Seeing red, feeling blue
The advertisements for Blu O kept screaming at us each time we were at Phoenix Market City. There were hoardings across the city and ones within the mall, including promos before, during and after every movie we watched. Then, we realised Blu O was a full-fledged restaurant within what we thought was just a bowling alley. So, one fine day, we headed there.
They did have a restaurant and a languid bar within the sprawling precincts of the bowling alley. Done in blue, the electric ambience served as a contemporary, relaxed backdrop. And you don’t need to bowl to access it. They have an equally sprawling menu, ranging from a variety of finger foods to a few mains. Options in cuisines include sandwiches and burgers to Middle Eastern to Italian pastas and Chinese food. There was a predictable bar too. We scanned for slightly more signature fare and discovered a few options. Sadly, they were unavailable.
It was time to settle for a soup and simple finger-food. The music was fun and veered across genres.
The restaurant area overlooked the bowling alley, so we got a view of the screens as well as the games in progress. With free-flowing beers and cheers for every hit, the atmosphere was charged.
We ordered a Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup (`129), a starter and a pizza. Funnily, our Lamb Sambousek (`249) arrived first. On the menu, the parcels of lamb wrapped in puff pastry, sounded deliciously exotic. When they arrived, they turned out to be very desi Indian samosas.
Nonetheless, the almost-translucent triangles appeared delicious to us as we had nostalgic memories of juicy Ramzan street fare. Quite to the contrary.
These ones were dry to the bone. To their credit, they weren’t oozing oil but they weren’t oozing any flavour either. The minuscule amount of stuffed meat was dried mince that reminded us of leftover food forgotten in the fridge, discovered too late to be rescued.There was still no sign of the soup.
Pizzas work best as fast food in sports bars across the world and this high-profile one should have been no different, right? Wrong.
At least, not the slightly unique-sounding Mankeesh Bi Lahm Pizza (`279). When it arrived, it was almost greeted by a desperate OMG cry from us! The pizza had the same dried lamb crumbed over it. With just a regular tomato base on an average crust, this one was almost inedible. So much so that we requested them to please send us some olive oil. It helped us to down a slice.
The soup finally appeared; it was a steaming hot bowl redolent of the spicy aromas of galangal and fresh lemongrass. With chunks of broccoli and mushrooms, this one had at least got the flavours right. Sadly, there was a fatal flaw: chunks of lemongrass in every bite were a put-off.
A hesitant main course order was placed with the obligingly smiling attendant. If we were surprised by the super speed of our starters’ arrival, we are left bemused by how long the mains took. Call it the luck of the forlorn but when we had no hopes of a decent meal left in us, the Herb Grilled Basa (`329) made a glorious entrance.
The Herbed Basa that left us forgiving the last one hour’s fiascos. Generous fillets were crusted with an herb mix where the thyme and marjoram delighted with a subtle mix on our tastebuds. The fish was firm yet tender and moist. A finale that finally redeemed Blu O’s restaurant capability.
Yet, this wasn’t a restaurant in the true sense of the word. It’s alright if you’ve come for a few games with friends and family and stay back for a couple of munchies. But, it definitely does not live up as a specific dining-out option.
At Lower ground level, Phoenix Market City, Viman Nagar.