Jeff’s at Hotel Royal Orchid will make you revisit Bengaluru's old-school English-style pub culture
The past few years have seen breweries and ‘quirky’ bars redefine Bengaluru’s drinking culture. Just a few pubs still retain the old-school vibe that the city used to be known for and one of them was Geoffrey’s at Hotel Royal Orchid. The place has now reopened as Jeff’s but retains the wooden tavern-style interiors, vintage posters and stained glass windows. We paid a visit on a week-day to get a sneak peek into what they have to offer.
Bhel of a time
Moving away from just European and Asian offerings, the menu now has a distinct regional inflection. The first dish on the table was a definitive testament to that — the Mumbaiya Bhel Apun Ka Style. With sev, puffed rice, and foxnuts, the dish went very well with our drink, which was the thoroughly refreshing Summer Bowl. The drink boasted English cucumber, rosemary and Bombay Sapphire gin — a must-try for gin lovers.
The next dish was an old-school pub classic, Paneer Ghee Roast. A spiced gravy coated the soft pieces of cottage cheese. We were told that chef Padmanabhan Anand learnt the recipe from Shetty households during a stint in Mangalore.
Jack in the box
A very unique and highly recommended appetiser is the Honey Chilli Jackfruit. The chef has swapped out the potato from this staple for raw jackfruit. “We deep fry the raw jackfruit and store it in our kitchen. This also ensures that this dish is available all year round, and not just when it’s in season,” the chef tells us. The crunchy jackfruit is reminiscent of chips. We paired it with the One Night in Bangkok, a concoction of vodka and Asian spices such as lemongrass and galangal. We also sampled the Bhanu Kebab. The succulent pieces of chicken were tasty, but what made the dish special for us was the Maharashtrian thecha it was served with. Thecha is a chutney that is made with muddled green chillies, garlic and mustard. It made for a great dipping sauce for the kebabs. The last appetiser we recommend is the Andhra Prawns — a no-frills spicy prawn dish that had us going back for more.
Main course was an out-and-out North Indian affair. We started with a Quinoa Biryani — a healthy but delicious version of the much-loved dish. We also dug into some Dhaba Style Dal Gosht, Makhmali Kofta Curry and Kulchas. All perfectly delicious, but we definitely feel, a lighter, coastal-inspired main course would have been more suited to the pub’s style. But to make up for it was our drink, Namma Margarita. A typical margarita but with the addition of avocado butter. Visit Jeff’s for their interesting appetisers, well-made cocktails and cosy ambiance.
Rs. 1,800 for two. At Old Airport Road