"When it comes to plating versus taste, taste wins hands down." I vividly remember the first Masterchef Australia season in which towards the end, the judges told the eliminated contestant those words. While plating is important to add a visual element, it should be to enhance an already good tasting dish and cannot make an average dish better! After seeing photos from diners, this place was on my to-eat list! Like I had to do it right now, types. The place is relatively young and going by an article in The Hindu, it is started by a passionate foodie who has returned from California.
First visit was with a bunch of friends. We started off with a reasonably bad garlic butter pretzel. Except the shape, nothing else was pretzel like. The consistency was wrong, but oh well. And then came a dish that was outstanding! A crumb fried zucchini. I don't know what went into the crumb, but that was a kicker of a dish! We polished it off effortlessly!
And then the mains! I ordered a bagel beef burger, the friends ordered a Étouffée gravy with rice and a country fried chicken. The bagel was very very bad. The consistency was all wrong, but beef the patty inside was pretty good! The bread was so bad that I literally had to eat only the patty! I had a feeling that they have one bread dough that is shaped into 'bagels' and 'pretzels' and what not! The étouffée gravy good, but that wasn't étouffée at all! While typically an étouffée is made with shellfish, we knew it was going to be chicken and that it will be different, but it was way too off mark. But since it tasted good, it was polished off. The last dish was the country fried chicken that was supposed to have gravy, but chicken was all wrong, didn't taste like a typical country fried chicken and the 'gravy' was like splash of thousand island dressing unlike how it is supposed to be, smothered in gravy!
We went to Tovo after that and had a good dinner!
But there was something about the place. Maybe the fact that it screamed, BREAKFAST. I went back there a couple of weeks later, on a Sunday. Late. Late brunch. OK, beyond Brunch time. OK. OK. Yes, much later. Like LINNER time, if that is even a word. Linner time to eat breakfast. This time, we repeated the order of crumb fried zucchini and skipped all of what we had the last time. I ordered breakfast. Like banana pancakes! And loved it. It wasn't floury like it is in some places, it was stacked and the maple syrup was generous. And a roll, that had only mashed potatoes inside it. I know its kinda funny to have a mashed potato katti roll, but that is what it was and was nice. And then some brunch. I forgot the name of the minced meat with rice dish, but it was a Sunday special and was awesome!
I don't know if this place is inconsistent or if they had a bad day the first time I went or if some dishes are great and others are average! But I sort of like some dishes in this place. And the bistro ambiance. On a rainy day, the greenery outside (though it is plastic) shines through. And the great service (Sunday). The first time around, though the guy was friendly, he had almost no idea about anything on the menu and he wasn't around on Sunday. Loved the fact that the menu price includes every thing and the bill gives the split up of the taxes.
I'll have to go again and hope that my first visit was an off day!!! But I know I will go back if I don't feel like making pancakes at home!