Friday, January 16, 2009

Seven Course at Grasshopper

Keen to try out the only restaurant in Bangalore that features a degustation menu, Sameer and I headed to the outskirts of Bangalore, a good 45 minute drive to Bannerghatta Road.

Grasshopper does not have a menu but offers only the seven course tasting menu, designed keeping in mind seasonal produce with special attention to patrons individual preferences upon their advance reservation.
The restaurant does not take any walk-in's, insisting on reservations at least five hours prior to the meal - however to be on the safer side since the seating is limited, only five tables, it is advisable to book a day or two ahead.

You enter through a white gravel pathway that leads up to a contemporary styled warehouse with bright red doors slung wide open revealing mannequins hanging from the ceilings draped in modern khadhi fashions. Several tasteful black and white photographs decorate the walls and a long flight of stairs on the opposite side of the first floor of the warehouse takes you down through the fashion studio and into the restaurant that is located outside. Funky flat slippers and open toed flip flops adorn alternative steps, an aesthetic delight!
If you are going for dinner it would be wise to take a shawl as it does get unusually chilly. The atmosphere is private and an air of sophistication prevails.

The wine list is rather limited and corkage is only Rs. 300, making good sense to take in a bottle of something special to savour alongside your meal. We entered at ten o' clock, by the time Sameer got off work and we made it through the maddening peak hour Bangalore city traffic and to the outskirts. It felt great to be seated and have a glass of Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rose while we mused over expectations of the meal to come. Sameer was nervous of course, perplexed after a long day of work if he would need a microscope to identify the food.
I on the other hand tried to keep an open mind, neither raising my expectations nor skeptical, instead trying consciously not to over think the food, simmering my anticipations, to allow the experience to be as positive as possible.
The entree featured two plump beetroot wedges lightly marinated in olive oil and peppercorns with sesame seeds dotting them, a sprig of parsley for garnish and a touch of Roquefort. The cheese was so faint, and perhaps a dollop would have done the trick of elevating the deep flavour of the juicy beet. However, in my delight of the first course, I forgot to snap a picture!
Sameer was clearly nervous by the size of the first course, weary about his six foot long body and all 90 kg's of himself being sated by the end of the meal!
Up next was a goats cheese bruschetta with smoked aubergine, finished with pomegranate and thyme. Heavenly. Both of us were ecstatic about the bold, flavours that married perfectly.

The prawn appetiser with finely sliced ginger and lemon grass was truly delectable. Cooked to perfection, the freshness of the prawn along with the subtle Thai flavours enveloping it was wonderfully refreshing after having to succumb to the wistful murder of prawns in numerous dishes be it in Indian or Chinese food across the city. The toasted nori (seaweed) added a crunchy mouth feel and slight saltiness needed.
The salad course did not disappoint. Romaine lettuce, figs and feta cheese: a classic combination with a twist, in-house sun-dried tomatoes, that were richly mature and slightly oozing toward to middle, enhancing and elevating the glorious flavours.
My only grouse, a better quality olive oil should have been used to dress it, in fact a lemon infused olive oil would do the trick beautifully.
Moving on to the main fish course, a fillet of sea-bass with lemon-herb-butter and parsley sauce. The fish was overpowered and helpless against the raging lemon-butter, loosing its effect and appeal altogether. A sorbet as a palate cleanser would have been much appreciated at this juncture of the meal.
Sameer not a fan of most meat from the sea, was presented with a platter of lightly roasted chicken with pimento olives and whole roasted garlic pods. The chicken had a rather robust smoky flavour that I quite enjoyed giving the white meat character and depth.
The main course was two lamb shanks cooked to absolute perfection, the meat yielding to the fork with accompanied by baby tatters and sweet, skinny Delhi carrots.
Chocolate truffle with strawberries and kiwi slices.
Lemon cheesecake with pomegranate jus and mint leaf for garnish.

Both the desserts were good, but broke no records, did not try to create something new, nor did it outdo previous preparations of these desserts in comparison to other Bangalore restaurants. On the whole, the meal was pleasantly refreshing in a city of tried and tested formulaic eateries churning out buffet lunches and tired menus. However, it is not so much the food that stands out to me, but the sophistication, the style, the setting, the service and the surreal feeling of having left the city to another superficial escape that surprised me and seduced me instantaneously.

Location: 45,Kalena Agrahara, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore

Ph: 265939999

1 comment:

Cari said...

Geez oh man girlfriend. Awesome! Your writing is soooo good in these posts, not to mention the food you've been eating - I can't wait to visit Bangalore with you!!!! xoxo