A wine bar is a lovely concept that’s coming to town in Bangalore. And the quaint and cozy Grapevine at HSR Layout was on our list for a while. Inspired from the cuisines around the Mediterranean, this place offers a selection of Italian, Levantine, Turkish, Provencal and Spanish food in their diverse menu. Walking into Grapevine was like stepping into a café with a tapas bar. The selection of wines served greet us near the door. A corner building allows for a lot of natural light, which could be too warm for this summer, but we could see the appeal. The subtle décor is nice and inviting, they also have a selection of books and activity boards in a rather creative bookcase built around a cut out tree trunk! It’s here that Anupam, Tapash and I met up for lunch, after ages!
We started our meal at Grapevine with Harissa Fish Fingers and Garlic Prawns. The pictures you see are tasting portions, on request. The batter fried fish served with Harissa and yogurt cucumber dip was a good start, and the prawns were delicious – buttery and creamy, the prawns were pan grilled to perfection. And this was well complemented with the spiced tomato dip, giving it quite the tangy bite. The Mezze Platter and Fattoush Salad seemed to naturally call out from the menu, it is a Mediterranean place after all! The platter was quite nice to bite into in the midst of conversation, while the salad was classically Lebanese – mixed green, feta and tomatoes topped with toasted pita instead of croutons had a nice balance and quite an easy dish to eat.
The souvlaki on the menu looked rather inviting, and thus the classic Greek street food was ordered next. Cuts of chicken, mildly marinated with lemon, garlic, oregano was grilled and served on a skewer. The dish was accompanied by a portion of pita bread and some deliciously understated tzatziki. This could actually be a meal in itself, and we enjoyed the simplicity of the dish in terms of flavor and elements. The Chicken Parmesan stuffed bread came next, and was a tad bit of a disappointment. The bread was hard, and the chicken inside a little dry – softer and freshly made bread with some garlic rub and olive oil would have done just fine. Spanakopita was perhaps our favorite there – literally a spinach pie – which is a Grecian savory dish absolutely melted in the mouth in a beautiful blend of cheese and spinach with some mild seasoning.
Our mains were going to be simple. A pizza, a risotto and a meat. Ripieno is a rolled and stuffed pizza, a concept rarely found in Bangalore. So of course, that caught our attention. Spinach and ricotta with mozzarella inside freshly made dough was on point, quite enjoyable and well made. The filling was soft and creamy, and this was ripieno made right. The sea food risotto was our choice and it had prawns, scallops and fish. While the seafood was cooked well, and quite abundant in the risotto, the rice itself was too soft and not al dente, that is firm to the bite. The texture of the rice could make all the difference here. The Lamb Shanks were a bounce back again, yet another hit. The lamb was slow cooked with Moroccan spices, hence the meat was soft and the flavors imbibed well. This came with cous cous topped with almonds, raisins and cilantro, delicious with the Moroccan sauce.
Sweet tooths can never be ignored so the Mango Cheese Cake and Banoffie Pie were ordered off the menu. The Banoffie Pie perhaps had too much cream on the layers, though the taste of the caramel on the bananas was quite tempting. The balance of this dessert was slightly off. The cheese cake was divine, rich fresh mango flavors in every bite of this soft and supple cheese cake. The menu also had an extensive list of coffees, teas, milk shakes and fruit drinks, as well as a selection of domestic and international wines. Blue Coconut was our favorite – blue berries, coconut milk and bananas stirred up quite the riot!
The location of Grapevine is very easy to spot, and the bright interiors are quite welcoming. The tiled tables, distress chairs give the place a Mediterranean café feel. The food menu adheres to this theme quite well, and the souvlaki, lamb chops, ripieno, mezze platter were done right. Service needs to be improved to be more attentive and diligent. Attempting to catch any of the serving staff’s attention isn’t easy at the angle, and that led to slow and somewhat disconnected service.