LUPA, a spanking new offering from chef-restaurateur Manu Chandra, in the heart of Bengaluru’s MG Road, opened to the public on February 6. Here’s what to look forward to at this highly awaited dining space.
A Review of LUPA
Once you walk through the doors of Manu Chandra‘s LUPA on MG Road, the chaos of Bengaluru disappears. The outdoor seating has ample fountains that block out most of the street noise. And every decor element is a testament to Chandra’s extensive travels. While the outdoor seating reminds you of a Tuscan country home, the interiors are an ode to 1920s New York. Art deco screens, rust coloured couches, red lamps, and antique mirrors dominate the dining space. Chandra has handpicked most of the decor items from flea markets around the world. There are lamps from Germany, crockery from Portugal, and tiles from Tuscany!
He has overseen everything, from the spacing between tables to cushions on the couches. There are two open pantries inside–a mini gelato lab and a Salumeria. In the gelato lab is a vintage gelato churner, which Chandra proudly showcases to me.
There’s a raised bar, which according to Chandra “prevents the bar crowd from spilling over to the diners”. It has a pure brass counter-top, stained veneer, and a vintage mirror facade. But the pièce de résistance of the restaurant lies 12 feet under ground. The country’s first below-ground stone-clad wine cellar that will hold a curated list of nearly two thousand bottles of wine. It will also have an exclusive tasting zone available only by prior appointment. Talk about extravagance!
LUPA brings the finest of European cuisine with contemporary twist. There are also inventive cocktails on the list.
What really stands out from the appetisers at LUPA was the Spicy Edamame and Green Pea Pate served with toasted brioche, chilli oil, and pine nuts. The brioche and chilli oil are enough to transport you to Italy.
There was also a Salumi platter with Parma ham, Mortadella, Spanish chorizo, Black Forest ham, Edel salami, and Piccante with the fluffiest Tigelle buns, pickled gherkins, green peppercorn mustard, and spicy green apple mostarda.
The breads and meat are so good that one or two portions fall short; only when Chandra reminds me to save my appetite for the following courses do I stop dipping the brioche in chilli oil for the 6th time.
Lupino, a Caesar salad with shredded Romaine lettuce, poached chicken, egg dressing, and Parma ham floss stands out with its garlic sourdough rosette that looked like a savoury version of the South Indian snack achappam. The Steak Tartare is cooked table side without much showmanship, but tastes impeccable. The beef tenderloin is smooth with perfectly balanced flavours of shallots, cornichon, anchovies, parsley, chives, and a generous topping of Worcestershire sauce.
The star of the main course at LUPA is, undoubtedly, the Pressed Half Brick Chicken. At a time when chicken is getting too boring, this simple and soulful roasted dish by Chandra rekindled my love for the poultry. The skin is perfectly caramelised and crisp, and the meat is juicy and not overcooked even by a degree. Chandra serves this with a side of Tuscan potatoes, herbed haricot beans, and pepper sauce.
The Portobello Mushroom Pithivier turns out to be another favourite. It is a round pie with two disks of puff pastry with a filling of mushroom and water chestnut duxelles and a truffle Mornay sauce.
For dessert, Manu Chandra serves tiramisu from a big oval bowl reminiscent of the ones that my mother sets her pudding in. It comes without the trappings of a high-end fine-dining place. And just like the apparatus that it is served out of, the tiramisu tastes like home, modest yet gratifying. It is served with a shot of espresso and biscotti.
What deserves honourable mention is the Floating Island. A poached meringue that looks like the outside of a poached egg filled with passionfruit puree of sorts, just like the yellow of the egg.
Coffee lovers must not miss the Negroni here–it is gin with cold-brew coffee infused Campari and sweet vermouth. If you are feeling adventurous, go for Melon, Cheese & Ham–gin, dry vermouth, house-made melon cordial, Angostura bitters, saline solution, fromage, and ham crisp.
Vodka-based Lupa-tini with smoke infused bubble is also a good accompaniment to the dishes served here.
LUPA is perfect for date nights, family get-togethers, and business meetings. There is ample space, so if even the place gets crowded, you do not feel the chaos. The outdoor seating is very well ventilated and ideal for lunches in the breezy Bengaluru weather
Timing: Open Monday to Sunday for dine-in. Weekdays: 12 noon- 12: 30 am/ Weekend: 12 noon-1 am
For Reservations: +91 8792384999/+91 8792385999 / Email: email@example.com
Lunch: Average meal for 2 without alcohol: ₹ 2000; with alcohol: ₹ 3500
Dinner: Average meal for 2 without alcohol: ₹ 3000; with alcohol: ₹ 4500
Address: Ground Floor, Spencer’s Towers, No.86, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bengaluru – 560001
Admission Policy: Children permitted for lunch & dinner (till 9 pm only) on all days of the week
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