I have always been a foodie and a frequent traveler but somehow have always been wary of eating on the go. While my appetite doesn’t reduce even when outbound on long international flights and my love for food certainly bears testimony to it, I have been one of those who plan my meals and snacks even during my travel. The common perception about airport and airline food has stayed glued to my psyche and thanks to mother’s love that has been quite an incessant practice.
I have always regarded airport food as uninteresting and have been associating it to poor choice of food forever only to be proven wrong recently. My perception got quite a setback as I attended one of the most awaited events at “Kempegowda International Airport” here in Bangalore. This was an event for few chosen Food bloggers in the city by an invitation to cover the restaurants within the airport. The invites were hand picked and the biggest food influencers were chosen. Must say I was thoroughly excited to be beyond the security check of the airport without even a ticket. Not only was it a great opportunity for me, But has given me an insights about the food options that I will look forward to visit when I travel next.
The ever-growing economy of Bangalore makes for a growing number of travelers each day at both the international and domestic terminal of the Kempegowda International Airport. The airport has a large footfall and catering to the food needs of such a vast audience is a tough task that is being nailed with a great degree of precision by virtue of the efforts of individual restaurants that are doing a great job. This task is being executed by HMS Host group who has curated an amazing line up of restaurants. I must say expectation of leisure and relaxation of travelers is met with a satisfying experience that is delivered through welcoming interiors, peaceful ambiance and luscious food options with smooth Internet access (45 Mins only ☺). Energy and hydration are assured through amazing service and fabulous food served at the restaurants.
The thought behind the KIA food walk (That’s what the event was called)
The abundance of restaurants in the city and availability of quick food at disposal often leaves one unaware of what goes behind a dish or an entire experience that a restaurant puts across. While a great deal of effort goes behind the menu and offerings of each restaurant, the airport restaurants differ from the lot owing to the variety of crowd that they cater to. People from various cultures come together at the airport and the food needs to address varied needs and tastes. A plethora of tourism opportunities in Karnataka and other surrounding places and business opportunities add to the variety of travelers.
The KIA Food walk experience offered great insights into the execution of operations at the restaurants. The entire procedure of sourcing ingredients and investing a considerable amount of time and thought into understanding needs of travelers and catering to them came in as an awareness that I am grateful for. One can clearly see the immense detail and care that is put in.
The KIA food walk was an experience spread across 3-4 hours and it was thorough understanding of operations and hands-on experience guided by the chef G Murali Murthy himself and Kathhiravan GM of HMS Host.
The opportunity was a privilege to cover 4 restaurants of varying cuisines:
This café cum restaurant offers a great ambiance with its lovely Moroccan tiles in Blue and gives a perfect feel of a “Mata’am”, where you’d want to while away the entire day. A vast array of eating options from the Mediterranean cuisine palate complement the aura perfectly. Amazing taste, health benefits and utmost simplicity is what sets Mediterranean cuisine apart from the others and makes it a popular choice.
Pasta, Sausage, Pizza, Wine, Gyros, Falafel, and Kebab are some of the popular items on this cuisine and olive oil, bread and wine are the main underlying components.
La Tapenade is situated at the International terminal and was pretty crowded as we visited it. Talking to a few international travellers we got to know that it is their usual pick for its authenticity and food options and the restaurant manager did mention that they generally receive an overwhelming response from travelers.
This restaurant situated in the International terminal offered us a welcome drink Iced Tea and the Mezzeh platter and Falafel with buttered veggies. I’d rate my overall experience fantastic. The taste is still lingering and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I am craving for the food I had here.
The perfect combination of Falafel and Pita bread comprised the Mezze platter and Tabbouleh, Hummus, Black Olives, Salads and Baba Ghanoush made the perfect accompaniments. The presentation speaks for itself. I’d suggest everyone try this platter at this restaurant for its sheer authenticity and great personal touch.
Ice Tea was a refreshing drink that added to the food experience positively. While I tried the Peach version, I’d love to give strawberry ice tea a shot for one of my acquaintances seemed quite pleased with it.
The falafel or the wrapped sandwich with buttered veggies was an amazing dish that you must not miss if you are a foodie. Subtle aroma of spices with an awesome taste of ground chickpeas is still fresh in my taste buds. I stuffed the pita with tahini and olives and made it into a savory wrap but I am sure eating on its own would also be delightful.
Whether you are new to the south Indian culture or a local looking forward to home-style food sans the experimentation, here is the right restaurant for you to soothe your taste buds in a homely manner. It is appropriate to enjoy South Indian Cuisine at its best. The aura takes you to the old world culture instantaneously with the distempered walls, decorative fans, the thatched roof and the cutlery and serve ware in steel add to it. Now that is the true taste of South India in its authentic feel.
I tried the Assorted Veg snack platter and Koli Bhartade. While I had my eyes on the thick and sumptuous buttermilk, I had to just grab the glass and gulp it all out. I mean as a south Indian how many of us can really boast that I had buttermilk in the airport. It was a thrill in itself. I loved the fact it was as consistent as what I have back at home.
I am a big fan of snacks and starters and I always appreciate them more than the main course. The assorted veg snack platter satiated my appetite for good snacks with dishes like Raw Banana bajji, Chilli Bajji, Sagu Bonda and Masala Vada. The chutneys made great side dishes and were perfect companions to the snacks. I loved them all but the Chilli Bajji appealed to me the most. Honestly this was something that I never expected to find in an Airport and was probably in tears (of joy) looking at the options. How many times you travelled to airport in rain and wish you had a nice cup of tea and chilli bajji’s before you travel.
The non-vegetarian in me was satisfied well by Koli Bhartade that looked amazing and tasted even better. The Coorg fried chicken with masala made for a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. Trust me on this when I say, This was as authentic as what I had tasted in a coorgi wedding. Definitely a taste that will make you want more.
The Thali also looked like a great option for a complete meal. However I cannot comment on it as we did not dare to try it as we had 2 more restaurants to cover.
I’d recommend this restaurant to everyone looking for home style food and traveling from the domestic terminal.
La Alta Vita:
A rich aroma of superior quality ingredients instantly fills your nose and travels to your soul as you enter this Italian specialty restaurant. The best part is that everything is made as you order it and pre-made or frozen ingredients aren’t incorporated, even the dough is freshly prepared. A simplistic appeal with wood work assures a calming feel that makes it peaceful to relish delicacies made of ingredients sourced locally.
The first dish that I had my hands on at this restaurant was the minestrone soup that was a perfect balance of spices and texture that had a great cheesy taste. While it was quite convincing in flavor, I didn’t really become a fan of it for it was the usual and could not really be set apart from the other similar versions in the market. A little more tanginess could have been incorporated to impress someone with a taste similar to mine. Nonetheless, it still tasted good.
Pizza Vegetariano: The crunchy thin crust pizza made me fall in love with a well-baked crust and delicious toppings with onions and bell peppers. I am usually put off by the death of cheese in pizzas at most restaurants but the generosity in the quantity of cheese won the brownie points from me. The pizza seasoning gave a heavenly taste that I am sure to remember for a long time.
I also grabbed a slice from the white pizza with prawn toppings and I do not regret eating above my appetite. I wish I had more of that. It tasted fantabulous and I wish I could have their recipe.
More Pizzas were served but now I had reached my limit and could not stuff another slice inside of me. I agree now Airport has quite a few options. While we were at this we had a detailed long discussions with the chef on how the food is processed as they cannot have any knives or sharp instruments allowed inside. They did explain how the centralized kitchen helps them provide cut veggies to the restaurants on a regular basis so the items remain fresh. Honestly this is not just another restaurant operation that we see in the city. Now I agree with their price point as there is a lot of work that is gone into preparing these food without compromising the security and with the inconsistency of the numbers. Now that we spent good amount of time to settle ourselves. It was time for a coffee and desserts. This is when the foodie in me got hyper. Someone had just spoken two of my favorite words “Coffee” and “Desserts”.
This restaurant truly understands your need for a quick bite. On the go snacking just got sassier with quick bites in the guise of croissants, desserts, salads, coffee, and juices. THIS IS MY FAVORITE PLACE PERIOD!
The vinaigrette dressing on the simple and conventional, no frills salad made for an amazing salad that wasn’t over the top nor a disappointment. While the Greek Feta Salad didn’t add to my list of must haves, it definitely is a great time-saving meal for someone looking for a regular yet captivating taste. The presentation looked so inviting but I was determined to have my desserts.
Roasted Aubergine, Courgette & Wild Mushroom Salad: The salad looks like a love hamper for a vegetarian and is sure to blow you off your feet with its amazing taste that is the right blend of flavors and veggies. It made for one of my favorites that day especially due to the dominant smoky flavor with the roasted aubergine and lots of cheese. I just had a small bite of it and did really want to try more. But then you know what was coming my way.
Apple Pie: A well- made dessert is sure to keep you enchanted for a long time. The melt in mouth Apple Pie with a delicious filling was one of the best desserts on the counter. You guessed it right I ensured that there was no traces of that pie left in the airport. The light hint of cinnamon made it all the more special and I still have my mouth watering while I am writing this. Trust me when I the Dessert club founder say its amazing.
The fruit bowl and hot chocolate also looked like great ideas for a quick munch and I’d love to try them. However I was determined to have their Black Coffee. Being a coffee addict I wanted to really try their coffee to know if I can rely on them when I am travelling. Guess what They NAILED it. They have wide variety of coffees from Brazilian to African beans all Imported.
In all, I loved almost everything that I had and it was a unique experience. The hygiene and emphasis on good quality ingredients made me convinced about the quality in addition to the mesmerizing taste. I’d recommend everyone to try one of these places during their next visit and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
Whats on my plate?- India #WOMPINDIA surely recommends you to try this plate!
Airport Picture courtesy: Google Images