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Fuelling the tummy's needs


A hungry wait at Brigade Fuel.

KEVIN P. GEORGE is a busy man. After his stint with the Taj Group some years ago, he started his own restaurant in Koramangala and called it Paprika. But then he winged his way to Germany to get further culinary training, and came back some months ago. He gave Paprika a new name, Fort Cochin, that now specialises in Kerala cuisine. While that little eatery is doing well, he now has a bar and restaurant on Rest House Road.

``You can't get good food on Brigade Road for Rs. 30 or Rs. 50,'' he avers, "but here at Brigade Fuel you can,'' and he speaks with confidence. The name Brigade Fuel emphasises that it is on the trendy Brigade Road (or, well, just off it), and the "fuel'' in the name points to the bar section that seats 30 and is on the ground floor. Wooden partitions there form cubicles so one can have one's drink in peace. The restaurant, one flight up, seats 68, is airy with lacy curtains and a home like ambience that attracts families. College students, working people, and office goers of the area make the crowd eclectic here. To prove his claim of affordability, Kevin points out the special lunch hour offering (noon to 4 p.m.): there are five choices. Chicken dum biriyani and raita (Rs. 35), vegetable dum biriyani and raita (Rs. 30), Chicken dum biriyani with raita and beer (Rs. 50), chicken dum biriyani with raita and Pepsi (Rs. 42), Vegetable dum biriyani with raita and beer (Rs. 45), and vegetable dum biriyani with raita and Pepsi (Rs. 36). The bar's menu is indeed extensive. Whisky ranging from Black Dog (Rs. 2,400 for 1,000 ml.) to Bagpiper/Hayward/Polo Club (Rs. 160 for 1,000 ml.). Brandy of five brands, rum of eight brands (eg. Bacardi Rs. 275 for 375 ml., Rs. 150 for 180 ml.), vodka /gin/ wines are all listed, the latter to include Bangalore's own Grover red/white for Rs. 290 for 750 ml. Those who fancy miniatures can have Royal Challenge (Rs. 50), Bacardi (Rs. 55), DSP Black (Rs. 40), among some others.

UB, Kingfisher, Knock Out, Haywards 5000, and Kalyani Beers are Rs. 48 or you have the choice of ordering them in pints: UB Rs.22, KF can Rs. 40. To go with such a long liquor menu, the shorteats or starters are plenty.

There are peanuts, wantons, pakoras, omelettes, wafers, spring rolls, gobi, egg or paneer manchurians (Rs. 12 to Rs. 45). What is called Brigade paneer (Rs. 45) has chinks dipped in a light batter and fried crisp with a secret sauce, all of it topped with cashewnuts that come from their own plantation in Kerala.

Brigade chicken is similar and also has excellent value at Rs. 55. The non-vegetarian starters (Rs. 50 to Rs. 65) are Coorg style chicken fry, lollipops, fish fry, spring rolls.

Compared to the number of short eats, meal options are fewer. There is vegetable or chicken soup, five types of chicken kabab (available in boneless also), and gravy dishes include palak paneer, kadai vegetable, and aloo matar. The non-vegetarian gravy items (Rs. 35 to Rs. 60) include egg masala, chicken curry, butter chicken, and palak chicken. Other options are peas pulao, jeera rice, and parathas/ chapattis.

Since the kitchen is just by the side, one may hear a pressure cooker whistle or get whiffs of spices but that can be considered adding to the home like ambience. Even other than lunch special items, and even with beer, one is not likely to get a bill of more than Rs. 125, which endorses the philosophy of Kevin: reasonable prices pull the crowds.

Credit cards are accepted, finding parking in the area is up to you. The place is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and reservation is recommended.

Brigade Fuel can be contacted on 5091177, 5091073.

ARUN BHATIA

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