If you’ve lived in Bangalore for the past year, chances are you have already heard of Blimey. Not the expression ‘Blimey!’ (I’m pretty sure no Irishman/women uses it these days) but Blimey the gastropub located at 1MG mall. They are pretty notorious for their packed to the
kilt hilt Sunday brunches and the teeny boppers that frequent the place for sundowners. With the amazing view of Ulsoor lake from their terrace, coupled with some cool cocktails, Irish brews and grub – they have survived the one year mark. And that my friends, is an achievement in Bangalore, which has become ruthless in weeding out restaurants and pubs which don’t make the mark. So to celebrate their coming of age (yes, one is a good number), the gastropub has decided to update their menu with some cool new dishes. We went on a Monday to sample the old and the new and let you know what hits the spot.
I tried to keep the focus on the food, but when offered a Dirty Martini (the best there is, claimed the mixologist) I was too weak to resist. My yardstick to measure martinis is the Bolar house martinis. (It’s a friends place, not a bar: P). They make a mean one and by that I mean it’s flawless. Gin and Vermouth, not some namby-pamby vodka and sugar syrup concoction. The one at Blimey was bang on – strong, dry and garnished with the customary three olives. The others ordered for Ginger martinis and were none the sober for it.
A trio of veg platter arrived to keep my martini some company. The Sago alla Verde was a fancy term for a deep fried vegetable and sago ball. Irish? Definitely no. When I quickly glanced through the menu, I realized that though they have Irish food, they weave in other favorites to keep the crowd happy. So tonight was going to be a jugalbandi of Irish, Italian and Indian flavors and I hoped and prayed they get it right! The Cheesy Potato Log sounded Irish enough and had enough of both to nudge me to take another bite. If you break it down, its cheesy bread rolls and though tasty, I wouldn’t call it inspired. The Nutty Mushroom Tart on the other hand was perfect. A buttery, crumbly pastry shell which held a lovely mushroom, vegetable and nut filling and garnished with arugula. Maybe next time, I’ll ditch the trio and just get the one tart (Yes, it’s an innuendo. Sue me 😉 The Spinach and Corn Soup was green and creamy. I would say it was well executed but the flavor reminded me of Palak Paneer. Once the thought entered my mind, I couldn’t shake it off and hence the soup was pushed aside to make room for less offending appetizers.
What is a pub without Chicken Wings right? Blimey has its own version – an insanely spicy Peri Peri sauce. The smokey and piquant flavors will keep you coming back for more, but be warned that you need gallons of the cold stuff to get you back to normal. The Cajun spiced Calamari rings were too spice-coated for my taste, though I imagine a majority of the Bangalore population liking it because of the exact reason. The highlight for me was the ‘Heaps of Nachos a la Fruite de Marie’. Being a seafood lover, you can only imagine my delight at find perfectly cooked prawns, fish and calamari tossed with baked beans, sour cream and nachos. The salsa on the side gave the perfect kick to the already fantastic dish. This is going on my reorder list.
We were served two salads – Ceaser Salad with a twist. The twist being the croutons were replaced with crisp Pita/ naan, there were crispy fried onions on top and there was a skewer of grilled chicken on the side. Did not work! Though the elements of the Ceaser salad were there – parmesan, romaine lettuce, eggs, lemon and olive oil – the grilled chicken skewers overshadowed the salad and reduced it to an accompaniment. Maybe if they just called it a Grilled Chicken Salad, I would have been more forgiving. Thankfully the Green Apple and Chicken Salad with a honey mustard dressing redeemed Ceasers confusion.
Mini Burgers have made their appearance in every pub in Bangalore. They are easy to eat and still give you the feeling of having something substantial. Besides they let a lady enjoy a burger without having to worry about her lipstick! So it’s only normal that Blimey would put them on the menu. We tried the Bombay Masala Burger (think fancy Vada Pav), the Chicken Burger (these were quite tasty) and finally the Shammi Sliders. The Hyderabadi on the table shot the Shammi down, afterall the adage ‘mommy makes it best’ is never questioned. But I had to agree with her and say this one didn’t pack a punch. The channa dal in the shammi felt slightly undercooked and that ruined the final package for me.
So we’ve already established that Blimey serves non-Irish food as well. What we didn’t expect it to do, was get all regional about it! The Sri Lankan Beef Deluxe Sandwich was definitely something new. Tender beef cooked in Srilankan spices served in your choice of bread. You also get a side of spicy fries to complete the experience. The Amritsari fish made with Mahi Mahi is India’s answer to the more banal fish and chips. Whether it comes to movies or food, for us Indians somehow ‘More masala is always better’!
This one deserves a special mention. It’s not Irish, it’s not Indian, it’s not Italian. What it is, is a full English Breakfast on a thin crust Pizza. Think baked beans, a sunny side up egg, tomatoes and bacon! Once the novelty wears off, you will definitely appreciate the skill that goes into baking a pizza with an egg on top that still has a runny yolk! It’s the convenient way of having breakfast and it strangely tastes brilliant.
Let’s finally get on to some Irish grub, shall we? We had Boxty. These are Irish pancakes topped with peas and asparagus fricassee and baked with ementhal cheese. Blimey gave this a gourmet twist and went all layered and circular and fancy. I personally prefer mushy peas in my boxty but I still liked this one. The Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna is a cheese lovers delight and was beautifully executed. Just look at the number of layers!! If you are looking for something rich and comforting, both these dishes live up to the mark.
The Irish Lamb Stew was beautiful. Lamb shanks slow cooked with potatoes, celery, carrots and onions in a rich braising stock. I could easily picture this in some old pub in Ireland where the town’s residents congregated to watch a match and dug into their stew. Food does fuel the imagination! The Bangers and Mashwere bang on the buck. Three juicy Pork Sausages served with Onion gravy and mashed potatoes. On a day I’m nursing a hangover and want something to cure it – I’ll pick this one out of the lot.
The Bread Pudding is your ode to rustic, homestyle, feel good dessert. Blimey did a great job of keeping it authentic. My only grouse being the amount of custard they gave along with it. Generosity in this aspect will earn you brownie points, I promise. The rich Chocolate Cake topped with a layer of glossy ganache and dressed with one sugar coated maraschino cherry and strawberry was just to die for. Save space at the end of your meal for this one and you’ll go home a lot happier than you imagined.
The new menu rolls out next week. Blimey will take care of your cravings for Irish grub as well as your inherent love for masala. They are like that only!
Level 05, 1 MG Road Mall,
1/2 Swami Vivekananda Road,
Bangalore – 560008.
Ph: 080 2208 6777
Parking: In the mall
Cost: Rs.1500/-++ for a meal for two without alcohol