Food & Property Review | High Ultra Lounge, Bangalore … on top of the world!

‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
Dr. Seuss

HIGH Ultra Lounge, BangaloreJust last week I flew down south to Bangalore invited to review High Ultra Lounge, a Brigade hospitality property perched ‘above the world’  at 421 ft at the World Trade Centre. Keeping me good company was Pawan Soni of Indian Food Freak, a thorough gentleman and a man full of food tales! The visit to the property was literally one of being on ‘top of the world‘, fascinating and intriguing!
Bangalore City It was certainly wonderful to be back to the garden city, a city I spent several years of my childhood in, one I visited last in the 1990′s! Bangalore is beautiful. A feeling of nostalgia hit me when I landed at the swanky new airport, gulping in breaths of fresh, cool air. It was good to be back!
Bangalore City The launch of High Ultra Lounge made a visit possible when the hosts generously flew me down for an evening to review their property in the heart of Old Bangalore. What added to the magic was the prospect of meeting the fab bunch of Bangalore food bloggers. I’ve been fortunate to interact with them virtually over the years; a real interaction was full of promise!
Bangalore City From HIGH Ultra LoungeHigh Ultra holds loads of promise. Prime property soaring high above beautiful Bangalore,one of the highest in India {possibly after one in Mumbai}, the concept is dynamic, fun and energetic. If the aim is to get people to sit up and notice this happening place, it isn’t going to be difficult. We had the pleasure of getting a first-hand sneak preview and guided tour of 10,000ft of creativity, the brain child of Nirupa Shankar, Director, Brigade Hospitality, executed under the direction of Vineet Verma, the Executive Director.
HIGH Ultra Lounge Divided into 4 neat areas, well thought out, aesthetically planned, youthful, light, fun, energetic, ‘TIMELESS’ is the word they concur with. Timeless was the thought behind the planning and layout, and it’s been done beautifully. Each area has it’s own character, whether the High View,  High Mix, High Edge {my personal favourite} or the High Dine.
HIGH Ultra Lounge I love the attention to detail, the colour coding, the lighting that can change according to mood and occasion, the avante garde feel that flows through almost effortlessly. What strikes you is the way they’ve been able to seamlessly weave the feel through the entire space. Clever planning ensures that any one area or lounge can be completely secluded or cut off from another. Little things like sound proofing, camouflaged entrances, personalised spaces and relaxed touches are spot on.
HIGH Ultra Lounge Head for High Mix and Guru, the man in charge, charms you no end. Swiftly mixing innovative mocktails and cocktails, he pleases men and women alike. From Guru’s Love Potion to an outstanding Guava Worcestershire sauce concoction, he soon had the crowd eating drinking out of his hands.
High Edge, High Ultra Lounge, BangaloreFrom High Mix we went on to High Edge which was my favourite of the four spaces. With an almost Titanic like appeal, the edge juts out over the city. Done in warm yet searing bright orange upholstery, it is an exclusive lounge with a cover to seat 50 … yet an expandable capacity for many more. I loved the functional seating, the creative use of space the colours, the lighting, the ambiance which makes each area special.
HIGH Ultra Lounge 6Then came the highlight of the evening and we were led to the helipad. Voila! A Valentine Day special, a table for two set out under the stars. Going at Rs1 lakh for the evening, it’s as special as can get, the bright lights of the city 400ft+ below! Here’s the lot of us clicked by the very talented High photographer who shot in pitch dark {but for the candlelight and 1 lamp!}

Ultra High BangaloreIt was finally time for a sit down dinner at High Dine, open air, whimsical,   beautiful surroundings, heady music, wonderful cool nip in the air.  Pan Asian cuisine is  what flavours the menu here. The kitchen is headed by executive Chef Zhang Hao who was a pleasure to interact with, energetic, affable and with infectious energy!

HIGH Ultra LoungeWe were treated to an extensive menu of modern Pan Asian cuisine, delicious in every bite. My favourites included the sweet corn with coriander butter, sweet potato with teriyaki reduction and the grilled tofu with the Korean chili sauce {it was outstanding} as was the crab stick tempura.

HIGH Ultra Lounge

Fresh crabs, melt in the mouth texture and light as air, boy were they good! The fried snapper with thai sauce, and fried chicken with mint and thai basil added to the variety.
HIGH Ultra Lounge The camera was soon abandoned. We chomped our way into the mains. and were treated to a Thai green curry {finger licking good}, massaman lamb curry, fish in laksa sauce over steamed rice or soba noodles. There were generous, well seasoned sides of stir fried veggies, veggies with sambal oelek etc.
HIGH Ultra LoungeDessert was plenty of fresh fruit and a tender coconut ice cream {though I am still quite sure there was litchi in there somewhere}…the texture leaning more towards a sorbet though, yet delicious as can be. There was also Banoffee Pie which was well made and indulgent!

HIGH Ultra Lounge Thank you High Ultra Lounge for the fabulous pre-launch experience. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the concept. Before long, this is going to be a must visit destination for anyone headed for Bangalore and Bangaloreans alike. Bravo!!

HIGH ULTRA LOUNGE
World Trade Center,
Brigade Gateway Campus,
26/1 Dr. Rajkumar Road,
Malleswaram West,
Bangalore – 560 055
+91 80 4567 4567
www.highultralounge.com

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No Bake | Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … these had me smitten! #springlove #vegetarian #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”
Dorothy Draper
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … could there be a better way to welcome spring and summer in our part of the world? I think not! The day I saw these on Betacyanin via Foodgawker I was smitten. Sofias blog is a new discovery and matches very closely to what I like doing with food. I HAD to do the parfaits ASAP!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits Did I tell you I was absolutely smitten? I certainly was. I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I soaked the chickpeas that very night and had them cooked the next morning. Warm freshly cooked chickpeas tossed in EVOO, some minced garlic, a squeeze of lime, some fresh herbs is like diving into a bowl of heaven! I have a love love relationship with chickpeas! What about you?Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
 I also have a love love relationship with savoury food, bring on the garlic and life gets even better. It might surprise you as PAB is rather full of sweet stuff. That is what I like to make, but savoury is what I like to eat. I don’t have a sweet tooth at all! My family does!!
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The parfaits were fun. Layering and individual servings are something I adore doing. You can pretty much paint your own palette here. I made a few changes. Olives in brine for one because I like the saltiness they add. homegrown tomatoesCherry tomatoes because my few plants are now hanging with fruit which is slowly ripening. Those above were the very first three! Spring ♥!!Spring herbs veggies fruits
It’s a constant battle though as little Coco has taken a shine to tomatoes. Animal instinct kicks in here. She sniffs out the nice, ripe, juicy ones and devours them with great aplomb. Much to my horror, the first time she ‘discovered‘ them, the garden was strewn with half eaten green tomatoes; the ones she had obviously rejected!
Coco
This was not why I grew tomatoes. I waited impatiently for them to ripen. So had the lad. For the two of us, it’s an early morning ritual to ‘check them out‘!How would she know any better, the little thief. She isn’t as innocent as she looks; but she is so darned charming!

Playing with light 2The battle of tomatoes has begun! I quickly harvest the ripe fruit and she looks on, hoping old butterfingers will drop one!! I have a few yellow cherry tomatoes that I salvaged 3 days ago, and some deep red beefy ones. Tomato ♥!

Home grown tomatoes
I have plenty of photographs of these beauties but I like this one quite  abit. I love the play of light and all thanks goes to NeelLearn Food Photography for organising a 30 day challenge on his fabulous blog. Have you been to LFP yet? Playing with light You must stop by if you are struggling to improve your food photographs, or want to explore the technicalities at a comfortable level. We’re into week 3 of our challenge and it’s a great community of folk from across the globe. So far we’ve covered angles, DOF, light, playing with light, white balance, diffusers, bouncers, backgrounds and are currently on props.

Learning food photography... lightThese Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits were made the day I was experimenting with light.  It’s amazing how much you can learn if you join a challenge. Such fun! All the herbs, flowers and leaves I had gathered became an inspiration for my parfaits.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The little jars are actually like an announcement of spring. Full of fresh herbs, fresh produce, light flavours and beautiful pairing. My herbs are flourishing too so I couldn’t have made this discovery at a better time.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 6
Infinite possibilities are dancing merrily in my head. I am thinking fruit parfaits, watermelon feta and mint parfaits, mango pistachio parfaits! I think you can layer any salad you like in little mason jars, recycled jam/sauce jars, or serving glasses.
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I now do these as a make ahead salad for Mr PABs lunchbox to take to work. The dieting diva enjoyed it as well. It’s nice coz the raisins at the bottom take all the released juices and plump up nicely. You could always use dried cranberries instead! And of course you could always toss everything together in one big bowl,  but it might not be that much fun!

Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits

My post is a little delayed because all this parfait talk inspired me to make some fruit parfaits for the kids after school snack!  I made Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits! Parfaits are always fun. They are a nice make ahead snack, salad or even a simple dessert. Refreshing, colourful, delicious & FUN!
 Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits
Tell me dear reader what you would include in a parfait? What would your ultimate savoury parfait have? And a sweet version?  Try and cover as many food groups as you can … nuts, fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, beans, chickpeas, quark, ricotta, mascarpone, granola. Play with colours and seasonal produce. Just make sure you enjoy what you do because that is what matters most!

Recipe: Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 
your picture

Summary: I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!  This one covers all the food groups, and deliciously so – fruits, nuts, dairy, pulses, herbs … you get ‘em all in a jar!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1- 1.5 cup cooked chickpeas tossed in evoo, garlic, fresh coriander
  • 2-3 small cucumbers, grated, squeezed
  • 2 cup homemade yogurt, hung for about 3-4 hours
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ranch buttermilk dressing {or a dash of lime juice, garlic and finely chopped green chili}
  • handful chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • olives, cherry tomatoes, pistachios
  • lightly toasted walnuts and more mint, for garnish

Method:

  1. Whisk the hung curd with buttermilk seasoning until smooth. Alternatively, add minced garlic, a dash of lime juice, green chilies and salt and mix until smooth.
  2. Begin layering…
  3. Starting with the raisins, followed by chickpeas, grated cucumbers, and yogurt, layer each of the ingredients, divided between jars. Top with olives and cherry tomatoes, chopped walnuts, slivered pistachios and a few mint leaves. Chill well until ready to serve.
  4. Alternatively, if you’re not into the layering thing, you can just mix it all together and store accordingly.
  5. Sofias note: It’s really important to draw most of the juice out of the cucumbers, otherwise the end result will be swimming in cucumber juice. Once the cukes are grated, use your hands to squeeze out as much juice as you can. Drink it, it’s really refreshing! Set aside in a strainer to let any remaining liquid drain.

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Book Review | Adieu 2012 … ending the year with ‘The Pondicherry Kitchen’ book review

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
Alfred Tennyson

... the year in a snapshot

… the year in a snapshot

Wrapping up a season is hard enough, wrapping up a year seems unreal. How time has flown. 2012 certainly passed in a heartbeat. I’m still trying to catch my breath.

things i didI blogged lots. About things I enjoyed. Food. Travel. Events. People. Lots of colour too. Lots of food events that were so worth the while. So much happened in 2012. On top of the list was the Delhi Bloggers Table, loads of fun at Olive with Saby, events, the Aussie Masterchefs, reviews, some great, some not so … but a wonderful learning experience.

2012Then again, I didn’t have time to blog about lots more that I made. Just didn’t seem to get organised enough to post. Some stuff was so worth it. There was baking … plenty! Wish I had time  to share everything.

2012Then there was cooking too … loads of it! Curries, pastas, wraps, grills, stir fries, no bake desserts. You might have enjoyed these as well. It’s strange how when something comes out really nice, I first think of the blog. Chocolate 2012 saw loads of chocolate at PAB. LOADS.

ChocolateThis was something I really enjoyed! There was some I didn’t get to share. Hopefully this new year shall be better. We hung onto the wings of time, hoping it would slow down a bit, but as usual it left us breathless. ‘Us‘ as in everyone and their friends that I speak too. We look at 2012 in a sense of disbelief. HUH? Gone? Already? What?

2012As always, I had loads more to do, but somewhere along the way social media grabbed chunks of time with both hands. I fell off twitter for a bit and got consumed by FaceBook. I had vowed that I would weigh my time carefully when I decided to cut back on my twitter addiction. Out of the frying pan, into the fire … I love FB though!

the Pondicherry kitchenI had many things to do before the year ended. Loads didn’t get done. This book review was important for me as I missed the book launch at the French Ambassadors residence as I was busy that evening.

the Pondicherry kitchenThe Pondicherry Kitchen is as interesting as it sounds. It’s a quaint unassuming book with recipes that offer a peep into a cuisine less known. I haven’t heard of some of the recipes; a deep South Indian influence in the ingredients used. There aren’t too many photographs to go by, the few that are there don’t do full justice to the recipes within.

The Pondicherry Kitchen – Traditional recipes from the Indo-French territory by Lourdes Tirouvanziam -Louis

The coastal town of Pondicherry has seen the influence of a host of cultures, and it’s not surprising that its cuisine reflects this history. A fragrant potpourri of flavours, primarily from the Tamilian kitchen and—resulting from three hundred years of occupation by those universally acknowledged gourmands—the French, the food here also reflects eclectic borrowings from Indian, Moghul, French, Portuguese and Malaysian cooking. In The Pondicherry Kitchen, Lourdes Tirouvanziam-Louis captures the unique culinary heritage of the town. Several years of research—digging out old recipes, collecting the culinary secrets of senior people, sourcing foodlore that has been transmitted orally through generations— have coalesced in this book, and the delicious recipes in it. Spiced with anecdotes that give an insight into the culture, The Pondicherry Kitchen is a wonderful, easy-to follow cookbook.

the Pondicherry kitchen It was natural choice for me to reach for the pages with rasam, a warm starter or soup, that is one my husband loves. It’s been years since I’ve found an authentic good great recipe. This one left us longing for more. Perfect for the season, a hearty clear soup which is lentil based and has the kick of the Indian spice box!

the Pondicherry kitchen Red chilies, curry leaves, tamarind, asafoetida … all these come together to treat the palette in a robust way. The last I had a soup or rasam as good as this was when my sister visited from the US 5 years ago. She made it for Mr PAB, one that he remembers to date. This was as good. It’s a spicy adult lentil based clear soup, and would need to be toned down a bit for kids. {It serves a hearty 4 rather than the 6 as the recipe says}.

the Pondicherry kitchen Tomatoes are in abundance this season, the next recipe I reached for was this tomato chutney. I have never made one with golden fried onions and the recipe had me quite intrigued. Once again it didn’t disappoint. Bursting with flavour and colour, this is a great chutney to compliment an India meal. Goes well with idli, dosas, rice and with most Indian dishes; a lovely change from the regular chutney.

the Pondicherry kitchen My experience from the book was all good. It embodies everything Indian cuisine sets out to do … adds colour, delights the palette, is made from natural easy to source ingredients, and has the little story or connect thrown in here and there.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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