Indiaranagar’s bars have one more watering hole to compete with – Harry’s! The famous Singapore bar choose this location in Bangalore to open its fourth outlet, hot on the heels of the Mumbai one. Most bars these days are moving from glass and chrome finishes, to more casual and warm interiors. Harry’s adopts a mahogany and exposed brick look that is reminiscent of a speakeasy, albeit a modern one. With the days of our prohibition (11 PM deadlines 😛 ) coming to an end, I’m sure Harry’s is going to ride on the wave of general elation in the months to come.
We were invited for a mixology session by the godmother of bartending in India – Shatbhi Basu. For anyone who’s watched her show on NDTV Good Times, you already know the level of celebrity she is. But what you probably don’t know is that her joie de verve is all natural and not just for the TV show. We got to witness her finesse in churning out creative cocktails and keeping her audience glued to her charming stories at the same time. Her hands seemed to have a life of their own when she was mixing our cocktails and before we knew it, she dished out one perfectly balanced drink after another.
Now as synonymous as Harry’s is with Singapore, so is the Singapore Sling. Gin, Cherry brandy, Pineapple and lime all come together to create the pinkest drink you’ve seen. Now don’t be fooled into thinking this is a girlie drink because of the colour, it’s potent enough to leave you light headed by the end of it. I’ve always complained that the Singapore Sling concocted by bartenders here is always on the ‘sweeter’ side. With Shatbhi ofcourse, I had no such complaints. Perfectly balanced and very very likable!
As Shatbhi got down to preparing the stage (in this case a small bar table) for the next cocktail, we got down to nibbling on some bar staples. What I adored about Harry’s was the fun plate of Peanuts roasted in their shell that was passed around. Just sitting at the bar, shelling them peanuts and catching up on woes of Friday evening traffic, made it a very therapeutic experience!
The next cocktail was probably my favorite of the evening – a Bell Pepper and Pineapple Margarita. A Shatbhi classic, this involved muddling some red, green and yellow peppers with some pineapple chunks and shaking them up with some tequila, triple sec and lime juice to result in a gorgeous pungent and sweet drink. The only thing I missed, was it being served in a classic margarita glass.
We tried a relatively small selection of their menu which consisted of classic pub grub. A few staples came out with some Asian twists that I quite liked. While there’s not much to rave or rant about the Margarita Pizza (fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella), the Thai Green Curry Pizza (umm… yes.) was quite a shock to the palate. Thin crust pizza topped with a generous layer of chicken sautéed in thai green curry paste. While the majority of the table couldn’t get enough of this, I was still wary to the last bite. There’s something about dairy and thai green curry that I can’t marry in my brains. But don’t let my cynicism stop you – the table ordered four of this!
The Chicken Drumsticks and the Chilli Potatoes were quite popular, but nothing unique to write home about.
What was definitely the star-starter of the day, was the Wasabi Paneer. Now you might not find me singing praises of paneer often (actually make that never!), but this one sure tickled my tastebuds. Paneer marinated with wasabi, wrapped in nori and deep fried tempura style. Served with a *it’s killing me* wasabi mayo – I will definitely recommend this dish the next time you go there.
Shatbhi brought out two more cocktails to round off the evening. The Harry’s Old Fashioned – a whiskey based cocktail with orange peel and caramel that found favor with the whiskey lovers. And finally a desert cocktail called the Caramel Popcorn. A baileys heavy concoction with sweeter notes of caramel topped with some caramel popcorn for crunch. Yes, I suppose you could end your meal with this one 😉
For a weeknight, Harry’s was bustling. I saw a mix of both boisterous young crowds and well as some older groups who looked like they were revisiting the Harry’s Singapore experience. The music for one, found favor with everyone and we couldn’t stop singing along to the classic rock songs and swaying to some good jazz music. Harry’s is easy drinking and easy eating – nothing that will want you to sit and analyze the experience or play with your mind. I can see the casual, almost intimate vibe of the pub encouraging the large population of office goers from the nearby IT hub to catch up for drinks post work. And who knows, someone here might be the next Nick Leeson. I heard Harry’s Singapore, gave out free beers when he got released from jail 😉
1stFloor, HAL 2nd Stage,
100ft Rd, Above Copper Chimney,
Parking: Valet available
Cost: Rs.1500/-++ for a meal for two with drinks.