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Sombreros off, AMIGOS!

DO YOU scrunch up your face when someone says, "Let's try something besides Indian food today"? To you, it probably means a cheese, meat, and oops-I-forgot-the-salt-and-spice experience. And if you're a vegetarian not on a diet regimen, the large chunks of boiled vegetables thrown on an abundance of cabbage don't exactly say, "I'm yummy".

But thank heavens for exceptions. In this case, it is 3 Amigos, a restaurant for Mexican, Italian, and Mediterranean, all-vegetarian cuisine. You'd expect to walk into a place with warm stucco-and-wood walls, colourful parrots hanging from the ceiling and Mexican music. But 3 Amigos is actually a little takeaway outlet in Transit, the food court at Forum mall. Although it sits right next to a Darshini that offers chaat, idli, and Chinese all under one roof, 3 Amigos never has a dull moment. Not without reason.

Continental food

As you wonder what to eat, one of the "boys" working at the outlet will point to the menu brightly displayed on the wall. One look at it, and the story behind the restaurant name jumps at you. Genco, Prospero, and Ol' Walter are the 3 Amigos serving up Mexican, Italian, and Mediterranean food respectively. But if you Cartoon Network fans are expecting to be served by three guys dressed in costumes, perish the thought. It's all self-service, but you're attended to very quickly and before you know it, you have your order in your hand.

From Genco's menu (don't forget to drop the names like the three amigos are your old cronies), the tortillas wrapped around paneer, veggies, and salsa in Mexican bean sauce and cheese are scrumptious. Radhika, one of the founders, says that nachos are served in large portions so that they make for a whole meal. "Also, most of the customers are college students, and most of them like to buy one plate and share." The quesadilla (lightly toasted tortilla filled with a savoury mixture of potato, baby corn, salsa, cheddar cheese) promises to be quite a stomachful. And unlike most Mexican restaurants (at least those here), the dishes don't drown in cheese. Italian is often synonymous with pizza. Sadly, Prospero, the Italian amigo, too serves you just that.

But you do have a choice of pizza toppings on Focaccia bread, which has a sharp, fresh taste. Ol' Walter (the other amigos call this Mediterranean fellow Modesto) has the spiciest kitchen of them all. The pita falafel is a chickpea burger with a fiery mix of vegetables — the pocket bread looks like an oven-mitten with a wonderful filling. It's a must-have, but remember to take it off your plate and bite into it like a burger — not to be tried if your lunch partner will not take kindly to hot sauce dripping down your chin.

Ideal for daily lunch

3 Amigos is ideal for daily lunch, not just because of the fast-food experience, but also because the price is just right. The average price is Rs. 30 (no, it's not a typo) and the portions substantial.

Overall, the cuisine at 3 Amigos is almost like the real McCoy (or real Pedro, if you please) except that the spice is toned down to suit the general palate.

Although the desserts don't need a sales pitch, it's a good idea to try the fruitcake or cheesecake. Spooning them down will be as pleasurable and easy as apple pie (also available, by the way).

3 Amigos has another outlet at Bangalore Central too. It can be contacted on 22067715 or 9845123928.

* * *

Ambience: Mall-like

Service: Quick

Speciality: Italian, Mediterranean and Mexican food

Wallet factor: Rs. 30 to Rs. 55 per dish


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