Hard Rock Cafe - Opened first in London, England, started by two music loving people, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton. History has it, Eric Clapton, the famous English guitarist, loved to eat at this then small American diner called Hard Rock Cafe. Clapton was a regular here and became friends with the proprietors and asked them if they could save a regular table for him and put up a plaque sort of thing for his table. The proprietors laughed and asked him if they could put up his guitar on the wall and he handed it over to them, it was put up on the wall. In a weeks time, another guitar arrived from Peter Townshend, the famous English guitarist, this was slapped on the wall as well. What started with one guitar on the wall now is 70,000 guitars, drums, pianos, scarves, jackets, handwritten lyrics and lots of other rock memorabilia, in fact, the largest collection of its kind in the world. Hard Rock Cafe now has over 173 venues across 52 countries in the world. A place for good music and great times, with American fare served here, this place believes in 'Love All, Serve All'' philosophy, welcoming everyone regardless of class or creed.
HRC Bangalore, is on St.Marks Road, opposite the LIC building. You can't miss the retro feel of the place as you enter it, housed in an old building on the busy road, valet parking is available, thankfully! The cafe consists of a 100 seat restaurant, a bar and the signature retail rock shop. HRC with Avian Media had called a few food bloggers including Geetha, Ally, Madhuri and me for a sampling of their Mexican menu as part of the Mexican Fiesta which was on till 20th of this month. My sincere apologies to Avain media for being unable to put up this review earlier.
The first thing that you notice about the place is its remarkably different ambiance, with its very high ceilings, the rock memorabilia on the walls. If you are a hard rock lover, you would love to soak in this and take a leisurely walk through the cafe, browse the collection and take your time over the meal with your favorite numbers played by the live band. Since we were there at lunch time, the music was very noticeably low, very much unlike a rock cafe. The music goes up a few decibels only during the happy hours and in the evenings, we were told.
Mexican food is synonymous to spicy and tongue tickling fare and having it in a place as well known as the HRC was indeed very enticing. Since most of us were vegetarians and we wanted to taste all the vegetarian dishes on the menu, we requested for a serving of each of the dishes. The Chef obliged and made vegetarian versions of the non-vegetarian dishes as well. Geeta and Madhuri ordered their cocktails, while I asked for a Virgin Pina Colada. It was really refreshing and delicious, but I could get no further beyond the first few sips when our food started to arrive. The first to arrive was Spicy American Corn and Danish Mozarella Samosette which was extremely delicious, with the burst of melting cheese encased in crispy Pyhllo. Yummm!! I loved eating this as is and chose to taste the fresh roasted tomato salsa separetely. The pesto mayonnaise was a true creamy, creamy delight and we could not get enough of the samosette and the dip, requested for another serving.
We had a vegetarian version of the Seasoned Chicken and Corn Tacos, with cottage cheese in place of the chicken. Crisp taco shells filled with a spicy mix of cottage cheese, lettuce, tomatoes,olives and spring onion , served with homemade guacamole and sourcream. The tacos were good, though I must say the guacamole did not impress.
We also tasted the Tostadas topped with cottage cheese, caramelized onions, roasted sweet red peppers, topped with cheddar cheese and jalapenos. Since the portions are huge, our tummies were already groaning under the wight of all the food and drink. Then came the Albequerque Cottage cheese & Veg Burrito which are tortillas laced with chilli garlic mayo, topped with tomato rice, cottage cheese and assorted vegetables. Served alongside fries, guacamole and sour cream. Very, very, very substantial to say the least!!
We were still left with the famous burgers of HRC and we could seriously eat NO MORE! We had tiny portions of the vegetarian burger, which again came with Cajun fries and guacamole. The burger was good, but given that we were stuffed completely, we could do no justice to it.
A stuffed stomach still and always has room for dessert. The only dessert on the Mexican menu was Black and White, chocolate pyramids with roasted cinnamon, served with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chipotle sauce. I am not much of a chilli in my desserts person, so I can' really say I enjoyed the dessert with the spicy sauce. But it was a huge disappointment to not have choice for dessert as I was really really looking forward to this part of the meal with more authentic Mexican desserts.
My opinion: Non-vegetarians will have a ball at this cafe, but the vegetarain versions on the Mexican menu could certainly do with more than cottage cheese in most dishes. And less ice in the drinks would be a suggestion as my Virgin Pina Colada which was really refreshing the few sips, was nothing much than sweetish cold water by the time we were half way through the meal. Food presentation and plating definitely can do with a lot more attention.
The regular menu has better options for the vegetarians - of them Nachos, salads, onion rings, white cheddar smashed potatoes, burgers and of course the desserts! More information on their site here.
Vegetarian, love hard rock and fine with limited food options? You must then surely go, more for the ambience than the food. Not a hard rock person and vegetarian? This is not the place for you. Non-vegetarian, love your cocktails and crazy about rock?? You must surely go!
Thanks HRC and Avain Media for having us over. A special note of thanks to Chef Vikas Pathak for accommodating our request for veggie versions and dishing up the Mexican fare for us. We will not forget the samosette in a hurry!