Sip on tamarind in your vodka in the all-new Watson's menu
South India fare gets a fun but delicious twist at this pub
Watson's during the day, unlike many pubs in the city, is flooded with natural light. It’s warm and welcoming, the music is also not too loud. And there are things that catch our attention: quirky paintings and minimalist posters of Hollywood movies. Their new menu is just like the restaurant itself. They’ve taken comfort food and given it a twist.
Right from the start we realise that the new menu is big on local offerings — with a twist of course. The king of South Indian comfort food, the idli is fried and tossed in a sweet and spicy Schezwan sauce, topped with shallots. They are crisp, bite-sized and make a great side for a mug of beer. Chef Ashley D’Souza says that was precisely their aim. “We wanted to take local comfort food, give it a twist and make it bar-friendly,” the corporate executive chef of Shilton Hospitality, which owns the brand Watson’s, tells us over the phone from Bengaluru.
We scan the city, from the fifth floor in the building in T Nagar. Ominous clouds are taking over the sky, but the dish that comes next dispels the gloom. Their chicken ghee roast bruschetta is the best of both cuisines. The baguette slices are firm and the topping is packed with South Indian spices. As the spices warm our throats, the cocktail comes in.
Tamarind Tales — a vodka-based drink, which instantly wakes us up — is sweet, sour and even spicy (from the salt and chilli mixture on the rim). Tamarind pods replace the olives in toothpicks — though not pitted. “We use only natural syrups for all the drinks in the menu. All flavours: kaffir lime, watermelon, pineapple... are created in-house from fresh ingredients,” says Rajanish Babu, the corporate GM of Shilton. Chennai’s Watson’s is almost a year-old, while its counterparts in Bengaluru and Goa are older.
The seafood Thai Curry could have used a bit more ‘sea’ flavour, but does not disappoint. The sauce for their teriyaki beef, a must-try, is also made in-house. We then sample their grilled prawns: We remove the shell using our hands, and gobble up the juicy prawns. Regulars at Watson’s need not fret. They have retained about 15 per cent of the old menu. Their pull-out breads and cheese bhel are still there. And as Chef Ashley says, they “have not touched the classics”.
Meal for two Rs 1,500 inclusive of spirits.