Wednesday, May 17, 2017

An interesting coffee workshop and the launch of Cold Brew blend of coffee at The Flying Squirrel, Koramangala

When you travel to a coffee estate the fresh aroma in the air, blooms, and misty weather are some of the common scenes. But often people miss seeing those little beautiful creatures on the estates; the flying squirrels which jump from branch to branch picking up fruits. Inspired by this a group of passionate coffee lovers founded The Flying Squirrel in 2013 represented by the Ashish D’Abreo, Tej Thimmaiah (third generation coffee estate owner and coffee connoisseur) and Phalgun Chidanand (Entrepreneur and restaurateur). Their 150 acre Coffee estate is located in Coorg which is in South Karnataka. They also produces pepper, vanilla, various citrus fruits, avocados, honey and ginger.

Recently I was invited to the newly opened The Flying Squirrel Micro Roastery and CafĂ© at Koramangala for the launch of ‘Cold Brew’, which is one of a kind coffee from the Master brewers. A couple of us, bloggers attended a coffee workshop by the founders Ashish and Tej, who have 15 years of combined expertise in the coffee industry which includes coffee roasting, cupping, barista training and blending.
Founders - Ashish and Tej

This artisan coffee brand took me to a whole new level of coffee tasting with their amazing blend of coffee – Cold Brew. Cold brew, as the name says it’s a perfect chilled drink for summer. It’s brewed using cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time. The cold brew coffee blend contains Honey Sun-dried Arabica and some Arabica Peaberry which makes it a strong blend. Another interesting fact about this coffee is that it uses medium to medium-light roast coffee, roasted using a unique profile which delays the caramelization of the bean sugars until the very last few moments of the roast. The style of brewing brings out the natural sweetness of the roast while balancing the acidity and bitterness.

We learned how to make the hot brew as well as the cold brew and I love this cold brew coffee which I used at home almost for a week. The beauty of this cold brew is, you can add milk or replace it with coconut milk or soy milk and for sweetness either you can add sugar or condensed milk. I tried different combinations and everything came out so perfect and flavorful. The smell of this cold brew is so divine.

At The Flying Squirrel outlet, they have another interesting coffee called Nitro brew which is nitrogen infused cold brew. They served it on double wall espresso shot glass class and it was very strong for my palate. 

They have the following coffees –
Clouds in my coffee – a naturally processed coffee, using sea-side moisture saturated air to create a distinctive bold, deep flavor.
Aromatique – a select Arabica single-estate, naturally processed coffee with mild sweetness and an almost wine-like rounded acidity.
Parama – a full-bodied, perfectly balanced coffee with a lining of bittersweet bright nuances that envelope the cup.
Sattva – a single-estate, completely organic Arabica bean coffee has all the qualities of a great Arabica and provides a clean, delicious cup of coffee.
Sun-kissed - a single-estate coffee, is processed using the Pulp Sun- drying method, a bit of the fruity pulp is deliberately left on the bean and allowed to dry and mature. The fruity-berryness of the pulp is drawn into the bean and makes its way into the final cup. They also have a selection of cold coffees, Affogatos, Iced tea and hot chocolate.

After the workshop, we had lunch at The Flying Squirrel. Their European style food menu is equally interesting with healthy eats and also food for the pleasure indulgence if you are not calorie conscious. I’m in the latter category so I ordered a Seafood Spaghetti with Coorg Bird’s eye chili, jumbo prawns, and parmesan.

While waiting for the Spaghetti, they served us a salad made of Buckwheat noodles, confit mushrooms, pickled vegetables with add-ons – Pepper crusted chicken breast/ Smoked Salmon/ Eggs. I tried the salad with chicken and salmon. I must say that the Buckwheat noodles had deep flavors from all the other ingredients and it was a burst of flavors.

Spaghetti lacked a bit of Bird’s eye chili flavor but it was delicious. My meal ended with a superbly made and perfectly plated Salted Caramel Cheesecake which had balanced flavors. I loved it <3

At The Flying Squirrel service is friendly and quick. If you’re working and searching for a place to relax and work with some good grub and coffee, then this is an ideal place. Their ambiance is great and every table has a mini cactus plant with a menu on it. The place will be crowded on weekends, but I don’t mind grabbing a relaxing brekkie with a hot cup of coffee on a lazy weekend.

Cold brew made at home :)

I am very picky about coffee brands as most of the times I feel disappointed with the aroma and taste. The Flying Squirrel coffee surely impressed me in every aspect and on my next visit to Koramangala I’m gonna buy some coffee powder from this place. #Yougottatryit :)

The Flying Squirrel Micro Roastery and Cafe
#136, 1st cross road, Koramangala 5th Block
Bangalore - 560095
Contact - 080 40991044
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Cheung Fun Festival at Zen, The Leela Palace, Bengaluru!

Zen at The Leela Palace, Bengaluru is having yet another food festival and this time it is Cheung Fun food festival. Before you think it’s some fun related festival, let me tell you that Cheung Fun is steamed rice noodle roll, which is a popular dish in Southern China. Cheung Fun is made with prawns, chicken, beef, pork or veggies and it’s a bundle full of flavors. Zen has created a striking menu with all the above items mentioned, which makes you feel like you shouldn’t miss a single Cheung Fun dish. Some of my favorites were the ‘Crispy Prawns Cheung fun’, Three style Mushroom Cheung fun, Steam Angus with spicy Hoisin sauce and BBQ Pork Cheung fun.

Recently I was invited to experience the Cheung Fun menu along with few food aficionados.  We started off with two drinks – Pineapple cooler and Strawberry drink. The OmbrĂ© effect on the tall glass of Strawberry drink was visually appealing but as I’m not an inky-pinky person, I was happy with my Pineapple cooler which was perfect for the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Senior Sous Chef Abhijit greeted us and gave us more details on Cheung Fun. By now we were sure that we are going to have a wonderful afternoon with great food and conversations.

Along with drinks we had some accompaniments like prawns wafers and flavored crisps. Our meal started with a cold, delightful, and crunchy veg salad with lettuce, juliennes of vegetables, caramelized onions, and nuts. It tasted exotic as it sounds.

I love the usage of Bird’s eye chili in Oriental cuisine and the refreshing Manchow soup had my favorite element.

Next on the menu was the much awaited Cheung Fun dishes. I love the way it was carefully crafted with veg and meat fillings; which were taken with or without sauces. I have dined at Zen before and for a perfect Oriental fine dining experience, this is one of the best places in town.

We tried the following Cheng fun dishes -

Steamed Chicken and Black Pepper Cheung Fun

Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun

Steam Angus with Spicy Hoisin Cheung Fun

 BBQ Pork Cheung Fun

 Crispy Vegetable Cheung Fun

 Three style Mushroom Cheung Fun

All Cheung Funs were presented with a hint of micro greens and not a single Cheung fun disappointed me. Each one was better than the other one and portion size was perfect for our tasting session. Few Cheung Fun wraps were so delicate as well as colorful. The beetroot gave it a beautiful purplish red color. Another interesting ingredient was tiny beads like structured flying fish roe used in the Prawns Cheung fun. It not only gave a visual appeal but tasted great too.

The overwhelming hospitality at The Leela Palace draws me to this place again and again. They served us some main course and desserts which were not part of the fest. For the main course, I had a small portion of egg fried rice, veg Hakka noodles along with a flavorful Chinese Chicken gravy.

By now we were almost done and then they surprised us with some desserts of our choice. They doled out some Litchi lemon sorbet and Wasabi Cheesecake with wild berry compote. My vote goes for the Wasabi dessert. The taste of Wasabi was very mild which I felt it could’ve been a bit more as I love Wasabi a lot. My perfect afternoon meal ended with a hot cup of coffee.

Whether it’s the ambiance, wonderful hospitality or just the array of gourmet offerings; Zen at The Leela Palace never fails to satisfy its patrons with an extraordinary experience. Chef Abhijit and his team have done a brilliant job with these master creations in the form of Cheung Fun. Cheung Fun Festival is on until 15th May 2017 and if you haven’t tried then make your reservations asap. A meal for two would be ₹2500/- (approximately).

Zen -The Leela Palace
Old Airport Road,
For reservations, contact - 080 30571520
Check out their website - The Leela Palace, Bengaluru

Stay tuned for another interesting experience of mine at The Leela Palace, Bengaluru.
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