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Football Frenzy

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Football fever is high as ever radiating out all the way from Brazil and hitting us even here in tech city Bangalore! So it doesn’t matter if you couldn’t make it to the host country for the tournament you can catch the action live in cafes and restaurants right here in Bangalore. Some of the […]

Summer Break at Coorg – II

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Coorg Trip Contd.

From Amanvana we  drove up to  Madikere where we stayed at the Taj Vivanta. It took us about an hour to get there from Kushalnagar and we passed the Mercara Golf Club downs on the way.

My first thought when I stepped into the resort was ‘stunning’,  and it truly is simply stunning. The lobby area opens out to a scenic view of hills and valleys on three sides. The whole property is spread across 180 acres. Our cottages were also large and spacious and again with a fantastic view of the surrounding hills.

There are plenty of  dining options at the resort – Fern Tree the multi-cuisine restaurant has quite an extensive menu. We had some great Thai food  and the kids enjoyed pizzas and pastas from the kids menu.  We also ate at Nellaki which serves traditional Coorgi cuisine. The Pandi Kari (pork curry) a signature dish with ‘neer dosa’ was absolutely delicious.

They have a poolside grill (by the same name) where they serve dishes like roasted wild mushroom, grilled vegetables grown on the property and mixed grills with local spices. Though some people may enjoy it I found the food a bit bland at the grill.  The poolside grill is closed during the monsoon months between June and Sept/Oct.

The Hive Bar offers some exotic cocktails and mixes like the Jappletini – Gin shaken with fresh lime juice and homemade strawberry puree or a Coorg Coffee Martini which takes vodka shaken with Coorg coffee and Kalhua to a new height.

Dew which they describe as ‘good eating and wellbeing on a plate‘ is quite a gem. The menu had a number of power juices and shakes, the freshest salads, whole wheat pastas, and no-cheese pizzas that were surprisingly flavourful.  Aptly located below the spa and health club this food joint had  some really wholesome, healthy and tasty grub and drinks.

The resort offers a number of leisure activities in case you are up to it. Plantation tours, coffee tasting experience, bird watching, nature trails within the property, pottery, clay modelling, cooking sessions, herb garden walks and a couple of other activities make up the long list. A point to note here – we felt that some of the activities were a bit expensive, could have definitely been priced more reasonably.

Room rates start at Rs.18000, so it is definitely a bit expensive but it is worth it. Its a great place to visit –  to relax and rejuvenate the body, mind and senses.

Summer Break at Coorg – Part 1- Kushalnagar

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We wanted to take a short summer break and since Coorg is so close to Bangalore we decided to go down there for a couple of days.  Thought I’d share details about places to stay and things to do there. It takes about 4 and a half hours from Bangalore and may take even longer depending on where you’re going in Coorg and also of course traffic at that time.

We were there for 5 days and visited two different resorts one at Kushalnagar and the other at Madikere.

First we went to Amanvana Spa at Kusalnagar. Amanvana was a bit of a bitter-sweet experience for me. The tag line for this resort spa is ‘Rabbit Hole for the Soul’. So you’l see loads of Alice in Wonderland quotes and pictures all over the place, interspersed here and there with Buddha images and carvings too!

The cottages are large and spacious; the bathrooms uniquely designed with an open to sky bathtub which is quite nice. But try to fill it with hot water and you’ll be waiting all day. Each cottage opens out to a  small courtyard and garden with chairs and a table- ideal to laze with a book and sip some locally brewed coffee.

They have an activity centre for kids, a large pool and  other stuff like river trekking, plantation visits etc. which are fun to do. They screen movies at the amphitheatre every evening and I got to see a bit of Shaadi ke Side effects on my second night there.

I tried a massage at the spa and it was ok. I wouldn’t say great but not bad either.

Amanvana is conveniently located very close to some must-see tourist spots like Bylakuppe and Dubare. Bylakuppe the Tibetian Monastery/settlement is just 10 mins drive from Amanvana while Dubare Elephant Camp is about 20 minutes away.

Food is ok, could have been better, though the pandi curry we had on the first day was pretty good. But for the rest of it the food was a bit too greasy and not very high on taste. People there are nice and staff is helpful and courteous.

Some Vietnamese Pho’d!

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We were looking for a place to grab a bite in Indranagar when we came across this hidden gem. Pho’bidden Fruit is a small unassuming place tucked away in 12th main off hundred feet road; a stones throw from  Harbanero and just down the road from Bricklane Grill.

They serve  authentic Vietnamese cuisine as well as Vietnamese Pho. Pho is basically a soupy broth with rice noodles, beef and fresh herbs, very popular street food in Hanoi and Saigon. At Pho’bidden fruit you will also find chicken and seafood variants of the traditional beef Pho.

The restaurant has two dining spaces. The upper level was much nicer I thought with sunlight streaming through the large glass windows near the ceiling, long wooden benches and a sunken area, rather quaint in its own way.

For starters we tried their salads, Lotus Stem salad – one of the specials of the day, and the Tofu and Mushroom salad in a fresh green pepper dressing. Loved the Lotus stem salad – fresh crunchy with a mildly sweetish sauce. The tofu salad was also mildly sweetened(unexpectedly). Maybe the vietnamese touch ?

The Chicken White Curry with steamed rice was just so-so . But the Viet Red Curry was absolutely delicious. Spicy and highly flavourful  – a total hit! We also dipped into some of their Chicken Pho, the traditional Vietnamese dish. It was like a chicken noodle soup with a nutty flavour –  was not too bad but not something I’d be craving for again.

For dessert we had the Mung Bean Pudding –  layed with sticky rice, mung bean paste, strawberries and topped with a coconut sauce. Was absolutely delicious  – creamy and very rich (not so great for the waistline though!)

Overall it was a pretty good meal and great value for money – quite a find this place!

The Great October Fest 2013

october Fest 2013

The Great October Fest inspired by the German Oktoberfest will be held from 18 – 20 October at Jayamahal Palace. Three days of fun-filled excitement featuring free-flowing beer,  a plethora of live performances,  shopping, games and food.

The event has grown in scale and popularity in the last few years and is one of the biggest Annual Music and Beer festivals. The artists/groups performing at the event include Mika Singh, Indus Creed, Abha Hanjura, Point of View, One Nite Stand and Skrat to name just a few. Tickets for the event are available on

Shreyas Retreat – A resort with soul…

Dinner Menu

Shreyas Pool - night time

Fresh Kiwi Tarts

Shreyas is a yoga retreat located just 35 kms from the centre of Bangalore city. We go there every once in a while for a dose of rejuvenation.  Envision this –  14 cottages spread over 25 acres of coconut plantations, gardens and vegetable fields…Shreyas has been compared to some of the best yoga spots in South East Asia.

Yoga and meditation sessions are held twice a day. These are group sessions open to all the guests but you can also opt for a private  session if you want.

Shreyas is one of those very comfortable and luxurious yoga retreats. They have a wonderful library,  an infinity pool, and a theatre with a wide selection of films. Their spa offers a number of rejuvenation treatments – massages, body scrubs, masks and ayurvedic treatments.

Meals are multi-course affairs served with a flourish, though only vegetarian. The tables are decorated with flowers and candles and set up outdoors – in the garden or by the pool side. A typical continental menu would include French onion Soup and greek salad followed by Quiche, Risotto with grilled tomatoes and zuchini for main course and Kiwi Tarts or Fresh fruits for dessert (the menu on one of the nights when we last visited). The vegetables, fruits and herbs that they use are organically grown in their vegetable gardens so the food is fresh and flavourful.

There is an air of peace and tranquility at Shreyas. You feel this from the minute you set foot in the resort and this sense of wellbeing stays with you for sometime after you leave Shreyas well. It is a great place to visit to rejuvenate your spirit and energy.