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June 2012

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Being a foodie and some one who loves Cocktails, I was really pleased when I got an invitation to check out the Mai Tai Lounge in Orion Mall, Bangalore. My idea of a Cocktail was just a Long Island Ice Tea or a Cosmopolitan at the most! I was surprised to know that Mai Tai lounge specializes itself in Cocktails and was raring to try them so I went with my wife and friends to try it out!

At Mai Tai Lounge, we were greeted by General Manager Gautam Yadav and Bar Manager Shibu Joseph. Both of them explained to us the 75 year old history of Trader Vic’s and the concept of Polinesian food along with signature cocktails which they serve there. The location of the Mai Tai Lounge was very nice as it looked over the artificial lake at the spanking new Orion Mall in Yeshwantpur, Bangalore. We sat at the following inviting table which was one of the most comfortable lounge spaces that I have ever seen!

We started our journey with the original cocktail known as the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Original Cocktail made from the recipe invented way back in 1944! Legend has it that Trader Vic pulled down a bottle of seventeen-year old J.Wray Nephew Rum from Jamaica, squeezed a lime, added a dash of sugar syrup along with a splash of orange curaco and French orgeat and poured it over ice – thus was born the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Original Cocktail! We tried it out in the signature glassware which is imported all the way from the USA! It gave a perfect look to the cocktail which we enjoyed with long straws which didn’t require us to bend too low to taste our drinks!

The next cocktail which my wife and I tried was the Tiki Puka Puka which had 3 styles of rums, orange juice, grenadine & spices. It was a drink to take us back to the Hawaiian islands! It was wonderfully served in a festival communal bowl the way most ancient Polinesian ceremonial Lau drinks were served since centuries! The delightful flavors in the drink left us wanting for more as we slowly slipped into a state of feeling ‘happy high’!

Another ceremonial Lau drink served in a festive communal bowl was the king of the cocktails as I would call it – Trader Vic’s Rum Cup – which was a frosty froth of fine rums, orange, lemon, lime and liquors. This was the highlight of our evening as all of us took our straws and started sipping one of the best cocktails I had ever tasted! We didn’t want to get wasted but this drink made us pretty high and we were famished tasting all these drinks so we dug into some of the tastiest Polinesian food available at the Mai Tai Lounge!

One of the best chicken wings that I have ever had anywhere in the world (and I have had the original Buffalo wings in Buffalo, USA too!) was the Kung Pao Chicken Wings at Mai Tai Lounge – spicy chilli glaze on top of the juicy and flash fried Chicken Wings sprinkled with crushed peanuts for a yummy taste! Served with a tangy sauce, we were licking our fingers not just with anticipation but with stupendous taste which I never tasted anywhere!

Another one of my personal favorites (though the wifey couldn’t have it!) was the Maui Waui Shrimp which was Prawns with Maui Dressing and served with a sprinkling of crushed coconuts and cilantro. I added a dash of lemon juice on top of the prawns to make the taste more appealing to my Palate. My taste buds thanked me for this as they were exuberant after having tasted the Shrimps!

Generally a place where you have wonderful cocktails and amazing finger food, you will not find good main course items to finish your meal. Mai Tai lounge is an exception though as it offers a complete dining experience not just with drinks and starters but also with an elaborate veg and non-veg main course menus. I went for a Mai Tai Island Burger which had a chicken patty, Cho Cho Glaze and was served with Island Slaw and Spiced French Fries. This was actually a meal meant for two so I shared it with my wife and we were blown away by the wonderful flavors in the burger.

My friends tried Chilli Basa Ciabatta which had the grilled basa fish which was marinated with chill-lime, asian tartar sauce and served along with French fries. They said it was delightful and the taste was endearing!

It was a perfect night of tasting good cocktails, amazing food and lots of fun with friends at The Mai Tai Lounge in Orion Mall, Bangalore!

I have always been fascinated by Arts and Artifacts since childhood. I guess its from my Mom’s genes that I inherit this fascination, as she is an artist and always creating new artifacts. Growing in my career in Bangalore, whenever I used to go back home to my home town Vijayawada, I would always go for shopping for interesting artifacts which my Mom and Dad would appreciate. One place where I found the best artifacts and gifts in reasonable price range (as I was still new in my career and earning very less!) was The Bombay Store on MG Road at it’s old location before the promenade on MG road was destroyed for the Metro. I felt very bad when I knew the old location of Bombay Store got closed on MG road. So when I heard that it reopened on 1 MG road mall in Bangalore, I was happy and wanted to check it out for myself!

As I was selected for the Tour de Store of The Bombay Store on 1 MG Road in Bangalore via The Bombay Store Facebook page, I went there last Saturday at around 5.30pm and started tweeting live pictures of the tour on my Twitter page mentioning The Bombay Store twitter handle. The entrance was really pleasant with lot of bright and vibrant colors which you can see below.

What caught my attention immediately on entering the store was the fact that it is very spacious and is well lit so that all the artifacts can be displayed prominently and it creates a feel of entering a museum which has culture inside each and every piece there! The pleasant look of the store was complimented by cheerful sales people who made us comfortable at the store.

I liked the fact that there were different sections for each of the artifacts and gifts in the store which made the selection process easier and also didn’t need the customer to depend on the sales people to find out where they would get what they want.

One section was completely dedicated to Aromas & Candles. The objective of this section of the store was so that we could discover aromas hidden inside scented candles, incense sticks and aroma oils. This part of the store was really very fragrant and inviting.

Talking about fragrances, another very fragrant section of the store was the Tea section which had hand-picked tea from the best tea gardens of India like Assam, Munnar, Ooty, etc. There were not just popular flavors of teas but also exotic blends and rare flavors!

If you ever hosted guests at your house, you would understand how difficult it is to impress them with the silverware and cutlery. The Bombay Store comes to your rescue here as you have a variety of napkins, place mats, table runners, tablecloths, crockery and other dining accessories by which you can add elegance and beauty to your dining table.

Have you ever faced the problem of not knowing how to decorate your house walls? Empty walls do look drab and spoil the look and feel of a wonderful home. The Bombay Store comes to your rescue here too as they have frames which range from Dokra to Madhubani to Brass & Wood art which can adorn your walls.

One of my favorite sections of The Bombay Store at 1 MG Road, Bangalore was The Elephant Company section which has signature Bombay Store products with the branding of an Elephant which is a symbol of the store. You will be spoiled for choice here as you have many products like Mugs, Coasters, Magnets, Clocks, Frames, T-Shirts and Stickers with the Elephant symbol which The Bombay Store is known for.

I liked the fact that The Bombay Store embedded elements of local culture in their store and into their merchandise too. I really loved the nod they gave to parts of  Bangalore culture like Namma Metro, Bangalore Palace, Cubbon Park & Temples in the following mementos like Trays, Coasters, Mugs, Mouse Pads, etc. Who wouldn’t love to own these collectibles?!!

Clocks were visible throughout the store whether they were in the colonial style or in Mughal Motifs. I had an irresistible feeling to pick up a clock to decorate my home and make it feel grander with it.

Finally two products which I really liked at The Bombay Store..

A Bookmark in Metal in the shape of India map which really caught my eye as I have only seen paper bookmarks till now. This seemed like a wonderful gift to give a foreigner who visits India for the first time!

A bag with the imprint of the painting of the last emperor of India – Bahadur Shah Zaffar – floored me as it would me a classy gift to people who are interested in the history and preserving the culture of our country.

One pleasant surprise was waiting for all of us bloggers at the end of the Tour-De-Store – a newsprint umbrella as a gift from The Bombay Store! It was a thoughtful gift as the monsoon is just upon us and carrying this cool umbrella would make you stand out from the crowd compared to other drab umbrellas!

I would not be doing justice to my blog post about The Bombay Store if I don’t pay tribute to the founding father of the store – Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who started the Swadeshi movement in India! His contribution by starting the Bombay Swadeshi Store on 17th December 1906 won’t be forgotten in a hurry! I’m very impressed that The Bombay Store is keeping the tradition of Swadeshi and the dream of Lokmanya Tilak alive by creating amazing products from India itself!

Recently my wife and I were exploring  a new mall in Bangalore creatively titled ‘1 MG Road’. It seemed like an interesting mall with a lot of popular stores and its spanking clean new look combined with vast spaces which didn’t make the mall feel crowded. As we were strolling through the mall, ‘The Bombay Store‘ caught our eye on the 1st floor! It looked interesting due to the perfect blend of traditional & contemporary look in its products which were displayed in the store. Our curiosity got the better of us as we walked into the Bombay Store to check out few products.

Immediately we were greeted by a pleasantly smiling store manager who welcomed us to his store and asked us whether we were looking for something specific. We mentioned we were just browsing and immediately he withdrew himself and let us shop in peace. I liked this mentality because otherwise in many stores the store attendants keep pestering you at every step!

One of the best examples of the blend of traditional and contemporary style in The Bombay Store for us was the Elephant themed merchandise. There were not only Elephant artifacts in clay, wood and leather but also clocks with Elephant logos, cups with elephant logos and lo and behold, an Elephant branded laptop bag!!!

This blend of traditional and contemporary style in products is very rare to find in India specially at very affordable prices! My wife was very pleased to see this and was planning how to shop for wonderful products here and decorate our house with these products. Some of the other products which blended traditional aspect in them while retaining the contemporary look were Rajasthani Stole with matching Chappals, Coasters with cow imprints and cups with Indian insignia. These adorn the walls of our home right now and complete the ethnic look which my wife has planned for our humble abode!

The prices at Bombay Store were so affordable that we also picked up some gifts for my parents and in-laws!  We loved the ‘Katputli’ prints on the 2.5 x 2.5″ Acrylic Magnets which could be used to stick to the fridge or almirah. They were colorful, reminded us of the beauty of India and were really classy magnets too. So we not only picked up few for our family but also as gifts to foreign clients and friends as this will remind them of the culture of India, at the same time being very useful to stick notes to fridges too. I guess these Acrylic Magnets though are very small and very cheap, embody the true spirit of ‘The Bombay Store’ by blending traditional style in contemporary artefacts! We are looking forward to our next visit to the Bombay Store to shop even more interesting artefacts and ready made garments!

 

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