Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Grasshopper Restaurant, Bangalore

I don't remember a single conversation from all the times I've been to the Grasshopper, but my memories are all of good times spent with good friends enjoying good food in a lovely ambience.

Grasshopper is housed in a farm on the outskirts of Bangalore off of Bannerghatta Road just past the Meenakshi temple (it's about a 30-minute drive from Jayanagar). The surroundings are beautiful with large, mature trees, some of them mango and sapota (chikoo), and a vegetable garden out in the front. A gravelled pathway laid with stones takes you past an industrial looking building on the right and a small pond on the left.

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The path leads to a long, wide corridor on your right supported by beams and looking out on to a wide expanse of gravelly ground set with stone benches and more trees.

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The corridor is the main seating space for the patrons with the gravelly yard serving as overflow space.

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As you can imagine, space is tight and reservations are a must and at least a day before. The restaurant does not cater to walk-in patrons.

The first time we visited Grasshopper we did not know what to expect. One of our friends had heard about it, knew they served salads (after months of Indian food, one thing I positively crave is a salad fix) and that was good enough reason to go check it out.

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We called for reservations and the owner, Sonali, asked details about who would eat what - if there were vegetarians in the group, if everyone would eat sea food, whether there were any dietary restrictions and so on. What we found when we went there the next day is the equivalent of a gastronomic oasis of understated continental cuisine in a spice-mad country. The menu is set (eliminating the bother of the menu-perusing and dish-choosing ritual) and the dishes in the seven-course meal are brought out one by one at an unhurried pace.

Since then we've gone back a few times, some times with children, other times not. Children love the space to run around in and to explore the various nooks and crannies on the farm. There are a few beautiful dogs on the farm that become instant friends with the children.

The food is excellent. The combination of the fresh raw materials and the flavors brought together with the minimum of interference in the kitchen is truly a delight to savor. I suddenly realized the last time we were there that the warm breads served right at the beginning to get you started are the only carbohydrates you will get during the entire meal.

The combination of the unhurried service, the quiet surroundings, the uncrowded atmosphere (at the most you can expect one other group to be seated next to you during your entire stay there), the homely feel all combine to relax your senses and let loose. Conversation flows easily and a general feeling of bonhomie envelopes you by the time desert and coffee roll around at the end of about the three or four hours.

All this comes at a price, as you might have guessed. Lunch and dinner are priced at around Rs. 1,500 per person (drinks not included). I understand Grasshopper serves a shorter version during weekdays at lunchtime.

Grasshopper also houses a fashion boutique with designer clothes, sandals and jewellery for sale.

Reservations tel. no.: 98454 52646.


Chakra said...

I was expecting a bombshell in terms of price and I wasn't disappointed.

Kavi said...

Same here ! The price is a deterrant ! But then, for all the service and the ambience i guess it is worth it !

Sunita Venkatachalam said...

Hmmm. I've been to this one for Hubb's birthday. The food was good (and we are salad people) but it did not live up to my (extremely high) expectations...

The ambience however is excellent, makes you feel you are on vacation someplace..not like Bangalore at all !

AD said...

I do most of my eating in Vadodara where this kind of a price would be outrageous. So I'm just curious: what are median and average prices like in and around Bangalore?

Anonymous said...

What about the kids? How much does a kids meal cost and what are they served?

Sujatha Bagal said...

Chakra, :))

Kavi, it's also an indication of the kind of town Bangalore has become.

P, a few more months here and Grasshopper will exceed your expectations handily. If you've just moved in here from someplace where that kind of food is readily available Grasshopper is no big deal.

Aspi, the number of levels of restaurants in Bangalore in terms of expense is so mind boggling that you can do a PhD thesis on it. There are the really inexpensive Sagars and Darshinis (total bill per person around 50 including coffee), then the prices go up from there up to Rs. 2000 / person at the Leela, for example. There is something for everyone.

Rajeshwari, children pay half and they can make whatever we ask them to - pastas, chicken, whatever.

Tharini said...

Wow.Sounds like a neat place! Reallyliked the idea of a restaurant on a farm.

Anonymous said...

I were in Bangalore for two years,but i not even aware of this restaurant.We always we land up in center of the city which always a head-ache for even park your car..So i'll check out this when i go Bangalore..Thanks for the contact number...
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Sujatha Bagal said...

Wanderer, thanks. I'll check it out.

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Anonymous said...

a friend took me for Easter lunch yesterday. Never heard of it, and loved it. The price is worth it being that really no one is cooking wholesome, fresh food in the european style like this, served in courses in any place that I can tell in Bangalore. It's like having your own private dinner party with a private chef. Very good, well done. Sure, I could be critical of it if I were comparig it to NYC or London, but realtive to Bangalore and the availability of ingredients and the creativity of using what they have, I'd say they are doing a very very good job.

Ratchana said...

Believing all the great reviews out there on the net, one should not decide on this place. It was definitely not my favorite. We tried the experimental continental food here and thought that they were really experimenting on us! Though the non- veg course was much better than the veg course, I didnt like the chicken. I am not very fond of sesame oil or seeds and so it was a major let down because of the maximum usage of sesame in all the foods. i loved the lemon cheesecake with pomegranate sauce and lemon grass icecream which were soft and melting fast in my mouth. i liked the prawns adn fish (soft and juicy)....but then it still is a major let down for vegetarians.

Ratchana said...

and for the price....yes its quite costly...but the ingredients cost you much...can't blame them for that...rising prices.

we loved leela palace better and had quite a great dinner few months ago with less than 4000 bucks which is damn closer to grasshopper's price for a dinner we never would want to have again.

it doesn't suit us...go there only if u are a salad person and can't stand sesame and liberal use of the oil in everything (i would have prefer olive oil to sesame...and the cheese was also a no-no for me).

but its quite a nice place to get spooked if u try out the dinner with dogs running around you and flies trying to catch the candlelight.

Terri the terrific said...

Sujatha, I read your review when you first wrote it, and put it in my to-do list.

Any place that has friendly dogs coming up to you gets a high five from me, so we decided to visit Grasshopper today.

The meal still costs Rs. 1,500. Every thing is exactly as you described it. The kids had a wonderful time with the dogs and playing in the gravel. They were charged Rs. 300 for a bowl of creamy pasta and unlimited bread that was so filling they couldn't finish it.

I decided to be adventurous and tried the mustard ice cream for dessert. Let me just say that it's best to stick to tried and tested dessert items, such as the chocolate truffle that's wonderful.

Are there any other such kid-friendly restaurants in Bangalore, preferably with smiling dogs?

Sujatha Bagal said...

TM, I'm so glad you went and you liked it! Lots of kid-friendly places, but don't know about smiling dogs. The Sunday brunch at the West End and the Oberoi is really good. Lots of activities for kids and very relaxing.