B Bar a.k.a Buddha Bar
Its been a long waiting game till I finally tried B Bar. If my compulsive eating-out has taught me anything, it is to try my hardest to hold out, till at least the second month of a restaurant opening. My curiosity makes me fail quite often, but I did give B Bar enough time to iron out the kinks.
So yet again, a somewhat high end restaurant, has decided to completely mismatch itself and open in a mall - thats somewhere between Mom & Me and Fitness First. At least you could burn of those preempted calories. The only saving grace is it has its own private entrance from the basement parking - so you can avoid becoming "window shopping" for the mall rats, when you come in your evening's finest.
It seems to follow the franchise manual with the layout and decor - well almost. It's devoid of the signature, mammoth Buddha statue, unless in my mall frenzy I managed to miss a 50 foot statue! Buddha Bar Delhi certainly fails to make the same statement its' more stylish cousins around the world do. No doubt its been cheapened down a bit, and proof is in the shiny satin cushion covers.
Since it proudly boasts "Bar" there was no way of me getting out of trying a couple of cocktails. Someone's got to do it I suppose. The beverage menu was impressively broken down in to : Martinis, Tea Infusions, Long Drinks, Short Drinks, Sake Cocktails and Champagne Cocktails. We had our heart set on sake - they also didn't have a few ingredients, strangely basil was one of them considering the S.E.Asian menu!
So finally we got the Asiapolitan - combination of Vodka, Sake, Lemongrass, Lime, Cranberry Juice and Sugar Cane Syrup. So the good was that it was still an enjoyable, well-balanced cocktail, between the sweet and sours (which alone is rare in the city). The downside was the entire purpose of ordering a delicate sake based cocktail was eroded when you couldn't taste the sake at all nor the Lemongrass. So at the end of it all your were pretty much left with a decent Cosmopolitan- which would be fine if that is what we ordered.
The other drink on the list that was recommended to us was the Mami Taylor (I have an aversion to gin or I would have tried the Eucalyptus Sour) - Whisky, Homemade Cognac syrup, Bitters, Lime & Ginger ale. Again I would certainly not complain drinking this had someone just handed it to me. But it tasted like an unsophisticated whiskey sour and nothing more. You could not taste the bitters or the ginger ale, which pretty much came down to whiskey and lime.
Cranberry juice & Sugarcane syrup
I love gyozas like any self respecting human-being. These however, were not worth my loving. Besides the filling being dry and oh-so-undesirable, I don't even know what was going on with that goop on top. It was supposed to be a chilli nam-pla, except it tasted like an achaari mango chutney.! There was also some mention of truffle oil which I could not taste - either way it would have been a bit of a waste with that overwhelming sauce.
Massamn curry is probably one of the most abused curries in this city! I think because there is a fair amount of ambiguity amongst people as to what an authentic massaman really is - restaurants feel they can get away with serving all sorts of debauched renditions of it. Out of all the thai curries, a good massaman is my favourite - all I have to say is this was far from good. The coconut cream was too strong and flavour was far from authentic, I'm not sure where to even begin fixing this.
- Maki Rolls - Spicy Salmon on Crunchy Rice & Shrimp Tempura
The first mistake here was basic, but a terrible one to make. Over cooked rice - once you start with a weak structure there is very little you can do to prevent a giant fall. I don't actually need to proceed any further about why else the sushi was bad - not getting the rice correct is a deal breaker alone for me. But I will, just in case that isn't enough for you ... barbarian. The Tempura batter wasn't right and the avacado could have been represented more fully. As for the Salmon Roll - if I could be satiated on creativity alone I would, but alas, the girl wants more. So the roll itself was just rice with the nori on the outside that had been coated in batter and fried to give a small amount of crunchiness. On this tyre of rice sat an equally large ball of salmon. I don't quite know what sort of fish boot camp that went through, but the mushy rice combined with the big mushy ball of fish was a little too much mush for me. Nor was I a fan of how the fish had been seasoned and spiced.
- Lobster Dumpling in Crab Coconut Lemongrass Curry
I thought the Sauce was quite nice, a bit rich but nice. The dumplings for me were all wrong. I wasn't happy with the skin which had soaked up too much oil, and weren't crispy at all. But worse was the filling. What I hoped would be big chunks of delicate lobster, had been minced up to one big lump inside, which to make matters worse was bit dry - ended up oddly tasting more of a chicken momo than a lobster dumpling. I know this is a favourite for many but I wouldn't order it again.
- Pan Fried Red Snapper with Tamarind Sauce
The fish was cooked well, I liked the slightly crisp exterior paired with tender flesh on the inside. What let me down however was it fell a bit on the bland side. The tamarind sauce was actually quite wonderful but it could have certainly done with more rather than 2 bites of fish with and 2 without.
- Vegetable Fried Rice w/ Thai Basil
Quite tasty, though nothing out of the ordinary - soy, basil, chilli. Only thing is it has quite a defined flavour of its own, so not quite sure what it really went with, but if like me you just like munching on rice then why not.
Um.. hmm... This isn't something I would order in the first place, so its partly a matter of taste and partly a matter of composition. The yuzu/citrus base had a nice punch to it, with a nice creaminess that draped your tongue. The mango mango jelly however was texturally a bit odd for me - leathery. I'm not a 100% sure how I feel about this dessert, but I wouldn't order it again.
Chocolate Sesame Bar
Sesame & Chocolate Coated Bars with Coffee Ice Cream - Now I preferred this to the Yuzu Parfait but I still categorise it as "Okay" simply because nothing about it really excited me enough to want to order it again. Its a nice chocolate bar I could put a wrapper around but next time I would either try something else or go down to Häagen-Dazs for some ice-cream.
I think the dinner menu states it uses Chinese Cabbage, but I could swear it was lettuce. But nit-picking aside I really liked this salad. Of course in true Delhi fashion it is doused with dressing but the flavours and textures are wonderful regardless. Five Spice grilled chicken,crispy Wonton bits, crunchy Lettuce, with a lovely Dijon Mustard & Sesame Oil Dressing to wrap it all together. I would certainly order it again.
- Roasted Black Cod, Soy Maple Vinaigrette
So the above and this dish for me were the only two dishes that met some sort of standard. The fish was cooked exquisitely. the lovely smokey char on the edges, moist tender flesh that broke of in clean flakes. The sticky sweet misoyaki glaze - tried and tested - a Hawaiian favourite and a Japanese signature - we know it works very well! This came with an addition of vegetable and and Soy Maple Vinaigrette, to be honest the vinaigrette combined became a bit confusing for me at times - but never the less I would order this dish again.
- Grilled Gochujang Lamb Chop
I could see the potential in these but I don't think I would order them again. Confused? Well to start the lamb was cooked perfectly - tender and pink on the inside, again a nice smoky char on the outside. What killed it for me - or rather killed me, was the hotness. Now I can take hot but this was next level. And to serve it with a spicy sauce too - really hammering in those nails! The sweet potato mash was a lovely accompaniment with the spicy lamb though it could have been a lot smoother. Despite me not ordering it in the future I figured someone with a higher chilli tolerance may come to love it .
Lets just say if I was in the vicinity (i.e in the mall itself) I wouldnt mind eating at B Bar - especially considering the alternatives, but I wouldn't go out of my way to come here especially.
Outdoor/Smoking: Yes - No outdoor seating just the ledge to smoke on
Budget: Rs.4000 w/ alcohol (1 drink each)
Timings: 1pm to 4pm - 7pm to 1am - Lounge hours in between lunch and dinner