Review & Photos by Vinayak Kini – Official Team Member, The 3 Hungry Men – Bangalore
Cover Photo Courtesy : mygola.com
First, here are some incredible stats about Grasshopper. The property where Grasshopper is located has been in the family for more than 30 years. The restaurant has been in existence for 14 years. It has exactly 5 tables, which is round about 10 covers, that they cater to per day. And here’s the kicker…
Advertisements about the place. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
This, dear friends, is being so supremely confident of the product that you have on your hand, that you’d rather focus on ensuring the experience of every single person remains as high standard as it’s been since its inception, rather than expending energy on marketing and what not.
And what a product it is. Located at a farm (or is it a giant garden? I couldn’t tell in the darkness) just off Bannerghatta Road, Grasshopper is an elegant, chef-curated prix-fixe affair, which, like mentioned before, does very well in retaining an air of exclusivity and sophistication.
Reservations are mandatory, and you need to have a talk with the chief of the restaurant regarding your dietary preferences, allergies if any and at the end of it, you’ll be let in on how the concept works. You get to choose between either a 5 course set meal, or a 7 course one. I must admit, then entire process had me really looking forward to the evening, and I could barely conceal my excitement towards the event.
Us at The 3 Hungry Men like to keep things grand, so I went for the 7 course meal. At first, it might seem to you that having small portions of food across 7 single serving courses might not be filling enough, but boy was I wrong. Let’s get down to the food now, shall we:
Starters/Coolers: I started with a Ginger Lime Cooler, accompanied by warm homemade bread. The cooler was sharp on the ginger, low on sugar and subtly flavored with mint. Perfect to (at least attempt to) get over the March heat. As for the breads, at last count, there were at least 4 varieties of bread that I could count, and they went very well with olive oil.
Course 1: Cucumber Gel with Cream Cheese and Fish Roe
Works like a starter. French style. Which means it induces hunger in you, leaves you with a very nice feeling in your mouth, but does nothing to satiate your hunger. I’m not a big fan, generally, and even this did nothing for me. Quite definitely a miss for me.
Course 2: Crostini with Smoked Aubergine, caramelized onions, pan fried chicken and walnut pesto
Starter 2.0. Two Toasty Crostinis. One topped with the aubergine + onions and the other with the chicken and the pesto. I must admit, this seemed leagues ahead of the first, and I began to feel better that we were getting somewhere. Hope springs.
Course 3: Prawn with Sesame, seaweed, Ginger and Mango
This one, for lack of a better phrase, totally knocked it out of the park!! The flavors were sensational. I mean, you have the sweetness of the prawn, the saltiness of the seaweed, the sharpness of ginger, a ripe mango base and also, not to forget, the sesame. This is the one dish on the menu that had me realize that it was a tragedy that these courses are single serving. Quite easily the dish of the day for me.
Course 4: Lettuce Salad with Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Feta Cheese
So, this is generally the precursor to the main(s). The salad itself was fresh, with a generous sprinkling of walnuts (I love!!). The oven roasted tomatoes were perfect, kind of firm and well done on the outside, while still retaining some juice on the inside. I’m not generally a salad fan, but this went down quite quick.
Course 5: Crispy Sea Bass with minted Pea Puree
Pan Fried Seas bass, served on a base of Pea Puree. Quick Confession: I LOVE sea bass, so I might not sound too objective about this one, but bloody hell, this was GOOOOOOOD!!! Perfectly done, little flakes dropping off as you ate it, the pea puree doing wonders on the side. Sheer Bliss,and also quite filling, for this was one big steak of fish. At the end of this, I was already feeling quite full and at general peace with the world.
Course 6: Smoked Duck with Butter Beans and Plum Sauce
After such consecutive highs, this was a terrific let down, to be honest. The duck was chewy, the beans didn’t work and the plum sauce was meh. I’ve had much better duck, and far better mains. This was quite easily the biggest disappointment of the evening
Course 7: Sea Salt infused Dark Chocolate Ganache topped with mustard ice cream
Before you go WTF! with this one, I recommend you give this a shot. This will not just make you forget all the crap you’ve had to endure through the day, but also make you look at life with a renewed optimism. It’s been quite some time that any dessert has blown my mind quite like this one has, but My God, was this spectacular or was this spectacular? Contrasting flavors (salt in chocolate, really?) coming together in giving a completely new experience to your taste-buds, this one ensured that I ended the meal on a high.
I also got to taste some Lemon grass ice-cream, which was also very nice and apparently an in-house specialty.
But. Chocolate Ganache. Everything else pales.
Let’s get down to the economics. At almost 2800 INR per person, this meal doesn’t come cheap. But is it value for money? I’d say yes. Apart from 2 misses for me (which you, dear reader, could work around when talking to the hostess prior to the visit), everything was a hands-down winner.
The ambiance is lovely and romantic, set as it is in an outdoor garden, with dim lighting. I had issues with the seating, it wasn’t the most comfortable, and there were some bugs trying to intrude into my space. But none of these are minuses by any stretch of imagination. The unobtrusive and friendly service is a comforting feeling.
Point to note: If you have issues around dogs, make it a point to tell the hostess beforehand so that she can have the dogs elsewhere, because there are 2 delightful Labradors which do the beat in the garden, and may come over for a muzzle. I love. Some others might not.
I would recommend Grasshopper very highly. There are very, very few places in Bangalore, nay, India, that give you this kind of an experience. Find a special occasion with a special someone, make the drive down, and have a night that you wouldn’t forget for a long time to come.
Location : Grasshopper, 45, Arakere Bannerghatta Rd, Araka Mico Layout, Kalena Agrahara, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560076 | Call : 080 2659 3999