A decade ago when I first stepped into the southern part of the country, my knowledge of South Indian cuisine was limited (shamefully) to dosa, idli, vada, sambar and curd rice. Back in the East, those were the commonly served items at the restaurants and growing up, I thought that was the end to South Indian cuisine. Talk about ignorance! Luckily, the many years spent in the South side have made me discover so many spectacular dishes that I find myself heading back to umpteen restaurants in the city to savour them over and over again. One such restaurant, a recent favourite, is Bon South.
I remember the first time I had visited the restaurant, the buffet format had set a very low expectation. But then came dishes at my table with interesting presentations and loaded with flavours that by the end of the meal I was in complete awe.
It was amusing to find the simple uttapam being reintroduced with the concept of pizzas, dosas that resembled spring rolls or the coin-sized cocktail idlis dusted with red chilli powder and served with a range of chutneys. The non vegetarian section was impressive too with populars such as mutton pepper fry, spicy drumsticks, grilled seafood, amongst others. And it was evident that each dish was prepared with utmost attention because not one dish had left us disappointed.
While Bon South offers an interesting play of concepts in the appetisers, the main course section stays true to its traditional roots. And since I got carried away with the appetisers on my first visit, I explored the main course section only later, over repeated visits. Disclaimer: you must have an empty pit to taste every item on the buffet menu because it is extensive!
Dishes that have stood out for me include: Mutton Ularthiyathu (Malabar mutton pepper fry), Vendiyam Kodi Vepudu (methi flavoured drumsticks), Goan Crispy Prawns, Karapatani Wada (green peas cutlet), Paneer Dosa Roll, the classic mutton/ veg stew with appam, Hyderabadi chicken biryani, crab masala, meen pollichathu, Mangalorean style chicken curry, okra in a spicy and tangy curry, raw banana kurma, and the crisp Kerala parathas.
A quick chat with Chef Manu Nair brought up some more tempting dishes to keep an eye-out for: Telangana Kori Roast, Hyderabadi Chapli Kebab, Jhinga Dum Biryani, and Sabudana Fish Vada.
It is inspiring to see restaurants going out of their way to showcase the local cuisine and Bon South leaves no stone unturned in this attempt. Having a meal here is like getting a snapshot of the diverse cuisine of all the four states.
And recently we made our way back to the restaurant yet again (ensuring to pick a Sunday) to see what was on offer this time (they have a different menu everyday). We feasted on Malabar Mamsam Wada (mutton patties), grilled prawns, Andhra steamed fish, fried chicken wings, mushroom cheese uttapam, chilli bajji, and dill leaf lentil wada amongst others. The Andhra steamed fish, one of their signature dishes, was fish fillet smeared in a potent green chilli paste and steamed in banana leaf. R loved it and called for seconds while I sat glum wishing that the spice level was mild. But then the mutton patties arrived and stole my attention with its moist texture and the delicious blend of spices. For mains, we decided to stick to just one dish. R piled his plate with Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani while I indulged in the ginger flavoured mutton curry with Kerala paratha. And to wrap up the meal: loads of hot gulab jamuns and Elaneer Payasam. Heavenly!
The weekday lunch buffet is priced at INR 375 to 425 plus taxes
The weekend buffet is priced at INR 475 to 575 plus taxes
# 130, 1st Cross, 5th Block, Koramangala, Behind Sukh Sagar, Bangalore; tel: 30412940