My weekends are dedicated to food and foodies. It has been ever since I discovered the people behind TownTrendz, a team driven to build a community of food lovers and unite them with their single passion. For those who are unfamiliar, TownTrendz is an online food discovery portal making its way into the industry and every food lover’s heart.
Every month, TownTrendz organizes a rendezvous for the top and amateur critics to mix and make merry as we eat and drink our way to bliss. Last Sunday the 7th Foodie Meet was held at Grand Mercure’s By The Blue.
Situated amidst the dense green neighborhood of Koramangala behind the BDA complex like a hidden cove is Grand Mercure, a fabulous retreat for foreigners and business folk from all around the country. As you walk down the driveway, you can feel the sounds of the city fade away, transporting you to the perfect holiday destination. For those who love both the mountain and the sea, Grand Mercure would be a great choice with By The Blue serving the view of a perfect aquamarine pool and a tropical ambiance.
As you enter the pool area, you first hit the mezzanine that gives you a breathtaking view of the blue waters. I am not a meat eater, otherwise, I’m sure I’d have found the aroma of grilled seafood quite liberating. This is a bit of Goa in our city. The mezzanine towards the left is a large wooden deck with fine seating and a long table of all-you-can-eat buffet. Walk down from the deck towards the pool and you will be caught between multiple live counters with chefs whipping up pasta, waffles, seafood delicacies, barbecue chicken, street food and more.
We were seated under the shack near the bar, sheltered away from the sun with a great view of the pool. For veg starters, we had a heap of grilled corn on cob, cottage cheese, baby corn, cauliflower, broccoli and peppers. They were all tasty. The buffet had a spread of salads, bread, dip and soup for starters. I loved the breads, hummus and tzatziki. Also tried the cold pasta salad. The soup was cold and too salty.
The chats on the menu included Pani Puri, Papdi Chaat and Pav Bhaaji which were all quite average.
Let’s get down to the drinks. These were the main feature of the day as we spent the first few hours tasting, experimenting, and calling out for their best looking drinks.
I am a Sangria fanatic and hardly stray away from the path. This day was different. They did not serve Sangria. A friend brought a glass of Mojito to the table as we entered By the Blue and suggested we try it. It tasted so refreshing and minty that it didn’t feel like it had any alcohol in it. Taken by this rum starring treat, we tried Watermelon Mojito which delivered just as well in taste. The house red wine was alright. We also tried the Litchi martini, Whiskey Sunset and many more combinations.
After coaxing the barkeep for a while, he whipped up a special drink with Guava juice, Vodka and Tabasco Sauce which was a big hit among the crowd.
The mocktails on the other hand were prepared out of artificial fruit essences which was a huge let down. A glass of water was more appealing.
By The Blue also has a Tender Coconut stall on a cycle to induce a beach feel. Upon request, they add a little bit of your choice of poison to the tender coconut water.
Moving on to the mains, Lasagna, Ratatouille, potato risolle and corn mushroom biriyani were good. It was unfortunate that all the food had gone cold and we had to walk several times up to the mezzanine to get a refill.
I was quite desperate for some hot food and something filling. So I requested for a red sauce pasta which I received a while later. It was a tiny portion, but I enjoyed the acidic flavor balance (it’s one of the lucky spoonfuls that didn’t taste like ketchup). The pasta was al dente. I would have liked it if the chef had taken more care for prepping the vegetables. Taking a bite out of someone else’s food is tradition.White sauce pasta was average tasting more milky than rich cheesy flavor. Aglio Olio was a pretty plate, again, the flavors were mild for my taste.
Getting down to the desserts, By The Blue had an enormous spread that would have definitely confused Mr. Monk. I brought one of each down to the table. Unfortunately, my friends dug into my plate leaving me very little to taste :).
I did enjoy the Strawberry Cheesecake, Banana Tart and Fruit Crumble. The Kiwi Mousse was an visually alluring treat which failed on the taste buds with a sickly sweet flavor from artificial kiwi essence. Pears Strudel seemed like a good option for those who need to watch their weight/bloodsugar. It tasted good but had a dry texture. Linzer Torte is probably what they fondly call DilKhush at the local bakery. Not my kind of dessert.
At the end of it all, I called for a Waffle. Golden brown with a little dust of powdered sugar and just the right amount of maple syrup it was quite crispy on the outside. It was soft on the inside with a hint of eggy flavor. It wasn’t as good to eat after it lost heat and hardened up like a sea shell.
The place has a fabulous ambiance which will take you away from all the buzz into a Goa-like setting even for a while. The service is really good (Just make sure you don’t confuse them and then complain against them). It would be nice if they had a buffet setting around the pool. That would save the multiple trips to fill our plates.
- The drinks are worth trying. Ask for Barman’s Special (You might have to coax them to be generous with the alcohol).
- They don’t really care for presentation (Don’t go asking for pretty looking plates and glasses. Imagine you are on a beach and not a star hotel. You’ll be fine.)
- The buffet has a large spread of average to great dishes (My recommendation would be biriyani. Go early. Eat it hot.)
- The live counter is good with Grilled Vegetables Pasta and Waffles (Go place your order, wait for it and dig in).
- Desserts. Try the Fruit Crumble, Banana Tart and the Cheesecake. (Try them all!)