Sunday, December 13, 2009

Flambé at Ambrosia

Note: I had written this for The Hindu's Metro Plus supplement (article on The Hindu's site is here). This blog article features an additional YouTube video.

As the mercury dips in Bangalore this December, the Flambé food festival at the recently opened Ambrosia restaurant offers a fun way to enjoy a cozy evening with some sizzling fare.

Flambé (also spelled flambe; pronounced /flɒmˈbeɪ/) is a cooking procedure in which alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. The word means flamed in French. (Source: Wikipedia)

If you're wondering if this is yet another sizzler joint in town, hold that thought. Joints such as Kobe's (in Garuda Mall) adopt a pan-asian approach where the dish is cooked on a hot iron until it sizzles. In the case of flambé, the dish is cooked in alcohol (typically cognac or brandy) in a hot pan and served immediately. At Ambrosia, the dish is made on a mobile counter right by your table, creating quite the spectacle when the flames leap out towards the ceiling.

We started off by sampling the Threaded Baby Corn, a lovely little dish with deep fried corn wrapped in wonton sheets. Next, we tried their Gamberoni Al Ajillo, a scrumptious jumbo prawn starter that reminded us of tapas.

Eager to get on with the flambé dishes, we quickly moved on to the main course. We first tried the classic Beef Burgundy (a.k.a. Boeuf à la Bourguignonne), stewed in red wine and flavored with pepper, garlic, baby onions and cream. The dish was flamed with brandy and served promptly at our table with a helping of rice as a side. The cubes were slightly chewy, but the overall flavor of the gravy was fairly good.

Next, we tried the Salmon Fillet, which was marinated, pan fried and briefly flamed with brandy just before serving with a side of bearnaise sauce. This hit the spot, retaining the natural flavors combined with simple seasoning and subtle lingering flavor of the brandy. If you like fish, we would recommend this dish.

We also sampled the Mushroom Ragout, another stewed vegetarian preparation served on a bed of penne that might be popular only with pasta aficionados.

All the flambé dishes come with a complimentary glass of Big Banyan wine. The options include their Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. Other beverages including a few domestic and international wines are available off the menu.

We topped off our meal with the Drunken Bananas (a.k.a Bananas Foster) which you can see served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the YouTube video inserted in this post. And finally, we were treated to a special ghajar halwa to close out the meal.

While we didn't get to sample these dishes, here a few you may wish to try out: Ratatouille Nicoise (veg), Chicken Cafreal, and if you really want to play it safe, the ever popular Chocolate Brownie.

The Ambrosia restaurant is located a stone's throw away from the Sony World junction at the cusp of Indiranagar and Koramangala, right off the Inner Ring Road. If you have trouble finding parking, use their convenient valet service. The restaurant offers a cosy ambience and comfortably seats small to medium sized groups.

In addition to the flambé specials, which are available through end of December as a part of the food festival going on, Ambrosia offers an international selection of dishes. For vegetarians, calorie conscious diners, or simply those looking for Indian food, you'll find a fair selection on the à la carte menu. And for corporates looking for a quick power lunch, they offer a fixed price menu list.

Their address is: 52 B, 100 Feet Road, 4th Block, Koramangala, (Near Sony World) Bangalore 560 034 Phone: (080) 4094 0101/2

Cost: Rs 300-500 per person
Cleanliness: Good
Quality: Good
Service: Good
Ambience: Good
Bottomline: If you like sizzlers, you'd love flambé at Ambrosia.

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