There have been quite some meets happening at the Bloggers Table, Chef At Large, but I have had no luck being part of these these save for the first one at Blue Terrain, Novotel. Content at the moment that the kids are busy and happy, happier to have them out of my hair, but engaged elsewhere for sometime! But they are back home too soon, back in my hair in no time! My sister took pity on me and offered to have my little monsters over for the weekend. Hard to say if the kids were more excited about it or me! A gentle nudge by Natasha Ali around the same time made me realize the Bangalore Table was to be hosted at Azure, Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur the same Friday. Happy coincidence as sister happens to live close by! Novena of Edelman Private Limited, assured a decent spread of grub and drinks for me, a vegetarian and complete teetotaler. After dropping the kids off, hubby and I looked forward to what was described as a Mediterranean Sojourn at Azure.
The evening started with drinks at Shimmer, the bar. True to its name, Shimmer has a ceiling replete with dazzling suspended lights, a cheerful sight. Oliveto, Watermelon And Basil Bramble and Rosemary Delight were made with flair, and anyone who wished to was given a chance to play bartender as well! A virgin version of Rosemary Delight for me. Am not much of a rosemary person, much less of a herbs in my drink person, so a couple of sips and I was done.
The bar feels quite cramped though with narrow-ish spaces between the bar stools and the seating arrangement. Was quite late, an hour or more spent at the bar and we were all ravenous. Any more delay and I would have probably forgotten my manners and asked for my meal to be served!
We rapidly moved to Azure upstairs, a huge table laid for us bloggers and the press. Pleasant ambiance with a live counter nearby. The meal and the wait for it started with loads of cheerful banter - food, blogs, food obsession and photographing everything you eat. What else do you expect from a bunch of obsessed foodies meeting over a meal?
The first to appear on the table, the bread, was soft and served with soft butter, nice! The salad I had ordered, Plum Tomato Confit artichoke with cured buffalo mozzarella and French dressing was a burst of flavors, married so well, it hit the right spot! On any other day, I would not mind making a complete meal of one so good! The Greek Salad was OK-ish and nothing to write home about. The salad did not reach Neha Mathur and we had to request for another, but it unfortunately did not reach the table at all!
I loved the falafel, crispy and delicious! The dips that came along, tahini, Baba Ghanoush and hummus were disappointing though, missing critical flavor. The pitas were soft, though not particularly tasteful. The same was true with the aubergines which came along, no zing!
The talk and laughter though went on and on, one of those times when you enjoy like-minded company more, the food less!
The famished bunch that we were, we rapidly headed for the main course. My choice was Burrata with asparagus and vegetable mousseline. This, I belatedly gathered is an Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream. Burrata arrived and how!! A colossal portion of cheese no less, mozzarella on the outside and cream within. I love cheese, but then in considerably smaller portions as part of my salad or as a topping on some crusty bread. Burrata certainly aroused a lot of curiosity and the platter went around the table, everyone seemed to share my feelings about it. Rather sad, as such good cheese did not get its due, thanks to the size! May be it's just not my kind of a main course. I wished I had ordered the seemingly predictable Tortellini stuffed with cheese.
Swati saw my stuck-with-cheese predicament and shared her Tajine ( slow cooked vegetable stew with couscous) with me, a spoonful and sigh, another let down! As I was still hungry for my carbs, I requested for some rice which came along with another main course. This was good, perfectly cooked aromatic rice, subtly flavored, with plenty of pine nuts, though a little less fat would have made it taste even better. I ate it with some red bell pepper dip, it helped take the focus off the grease!
I had already taken a sneak peak into the dessert menu and knew what I would order. Baklava! I have never tasted this legendary Middle Eastern dessert, layers of phyllo and nuts. I don't know if this is how baklava tastes, but it certainly did not have me swooning and digging in with all the gusto of a die-hard dessert lover.
Warm chocolate fallen cake with coffee ice cream beckoned to me loud from hubby's dessert platter and was it good! I got to try this at home sometime soon! The ice cream was mediocre, the flavor of coffee evident and quite nice, but the sandy-ness of it left a lot lacking in terms of texture. I would have much appreciated another Mediterranean dessert in lieu of the omnipresent sorbet.
My carnivore friends did not seem to be particularly impressed with their meal either, sad again!
So, the average meal was rounded off with the warm chocolate cake, the saving grace. It was quite late, we had a long drive ahead with our poor man Friday at the wheels for the evening. Could not help but think, shouldn't a hotel the stature and reputation of Taj have infinitely higher standards? The menu had limited options, the serving sizes were decent though. Service could have been much faster and efficient. We would have loved it if the meal were as memorable as Taj is in our memories.
Thanks Taj for hosting our Table!