Alila Bangalore: A farm to table concept with the restaurant encouraging local produce.
Sometime ago, in the deluge of all the invites that come to the mailbox everyday, I read an invite that stood out a bit. An invite that spoke about “Farm to Table” concept and how Alila is trying to encourage local farmers and more and bringing out the in a refined modern cuisine to the table. Whether its the Vallombrosa cheese by Father Michael from the outskirts of Bangalore or Nitin Sagi and his firm that is supplying micro-greens to the hotel, the idea is to use local and fresh produce.
And considering this is so close to home, we made our way to Alila one Saturday evening, to check out what is really in store.
We started the evening with an excellent “beetroot carpacio” thin slices of beetroot baked with thyme, spiked with a pomegranate emulsion and goat cheese and topped with pickled shallot, presented as rolled slices. Now I am not a beetroot fan but this was a winner and despite of my secret disappointment of seeing beetroot, I did wiped it all out. This dish for me was the star of the evening.
Next came the Duck Breast with onion jam and vegetables with a touch of fresh micro-greens along with skewered were Prawns BBQed with a garlic-yogurt marinade and a tamarind glaze. Both were served as tasting quantities on the same plate (note for the picture, this is not what you will be served when at the restaurant). The duck breast was fab and done to perfection, the prawns though a tad overdone still had a fabulous flavour. Considering how much I love prawns, I forgave the tiny bit.
Duck Breast with onion jam and vegetables
What came next took me by surprise, parwal aka pointed gourd. Now I have never seen it any menu ever and I was pleasantly surprised to see it making an appearance. I have always thought restaurants need to explore more vegetables and on the other hand, I could see myself squirming. I have had enough of this in my childhood. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it now. The parwal was stuffed with the flesh of the veggie and a mustard sauce and served on a bed of sweetish ghee rice. For me, the star of this dish was the combination of rice and the mustard sauce. I couldn’t have enough of it. I could have easily let go of my parwal if I had a choice, though the man loved that too.
From this, we moved on to the mains. We ate grilled breast of chicken with mandarin thyme just on a bed of creamy saffron starchy rice along with Calcutta sea bass – fresh fillet of “kolkata bhetki” parceled up in banana leaf, with marinated Bengali spice mix and short grain rice. Though the chicken breast failed to leave any lasting impression on my mind, I absolutely loved the fish. Perfectly done Bengali marination true to the chef’s Bengali heritage. Every bite of the fish was a delight.
And the last bit of every meal the desserts. We were served Bitter Chocolate Torte on a short crust pastry and caramel ice-cream. In the matka, is a Baked Yogurt with an infusion of dark palm jaggery. The desserts were nice enough though the palm jaggery almost felt like caramel and I didn’t get any earthy jaggery taste in there.
Address: Alila Bangalore, Varthur Road, Ramgondanahalli, Whitefield, Bangalore.
Phone: +91 – 080 – 7154 4444.
Wallet factor: Rs 2500++