One evening, last week, I almost imagined myself standing across a lush colonial home in tropical Singapore only to realise this beautiful discovery was in the middle of 12th Main Road in Indiranagar. Welcome to Punkah House Bar & Kitchen, a serene oasis oozing with a vintage vibe, old-world charm and a delightful gourmet menu for sheer indulgence. Past the green foliage, as I climbed the staircase up to the first floor of this quaint bungalow, it almost felt I took a step back in time. Pre-independence era atmosphere, colonial décor, leather upholstery, wicker chairs, vintage knick-knacks, all make for this cosy new restaurant in namma Bengaluru.
Punkah House is the latest launch from Charcoal Concepts, the same folks who gave us the immensely popular Bombay Brasserie. They have teamed up with MRS Hospitality for this venture which reinforces the definition of the hand-held palmyra leaf ‘punkah’ with a slow, hypnotic motion delivering a calming effect making everything seem more gentle and genteel. The menu at Punkah House is laced with innovative cocktails infused with flowers, herbs and spices and the food is a rich amalgam of the old and the modern while paying a rich tribute to cuisines from the subcontinent’s culinary past - think colonial India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar…
The glistening, full-fledged Oak Bar is not be missed with its impressive collection of malts, sakes, gins, wines and beers. I began the evening with a barrel-aged cocktail, aptly titled The Corporal - a blend of Single Malt, Sweet Vermouth, Spiced bitters with a pump spray of Absinthe Mist. The presentation and taste were 10 on 10 and I simply loved the delicate aroma and flavours of the drink. The four exclusive barrel-aged cocktails infused with spirits and in-house bitters are compulsorily allowed to sit for 40 days before being served.
The sophisticated ambience of Punkah House is steeped in history, architecturally styled around an English club with wooden flooring, stained glass, latticed windows, gleaming brass and an airy verandah for that unhurried catch up with a group of friends. This 100-seater is strewn with eye-catching artefacts such as wall-mounted retro telephone, planters chair, grandfather clock, full-length antique dressing mirror, hat stand, Ming vases and all. Take the steps to the second floor and you will be greeted with a covered, open-to-air terrace with rattan furniture, luxuriant indoor plants, mellow lighting and a bar. This is a perfect spot to soak in the city’s pleasant weather, as we did while watching the rain, cool down the ambient atmosphere.
The food at Punkah House is eclectic, drawing on the rich traditions of an era gone by, yet rooted in the culinary art of contemporary minimalism. The sea bass Jamun Ceviche with black rice puff hit the spot with the right hint of spice and tartness on the palate. I was left licking the last bit of the Jamun paste off the lovely stone plate. Next up was the harissa marinated Chicken Paté with milk toast slivers which double up to scoop up this coarsely ground zesty paste.
With much hesitation we scraped off the artfully plated Sweet Truffle Cream with accompanying crackers and made a hearty meal of Hoppum with Asparagus and Water Chestnuts. The flatbreads, hot off the wood-fired oven, are highly recommended, particularly the Ghee Roast Pumpkin version. For dessert, we delightfully settled for the Ananas Sorbet and the Pink Guava Ice Cream with White Chocolate.
— The author is a Bengaluru based hospitality professional, food lover and travel enthusiast...