BY ZAINAB AHMED
Growing up, my father made sure that my younger sister and I tried every type of food available in the market. When the first KFC outlet opened in Bengaluru on Brigade Road, we had been there – tried their Zinger burgers and chicken. When the first Pizza outlet popped open in the city, my father made sure we visited to get our first taste of pizza slice. This stands true to every cuisine that stepped into the city.
Since then, there has been no turning back. We still make sure to visit the newest café or restaurant in the city to try it out. We may not always like what we might have tried, but the tradition of eating something new lives on.
It is the same spirit that I grew up with, which has inspired me to try new cuisines, check out new restaurants in the city, and then write about it.
Writing about food has been my favourite activity, after eating, of course! To begin with, it is apt that we explore a part of the British cuisine in Bengaluru through this piece.
There are several English dishes that are a crowd favourite in the city. Some of them are Fish and chips, English Breakfast, English Pancakes, Trifle, The Full English Breakfast, and Bangers and Mash.
My group of friends are always on a hunt for the best English Breakfast in the city and have found few places like The Church Street Social or Koramangala Social, The Hole in the Wall Café, Glen’s Bakehouse, Café Terra, Koshy’s and more.
Then there are the popular spots for pancakes like the Rasta Café, Smoke House Deli and all the above restaurants.
Somehow, these English dishes have become a part of our food habits. For some, it is not even British anymore. For example, Fish and Chips – I have seen so many people enjoy it without the realisation of where it is from.
Let me also take a moment to mention a restaurant in the city which has complete London vibes.
Bloomsbury’s Global Kitchen and Bakehouse in Whitefield offers a glimpse of London Street and more.
Bloomsbury’s is a piece of London in the middle of towering IT (Information Technology) offices in Whitefield. As you walk through the door, a classic London styled red phone booth and floating teacups hanging from the ceiling will warm your heart (even more if you are a fan of the Harry Potter movies). The ambience does justice to the theme, which is an ode to Bloomsbury’s namesake in London.
The menu does the same. Dishes not just from London, but Indonesia, India and even America find a place in it. The menu will spoil you with choices and trying it all may not be possible on one visit. At that point, I was slightly sceptical if one place could do justice to so many types of cuisines. I had to now taste and watch!
After tasting their cucumber-infused drink – Tangy Cucumber Cooler, chicken n corn Quesadillas, Chicken Wellington, among others, I can safely say that Bloomsbury’s does justice to all the cuisines it offers!
Other must-try dishes at Bloomsbury’s are Kung Pao Chicken with noodles, Nasi Goreng (savour the amazing seafood flavour in this one!), and their Bloomsbury’s Lamb burger.
But why did I mention Bloomsbury you ask? Well, for me, it stands for all that the food scene in the UK has to offer – global acceptance. I was amused to know that the National Dish of Britain is Chicken Tikka Masala. Another proof, that the long years of India-UK relations has changed the palates of not just Indians, but even the British.
The British cuisine in India has mass acceptance, just the way the Indian cuisine has taken a stronghold in the UK, thanks to the Indian diaspora there as well as the open arms of the British.
I strongly feel that the soft power of the UK and India lies in their cuisines. The India-UK relations 2.0 will not only be based on the people-people relations but also their Food to people connections.
Till the time the English Breakfast has a place in India’s heart and Chicken Tikka Masala remains the National Food of Britain, it can be safe to say that our relationship is headed in the right direction. After all, the path to people’s (men and women) hearts is indeed through their stomachs.
When not writing, Zainab is thinking or planning about writing. Potterhead for life, she is all about the simpler joys of existence – museums, movies, music (love alliterations), books, travel, food and culture. With a Masters in Political Science and International Relations, Zainab is also a researcher with one eye on serious defence and strategic affairs, and another one on everything Foreign Policy and diplomacy. Bio is subject to edit when she finds more joys, passions and solutions for world peace.