For a long time, I’ve heard references by foodies to J P Nagar being "Cheapie Nagar" as there were only eateries, no "restaurants" in the area. Well, this seemed to suit most people fine, as they would drop in at a Darshini, or an IT-service eatery, to have a quick bite, and "dining out" meant dressing up and going to the centre of the town.
As traffic increased, so did the reluctance of the people of south Bangalore to brave logjams to go out for dinner…and perhapss gap and decided to fill it.
"Aroy" ("delicious" in Thai) opened a few months ago, and when I returned after a long absence, my walk along the Mini-Forest made me realize that a bookstore and a restaurant had both opened within a stone’s throw (not that I throw stones, but….)
The decor and ambience of the restaurant was very impressive indeed. The open terrace is beautifully decorated, and looks out on the dense Eucalyptus foliage of the Mini-Forest. The decor is understated, but very streamlined and contemporary.
So on Saturday, I decided to go to Aroy around 7pm and make a booking for later in the evening…and was told by the hostess, Jenny, that it was fully booked! However, she did take my booking, and when we went there by about 8.30pm, we were told that we could not have a table on the terrace (which we wanted) so we sat inside.
Our drinks (Long Island Iced Tea, and Mojito) were outstanding, and there is no doubt that the barman, Ashiq. knows his stuff. Contrary to what the menu card said (only 30ml of alchohol in every drink) the Long Island Iced Tea contained 75 ml.
This is a Good Thing. We’d been worried that if there was only 30ml of alchohol, it meant that the drink would be too watery…so Ashiq’s 75 ml meant that all was well with the drink….and we sipped contentedly.
We ordered the TomYum soup, and it was one of the best I’ve tasted (and I’ve tasted it in the original country, too!)…very delicately flavoured, and served in beautiful little pots.
We ordered the sampler veg platter, but alas, the rice paper parcels that we were looking forward to did not appear. The other starters…Banana Blossom in particular…were rather oily (though there were truly plantain flowers in it and not anything else.) Ankur Nagpal explained that there was some problem with the quality of the rice paper that had been delivered. The starters took so long to arrive that the main dishes (Phad Thai, Ginger Fish, a basil-flavoured Fried Rice, and some mixed vegetables) arrived almost immediately after, and were cooling as we finished our starters. Service, in this respect, was lagging, and perhaps the fullness of the restaurant is something that the waiters are yet to cope with.
The basil-flavoured rice was quite unusual and very tasty. But though our waiter said the Ginger Fish was steamed..it was certainly fried, or at least sauteed! However, we were not counting calories, so it didn’t matter too much.
We found the music rather loud, but since we were close to the bar area, I guess that was part of the deal.
We went to the restaurant at 8.30 pm or so, and wound up, without dessert, at nearly 11pm….we felt that if the service was faster, that time would have been half an hour less. We decided against dessert as the selection was not really appetizing enough to tempt us…Aroy..a little more variety on the dessert menu, please!
Ankur also explained that viral fever was playing havoc with the chefs and sous-chefs; that, perhaps, explained the late starters. He also mentioned that he was able to get some of the refrigerators from Madhu Menon (who closed down his own restaurant, Shiok, in March). From one Far Eastern cuisine restaurant to another they went!
Jenny (I hope the spelling is right!) the friendly hostess, waved goodbye to us, and it was so pleasant, after a nice evening, to walk home along the greenery of the Mini-Forest, instead of getting into a car and fighting traffic all the way home!
The wallet factor is what prompted the comment that this was no longer Cheapy Nagar…with food, two drinks, and no dessert, we ended up paying a little more than Rs (insert new Rupee symbol here) eight hundred per person. Though the restaurant charges 6% service tax, we did add a tip as well, to bring it up to 10%. We’d probably pay this unflinchingly in Church Street….but it did pinch a little in J P Nagar!
All in all, if the standard of waiting is improved, Aroy will be a very good option for far Eastern cuisine, right on the doorsteps of the residents of J P Nagar.
74, 15th Main, 3rd Phase, JP Nagar, Bangalore 560078
Phone 4093 2311