A confession, gentle reader: despite being loyal (and, on occasion, loud) reps for the hood, we have been quietly complaining to our neighbours in a fit of dissatisfied ennui. Yes, yes, this is where all of Bangalore turns up in their sparkly best for a good time on a Saturday night; but don’t we deserve more than four options for post-revelry 3 a.m. Chinese? The cry goes out: Koramangala is not all that.
It is in this fractious mood that we decide to play hooky from work and set off for parts unknown (read: Banshankari) for some afternoon delight (read: cocktails and noodles). It feels like something new is brewing: is this the beginning of Banshankari becoming our new gastronomic go-to? It starts to pour on our way, but this is oddly cheering, too: warm, vibrant Asian food is just what the weather demands. Who doesn’t want to drown in a bowl of broth when it’s miserable outside?
We really should have known better than to anger the universe.
The rooftop restaurant - named, it seems, in deference to global chain Wagamama’s - is a bit damp as we enter. Our optimism isn’t. “The breeze is nice,” we exclaim, as we navigate the puddles pooling around bright blue chairs. “And look, that fresco on the wall looks extra cheery against the grey sky.” Marshalling our spirit of adventure, we forego appetisers to treat ourselves to sushi instead. Maybe this will replace our secret cheap sushi spot, we confide in our companion. He looks skeptical.
We dive in to pretty platters of poisson, chopsticks first. Regret is instant. The fish is far from fresh, even by our landlocked standards; and any hint of seaweed and vinegar rice is overwhelmed by the flavour of dodgy goop masquerading as Japanese mayonnaise. Our middle-class wallets will not allow us to abandon ship completely, and we power through half the roll before the fear of food-poisoning takes hold.
Enlightenment doesn’t dawn just yet. We’re at fault for falling for the lure of cheap sushi, we tell ourselves. Spirits rally with the appearance of drinks, but the mimosas are more room temperature Real Activ orange juice than uplifting bubbly. Panic begins to set in.
We attempt to set things right with a classic nasi goreng and some sapo chicken with yakisoba noodles. But oh, today is just not our day. Our companion pierces the best part of this meal - a perfect fried egg perched on top of a mound of suspiciously red rice, before disposing of the scant pieces of chicken masquerading as satay. The nasi itself is riddled with endless shards of lemongrass. It turns into a game - how many clippings of this flavouring agent will each forkful contain?
The chicken provides no solace either. With every spoonful we are convinced we’re drinking straight soy sauce. Even drizzling it over the greasy yakisoba doesn’t help. We’re doomed to dehydrate if we continue down this path.
Abandoning all hope, we ask for the cheque. We can’t bear to be disappointed by dessert. Soy sauce sloshes uncomfortably around our stomachs. Our companion pushes at the miserable mountain of lemongrass he has built on one corner of his plate. Desperate to save the afternoon, we suggest repairing to the nearby Alchemy Coffee Roasters for a digestif. It turns out to the be the one good thought we had in the last few hours. Our auto ride to this beacon of hope is soothingly brisk. The tummy rumbles die down as the trees standing sentry to the café gently shower us with the last of the raindrops. We collapse into the warm embrace of a corner table and gasp for a replenishing coffee.
Over a popcorn latte (yes, really), we return to life. Perhaps we were too quick to judge our neck of the woods. Maybe this entire experience was a comeuppance for our hubris. Our local Chinese is as inauthentic as they come and always leaves us with post-binge bloating. But at least we haven’t been struck down with the plague (yet).
Getting there: Send your enemies to 2466, Bhaskar Grand Tower, 24th Cross, Banshankari, right opposite BDA Complex and above McDonald’s. A meal for two costs around Rs. 2050.
Accessibility: Take the short flight of stairs to the elevator which opens to another flight of stairs that lead up to the restaurant/your doom.
Sushmita Sundaram writes about funny people, odd things, and anything edible. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.
Photo Source: Zomato.com
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