Dining in Bangalore can be incredibly fun, partly because there’s a new restaurant in town opening every minute: it’s great to witness the step-change in food and service in real time. Still, there are a few things that are typical to Bangalore that may surprise you; here’s the Vine guide to stop you getting caught out!
FOR FORK’S SAKE
When you pick your lunch, bear in mind that you may have to use the same fork for your starter as for the main course – and perhaps onto dessert. This will narrow your options but focus your mind. You may think you can get round this by placing your cutlery meaningfully onto your plate after eating, but be warned. You may never see its like again.
(N.B. Menus, likewise, are treated like gold: Table for 2, table for 4, table for 8 – either way you will be handed one menu for the lot of you.)
It’s difficult to get hold of any wine that will make your heart sing in Bangalore, but you will find that lowering your standards is not enough. If you decide to treat yourself to that 1300 ‘good’ glass of red, your money might not be enough to combat Bangalorean inventory standards. You may ask for the second most expensive wine and the next and then next before you realise there is only one wine on the menu and it’s always Jacob’s Creek.
WHERE’S THE BEEF?
You may end up in some ‘interesting’ places you wouldn’t be seen dead in at home, purely on the grounds of ground beef. Sadly, this is not an option I recommend even in the 5-star restaurants in Bangalore, because finding a chef who understands rare meat is, well, rare. Added to which, you are in a country where the cow is venerated and not to be treated as a Big Mac, so it is more often buffalo than beef on the menu. All in all, you may spend your entire meal mourning the animal that gave its life to be turned into a slab of tough, grey concrete. Stick with lamb.
Bangaloreans love bargaining, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed presenting your OWC / 5 Oceans / Gourmet Passport card. But only do this if you are prepared to see the thing through; there’s many a waiter who will claim they’ve never heard of your discount card. Be tough, be firm, be prepared to see the manager. Squeaky wheels get the Bangalorean grease.
THE SPICE OF LIFE
‘No, not spicy, ma’am’. These are the words before death by chilli. Your meek tastebuds on arrival are in no way to be compared with South Indian ones, whose concept of a non-spicy burger is the Zinger at KFC. If you’re feeling brave, go for ‘a little spicy’ and take your chances with the toilet bowl after. Consider this training: you can get fit in the fiery stakes living here and will soon be laughing at all your guests from abroad, who can’t manage a simple murgh makhani. Some like it hot, and so will you. In the end.