price for two Rs. 2100.
This review was contributed by The Goya Journal.
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