Fusion Tex-Mex and & oodles of fizz: Many reasons to raise a toast at So Bar Away
Floyd. Dylan. Purple. Jimi. Led Zep. AC/DC. This was a sampling of the playlist we found ourselves lounging to last weekend. For a moment, we couldn’t help wonder if this was another pub wedged in between shopping windows on Bengaluru’s Brigade Road.
Thankfully, the wry longing of Mark Knopfler’s So Far Away isn’t lost on resident DJ Montu at So Bar Away, the two-month-old restobar that sits within the Citadines Hotel on the Old Mahabalipuram Road.
In all fairness, the cocktails did match up to some of the best we’ve had in Chennai. With some evenhanded platters of fried eats at hand, along with ample portions of tacos, the classic rock soundtrack to our evening only made matters more pleasant.
Though we’d been prevised to expect a sniffy corporate prospect at the restobar, given the number of MNCs that abound in these parts, we were surprised to find gaggles of youngsters chomping through platters and guzzling on tall glasses of bubbly.
To be certain, there was nothing overly corporate about our time at the hangout — if the music was anything to go by, the crowd at So Bar Away was as rocking as in any other city. Meanwhile, apart from the music, our biggest takeback, was doubtlessly from the sizeable drinks menu.
The Fifth Gear — not a motoring reference we’d like to harp on at the ever-busy Sholinganallur junction — is a Bourbon-based cocktail, laden with sweet vermouth and an unlikely hit of caramel cinnamon syrup, with aromatic bitters.
A stick of cinnamon slipped into the glass goes a long way, to impart a flavour that lingers in your nostrils. Keeping our choices within the whisky paradigm, the Cloudy Whisky came with another unexpected sweet element.
Served with a wedge of lime and slivers of ginger, the whisky is muddled with jaggery and hazelnut syrup, lending a definite sweet hit, but one that’s never so overbearing that you miss out on the alcohol.
Our top choices from the eats were more than piquant — the Madras Pickle House of assorted pickles and chips, and the Indian Pickle Mediterranean veg platter. As any avowed wino will tell you, there’s nothing like a sharp hit in the mouth to rouse that thirst for another fizzy gulp.
Our other pick is the Chakhna Tray, with Mumbai-style chakhnas or snacks served with tamarind, mango and mint chutneys. The kitchens here also take pride in their Tex-Mex fare, and you’d do well to look for fusion offerings like the Rajma Chawal Tacos (not quite Punjabi, but filling nonetheless) and Methi Poori Tostadas (made from chopped fenugreek leaves) for a light meal.
Meal for two `1,500 approx.
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