INDIRANAGAR: While 12th Main, Indiranagar has quickly turned into a glorified strip for some of the city’s most sought after eating spaces and bars; a specialty restaurant that won’t run your wallets dry, quietly stands out. Phobidden Fruit, a Vietnamese joint that’s graced Bangalore’s food scene for almost three years, has been a place I visit for comfort and solace.
The decor is what caught my eye in the first place. While the ground floor is best suited for dinner time, one should most definitely navigate the delicate spiral staircase, that leads into a wide, cheerful and green room with long wooden tables and benches, endearingly decorated with some kitschy throws. They play some good music too, never repeating the same song again — so if you hear ‘80s disco on a Monday afternoon, you’ll probably be listening to Jazz the next evening.
The menu is teeming with options—both for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, although non-vegetarians will find that they get the better part of the deal here. For starters, you can’t go wrong with the Iceberg Wrap, which is basically just bundles of stir-fried chicken and prawn rolled in iceberg lettuce, served with the deliciously spicy sriracha and fish sauces. The place also serves the best momos in town, soft and filled with fresh flavours, the Mekong momos are served with their signature tomato-garlic sauce. The Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese street food favourite, is also a great option for vegetarians. These rice crepes are filled with mushrooms, onions and bean sprouts.
Once the starters are done, you must opt for the Pho — a Vietnamese noodle soup, consisting of broth, rice noodles, assorted herbs and meat. A full meal in itself, we recommend the Beef Pho for the non-vegetarians. While the broth generally is an acquired taste, the Phobidden Fruit variant is quite easy on even the virgin palate. Another all-time favourite is the Kho, which is Vietnamese for stew. A salmon cooked in a rich, sweet and spicy caramel sauce is a winner although it wouldn’t hurt to cut the sugar content.
Desserts are where Phobidden Fruit comes up a little short. The coconut sorbet is so-so and so is the lemongrass ice cream. The one sweet dish that stands out is the Che with its concoction of fruits, jelly, green beans and black-eyed peas in coconut milk and topped with crushed ice. Definitely a refreshing drink to top off a pleasant meal.
Visit Phobidden Fruit if you’re around Indiranagar and are looking to try a new cuisine. The food is delicious and authentic, the decor is calming, the staff’s agreeable and you’ll never be kept waiting too long.
(Prices for a main course start at Rs. 250)