Thursday, February 25, 2010


Food and fashion share several similarities. Beyond the fact that both are necessities for life and survival in modern times, food and fashion manifest themselves in varying forms, inspired by culture, tradition and art while continually transformed and altered by an individualised sense of inspiration and interpretation.

For some time now, the world has been witness to a wave of extremes in both the food and fashion world, cutting edge trends and experimentation gracing the covers of glossy food and fashion magazines the globe over.

For the past decade the likes of Ferran Adrià and his popularisation of molecular gastronomy at his restaurant El Bulli has been a talking-point for the food world. All the while Christian Louboutin’s splash with his signature red-soled shoes and the comeback of the ever-sensuous stiletto has paralleled those developments.

But the biggest similarity is that fashion, like food is big when it’s branded. Saha has become for Bangalore, what Valentino is for Italy – a brand, an iconic symbol of what a place can produce. For Saha, 2009 was a big year with his baby Caperberry coming into existence. Barely a month in the unveiling is his second restaurant – Fava.

The wine list is rich, and at that on tap, while the bar is well stocked. Immediately I turned my nose up at the idea of wine on tap ... wine to me is about sophistication, elegance, old world values, charm and taking the time. There is something undeniably beautiful, almost sacred about the protocol involved in wine drinking.

From the bottle being uncorked, the precise, swift removal, allowing the wine to breathe and finally the carefully pouring, the glug as the liquid pours into the wide bottomed glass and filling slowly into the gently tapering sides. Eric Asimov, NY Times asks a valid question, “Is wine by the keg a novelty? Or is this just the beginning of a trend that will benefit purveyors and consumers? It makes too much economic sense, I think, for it not to take hold.”

Getting back to Fava, I skipped the wine list entirely and opted for a jug of Sangria, trying the watermelon and basil rose option, that was refreshing, the perfect afternoon cooler.

The place boasts Mediterranean fare, leaving a lot to the chef to play with, since this refers to Middle Eastern favourites blending with the razzmatazz of Greece, Spain, France and Italy, as well as extending to Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Fava’s menu is extensive – perhaps a little too much so. This is maybe where they fall down – trying to deliver too much variety instead of specialising and triumphing. Their tapas and mezzes are spot on, with several delightfully pleasing hummus options, notably the cinnamon and orange. An absolute must is their mezze platters that come in ½ a dozen or a full dozen of choices – it offers dips that are drool-worthy along with pita pockets, and you will not be disappointed I promise!

The beef tartar with greenery infused (think it was mint and coriander) was absolutely divine, reminiscent of the classical preparation in terms of taste, but refreshing and zesty on the palate with the infusion of herbs, perfectly whetting the appetite.

The lamb chops, also an entree were deliciously succulent and tender, perfectly seasoned with freshly cracked pepper. As for mains, the lamb tagine – which I was expected to be served up in the funnel-shaped earthenware pot was sadly missing along with a bit of the punchy, aromatic fragrance one expects with a Moroccan treat. The shanks though did not fail to deliver, yielding soft, fall off the bone meat accompanied by a moistened cous cous with prunes and apricots that was missing a gentle sprinkling of coriander, mint and a splash of extra virgin olive oil to finish.

The three cheese pizza featuring halloumi, feta cheese and another I forget now (the problem with putting of reviews past a week) was delicious and a hit with our table. The crust was unmistakably thin and beautifully cooked.

The risotto was a bit of a letdown. It wasn’t that the rice wasn’t cooked properly, but rather that the asparagus and chicken combination lacking any attitude made the entire dish stodgy and reminiscent of a kraft-out-of-the-box-dinner. Sadly Fava’s version of risotto was a disdain to the timeless Italian classic.

The chocolate tasting plate was well received by my dinner comrades, but the crème de la crème was clearly the baklava. Having grown up in Kuwait my love for Arabic sweets is almost inborn, and that evening I fell in love with the toasted nuts, delicate pastry and spun sugar that all collided in my mouth taking my back to the taste of my childhood – pure bliss.


Pros: The zingy mezze options on the menu that will leave you bedazzled.

Cons: The service is beyond shocking! And there is a definite issue with insects, namely flies that needs to be addressed.

In between the lines: Love the decor, ambience and general feel of the place, especially with the glass encased kitchen. A good idea would be to invest in hairnets/ steward caps however for anyone that enters the kitchen – can be a bit worrisome for paying customers!


2nd Floor,

The Collection UB City,

24 Vittal Mallya Road,

Bangalore - 560001

Ph: 00918022117444


A Reader said...


The first paragraph of this piece comes across as incredibly pretentious. The connection between El Bulli and shoes is as tenuous as it gets, unless the point was to tell people that you know a bit about fashion.

You say "This is maybe where they fall down – trying to deliver too much variety instead of specialising and triumphing." However, judging by the rest of the review, everything you ate was good, barring the risotto. What, then, justifies that statement?

Next, you mention "service was beyond shocking" in the cons and don't refer to it even once in the main review. As a food writer, don't you think that point should have been elaborated upon in the body of the review, especially given the importance of service in a fine dining restaurant?

Lastly, I am not sure what to make of this: "A good idea would be to invest in hairnets/ steward caps however for anyone that enters the kitchen – can be a bit worrisome for paying customers". Was there hair in your food? Or do you want stewards to wear hairnets too? If so, please do name a single restaurant in India where they do.

MEGalomaniac said...

I appreciate all comments left for me whether they are critical, constructive and of course love if they are positive (I am human after all), so thank you for taking the time to leave detailed feeback.

If you feel I come across as pretentious - well that was not my intention - the comparison with fashion and food is one that I have used primarily to reflect the changes faces of both - the fact that trends come and go and can be cylical even.

Yes, offering too much choice in my opinion can affect the quality of the overall product put out on the plate for the customer. Barr the risotto the mains were good, but not excellent. I did love the mezze platters however - they were outstanding. So my comment about them falling down is in reference to the fact that the restaurants food overall could be better if the menu was simpler.

Service was horrible, and so much so it needed special attention brought to the fact. However I do not like to be repetitive and therefore the lack of mention of the service in the body of the review. Here I do take your comments on board, and perhaps next time I have such strong comments, I will make sure to hint at them earlier in the body.

Well, India or not, when and if there is an open kitchen, I don't think it’s a good idea to advertise that people, stewards or otherwise are tottering about without hairnets and caps! Simply not good for your image or business, especially for a restaurant by Bangalore biggest and supposedly best chef!