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Meditate over tapas

To each its own — individual-level comfort, cuisine, and attention is what Casa del Sol the new Spanish-feel restaurant is all about

— Photo: Murali Kumar K.

With its comfortable seating arrangement, Casa del Sol affords even browsing between bites.

IT'S A restaurant. True. It's a café lounge. True. It's a bar. True. But what is even truer about the weeks-old Casa del Sol, on the third floor of Devatha Plaza, is that it has room for visitors to carve out their own niche in personal comfort levels in its distinctly Mediterranean ambience.

While you dig into its convivial trays of tapas nibbles, reminiscent of Spanish bars, you soon discover why. Because it's the brainchild of Salzburg-trained restaurateur Bhushan Oberoi and his wife Benjamine, whom we love for their 25-year-old Casa Piccola eat-outs. Breathes there a Bangalorean who isn't addicted to them?

Great location

Casa del Sol's open-air terrace is easily the choicest location of its sprawling 7,000 sq. ft. space. You could settle on a sturdy chair at an intimate, metal-embellished wooden table set with natural fibre mats and a bloom in a wineglass, and rest your eyes on the waving treetops. Or, in the evening, you could opt for one of the blue-and-white park benches by striped sun umbrellas as water trickles through a deep blue channel by the impeccable open kitchen, while you soak in the painted walls, a la the Greek island of Paros.

Other options? Moda chairs by squat tables ideal for a nuclear family. Or beanbags that allow you to dip into a book between bites. Or a gaily-tiled indoor dining space that could accommodate kitty parties or large family groups within the 160-cover restaurant.

But what of the menu? The tapas, served in white trays, set the right mood. They range from melt-in-the-mouth minced lamb kebabs to barbecued lamb on skewers done to perfection, with diced onion and capsicum, tangy, spicy prawn marinara to paneer pepperoncino. Little pakora-like niblets of potato or other vegetables, carrot and cucumber juliennes with a creamy dip round out the range. But one did wish there was a wider representation of authentic Spanish tapas tidbits, such as small shark or cazon, dipped in sherry vinegar, then deep-fried. Or the hot, sweet peppers, Chorizo (or Goa?) sausages or special cheese. Just perfect with the currently rather limited bar list, which includes cocktails like the Margarita, Mojito, Temptation and Cosmopolitan, besides other staple fare.

Chief Chef and Manager Vijay Anand Bakshi's menu treads carefully between classic Mediterranean cuisine and Creole, Cajun and oriental flavours. Our group of three decided to stay with the seafood. The delicious steamed fish in beer was presented brilliantly, on a bed of baby corn, broccoli, new potatoes, plum tomatoes and carrots, garnished with delicate juliennes of bell pepper and ginger. Sauce-free, the fish was aromatic and flavour-packed. The pepper-crusted fillet of seer and the grilled silver pomfret were received with equal enthusiasm by my dining companions.

Other main course choices embrace a Tuscan braised chicken with rosemary, wine and olives, roast best end of lamb with pumpkin herb mash and caramelised onion gravy, pan-seared mini beef steaks with a porcini mushroom ragout and cracked peppercorns. Vegetarian choices are just as varied — spinach and ricotta gnocchi, served with broccoli and balsamic vinegar, Lasagna with zucchini and basil, even an asparagus and porcini risotto. Mouth-watering right?

Tapas apart, Casa del Sol's appetisers include a mushroom pate, assorted crostini (including a superb one with goat's cheese) and pan-fried prawns drizzled with coriander pesto and chilli oil. If you're a soup buff, you could dip into a vodka-spiked seafood soup or a roasted bell pepper soup with chicken dumplings. For dessert, there's luscious apple pie and a heavenly chocolate mousse cake.

Bhushan, Benjamine and Bakshi promise even more excitement as the flavours of the new space ripen. Such as afterwork party every Wednesday from February 23, a European hit idea conceptualised by Michel from Switzerland, a chef-oriented evolving menu, fashion shows, live music under the stars, a scintillating dance floor. Maybe even interactive market stalls.

What more could Bangalore ask for? Casa del Sol is ready to take on most requests, no matter how individual.

(Casa del Sol, 3rd floor, Devatha Plaza, 131, Residency Road. Phone: 51510101)

* * *

  • Ambience: Decidedly Mediterranean

  • Service: Attentive, very courteous

  • Wallet factor: About Rs. 800 for a meal for two, excluding drinks

  • Specials: Spanish-style tapas

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