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Goodies for foodies

If you're ravenous or suffer from delusions of malnourishment, head for Roomali With A View without a second thought: you'll be thoroughly pampered



The trolley comes to each table with freshly made rotis at Roomali With a View. - Photo: K. Gopinathan

IF YOU'RE true-blue foodie, then Bangalore is the right place to be in. Mediterranean to Arab to Goan to Awadhi, take your pick. Of course, not to forget the all-enveloping, ubiquitous North Indian and Chinese fare. If you are done in by those ghastly orange-red gravies floating in oil, then it's time you tried something more authentic, more region-specific. Roomali With A View on 100-Ft. Road is a good option.

"We don't make regular North Indian fare that is dished out in most restaurants," says Sanjeev Makin, former chef of The Oberoi, Mumbai, who has conceptualised the menu. The North Indian fare covers the entire "North" to include Kashmiri, Rajasthani, Awadhi, and Punjabi cuisines. And so, the food that is served here does not reek of some undistinguishable masala and is certainly not drowning in oil.

There is an entire section that is dedicated to mocktails, and as you sip those good-looking drinks, you can also bite into scrumptious starters. What came my way was the non-greasy hara kabab, which had generous helpings of cottage cheese and spinach, some golden brown vegetable seekh kababs, and paneer tikkas. They were a treat, but also extremely filling. So if you plan to have an elaborate meal, go slow on the starters. The cuisine here is a curious mixture, all evolved from Mughal ancestry. Didn't someone rightly describe Mughlai gastronomy "the mother of all refined cuisines"? The Mughals left an indelible mark on the culture and cuisine of India. So if Awadhi shares similarities with Hyderabadi, you know who the father is!

The story of Kashmiri cuisine is not drastically different. It absorbed delectable elements of Mughal cooking before it acquired a distinct personality of the valley. The highly evolved Indian cuisine has absorbed elements from so many cultures it is quite a challenge to determine what came from where. For instance, when you bite into that heavenly shahi tukda, you know that it happened only after the British brought bread to India.

The specialty at Roomali With A View is the kababs, typical of Lakhnavi fare. A lavish lifestyle, savouring every aspect of life bit by bit was the fulltime occupation of the nawabs. So there are seasonal variants of the kabab too. Awadh, which boasts of a mind-boggling 1,300 varieties of mango, has raw mango filling in its kababs too. The melt-in-the-mouth kakori kabab was specially made for an old nawab who had no teeth.

The Rajasthan fare in Roomali with a View is represented by ker sangri, and dal, bati and churma. Most Rajasthani dishes last several days and can be eaten without reheating. Bati is flour balls baked, and then soaked in ghee to be served with dhal (cooked the Rajasthani way) and jaggery syrup. If you plan to eat this with a flourish, without making a mess, then you might as well give up the idea. It has a mild taste to it, but at the end of it you feel stuffed: it is probably the ghee.

The roomalis and rotis are simply delicious. You can get them hot because there's a roomali trolley that goes round this well-done place, and to each table. For those health freaks, the fluffy, soft roomalis also have pudina and palak variants.

"How can you not try our sweets?" coaxes Deepali Kapoor, the woman behind the restaurant. For those with a sweet tooth like me, it is easy to succumb to the offer, and there you have golden yellow moong dal halwa and thick, creamy phirni. Heavenly.

The place is an interesting blend of traditional and contemporary dιcor. One portion of the restaurant overlooks the road. "They are the most sought after tables," explains Mr. Makin.

For details call 25203007/25917780.

DEEPA GANESH

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