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Desi locale, videsi khana

Hardeep and Antonia Oberoi check out their own fare from the kitchen. — Photo: Murali Kumar K.

BE A Roman while in Rome? Not necessarily. You can still retain your identity, like this young couple that runs Piri Piri, off Kammanahalli Main Road.

Hardeep Oberoi (Punjabi NRI) and his Portuguese wife (Antonia Oberoi) decided to leave London and make India their home. "But one just cannot forget that one is a European at heart," says Antonia. To make herself more at home, she has designed her tiny food joint like those in Europe and has even designed her home like a European one. Antonia says that only when she looks out of the window does she realise that she is not in her country.

Stylishly designed

And true to her words, the food joint is designed stylishly. The restaurant was also launched in style, with a live band playing for first-time diners and making the experience special for them in true European style!

What does Piri Piri mean? "Well, that is a Portuguese spice. It looks like a red chilli but is not very spicy. It is actually sweet," explains Antonia, pointing to the picture of the aforesaid spice, which is drawn on large glass panes.

The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. The place works like an all-day café where customers can simply hang out with a pastry or a cappuccino or any European coffee of their choice. All these are priced at Rs. 10 upwards. Latte, which has more of milk and less of coffee, or mocha, which is an espresso with a dash of chocolate, can be savoured with a choice of pastries that come with delicious toppings and fresh cream. And the taste is the real thing, undiluted. "That is because we import the beans and other ingredients; for we want our customers to get the best." If you want something more than just coffee, check out the lunch menu that inter alia serves excellent Italian food along with a few Portuguese delicacies.

Another interesting thing one gets to see is the role reversal here. The place is managed by Antonia, who does a great job of making you feel at home, while you get the best food cooked by the man, Hardeep. Antonia, incidentally, is also a great cook and keeps the place sparkling clean though she's right now busy managing the place and is waiting for "the baby to grow up". She may eventually don the apron. As of now, we just have to make do with her chicken piri piri, which is a big hit with the customers.

The other thing that brings a smile to your face is the pricing of the food, which is very wallet-friendly. For starters, we munched into the rich pasta salad (Rs. 40), which was drowned in white sauce and cheese. Then came the hot, oven-fresh Portuguese piri piri chicken, which was wolfed down as soon as it was served. A full chicken is priced at Rs. 110, while half a plate comes at Rs. 60. (Ask Antonia what she had done to make this particular dish so exotic, and she turns coy: "The chef never gives away the secret of recipes.")

Next was the turn of the polla alla blancha (chicken breast) grilled with various sauces, priced at Rs. 65. If you are vegetarian, then you can stick with the flat spaghetti served the Italian way — with plenty of cheese and sauce. Hearteningly, a diner here gets to mix and match the menu to match his or her taste.

As a café too

The restaurant is closed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. but continues to work as a café where you can still drop in to have that refreshing cuppa or that creamy rich chocolate fudge or the pineapple cake. Weekends, they serve you special dishes. Dial 25433222 to contact Piri Piri.

* * *

  • Service: Just like home
  • Ambience: Pleasant
  • Wallet factor: Reasonable
  • Speciality: Chicken Piri Piri


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