European & Mediterranean, Restaurant Reviews
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Mou Taverna, The Saturday Brunch @ Cafe Azure (Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwanthpur)

Saturday Brunches – what could be more inviting? I have always lamented that I need a holiday on Monday after a Sunday Brunch. Having ‘too much fun’ on a Sunday does not bode well for Monday morning meetings. With a Saturday brunch, you always have a full day on Sunday to wind down and just relax. It’s the ideal weekend plan! Café Azure at Vivanta by Taj has curated a fantastic Mediterranean Brunch – Mou Taverna, to get your weekend started.

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The brunch is spread across the café with both indoor and outdoor seating options. Fashioned like a Greek Souk, you can make a day of out dining and shopping for specialty foods like cheeses, organic vegetables, indoor plants, home décor items and even carpets! The range of cheeses is unique and I spotted some fabulous brands of Feta, Halloumi and Goats cheese. At that price point, I suggest you load your shopping cart! They even have a Channapatna toy stall that was quite a draw with the children. By the end of the brunch, we had kids from every table with a toy in hand! I’m all for promoting local craft, so this was a welcome addition to the Souk.

The kids actually have it quite good here – with a special menu crafted just for them, caricature and face painting stalls, a selfie booth with various accessories like hats and shades to create your brunch memories and finally a chance to partake in traditional games like Approxis and Passe-boule.

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The adults of course will be pleased to know they have an extremely well stocked bar with a very competent bartender who churns out some tongue tickling cocktails. We choose to sit indoors, as it was a relatively hot day and sauntered around to pile our plate with the goodies on offer. As expected of a Mediterranean brunch, they had a fabulous Mezze laid out. Baba Ganouj, Hummus (including a carrot one), Tabbouleh, Mutabal, Skordalia, Labneh, Harissa spiced yoghurt and Dolmas. I am a big fan of mezze and generally make a meal out of it. So I was mighty pleased that everything on offer was top notch. The Tabbouleh was a highlight for me and the fresh green flavours of mint and coriander were just what the doctor ordered on a hot day. They place a basket of bread on each table, but surprisingly no Pita. So go ahead and ask for it – because there is nothing more gratifying that smothering some Pita with Hummus and delicately polishing it off. For the people who are addicted to all things healthy, this brunch is a god send – apart from the fabulous salad and raw food counters, even the Pita has a multigrain option.

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The Salad counters were definitely a work of art. The variety was mind boggling and so was the innovative plating. Apart from cold cuts, roulades, fattoush and grilled vegetables – they also had a divine Poached Pear and Feta salad. If there is one salad you eat that day – let it be this. Succulent slices of blush tinted pears sandwiching a layer of feta in their sweet poaching liquid. Flawless.

They also had trendy h’orderves like a shrimp-sushi creation, avocado and passion fruit savory tarts, fruit salad cocktails, pickled vegetable towers and ceaser salad in a crouton cube! I did two rounds and physically restricted myself from going to those counters again, lest I fill up!

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What’s a brunch without some live counters, right? Get your fix at the Grill station outside, where you can pick from marinated Lamb chops, Chicken, Fish and Beef in Mediterranean spices. The heady smell of meat on the grill plate is enough to leave you salivating. While you wait for your choice of meat to be grilled, amble over to the next station which turns out some crispy batter fried Butterfly Prawns. This station was bound to be a hit with kids, but I saw a fair number of adults hovering around as well 😉 And then there is the Shawarma counter. I mean, there HAS to be a Shawarma counter. If you are prudent, you will refrain from taking a second helping here. There’s a whole main course line up that you definitely want to try.

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Honestly, by the time you’ve done the rounds of the various mezze, salad and grill stations, you should be up to your gills in food already. But it’s a shame to leave without attempting to plate some roast pork belly with apple sauce or if you are sticking to the Mediterranean theme – some Paella. I just took a small helping of both because I had a chance to glimpse at the extraordinary Desserts on display. The pastry chef definitely needs to be given a medal. The spread was so delectable. Mousse, Fondant, Cakes, Gateaux, Cheese Cake, Tarts and creations of every colour and flavor imaginable. It was like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…but in an elegant, refined, English high tea with the Queen sort of setting!

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I overdid it. And I generally don’t overdo desserts unless you put me in a Bengali Mithai Shop. Not that you should take my overindulgence as proof – but I thought I should lay it out there for the novices. A Matcha Tea Cake filled with matcha mousse, fashioned like a gorgeous tea pot! Sigh…If you like dessert – start with this counter. You won’t regret it.

The Brunch is priced at INR 1800 inclusive of alcohol and INR 1600 for the teetotalers. If that’s not enough impetus to go, I suggest you take a look at the dessert spread again. Works? I thought so.

Mou Taverna @ Cafe Azure,

Vivanta by Taj,

2275, Tumkur Road, Yeshwanthpur,

Bangalore 560022

Ph : +91 80 66900111

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