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Features

From idli sliders to crabmeat pani puris, here are some of the more unusual eats we found across Bengaluru’s eateries

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Last month, videos of 24-karat gold coated chicken wings went viral in the US even as Instagrammers went into a tizzy posting pictures of themselves feasting on the gilded wings. Served at an upscale New York bar, the prices went as high as $1000 (approximately `68,000) for a plate of 50gold wings and a bottle of champagne. While we are yet to find a plate of glittery wings in Bengaluru, restaurants have been churning out quite a few fanciful eats. Some gimmicky, some good but all of them guaranteed to grab your attention. Here’s a round-up of eight such recent additions to the menu.

Idli sliders

After Permit Room’s experiments with idli soufflés and curd rice spheres, a neighbouring gastropub is now dishing out idli sliders. Street Mama, which has a rather creative global street food menu, decided to put a fun spin on the classic idli. “Our mini idli slider has a crunchy outer layer with a filling of chilli Chettinad paneer and gun powder served with onion and coconut chutney,” describes Rajiv Singh, business head, Global Kitchens.

Misal Pav Fondue

Pav bhaji fondue just became passé with the newly-opened TBSE (The Bar Stock Exchange) bringing one of their star dishes to Bengaluru. Gaurav Gidwani, F&B director, TBSE, says that their authentic misal recipe comes from a Maharashtrian family in Mumbai. “We make the misal masala in-house. The misal is pulverised to a smooth paste which concentrates the flavour and then finished with cream and a three-cheese blend.” The pav, cut into cubes and toasted until crunchy, can be dipped into the misal fondue. In their Mumbai outlets, they sell about 450-500 plates of this every month.

Chocolate to crabmeat pani puris

Rock Salt’s trendy pani puri bar offers 25 varieties of fillings along with five types of paanis. Their range features veg and non-veg options like corn or avocado salsa with Spiced Tomato Gazpacho, Chicken 65 and Pepper Crabmeat with Masala Chaas or Kokum Saar as well as dessert pani puris stuffed with motichoor or gulab jamun served with aam panna. As co-founder and chef Abhijit Saha says, “It’s a big hit. Pretty much all our diners start their meal with pani puris.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of town, a small pani puri stall in Rajajinagar made a big impact with its chocolate pani puri. Dark and white chocolate coated pani puri shells are filled with crumbled cake, chocolate syrup and mousse. Geethesh Chawat, who opened Pani Weds Puri last April, had initially introduced it as a weekend treat. “Since the puris are coated and left to freeze overnight, we couldn’t use regular puris. We had to source the puris, which were bigger and slightly harder, from Rajkot,” Chawat says. Due to popular demand, they now have it through the week and sell close to 12,000 plates on a good weekend.

Black shakes & cocktails

Move over black ice-cream! It’s now time for black beverages. While Byg Brewsky introduced a black version of the classic Ramos Gin Fizz for a Christmas special, more recently, Mama Mia gelato parlour launched a black milkshake that’s been trending on social media. Made with their Stardust Vanilla Gelato, owners Akshat Singhania and Adhiraj Thirani claim that the activated charcoal helps reduce gas, bloating and has anti-hangover properties. “One of our customers coaxed his dad to drive him from Coimbatore to Bangalore just so that he could be the first person in his school to try the activated charcoal drink,” Singhania says. That’s the power of Instagram!

Mogra kulfi & hibiscus pulao

Chef Aditya Fatepuria has grown up seeing rose petals and jasmine being used to flavour food at home. So, it’s no surprise that he introduced a mogra kulfi on the menu of the newly-opened outlet of his Sattvic food restaurant, Sattvam in JP Nagar. “We use fresh flowers for a more subtle aroma. Hibiscus, for instance, is a very crunchy, mildly aromatic flower. I had learnt to make hibiscus vadas from a chef who passed away. He had talked about how he wanted to make a hibiscus rice dish; that’s how I decided to try it out,” Fatepuria says.

Brick Toast

For those who love a sweet French toast or bread pudding, this bready dessert is a must. Imagine a hollowed-out tall tower of crunchy bread filled with banana mousse, raspberry or ube (purple yam) ice cream, seasonal fruits, vanilla custard and topped with mini macarons. It’s a great play of flavours and textures. When chef Prashanth Puttaswamy was thinking of new additions to the Fatty Bao menu a few months ago, he came across Brick Toast – a dessert snack that was popular in tea shops across Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. “The best part about it is that one can fill the bread with any flavour combinations one can think of. We make the bread in-house as we need a light, milk bread,” chef adds. After the Japanese Cheesecake, the Brick Toast is their bestselling dessert.

Pizzas on fire

Pizza Bakery may be known for its freshly-made Neapolitan style pizzas, but it’s their flambéed pizzas that have our attention. One of three ‘pizza experiences’ they offer, flambéing involves pouring a dash of dark rum over one half of your pizza and setting it on fire. “It’s popular with couples and families with kids,” says co-owner Abhijit Gupta, adding, “On an average, 40% of our patrons opt for our pizza experiences.” Other interesting variations we found were Foodhall’s Japanese pizza (flatbread topped with Japanese mayo, sliced scallions, red raddish, comte cheese and togarashi) and Mimansa’s heart-friendly amaranth pizzas made with finely grounded amaranth and chia seeds.

Colour-changing blue tea

While restaurants in Mumbai are playing with this magic ingredient in desserts and rice items, closer home we found two cocktails that use blue tea (made with the butterfly pea flower). While Shizusan’s Hattori Hanzo is a remake of a classic margarita, Foxtrot’s Mojito blends rum, citrus and mint. In both cases, the citrus reacts with the blue tea to change from a brilliant blue to a deep purple. Since blue tea isn’t readily available locally, both these eateries source it from suppliers who import it from South East Asia. But it’s worth the effort as both bars sell an average of 20 glasses per week of these bright blue cocktails.

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