You can sit anywhere and have a meal at this new eatery that houses Arabic and Chinese restaurants and a cafe for casual dining with school as the theme
When we googled a new cafe called Blackboard in Koramangala before heading out post work on a busy weekday, we were baffled by two other restaurants that popped up on our search and seemed to have the same address.
Post a telephonic enquiry, we realised that the Blackboard Cafe shares space with Gakko that serves Chinese and Mazeez, an Arabic restaurant.
Chicken Shish Tawook
When we reached the cafe late evening, we were told that it was about to shut down and we could either choose to dine on Chinese on the ground floor or head to the open air Mazeez on the terrace.
We chose the latter. At Mazeez, a large terrace has been converted into a slew of cushy cushion-filled seating under canopies as Bangalore weather plays truant occasionally.
We chose a rough wooden bistro table under the stars. What pleased us was that we could order both Chinese and Arabic dishes from two menus.
The eatery for some strange reason is themed along the lines of a school with a lot of blackboards up and about and scribbled with graffiti.
Upon enquiry, we were told that Gakko stood for a school in Japanese and the same goes for Mazeez in Arabic.
The reason behind the naming was that apparently the experience of dining here might take you back to your school days.
We were not sure if this was a good idea since school also brings back memories of heavy bags, a regimented life and exams.
We started off with Ebi aka Prawn Tempura (R 190) from the Chinese section and A Chicken Shish Tawook (R 205) since our request for a Cheesy Zattar Bread wasn't available.
Blackboards with graffiti are a design element at Mazeez
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity in a very hungry universe, what arrived in the name of a tempura was actually batter fried prawns complete with a sweet and sour sauce.
The batter was crunchy but thick rather than light and bubbly as a tempura batter ought to be, but the prawns inside were succulent and went well with the sauce.
But then again, a soy dipping sauce was missing. The Shish Tawook was chunks of chicken marinated and grilled and went rather well with the freshly baked Arabian bread Kuboos (Rs 30).
We stuffed the chicken along with some salad and a sweet and tartish chutney in the kuboos and finished it off in no time. While waiting for our starters we had grown wiser and decided to order for our main course as the service is really slow.
The Ginger Lamb (Rs 110) came paired with a Burnt Garlic and Capsicum Rice (Rs 85) and we moped up the Mutton Nashif (Rs 215) from the Middle Eastern menu with more Kuboos.
The lamb was well done and went well with the rice which did not have a hint of burnt garlic but was overloaded with green peppers.
The Mutton Nashif had bits of lamb, we think, rather than mutton, that came dunked in a fiery, tomato based gravy. The meat was tough and meagre in portions in a dish that wasn't so cheap.
But what we were really looking forward to in this meal was dessert in the form of Chocolate Spring Rolls (Rs 90).
In a sea of average fare, the spring rolls shone through and we would possibly go back just to eat that again. Delicate spring rolls, crisp and fried on the outside gave way to thick, hot, melted chocolate inside.
Paired with vanilla ice cream, this dessert was simply outstanding with the right combination of sweet and savoury.
What bothered us during the entire meal was the excruciatingly slow service and that might be because of the fact that the restaurant serves everything everywhere.
But the lovely terrace setting and the quirky dessert might just take us back to Mazeez.
Where Mazeez, 80 Feet Road, Koramangala
Meal for Two R 1,100
Mazeez did not know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.