Express News Service
BENGALURU: Hello, health-conscious people! You are probably getting ready to hit the gym and sweat it out. You might also be thinking where to go out on a beautiful Saturday night, which would include having fun with your friends as well as eating healthy.
Mediterranean food is supposed to be one of the healthiest cuisines the world has ever known, thanks to its abundance of vegetables, legumes, olive oil and lean meat. Layla at The Den, Whitefield,offers Mediterranean cuisine along with a rooftop view from the 21st floor, overlooking the city skyline. Ten points to the restaurant for having an amazingly romantic ambiance, decked up with cabanas, candles on each table and huge space.
Pretty impressed with the setting, my dining companion and I were comfortably seated inside with two glasses of red wine. After a short wait, the waitress brought over a large plate of Cold Mezze, which, in the Middle Eastern culture, is considered to be a meal of appetisers served to unite people around the table in a spirit of sharing.
The first bowl had Msabbaha, a combination of hummus, tahini and warm chick peas. More like a salad, the hummus smoothly complemented the other ingredients. We figured out the taste of roasted eggplant with just a bite; it was soft and full of flavours of butter and pistachio. The healthy Tabbouleh cauliflower was finely grated, complete with herbs and garnished with almond oil. The chef tried to play up a little with the vegetable in Fried Zucchini, which was again cooked with tahini sauce and cumin. The Turkish Caprese is an amalgamation of cherry tomatoes, bocconcini and pomegranate molasses and will definitely be loved by tomato and cheese lovers. As much as the names sound exotic, the Cold Mezze has been an interesting take on the Mediterranean cuisine.
From the Hot Mezze, we got some specific dishes curated by the chef, and out of them, the Shrimp Falafel and Chicken Pastel were our favourites. A heavy proportion of shrimp meat was doled in a ball of coated sesame seeds, along with hints of lemon sauce and cilantro, giving out a fresh aroma in every piece we took.
Next, we tried Shallow-fried Sardines, which were medium-sized sardine is cooked in little oil, giving a succulent taste garnished with chopped vegetables. As fish lovers, we finished a piece each in a jiffy.
The last of the menu (before desserts, of course) was the lamb kebab, which tasted much like properly-grilled sheekh kababs.
In the desserts section, we tried the Levantine dessert called Kanefah, which is a cheesy, noodle-like pastry, the dough of which is made with semolina, tastes sweet and feels thick, and served hot. To discover new dishes from the faraway land is always a treat, and if it’s a dessert, it’s a double treat, for sure. The panna cotta is a must-try for all, where the thick goat milk and orange segments went too well with the dry nuts and basil. The taste was immensely diverse, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
We ended the night with a Layla-special Activated Charcoal cocktail with a Vodka base. In addition to making us happy-high, the drink was sweet and appealing to the taste buds. It felt more like a mocktail which kept us slightly buzzed, enough to go back home on a good note.
Cost for two: `2,000 approx