Safal Aboobacker ran a sheesha lounge in Koramangala for four-and-a-half years before it wound up in 2011. So he knew exactly what to do, and what not to do, with his new sheesha venture — Blow. And we do like what he has done at this Church Street-address.
The sheesha lounge doubles up as a resto-café. Therefore, it’s equally inviting for those who don’t care much for flavoured mists.
Before we get into the details of the menu, it has to be said that the ambience is a total winner, with white brick walls and sea blue highlights giving it an extremely laid back appearance.
We also love the Spanish tiles on table tops, inspired by gardens. Plus there’s quirky artwork all around. Then there’s the life-size mirror on the way up to the hookah lounge, which has now become the ‘selfie point’.
The menu includes food from different parts of the world; it’s got a smattering of Italian, Lebanese, and American dishes. They don’t have a bar, but you can choose from their range of coffees, smoothies, and flavoured sodas.
The appetiser menu comes with quirky names — ‘fungi town’ for instance, or even ‘blow poultry farm’. The former is quite sinful, with mushrooms, Parmesan and cheddar, and pesto sauce mixed together and deep-fried in panko crust. When you break open a piece, the cheese is perfectly gooey, just the way we liked it. Served along with Harissa-flavoured mayo, it’s highly recommended. The latter is chicken wings, and legs cooked in BBQ sauce, nothing out of the ordinary, and the meat could have been slightly tenderer.
The ‘taco texano’ comes with grilled beef, beans, jalapeno, lettuce, bean sauce, with sour cream on the top, and a side of salsa and salad. The meat is not overdone, and that makes a lot of difference. You can replace the beef with pulled chicken, fish, or cottage cheese. For fuller bites, try the artichoke spinach corn burger, which we think is a cool addition. The cheddar on the patty works like a charm, and the green apple BBQ sauce adds a lovely tanginess.
If you like hookah (you have to be 19 or above, not 18), try the mild fruity flavours such as double apple, mint, blueberry, grape, paan rasna, or the in-house ‘secret hookah’. All the sheeshas have been imported from Europe, and have been fashioned from designer spirit bottles. And they actually have a vaccum sheesha starter, which means you don’t have to ask a server to do it for you. Fortunately the lounge is spacious enough for non-hookah smokers to not feel claustrophobic.
`850 (meal for two); `950 (for sheesha). At Church Street. 11 am-11 pm. Details: 49653044
— Barkha Kumari