Okay, that’s it. I’ve finally decided to go for it.
I’m going to unleash a part of me that’s been desperately seeking to get out. For a job I’ve secretly fantasized about and would have pursued… if only I didn’t end up being a techie in the corporate jungles of Bangalore (*heavy sigh*)…
A food critic!
Yeah, don’t rub your eyes in disbelief yet. Yours truly, has decided to don a new hat. After all those years of reading Priya Bala in the Times of India, and watching two craaazy men in “Highway on my Plate”, and countless other food shows on T&L (which make up perhaps 85% of that channel’s content), I have decided to try my own very hand (err…and stomach, and tastebuds) at this *SO-attractive* vocation.
Of course, since the techie job must pay for my gastronomic expenses, I will attempt this new found vocation only in my very own blog, as I present to you *drumroll again*… a review of dinner @ Sunny’s.
To begin with, Sunny’s is one of the top ten restaurants in Bangalore, specializing in Continental fare. A haven for expats of all kinds. A place that hosts some of the most famous people in Bangalore. Okay, so where does that leave me, you ask - since I’m neither an expat, nor a famous person?
Well, considering I was out to splurge for my husband’s birthday, and treat him in a less common way, Sunny’s seemed the perfect place . And so, it was. Alright, enough of meandering. Let me get down to brass tacks. (…or would that be beef steaks?)
Sunny’s is on Vittal Mallya Road, next to UB City – the place is uptown, upmarket, call it what you want. (Of course, pls. be warned: There’s a lot of road work happening now over there, so one would need to close our eyes to those parts and just fantasize about being in a different country after seeing the rest of the glamour and glitz).
First tip to going for dinner at Sunny’s – please make a reservation. I assume they would attempt to seat you even without one, but making a reservation makes life easier for them because of the crowd that throngs there, especially on holidays.
I, being the thoughtful person that I am (*oh, this is just so good for my ego*…*Smirk*), had called them up and made a booking for dinner on Jan 26th – which happens to be the Indian Republic Day. And the person who attended the phone was very kind, so that got done easily.
Next, I and hubby walk in at the designated time, and Lo, and Behold! Arjun Sajnani (the owner of the place, celebrated director, glamorous socialite, newsmaker etc) behind the counter. I am sort of close to swooning there itself, but hubby graciously blocks my view to him whilst asking about our reservations. I recover in a bit, and we get seated in our places. But wait, it gets better. I look around the place and spot Kiran Mazumdar Shaw sitting on the table next to me, with a whole lot of other really important people whose faces I have seen in print, but couldn’t name if you asked me to. Well, the celebrity overdose is one of the plus points of this restaurant, if you choose to see it that way .
Coming back to the review – some important information about the seating. Sunny’s has both outdoor and indoor dining area. The indoor has 2 levels; we were seated on the ground floor and the bar is on the mezzanine. Usually I prefer outdoor seating, but in this case, it was a blessing to be inside because it was very windy that day, and me, dressed in my outdoorsy outfit wouldn’t exactly have survived the cold draft.
The decor is not really anything to rave about. It does manage a “professional yet classy” kind of look, esp. with some subdued lighting. But otherwise, the tables, the placement of it all, and the cutlery are comparatively ordinary.
Service is efficient – things appear on and disappear from your table before you’ve blinked. The staff are courteous – only at times there just seems to be too many of them. However, that’s a problem only if you are looking for some extreme privacy.
The floor was crowded when we were there, so also noisy with all the people talking. Music, and I must say, REALLY old English music was also adding to the background cacophony. (D-I-S-C-O and the like). So, understandably, if you’re looking for a place where you can look into each other’s eyes and whisper sweet nothings across the table, stay away from this place. You can of course, shout out sweet nothings as long as that doesn’t translate to not-so-sweet somethings when it reaches the other end of your table .
Now to food. (which is actually what this post is all about, right? …okay, but seriously food critics evaluate the “Experience”, so I am fulfilling my role in the best possible way, see?):
Sunny’s has its menu, up on its site, so I had had a good look at it before I went to the place. Even then, I got confused and did some considerable page turning and oh-my-God-I-can’t-decide head shakes before I settled on the appetizer and drinks.
Hubby, wanting to display serious allegiance to the company he works for, picked Kingfisher Ultra. I went for the classic Long Island Iced Tea. For those of you novices, a Long Island Iced Tea is as far removed from Iced Tea as possible . Its basically coke and many kinds of alcohol, mint, lemon et al. My verdict: 4 stars. I really loved the concoction, and sip by sip it tasted better. Ultra, being ultra, I do not offer you any opinion. (Lest Vijay Mallya’s marketing guys hunt me down!)
The appetizer was “stir-friend calamari with basil, garlic and white wine”. My verdict: 3 stars. The calamari was good, but I wasn’t blown away by the sauce. My husband had asked if it was possible to make it spicy in a way, which I realize is not sensible given what the dish was, but the waiter did agree, and as I sat wondering what exactly they’d do to it, they plonked the calamari et al, with a bottle of tabasco sauce, and some chilli flakes next to it. Yes, really!
Having done enough silly things on the appetizer front, I decided to skip ordering one more (thereby ignoring my husband’s protests since his spice-affliction had not been satiated at all by then), and went straight to the main course.
We asked the waiter to recommend a beef dish and he mentioned “Fillet Steak”. I decided to go for “Spicy Country Style Chicken”. A *thumbs up* here again – because I don’t remember waiting much for anything at all – which is really good considering that the restaurant was really brimming with people.
Rating on the steak – 2 stars. Hubby didn’t really enjoy it; the meat was too hard, and they mentioned serving it with pasta or rice, but when it actually came in, it didn’t have either. Rating on the chicken – 4 stars. It was amazing – atleast the barbecue kind of sauce was really nice. Not spicy at all though, infact more sweet than spicy. But still, the sauce, baked potato slices, and spinach that make up the whole dish were a good combo. I had to navigate gingerly through the bones on the chicken, but my satisfaction from the dish made up for my experiments with the knife.
One more key aspect of food at Sunny’s. The portions are LARGE. You’re most likely to end up with a full stomach, leaving really not much space for dessert, but to leave Sunny’s without having dessert is sacrilege. I mean, seriously, this place has to be dessert heaven.
I ordered the “Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cake” and my eclectic husband opted for “Baklavah”. It is a skill to deliver baklavah, so I’ll give them a *thumbs up* for that and a 3.5 rating on the way it was done. As for my cream cheese monstrosity… oh my God. Its a 6/5, for sure. Especially for those of you who are not even bothered about your waistline, pls. dig into this by all means. Its amaaaazing. Every spoon of it would have take a moment, and sigh, and lean back into the chair as thoughts of nirvana filled my mind.
And so, the dinner ended on a high note, though not the typical kind of high you’d expect – after all, one glass of Long Island Iced Tea does nothing to your senses.
The final aspect about it all – the tug on your purse i.e. – well, it turned out to be cheaper than I thought it would be. Probably the “expensive” tag that usually reviews give the restaurant, we had a higher number in mind than what we got. Our exploits took us down by 2K+, which in my mind is not such a bad number for a birthday treat . [Pls. note, that the bill includes service charge and a Rs. 10/- contribution to a fund for pets. Why the latter you ask? Well, the restaurant is named after the owner’s pet, so his (I mean Sunny, the dog’s) sympathies are clearly with those of his ilk).
My final rating on Sunny’s as an experience? I would say 3.25 stars. Good for only a not-so-private night-out when you want to sample continental fare, and sit amongst the cities’ high and mighty, and listen to old english music. And of course, end your explode-my-stomach meal with a dessert that gives you a glimpse of spiritual bliss . It might be better if you’re entertaining expat guests (or clients) because they’re sure to feel at home.
And so this post ends, on a ‘high’ note. Cheerio, folks,… till my food-critic-persona comes out for yet another gastronomic adventure!