Review: Bar Bar, Whitefield

There comes a weeknight in every Bangalore life that demands to be spent alone, moodily gazing into the bottom of a glass. Well, don’t spend it here. The techies and spreadsheet ninjas have swarmed already, and they’re singing along with the band so loudly, you won’t even be able to hear your barkeep ask you “Why the long face?” Bar Bar is the friend from Mumbai who’s come visiting our ‘burbs (seriously, their first outpost is in Kurla), and from the looks of it, every twenty-something in Whitefield who owns a tie has already turned up to the party.

Bar Bar is yet another addition to the growing flock of pubs in the city that aims to “game” booze prices, so drinks cost less in bulk than they do per glass. It’s built as a wide open space with a large balcony and a tiny stage, which we are relieved to report doesn’t crack under the strain of the crowds.

Bar Bar is yet another addition to the growing flock of pubs in the city that aims to “game” booze prices, so drinks cost less in bulk than they do per glass.

Us, we have to bodysurf our way to a bar adorned with grills – why? – and glinting with bottles promising oblivion. An aromatic mojito with pear and a sprinkling of cinnamon decides to disappoint us almost immediately: the fruit is so dull, it can only be rescued by a extra splash of rum. A Hawaiian, made with vodka, is topped with Red Bull. Reader, we feared for our life, but as rash decisions go, this turns out fine, with an almost caramel-ish aftertaste that belies the sorcery that went into it.

The Barbarnama

Seafood appetisers elevate our evening. Swimming in flavours of fennel and garlic, a fish tikka offers up textbook pub grub goodness, flaky, juicy and delicious. Butter garlic chili shrimp is just as impressive, the prawns cooked to sweet translucence and slippery with butter.

There’s a lot more fish in this sea, but we haul anchor for mains and plumb for mildly spiced ground lamb chapali burger instead. It comes stacked between onion relish and mint mayo, enjoyable and – unusually neat as a pin in flavour and presentation. The mess arrives in pork vindaloo, served with potato and pav to soak up the grease. It’s as flaming red as any vindaloo you’ve known, but hardly traditional: marginally tangy, it leaves us yearning for more.

For dessert our server enthusiastically recommends a pitcher of “tutti frutti with tequila.” We admire his commitment to enabling unwise decisions, but decide on just a glass as a drink to go with the sweets. Decadent, airy tiramisu with a dense, fudgy base absolutely rescues our mood, and an espresso tart, mature and soft on the tongue, adds a caramel glow to the proceedings. We have to laugh at ourselves, when the night’s sweetest note comes from the apple-shaped jujubes floating atop our glass of spiked, sprightly tutti frutti. If you do end up here alone, order the pitcher – who wouldn’t welcome you into their karaoke team after that?

Getting there: Level 2, Phoenix Marketcity, Whitefield, call 7338630404. A meal for two with three cocktails costs approximately Rs 2300.

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