Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Salubre - A Mediterranean Food Festival at Verve Cafe, Howard Johnson,Bengaluru

Mediterranean food is always a treat for the senses. Mediterranean cuisine can be best explained by the cuisines connecting to the Mediterranean Sea which includes French, Spanish, Moroccan, Lebanese, Greek and many more. What makes this cuisine so special? It's the fresh ingredients used for any dishes in the Mediterranean kitchen.

Howards Johnson or HoJo, Bangalore is going to host a Mediterranean Food Festival from Aug 19th - Aug 28th, 2016. I was invited for a Bloggers Table for the upcoming Mediterranean food festival at the Verve Cafe, HoJo. Spread across 14 countries, HoJo is a well-known group of hotels from early 1950's.

Located at Hebbal near Thanisandra Main Road (or Manyata Tech Park), HoJo can be easily located using Google maps. When you step into HoJo, a casual atmosphere with the wooden interiors, classy lounge and friendly staffs will welcome you. Verve Cafe was no different when it comes to interior. They have a minimal and earthy decor at the Verve Cafe. Limited seating arrangement at the Verve Cafe is perfect for a business meeting.

At Verve Cafe, welcome drink served was a nice shot of Sangria served with thin wedges of apple. This Mediterranean Food Fest is special as the menu is carefully curated by HoJo's Executive Chef Dev Bose and its mainly concentrating on the Greek dishes. It's a huge relief from the regular Mediterranean dishes like Hummus or any other Lebanese dishes we see at other places. Soon after we settled in a wonderfully arranged table, we were served a glass of chilled Fratelli Chenin Blanc wine followed by fresh salads and a basket of freshly baked breads.

Salads served were -

Mediterranean Fig & Mozzarella Salad - The classic Mediterranean salad which comes with fresh Figs, chunks of Mozzarella cheese and Balsamic reduction.

Dehydrated Tomato Salad with Crisp Black Forest Ham - The dehydrated tomatoes served with thin slices of smoked and dry-cured German Black Forest Ham along with few lettuce leaves for that extra crunchiness.

Next on the menu was a soup which was Tomato & Red Pepper Soup - Tomato and Red Pepper combination is a match made in heaven. Tomato along with the smokey flavor from the roasted red peppers tasted amazing.

After a 'heavy' as it sounds and 'light in tummy' salads and soup, main course served were -

Roasted Aubergine with Tzatziki Sauce - I couldn't stop eating this perfectly cooked roasted Aubergine served with Tzatziki sauce and pomegranates. Tzatziki sauce is a Greek dip which is made of Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and mint/dill.

Creamy Mushroom & Fettucine Stroganoff - Who doesn't like Pasta? Fettuccine pasta in a creamy mushroom sauce was truly delectable.

Stuffed Chicken Roulade in Tomato Sauce - The making of Roulade itself is an art. The Chicken Roulade in the shape of a roll with Spinach and Feta stuffing served with sauted veggies and a thick sauce made of Tomato.

Seafood Couscous Paella - Paella is a Spanish dish which is made of rice, meat or seafood, saffron and vegetables. Chef Dev showed us how good Paella can be if it is made of Couscous than the regular Spanish rice. Slowly couscous is taking its place in Indian kitchens.

I was eagerly waiting to try the desserts as I just loved the spread they offered for our lunch.
Desserts served were -

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Ouzo- Poached Figs - When I saw the name of this dessert in the menu, I thought its just a regular Cheesecake. But to my surprise HoJo served a melt-in-mouth creamy Cheesecake made of Greek yogurt and poached Figs. Some of us felt it was bit too sweet and conveyed the same to the Chef.

Guava Sorbet with Mint, Vanilla and Guava Cream - Oohh-la-la.. Guava is very much wasted in our country by just having it with salt and red chilli powder. I think it's high time that we start creating innovative dishes with Gauva just like the Western people. This Sorbet was the best Sorbet I have ever had. Gauva and mint combination was totally divine.
Pics from HoJo's all-day dining restaurant- Nest

Overall my experience at HoJo was really good. They also have a cool bar named Marea and also a casual all-day dining resto, Nest. Both the places has got really nice ambience which makes me feel like going back there again to try these places.

Mediterranean Food Fest is priced at ₹1000 and it's happening from 19th - 28th Aug, 2016.

Howard Johnson
#132, 2nd Floor, Near Manyata Tech Park
Thanisandra Main Road, Nagawara
For reservations, contact 080- 46467000 or send a mail to

To know more about HoJo, checkout Howard Johnson, Bengaluru

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