Mehfil in the metropolis: Tudum’s sufi baithaks illuminates Bengaluru nightlife

With sufi nights, belly dancing and aerial performances, Tudum aims to be a festive dining space in the city 

December 01, 2023 11:13 am | Updated 11:13 am IST

  • Restaurant Tudum
  • Cuisine Restobar
  • Cost ₹₹₹
  • Address SEE MAP
Tudum, Bengaluru

Tudum, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Stepping onto the red carpet, guided by the doorman at Tudum on a crisp November evening in Bengaluru, the jasmine gajra (garland) adorning my right hand, hints at the immersive experience awaiting within. The heavy door swings open, revealing a world where each detail whispered the word mehfil — an intimate musical gathering.

Mehfil, a term of Persian origin, conjures images of terraces, balconies, and living rooms hosting bespoke baithaks of Hindustani music on Delhi winter evenings. And Tudum is just that.

Here, in the heart of Bengaluru, where sufi nights are rare and every other pub is a replica of the other, this is a refreshing change. A nod to yesteryears, a slower pace of life, when the resonant ghazals of Jagjit Singh and actor Rekha’s captivating mujra performances on VCR provided the melodic backdrop to evenings of revelry and libation.

Sufi nights at Tudum, Bengaluru

Sufi nights at Tudum, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Tudum, an onomatopoeic echo familiar to Netflix enthusiasts, is not just a restaurant; it hopes to be a festive dining space with sufi nights, belly dancing and aerial performances.

Stepping through the grand entrance, I found myself near a small pool glistening in the ambient light, leading to a velvety red walk-in area adorned with a statement chandelier and vintage menorahs with long candles casting a romantic glow. A wooden staircase, decked in jasmine strings, beckoned me toward long, arched corridors encircling the dining space, with a theatrical stage below.

No matter where your gaze falls, it rests upon the stage. The play of light, with white globes offsetting wooden and red velvet décor, creates an ambience that transcends time. Big-leafed fans sway gently from pillars, transporting patrons to an era where every moment was an event in itself.

“Wednesdays are Sufi nights,” Neetu, my guide for the evening, shares with a knowing smile.

Tudum, Bengaluru

Tudum, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Before long, the Nizami brothers hit their high notes, the air is charged with the soul-stirring melody of ‘Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna’ from Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met, resonating as the quintessential breakup anthem for millennials across the room. It arguably surpasses even the haunting strains of ‘Channa Mereya’ from Rockstar, in my somewhat controversial opinion.

As the musical finale approached, tables filled with food were deserted faster than a sinking ship. Guests flocked near the stage, chanting and humming to tunes of heartbreak, separation, and the intoxication of young love — all the while holding onto their drinks.

And while it is so easy to get lost in the enigma of the place and the performance, let us not forget the primary reason for visiting a restaurant — food. The menu is just one page — front and back — and has a blend of pan Asian, European, Turkish, and Indian cuisines, basically your familiar Bengaluru pub/restaurant fare.

The filo parcels have a light and flaky texture, featuring a creamy filling of cheese, mushrooms, and spinach. The classic chicken tikka is spiced right with juicy meat, all I need is a whiskey on the side. Every appetiser is presented with an assortment of chutneys such as green coriander, raw mango, raspberry and tamarind among others.

Lotus stem crisps

Lotus stem crisps | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Chicken tikka

Chicken tikka | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The standout dishes were the wild mushroom vol au vents, hollow puff pastry cases with a wild mushroom mix — and the slow-cooked stew of bone lamb shanks. The lamb effortlessly falls off the bone and pairs well with their soft naans. The dal makhani emanated its richness from long hours of stewing.

Generous portion sizes make it an ideal spot for large groups. Raju Vinkar, the head chef shared, “Having spent a long time in various Bengaluru pubs and restaurants, I have selected dishes that I believe will resonate with customers and keep them coming back.”

Overall, the food was satisfying, without any extravagance. The food is not trying to steal your attention with theatrics especially when there is a musical performance vying for attention.

Named after the sound one hears when clicking the play button at the beginning of a Netflix media programme, Tudum’s bar menu has drinks that are named after shows and movies on the streaming platform.

Cocktails at Tudum, Bengaluru

Cocktails at Tudum, Bengaluru | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The Squid Game, features an interplay of the smoothness from the Grey Goose vodka, bitter notes from hops extract, the aromatic essence of bergamot syrup, crispness from clarified apple juice, and a well-rounded acidity from the citric solution. The Heart of Stone cocktail, featuring jasmine tea-infused gin, sweet lime, fresh ginger, tea syrup, and apple juice, delivers a blend of sweet, tart, warm, and floral notes.

And then there is basque cheesecake with liquid gianduja to end the meal on a sweet note. With a mousse-like creamy vanilla texture and a gorgeous golden burnt surface, it falls between the airy soufflé-like Japanese cotton cheesecake and the denser New York Cheesecake.

Hits: Wild mushroom vol au vents, basque cheese cake with liquid gianduja
Misses: Palak paneer with corn
Wallet factor: A meal for two costs ₹2,000
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