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Fusion of food and fashion

IF YOU long to sit under the blue sky, surrounded by greenery, in a sprawling farmhouse where food and fashion blend sensually, then you should get set to indulge yourself at the Grasshopper, where time comes to a standstill.

The young and chic trio — Sonali Sattar, Himanshu Dimri, and Gautam Kalra — the people behind the show, are from creative backgrounds. Sonali and Himanshu, graduates from NIFT, New Delhi, design clothes and have been doing so under the label, Hidden Harmony, for the last eight years. Gautam, who is an alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics, hails from an advertising and marketing background.

"People in Bangalore long to drive over and chill out," says Sonali about the ambience, which is soothing and peaceful. "Most people who come here would rather linger and stay here and we encourage that." Entry to Grasshopper is strictly through reservation.

This outdoor restaurant is an appealing amalgamation of cuisine and couture, not to forget that it also has a gallery that showcases products and photographs. The designers, who have showcased their creations in textiles and fashion accessories here, are Manish Arora, Priyadarshini Rao, Rohit Bal, and Savio Jon among others. The Gallery displays work by a different person each month. So far, stainless steel products crafted by Berry & Stettler and the latest collection of products in nickel and brushed bronze by American metalware designer, Michael Aram, have been displayed at the gallery.

Talking about the food at Grasshopper, Gautam says: "We serve European cuisine, albeit, with a distinct South-East Asian touch."

And there are no menu cards at the Grasshopper. You have to call the restaurant in advance to reserve a table and prepare to be pampered with an eclectic vegetarian/non-vegetarian seven-course lunch or dinner.

"We pay a lot of attention to the way food is served and take care to ensure that the cuisine is subtle and aesthetic," claims Sonali. "We bake our own bread and use fresh herbs and ingredients in our dishes," she adds.

A meal for two is priced at Rs. 1,200. Of course, they do have an a la carte menu on weekdays for clients in a hurry and it includes a choice of sandwiches and fresh juices. However, most of their clients who crave for some quiet and nature and an unhurried gastronomic experience prefer to leave it all to the Chef. "Most of our patrons love the element of surprise," remarks Gautam about their standard menu system.

We began our vegetarian lunch with delicious mushroom and olive tapinade on whole-wheat crackers and roasted peppers on toasts.

The ginger lemon cooler is definitely worth a try. Then came the bread sticks served with herbed cream cheese. The salad with the crunchy peanut dressing was a novel interlude before the main course.The main course of rice with stir-fried oriental greens and tofu in sesame oil was accompanied by a side dish of broccoli with tomato pesto, basil, and pine nuts. Well, even if you are not exactly crazy about broccoli, chances are that you will like this dish.

While we sampled a couple of rare ice cream flavours such as lemon grass and musk melon. We ventured on a leisurely post-lunch walk before washing our luncheon down with some freshly-brewed coffee. The restaurant attracts a gamut of discerning patrons — from high-profile corporate executives who drop by to enjoy the cuisine and the serene ambience to artists and movie folk.

Grasshopper accommodates a maximum of 25 to 30 clients at a time and the proprietors want it that way.

"We don't want a crowd, Grasshopper is all about that personal touch and that would be lost if we went truly commercial," feels Sonali.

The next time you want to bask on lounge chairs while sipping your beer, don't fly out to Goa, head straight towards Bannerghatta Road instead.

Grasshopper is at No. 45, Kalena Agrahara (next to The Farmhouse), Bannergatta Road. For lunch/dinner reservations, dial 6593999/9845075307.


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