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We’re scattered like fireflies across the smoking room at Shaken & Stirred, faces lit by incadescent bulbs and hearts warmed by golden whisky cocktails.

This new bar on Race Course Road may not be much of a looker, but your only concern here should be finding the bartender who makes solid cocktails, a skill that is wasted on most of Shaken’s population - pensive drinkers kicking back straight pegs and groups of dudes who’ve lost count of how many beers they’ve ordered.

Old Fashioned Fun

Still in the open air section, away from the beige boxed up AC room, we are served a magnificently tangy whisky sour and a cherry gin cocktail, which is too bitter at first, but eventually grows on us, a liquid lesson in how to choose friends. Both are perfect counterpoints to generous shards of green chillies topping our chilli cheese toast and masala papad cheekily topped with chicken kheema. We want to thank the bartender for his on-the-ball concoctions, but are never told his name by the server, despite repeated requests. This secrecy seems to be the bar’s only nod to its spy nomenclature.

For food, we begin with Shaken & Stirred’s tribute to Bangalore’s favourite cereal, ragi chicken cutlets, bland but made interesting by the texture provided by tucked-away pearls of the grain. All things dreary are eliminated by the heat of the Jiri-Miri prawns, that seem to pack in a single portion all the pepper harvested from a large estate in Idukki.

Dak & Mysterious

Thankfully, the still-nameless bartender has whipped up something to put out the fire – a whisky cocktail with smoky, cinnamon overtones. Our companion meanwhile is handed her nightmare – a tall glass of a ginger-gin drink spiked with blue curacao – paired with the DJs sudden tribute to Deepika Padukone and LL Cool J.

Rather ordinary options for mains push us to order Railway Mutton Curry and Dak Bungalow with butter and garlic naans. The best thing we can say about these dishes is that you are most likely to be served similar versions at a railway station or a dak bungalow.

So in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, this new bar on Race Course Road is no thoroughbred, but that mysterious bartender is quite a winner.

Getting there: 33, 5th Main, Sheshadri Road, off Race Course Road, call 46315555. A meal for two with drinks costs approximately Rs 2,500.

Accessibility: A couple of steps off the pavement to enter the bar.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

This story was contributed by Joshua Muyiwa, a Bangalore-based poet and writer.

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Food & Drink