The wife and her two best friends decided to get together (again) for an evening of food and fun. One of the friends had a hankering for Barbeque Nation, so the choice of place was pretty much obvious. While the others in the group have already been to this place before, it was a maiden experience for the wife and me.
Located on Gurukul road, the first delight that I experienced was the valet parking! No hassles of finding a decent spot to park the vehicle. As we had already booked our reservation (table for 5), it was convenient to know that we would not have to wait for a place. Gluttons that we are, we arrived pretty early (around 7:30). As the other members of our party had not arrived yet, we decided to wait outside. The waiting area outside the joint has decent wooden benches and a water dispenser. (pretty thoughtful!)
Once the other members of the group arrived, we headed inside and were seated at our table. The barbeque grills are inbuilt in the tables. Once occupied, the barbeque slots are filled with a live-coals filled pan and covered with the grill top. There were 3 vegetarians and 2 non vegetarians in our party. We ordered a Kokum whirl (with litchee in it), a coconut milk based drink, a masala coke, a lemon based drink and a blue lagoon like thing. (keep forgetting the names :D )
The starters include a smorgasbord of items. While some are served on skewers which are laid to grill on the barbeque, others are served by the waiters. The vegetarian side included mushrooms, marinated vegetables (tomatoes, onions, capsicum, pepper (the large bhajiya mirchi), cauliflower and pineapple!). The marinated paneer was soft and literally melting over the grill. The served starters included potatoes in different styles, soft scrumptious kebabs (one was even beet based) and other delicacies. A special mention for the corn which had the right blend of taste and texture.
The non-vegetarians had different versions of chicken, fish and prawns. (No comments there!)
There is a pani-puri (gol-gappa) counter in the middle of the restaurant. When ordered for the first time, the plate with 6 puris came in pretty decent amount of time. However, when we called for a second plate after some time, it took its own sweet time in finding its way to our table.
For main courses (served buffet style), we had Indian style vegetables (containing whole onions in plenty), a spinach gravy based vegetable, peas pulao, rice, daal, vegetables (chinese style) and noodles. While the rice and dal were amazing, the wife found the noodle to be a tad bit dry. I thought the vegetable gravy had a bit of extra spice which could be toned down.
For desserts, we had a veritable selection of items including mini gulab jamuns, some sort of brownie, a pineapple pastry, mango pudding, fruit custard and ice cream.
While the food was pretty good, our experience could have been much better but for the following reasons.
1. The chef(?) came around to tables and tried to chat up the guests. While this may seem like personal attention being paid, it is necessary to check whether the guests are in a mood to interact with outsiders. It felt pretty intrusive.
2. While we reached the desserts part of the dinner, the waiters took away the bowl of dip and replaced them with fresh ones in preparation for the next guests at that table. Seemed like a not-so-subtle hint to clear the table. On one hand, the place mats (paper based) have words on them indicating that they invite guests to spend as much time as they want; on the other hand, starting to prep the table when the guests have not even indicated the end of their dinner is downright rude. In fact, when the table has not been cleared, if you start placing food items for the next set of diners, it begs the question of hygiene and stuff. Couple of us started questioning on whether they would actually clean the table once we have left?
3. The 'live' music was a guitarist who also sang. While the repertoire of songs was good, it felt loud and out of place. The musician seemed to be uninterested in providing 'entertainment' to the guests. The wife felt that he commented on how his music was being drowned by the 'noise' of the dinners. Dude! the main purpose is eating - the music in incidental - it's supposed to be in the background. We felt, the music was too close to the diners and it would be better if the placement of the 'live music' section was a bit away.
4. Apparently, BN has a tradition of 'celebrating' the birthdays of its patrons. There were 2 birthday parties seated in the restaurant. A bevy of staff accompanied by desi drums would come chanting and singing to wish the birthday person. Not classy at all! For a place that seems so classy, the birthday celebrations seemed tawdry.
All in all, a decent place if you wish to gorge on starters. The main courses and desserts are nothing great to rave about. For the amount charged, the service and ambiance (as in the music and 'birthday' cheers) could do with much improvement.