Location: Orion Mall, Bangalore
Cuisine: World, Drinking Destination
Ambience: Located by the poolside at Orion Mall, the Mai Tai Lounge is Bangalore’s getaway to a tropical world within the confines of its newest lifestyle mall. The busy and congested roads just around the corner from the mall are forgotten when you have settled down here. What you get is a laidback and tranquil atmosphere by the lake and trees, a tropical retreat, with views of the high rise glass buildings of the Sheraton Hotel and the World Trade Centre to remind you that you’re in the heart of India’s IT hub. It’s perfect for an evening soiree for a small or large group as the Mai Tai lounge has plenty of seating available; cushioned straw sofas, a table and chair set up, an island bar and an interior lounge for more private parties. And not to forget the soft lounge music played at the right levels. If you’ve got a breeze blowing your way, you’re in for a treat.
The rating is this high because it’s one of the firsts in Bangalore; a restaurant (excluding those in hotels) with a poolside ambience.
Food and drink:
Beverage: We decided to go in for a non-alcoholic Coral Reef which was described as having strawberry, mango and coconut cream. Well, the mango was hardly present and the coconut cream was not to be tasted. Ice was pretty much in abundance though and all the drink seemed to have was strawberry and ice. More like a slushie if you ask me. The drink was good but not based on what was expected from the menu description.I hope for their sake that the alcoholic drinks are prepared the way it is supposed to be.
1. Hawaiin Volcano Sliders: Mini tenderloin patties, cheddar cheese and a roasted garlic chilli spread served as three sliders sounded good to me and though I’m not one for spicy food, I decided to see what would be volcanic about it. Turns out, it’s nothing. The sliders were presented on a single banana leaf to give it the Hawaiin touch I presume. The patties were soft, juicy and medium cooked. The buns were a bit on the hard side and should have been softer. The cheddar cheese was just a half slice of cheese and looked like it was cut from a Britannia cheese slice. They serve more cheese on the hamburgers at McDonalds. The garlic chilli spread had nothing garlic-y or chilli about it and there were no sides as well. The only thing that saved the sliders were the patties and well, an extra point for serving it on a banana leaf.
2. Tiki Falafel Burger: It’s interesting that they’ve got falafel on their menu but the patty wasn’t fried enough to make it crisp. Having eaten plenty of falafel in the Middle East, it is mostly always a let down when it comes to trying out falafel in Bangalore. The falafel wasn’t crisp, was still a bit yellowish and lack the spiciness as mentioned on the menu. A little plain tasting on the whole as the tahini spread didn’t taste like real Tahini at all.The presentation was rather dull and uninspiring. The french fries served on the side was good though along with a spicy sauce.
3. Mai Tai Veggie Burger: Another veggie burger that is not recommended. The lettuce doesn’t look too green does it! The veggies are probably better off going in for one of the salads. Again the presentation was dull and the burger pretty plain.
Dessert: A little disappointed with the meal, we weren’t sure if dessert would prove to be anything different. Anyway, we tried a Coffee Creme Brulee which is the traditional creme brulee, only this time infused with espresso. The thin crust was too soft and it did not give a fluffy creme brulee feeling which probably had something to do with the presence of espresso. It was slightly more of a pudding kind but it was a fine end to the meal.
Service: The service was quick and efficient and our initial server was friendly. The rest of them seemed to be a little lost and confused and smiling didn’t seem to be their forte.
Overall Verdict: I thought that the place warranted more number of drinkers and diners at 4 p.m on a Sunday evening but I was wrong. There was but a lone drinker at the island bar when we hopped in and people seemed more interested in posing for pictures outside the lounge(somehow trying to satisfy themselves in that way, or maybe put up a Facebook picture trying to prove they visited the Mai Tai lounge). People did start coming in for drinks however post 5 p.m which I guess makes more sense. Though I say it’s a getaway to a tropical world, it may not be as tropical as one would expect from the Mai Tai lounge here. What they can do to add more flavour is to line the path to the ‘tropical’ seating area with pebbles and gravel and have recorded amazonial bird cries from time to time in the locale. Also, the servers could use more colourful outfits and be more cheery and bright on the whole. It’s not to say that the place isn’t good for it is but it could have been made great. Having come away from the lounge without sampling their cocktails for which they’re known might be a sin but there’s always another time for that and it’s a bit of a setback that I can’t truly rate their bar and selection of drinks. The food menu was limited for the veggies but it had a smattering of small and large platters of shrimp, tuna, beef and chicken. They also have some salads and the menu does offer some interesting options on the whole. They fall a bit short with their food though. It is to be expected from the lounge since it’s known for its cocktails and they’ve got the Trader Vic’s restaurants to do the dining job. But for people who want to try out the food and can’t wait for the Trader Vic’s restaurant to open up in Bangalore, the food at the lounge is worth a shot. A relaxed atmosphere which could get a little crowded towards the evening as people come in for a drink or two and poolside setting, the ambience is right for a good time . The average cost for two without alcohol (including VAT and service charge) could fall in the Rs. 1500-2000 range.