It’s not common for me to have a place on a to-visit list, and not make it there. But that’s what happened with Grasshopper, for years now! So finally when the opportunity arose, schedule and travel plans cooperated, and ta-da, one fine Thursday evening, Tapash and I were off to Grasshopper. The maps are quite accurate, we passed by Meenakshi Temple on Banerghatta Road, and turned into a by-lane. At some point, the map would say ‘Here it is’ but it wouldn’t be. Thus have faith, follow the road signs, and you will reach a large farm area with a few houses spread out. We park, and on confirming reservation, someone walks us through the woods and the dim lights into the beautiful restaurant.
Grasshopper – Overview & First Look
A building with a boutique inside, 3-4 tables in the patio, and 2 tables out in the garden. One was completely private, near the kitchen. The garden tables were lit only with candles, very romantic. Slow and soft music was playing, and fresh flowers adorned every table. To dine at Grasshopper, you must have a prior reservation with an advance payment. Someone from the restaurant would then call you to discuss preference of food, allergies and meat choices if any. Thence the chef prepares a beautiful gourmet 7 course meal (typically) that would be served to you and your guest(s). The food served is apportioned per person so people do come here to dine alone, while two people with different food choices can dine here. Bigger groups are accommodated as well.
In addition Grasshopper does have a small selection of wines and beers, but if you have some liquor that you would like to consume, a corkage is charged per bottle for the service. They cannot serve walk in guests, because they cook for the reserved guests only. They serve dinner Monday through Friday, while on weekends both lunch and dinner are hosted.
We settled in, handed our wines over and started nibbling on some fresh breads with olive oil that our host left at the table. The amuse bouche was a bite sized salad of cucumber jelly and fresh cream topped with flying fish caviar. Absolutely refreshing, the caviar added such a nice crunchy texture as well as a delicious flavor. A brilliant start! Another salad followed – asparagus with sage and thinly sliced white cheese. Well made, a good balance of flavors, the sage was crispy and lent to be a gorgeous garnish. So a simple yet very nice.
Next came the prawns in a sesame sauce, wrapped in seaweeds and finished with finely sliced ginger. The flavors didn’t all come together for me though, I like my sea food to be simple and perhaps even a little plain. But Tapash quite liked the strong Asian flavors in this. The orange salad that followed was quite a big helping, had olives, lettuce and walnuts. I am also not one for citrus fruits, but this was quite the palate refresher.
An absolute stunner of a dish followed. Lightly grilled sea bass, absolutely soft and delicious, served with a base of red pepper puree that complimented the fish so well. Therefore, of course I finished the sauce in no time! A nice blend of classic European with some interesting fusion.
Our other entrée however trumped it all – duck with plum sauce – a superior combination no doubt. Neither Tapash nor I like duck meat particularly, but the succulence of the meat in this particular preparation trumped over our inhibitions of the meat. Carefully selected micro greens added beauty and variety to this absolutely delicious creation.
We had a menu of desserts to select from. Orange Pannacotta, Chocolate Ganache and their signature Lemon Grass Ice Cream were our selections for the night. The Pannacotta had the right texture, while the mild and subtle flavor of orange hit just the right spots. The ice cream as well, was not overwhelming with the flavors of lemon grass, just a lingering aftertaste in your mouth. The Ganache was made of dark chocolate, rich and dense, with little scoops of mustard ice cream and white chocolate. Amazing blend of flavors, the subtle flavors mixing with tempting ganache. Very well done.
In conclusion, our experience at Grasshopper was amazing, to say the very least. I was thoroughly impressed with the service, and the surprise menu was definitely intriguing. A meal for 2 is about 5500 – 6000 INR. This kind of dining is quite old school, where we just spent time talking, and not worrying about when to order and who would eat what. Most of all the food, conversations and the experience kept us engaged, and that was such a refreshing change! A place that started many, many years ago evolved to Grasshopper, which has now been around for over a decade. An experience here would be special, and I highly, highly recommend it – truly far from the madding crowd!