A wholesome, robust, juicy piece of meat that was what was on our minds. Returning tummy and soul happy from a sojourn to Louisana’s delectable South and its hearty food, and London’s penchant for serving up all the right meals, our meat craving had not yet dissipated. So, we searched the city, quite hard as it dawned on us that good steaks are few and far between. Our favourite is at Sunny’s thanks to Arjun Sajnani’s attention to detail and consistency. Next on our list is Portland Steakhouse and Cafe, which offers mind-boggling meat manna with its large selection of steaks.
We settled for the green, serene and beautiful surrounds of Portland's Steakhouse that has had a menu change, and we’d heard many good things. The embers of its charcoal fires have been warming the cockles of many city foodies’ hearts. A restaurant that has been quietly dishing out menu favourites, and robust meats, Portland on Brunton Road sits so comfortably in its subtle and grounded avatar. It needs no brandishing. What the owners and old Bengalureans Maqsood and Sabiha Mohamed have been consistently reworking, reimagining and rejuvenating gives others a lesson on serving good food without the paraphernalia of too much brouhaha. It’s also why the city’s who’s who love it, and lovers make a beeline to this romantic, candlelit, pool side and garden haven. Very few spaces offer such an ambience in the city. A meal in peace and quiet without the otherwise deafening “gimmicks” that others tend to overdo.
We started our meal with grilled kalamari in chilli oil and mint, which was perfect, done just right. Charcoal tenets greeted us, as we relished it. A larger serving, would be better.
We also ordered the yakitori beef skewers that were beautifully marinated, tender, juicy with that welcome caramelly texture. For main course, we would have loved to taste the newly added rotisserie where Sabiha serves the original Portuguese chicken Frango Grelhado with authentic piri piri and olive oil sourced from Portugal, or even the large selection of interesting pizzas from their wood fire oven (pulled roast beef and house special beef with egg jumped right at us) or even the artisan breads that their bakery makes sour dough, and even German pretzels (which she supplies to the German commissioner). We steaked it! It was meat we had come seeking! Happily going through a menu that has around 28 steaks, yes, you read that right, we were spoilt for choice. A true blue steakhouse, it could just as well have been on Baker’s Street in London or past the Freeway in Austin, Texas (though thankfully not priced likewise)!
“We offer many varieties of steaks and we have regulars that come for their favourites given our background in the meat business (her father Haroon Sulaiman Sait was known to have brought meat manna to The Cantonment). There has been lots going on in the past few years, we’ve added artisan breads, a Spitfire rotisserie, a bakery and a coffee shop. We are right now in the midst of preparing for Thankgiving, as our Turkey spread is very popular, this time it is on offer between November 22-26,” says Sabiha.
We had the fillet mignon robust, juicy and biteworthy with a delectable mushroom sauce, yummy enough for the others to reach out and dip their fries into. We ordered another gravy bowl of it! The meat was juicy, not fatty, and perfect in cut, with sautéed veggies. Given that the country is not known for its meats, Bengaluru has the best beef so far (even Goa gets it from our state!). We ordered fries, and you can also order mash. We would have loved an option of gratinated potatoes too. They do have add-ons like creamy spinach, eggs, sautéed mushrooms etc.
The Chipotle supreme steak that a fellow diner who swears by his meat ordered, was beautifully marinated, and came with fries and slivers of zucchini, beans and baby corn. It was coated in sauce, so we ordered an extra gravy bowl. There is enough vegetarian too from pastas that Sabiha and Maqsood will be offering a new menu of soon, thanks to an Old Italian gentleman who supplies them with Artisan cheese. Predictably, we ordered the vegetarian steak too, with a punchy pepper sauce, on a bed of cheesy spinach, fries and veggies good.
We also had a French bakery connoisseur on our table who ordered a rare filet mignon, while I ordered a medium, which might have been switched. It was juicy, and succulent, nonetheless. For small eaters, or those who like meat but large portions, wish there was a baby filet mignon to order too! They have rib eye, sirloin and Tomahawk (the biggest steak there is at 600 gm or more!) too. Must have. Must order. Must go with borrowed stomachs too!
Ask them about the popular dishes, Sabiha and Maqsood add, “The Spitfire rotisserie BBQ chicken, wood fire pizzas, specialty burgers with house baked buns and special in house ground meat, lamb steaks and rack of lamb and the season's special Strawberry and pumpkin pie."
For dessert, we have had the crème brule which was glazed to a crackleand scrumptious, and the cheese cake was good. There is no pork on the menu, sadly.
What has worked in Maqsood and Sabiha’s favour is their passion for food, with Maqsood being an ingredient sourcing and searching aficionado, we even had a special Louisiana hot sauce on our table! “It’s not just about opening branches. It’s simple, we respect ingredients and there is a dedication that goes into it with my husband there to oversee all the finer details. We will be changing the menu, though we can’t change too much as people lover our offerings. Many have begun to enjoy having Portland cater for BBQ parties for select gatherings of 40 -70 people too,” adds Sabiha. The couple recently started a Japanese menu that is very popular with expats. There is a large selection of wine on the menu that their general manager Dexter is dexterous with, and the staff is very courteous and knowledgeable. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner with family, friends or even alone… and is economical as well. Given that going to London or Texas might not be on agenda often, here’s a place where you can steak it out with gusto!
Portland’s Steakhouse and Café
Brunton Road, 1st Cross, Ashok Nagar, MG Road, Bangalore
Meal for two: Rs 1,600
Call: 25593405 or 41127142