Park Square Mall, Ground Floor ITPB, Whitefield, Bangalore.
July 29. 2012.
What comes to your mind when you think Mexican? Bright colors, wide straw hats, burritos, nachos, tacos and smiling people! Oh yes, how can we forget Salma Hayek, the most famous import from there.
Jokes aside, the tasty fresh Mexican cuisine has always made me wonder why there was no decent restaurant in town serving this specialty. Of course you have some attempts like Taco Bell (which was frankly so indianised I thought I was eating tomato chaat in a roasted papad!!!!!)
Having seen Habanero while in Park Square mall, I was raring to check this place out. We set off one quiet Sunday evening and arrived just before the hungry crowds descended on the mall.
Habanero is a Tex-Mex restaurant, an amalgation of Texan & Mexican cuisines. If you are entering this place from inside the mall, it’s tucked away unobstructively next to Swensens. If you are entering from outside the mall, the entrance is hard to miss with the bright signs. (Although I did wonder why the well-heeled set would prefer to get out of the mall and then enter this place from outside!)
The interiors are warm, colorful and inviting, the seating is well laid out so that you don’t see someone else’s dinner. The place was not that full on a Sunday evening, partly because the mall itself is next to ITPL (not a residential area in itself!) and the other mall patrons were probably excited by the buffet dinner specials at other places.
The table we were seated at had an eye-popping view of the massive bar as the centerpiece of the restaurant. Neatly laid out rows of every conceivable spirit was on view. Drooooooool!
We reluctantly dragged our eyes to the menu which thankfully screamed Tex-Mex cuisine. After a lot of ‘should we try this or oh wait, this looks good too’, we finally settled on the following: Jalapeño Poppers, Grilled Chicken Breast Burrito, Prawns on a skillet Fajita & Rebecca Mocktails.
What I loved about the menu was the tiny illustrations for those illiterates (me included) who don’t know their Fajitas from Burritos… nicely explained so that we didn’t have to indulge in a FAQ with the steward.
Jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper and this starter was a breaded version of stuffed melted cheddar cheese inside the peppers. It was served with a spicy mayonnaise dipping sauce.
Bite sized pieces ensured it disappeared from the plate in minutes. Crisp batter, crumbly texture and melt in the mouth consistency. I only wished they had more of them in the serving as 2 people having those meant less in each mouth!
The Grilled Chicken Breast Burrito was bursting at the seams, it was worth the price for sure. Accompaniments were lettuce, sour cream, guacamole (Avacado based dipping sauce), pico de gallo (chopped tomatos, onions salad) and spanish rice.
Hubby’s verdict – the chicken breast was good and he was pretty stuffed at the end of the meal. The only minor grievance he had was about the spanish rice, it was dry and bland. But he did admit the flavors were spot-on!
My order literally arrived in 3 parts – the prawn skillet, the fajitas filling & the tortillas. Looking at the plates being unloaded in front of me, we started to laugh as it looked like we had ordered the wrong main dish. This was supposed to be a ‘fill your own roll’ type of main.
The Prawns Skillet was nothing but a sizzler of grilled jumbo prawns along with chopped peppers, onions & tomatoes. Fajitas filler consisted of more or less the same that hubby had as the accompaniment, the only addition here being the fresh lettuce leaves. The Tortillas were brought in a covered cane basket and were soft, pliable to the touch.
So here started my adventure of filling the tortilla with the above and rolling it up to have a mouthful. But having made a mess out of the first filling, I just filled up the prawns into the tortillas later, without the lettuce and rest 😀
My verdict – succulent, fresh prawns. WINNER! The taste was awesome and along with the filler, it made for a great Fajita. The Tortillas were soft and fresh as well, I hope they come up with a wheat version soon (the thought of eating so much maida (flour) was not my cup of tea). The accompaniments were great as well except for one circular scoop (you can see it in the picture, looks like an ice-cream scoop). Tasted quite funny and I have no clue what it was! Someone enlighten me please.
The Rebecca mocktail that I ordered earlier accompanied the meal quite well. Sparkling soda blend of Pineapple & Cranberry juices made it a nice refresher!
The service is friendly, fast and attentive. The person we gave our orders to was excellent in his knowledge of mains and the drinks so no complaints about the service.
The meal costed close to 1700 (Rs.) with all the taxes thrown in. Some restaurants have started adding service tax (10% of the total) to their bills so I’ve started to keep a close eye while forking out the total. I don’t see sense in paying out extra in tips when they’ve already billed me for it, I know you’ll agree!
Habanero. Highly recommended for the unique cuisine. Am definitely coming back for seconds, no doubts!
Value for money: ****
Rating Guide: ***** (Excellent) **** (Good) *** (Average) ** (Bad) * (Avoid)