A few days ago, I was invited to try the food at the latest addition to The Fatty Bao family – The Fatty Bao on Lavelle Road! This is the brand’s second foray in Bangalore after opening the first one in Indiranagar over 7 years ago. It always inspires a sense of confidence to see an existing, well-loved brand expand its footprint in a city especially in light of the turmoil of the last two years, so I was happy to hear that the Lavelle Road outlet was opening in December last year.
If you’ve visited any of The Fatty Bao restaurants in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata & Bangalore you’ll know that they’re a fun place to head to when you’re in the mood for some playful Asian fare. As I stepped into the restaurant on Lavelle Road (located in the same building as SodaBottleOpenerWala & Cantan, also gems from The Olive Group), I was struck by the pop of colours and bright decor that is an immediate mood lifter. There’s an indoor and outdoor space for guests to choose from, and both are delightful.
Since it was a warm weekday afternoon, our group decided to choose a table indoors. Once we settled in, our host Tushar introduced us to the bar menu so we could begin with a drink. While the beverages menu features a fairly wide selection of hard liquor and the brand’s signature cocktails, there’s an interesting category of drinks at this particular Lavelle Road location: the G&T Sorbets. I chose the Raspberry Sorbet (Beefeater gin, homemade raspberry sorbet & lemongrass foam; topped with tonic). While I anticipated this to be fairly sweet, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that sweetness was restrained, and the intensity of the raspberry flavour came through quite strongly. I imagine these drinks will do very well during summer season (as the one we are currently experiencing in Bangalore) although I would have preferred this to be a little more sorbet-like, given the name – perhaps a more pronounced texture of frozen fruit.
Moving on to the food, our host had quite a vast spread planned across several categories of the menu including, of course, the baos. We tasted more than 10 dishes, and I enjoyed quite a few of them. The portion sizes are more than generous, so if you plan on trying multiple dishes at one sitting (like the four of us did), keep that in mind before getting carried away. In fact, my only real disappointment with the experience is that the selection was too wide, and I would have preferred trying a fewer number so that I could do full justice to the meal 🙂
Out of all of the dishes we tried, I enjoyed the following 6 the most:
The Firecracker Fried Chicken Burger-bao was truly a lovely dish to start with, given that baos are the brand’s signature offering. I loved the contrast of textures between the softness of the fluffy bao bun and the chunks of crispy fried chicken with homemade hot sauce and pickled gherkins. There’s also a nice contrast between the slight sweetness of the buns & savouriness of the fried chicken. The Brie Tempura was a delightful dish comprising of squares of fried brie cheese drizzled with plum sauce and garnished with pickled beetroot. toasted almonds and shichimi togarashi (a Japanese spice blend made of red chili peppers, sichuan peppercorns, dried orange peel and more). Again, I love the contrast flavouring pairing in this dish: the saltiness of the brie, the sweetness of the plum sauce and slight hint of spice from the shichimi togarashi. A third appetiser I really enjoyed was the Beef Spring Rolls, featuring cubed tenderloin with Thai red curry paste & served with kimchi vinaigrette. This one was *packed* with flavour – the lemongrass from the red curry paste really came through with a beautiful intensity, and the rolls were stuffed with a generous amount of filling.
For salad lovers, the Ghost Chicken Salad is a flavourful option made of pulled chicken, chilli bean sauce, pickled onions, pennywort leaves and mint. I really enjoyed how ‘bite-sized’ all the elements were in this salad (from the pieces of chicken to the slices of mini cucumbers & halves of cherry tomatoes) , making it very easy to eat in neat mouthfuls. The garnish of pennywort herb leaves add a nice, refreshing visual element to the dish – they look like mini lotus leaves!
The last small plate/appetiser I enjoyed was a dish with a very trendy name: K-Pop! This is served warm in an adorable small cast iron skillet, and is made of braised chicken with fiery chilli pepper sauce and then topped with mozzarella sauce. It came with a portion of what looked like toasted baos, that you basically break as if you would a roti or any other bread and use to scoop a mouthful of the chicken into your mouth. An indulgent option, for sure, and quite representative of the playfulness The Fatty Bao brand is known to bring into their dishes.
Okay, now a quick confession before I talk about the main course – we were presented with two Japanese-style ramen bowl options but I in all fairness had space only for a few spoonfuls of one! I’m definitely going to make it a point to go back and try more of The Fatty Bao’s ramen offerings because the Tori Patan that I did try was simply fabulous! This ramen is made of a thick cloudy broth with chicken flavoured spicy tare, poached chicken, scallions, chopped onion, nori sheet, egg and Japanese chilli oil. This was by far my favourite dish of the meal, because the broth itself was simply spectacular and hit all the right spicy, notes I crave in a good bowl of ramen. If you live in Bangalore, you know how rare it is to find a bowl of well-made ramen in a restaurant and I think this changes things a bit for me. My only request is that the management considers offering this with a pork chashu option (honestly, that would make my year). I can imagine ordering bowls of this when I’m craving something something hot, soupy, filling & spicy – especially in the monsoon and winter seasons.
The final dish of the meal was, of course, dessert! And we were treated to a very attractive looking sweet dish called Brick Toast, made of Japanese milk bread with bonofie, raspberry & ube ice cream, decorated with macrons & fruits. The tiny macarons were truly adorable, and I just loved how all the bright colours and the fruit came together to add a burst of freshness to the end of a flavourful meal.
The Fatty Bao (Lavelle Road) is located at: 25/4, 1st floor, Lavelle Road, opposite Harley Davidson showroom, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
Note: This is my first time dining at The Fatty Bao (Lavelle Road), and I was there by invite which is why I have not commented on pricing or service.
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