Now the pick of the week this time is a Bangalore based concept Restaurant “Grasshoppers”. The closest analogies I find for this restaurants are, “The Rich Desi’s” which fly abroad for a holiday for a week and return back with a fake foreign accent, and suddenly they find everything in India a problem. You know they try too hard to belong elsewhere. Same is the thing with Grasshoppers, they have tried extra hard to be Exotic and different from the rest.
The place has some weird rules/customs/processes they have a reservation system; walk-in guests are generally not entertained, the stag entries are discouraged, the menu is predecided by the restaurant and the guests do not have a say in it. The most remarkable feature of the place is a they follow a single reservation per table for the entire evening, so you don’t have to hurry or be bothered about waiting and hustle bustle. Basically this is what makes the restaurant entirely different from the others and when I heard the idea it was simply breathtaking and I so knew this is going to be awesome. Basically to try out this one you need to have a date and a special occasion which you can plan in advance. So when I got an opportunity I ensured we had a reservation two weeks in advance.
The place is on the outskirts on Bannerghatta road, we reached the placed around 8:30. As we entered the place, the entrance was a small iron door which in no way resembled the restaurant. We entered by climbing one flight of stairs up and another flight of stairs down to reach a boutique which had some nice stuff on display. Already being hungry we decided to hit the table first, coming in the restaurant the first look of the place suggested the desperate attempt to look exotic. They had tables which were cement casted and unfinished with legs in cross reducing the leg room in all the four seats. The chairs were Iron and plastic of the kinds you might find in the food courts of every mall/IT Company. The floor was decently done with grey gravels giving it a theme which looked good but I could not be related to any of the natural textures except for a road in making.
We started with a food which was supposed to be a 7-Course European Cuisine, we were first served breads, which suggested we were in for either a Greece or Lebanese touch in the cuisine where its customary to serve the Carbs at the start of the meal, unlike other countries where they start with a protein prior to the meals. However, both of them were ruled out as there was no Humus or the various butters. The breads were accompanied by two oils one of them was Olive. Now this left me really surprised as this was kind of mid-Italian meal but again they missed the spread with balsamic vinegar, herbs, fresh basil, thyme oregano and rosemary which actually adds the real taste to the bread.
However ignoring the breads we moved on to the next course, which consisted of some dish with Boiled Beetroot with Sesame seeds. Looked exotic but lacked the taste, and once again I failed to identify it to any of the cuisine. After that it was primarily a culinary disaster one after another. The menu never adhered to a single cuisine, if it did seemed like the Idea was to deprive the guests of the energy/carbs and keep them on diet as no other dish was rich in cereal content. The spread seemed to be very weirdly planned in terms of buildup of the courses one after the other; as they didn’t relate to the previous dish. However three of the dishes were very well made, one being a salad (I think it was Greek Salad, with lettuce, basil, tomatoes, capsicum), another being bell pepper filled with Tofu (though garnishing were very dry and needed a drink with them) and finally a dish with Mushrooms (I again couldn’t identify the name and cuisine) which was the best in terms of preparation and taste. The final course was the deserts and had a fine assortment to choose from.
The area where place actually lacked was service, I have never been to a place which is so lame in service. The service offering was so pathetic that this makes the place a strict No. I faced the following issues in terms of service-
1- The place was in Open and when there was a mild drizzle, they had nothing to offer us or an umbrella or anything for the cover. We actually had to sit in the drizzle or come and stand in the porch.
2- I failed to understand why a dog needs to by my table when I am trying to have a conversation and food with my date. Is he there to eavesdrop, tell me how to eat my food, or enjoy the view, or I am supposed to pull him on the table slice it off and start eating. It’s a great idea to have dogs to keep the kids entertained but I do not get entertained when the play area for them is around my table.
3- Why on earth would prepare dishes which would make you stink of Garlic in a concept restaurant where you are supposed to arrive with a date? Why? Because it is a custom in Europe to smell like a piece of garlic on a date? Because scientific study suggests that dates yield positive results when the partners are stinking garlic? And the icing on the cake they did not have a condiment or mint to offer for refreshment.
4- The worst part was the dessert when they handed us the choice of deserts and we wanted a chocolate dessert. The reply was sorry it is finished; now this is something which really blew the lid off me as I had booked the place 2 weeks back and I am supposed to have choices as per all other consumers.
5- There is no second line of command above stewards to listen to this. I actually had to be rude and ask them to keep the water jug on my table as the glasses of water were not being refilled despite asking. I really believe a restaurant which cannot serve water promptly is great place to go. Because serving water is one of the most unskilled job, all you need to do is to be observant on what your customer needs. A place failing to do this can never be a good customer delight place. So was the case with grasshoppers.
6- Finally after the dessert fiasco, where I really wanted to someone to talk sense the stewards hardly had any advice to offer. We end up calling the person who had done our bookings of the mismanagement. Instead of being concerned about the mishap she was rude and arrogant. Trying to tell us that her husband is a chef, and how much of effort he puts in every dish. Now firstly, I never doubted your husband’s/chefs’ efforts and secondly you are not doing some god damn charity by putting in effort. It’s a capitalist market you charge more than handsomely for the efforts you put in. So if you think your husband is putting in more effort hike the price, don’t use it as a pathetic excuse of not catering to customers well.
Well what could have been a perfect evening, we left with a foul mood and swearing never to advise that place to anyone.
So finally the summary-
1- Good Ambiance
2- Delightfully Private for intimate conversations
3- Food close to the authentic taste will be preferred by foreign nationals and connoisseurs of European food.
4- Awesome concept of single reservation per table for a day.
1- Pathetic service levels
2- Food varying in cuisine and theme lacking the flow of a 7-course meal
3- Very expensive, priced at Rs.1500/person +Taxes.
Rating- 1.5/5 (A place to avoid unless you are okay for a very lousy service and treatment)