A glowing, almost mystical, single-storey building, nested in a spacious garden and patio — you can't miss Auro Grace.
The restaurant gets its name from the Auro Boutique, on whose campus it is located. While the boutique is affiliated to the Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry, the restaurant is an independent venture.
There is an indoors air-conditioned seating area for those prefer it. But the good part of sitting outside is not just the mild breeze, but also all the flavour wafting out of the small open kitchen units.
Mix of cuisines
The restaurant menu, a curious mix of Indian and continental, is an innovation on the regular pasta, crepes, dal, roti and chawal.
It seems partial to eggs and spinach, which were part of many continental recipes.
Egg salad as a starter is exciting because it comes in a multi-coloured bed of red, green and yellow peppers. The real surprise was the ‘fried chilly egg', which despite its name evoking pictures of greasy and spicy food, was in fact a mildly fried egg, tempered with green chillies in a way that the spice had just dusted the crisp outside, leaving the inside delightfully chewy. A generous sprinkling of green bell peppers only adds to the texture and taste.
While there is the pasta — in tomato, basil or white sauce — and even burritos or fajitas available, I went for the less common crepes. It was mostly because the host warned me that the other sauces were likely to be bland to the rich Indian taste buds.
He needn't have worried, because the riotous mix of herbs makes up for the lack of in-your-face spice. My crepe, a rather crispy cone hiding within it a delicious stuffing of spinach and cheese, came floating in a bowl of green sauce, which added all the spice and gravy needed to down the main course.
The Indian menu is equally meticulous. So, instead of just one vegetable and one chicken biryani, there are distinct regional variations incorporated. One could go for the north Indian biryani or the mint flavoured Hyderabadi biryani with vegetables or chicken. While the mint flavour overpowered the masala in the biryani, it was a unique experience to the taste buds. Again, the surprise was in the saalna, a spicy gravy that accompanied the biryani — searingly spicy and satisfactorily thick.
The restaurant serves Indian food in clay pots and plates, while the continental dishes come in china.
The most pleasant part of the meal was, uncharacteristically, the bill, which came to a very reasonable Rs. 640 for two.
Auro Grace is located at 104, Whitefield Main Road, Opp. Greenwood High International School, Varthur (28455750, 9845425063).