Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New restaurant: Forage

Say what you will about the benefits of central kitchens and restaurants that are so process-driven they don’t even need a chef, I find it reassuring to know who’s cooking my food.  At Forage, just opened in Indiranagar, Bangalore – yes, apparently, there’s room for another in this area bursting with restaurants – it’s Himanshu Dimri of Grasshopper fame in the kitchen.

All those years ago, Himanshu had the pluckiness to cook and serve his fare of the day without a menu. Grasshopper fans came to love the style. At Forage, he’s been equally brave, going for a menu that’s described as California style, focusing on healthy, light, nutritious dishes. And, oh, eschewing that restaurant favourite, chicken, in any form.

The freshness and sparkle of ingredients that are Himanshu signatures are evident in every dish. There was the Zucchini Parpadelle, no more than zucchini sliced into pasta-like slivers, tossed with diced peppers, cherry tomatoes and topped off with delicious caramelised bacon. Every vegetable keeps its integrity and the sweet-salty bacon adds the slightest decadence. My companion loved the Aromatic Spiced Pork Ribs with the can’t-go-wrong accompaniment of pickled red cabbage.  The Sea Bass I had for main course was excellent; if the fish was left unadorned, the pea puree it rested on was zesty and lent a lovely creamy texture to the dish. Our other order was the Braised Lamb which came with sweet carrots and potatoes atop brown rice.

For dessert it was the Date and Cashew Creme Brulee. It wasn’t a crème brulee as we know it, but it was so scrumptious, I didn’t care what it was called. While restaurant desserts frequently leave me fretting about the artificial cream and sweeteners they are concocted from, this one was just date puree crowned with cashew butter, a pairing that worked beautifully. That’s one of the standout qualities of the Forage experience; simple cooking techniques combine with good ingredients allowing their quintessence to shines through, instead of being masked by nondescript sauces and condiments.

Much of the Forage menu is gluten-free – even the pasta is crafted from rice – and there are vegan offerings as well. While this could well have become a place that attracts only serious health nuts, Himanshu Dimri ensures it holds appeal even to those who don’t really care if their rice is white, brown or black. Vegetarians can eat happily here and I love the fact there’s no paneer or babycorn to be spotted.

The menu is small and compact and the setting echoes the style. Forage is designed to be an intimate, cosy space, almost like a home with the charming Mayura Kutappa playing hostess. There’s a living room, providing seating in niches with comfy chairs and colourful cushions. A well-stocked bookshelf invites you to grab a book, find a quiet corner and linger over a cup of coffee. There’s a pretty al fresco space that’s perfect for dinner. 

Forage is at:
318, 6th Main Rd, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore 38

Phone: 080 4852 5250