The Open Box

Turn the clock back.
11-April-2016.
It was the the birthday of this rockstar 😛

I’m that kind of person who doesn’t like to work on my birthday. As regular people do, I was celebrating my birthday with a friend. Hum aam aadmi hain. More on Aam, later, ok?!

WHY THIS PLACE?

It was a plan executed by this friend to celebrate a quiet Monday afternoon at this place. I had no clue where I was headed. All I did was drive my car with instructions from my friend riding shotgun(front passenger seat) – take a left here, right there! At least, I wasn’t blindfold! Wait a minute, did the friend also take a leave from work, how did i not think of that? Ok! Back to reason for choosing this: Was picked by my friend and the reason being that the presentation of dishes served here and the ambience was something that made her think, I would like it!

LOCATION

This restaurant is on the St.Marks road, which is a very popular destination in Bangalore. Full points on scoring a great location to open up your outlet!! Well done TOB ! What’s TOB, you ask. It’s The Open Box. Now, it’s really important to know that The Open Box is on St.Marks road, but to know that it’s also known as TOB is importanter( forget the spell check for minute will you, grammar nazi !) 😛
The reason I say this is, when you’re on the St.Marks road, unless you know you’ve gotta look for TOB logo somewhere up in the sky, you would never find this place!!

They’ve got a valet parking, so it’s a big plus!

AMBIENCE

This restaurant is on the 4th floor, with a rooftop dining. As we entered, we were taken aback by the colorful decor and sure as hell felt that this place is loud and kind of in the right way 🙂 There are multiple seating options. Once you exit out of the lift, the left side of the restaurant was shut, and was under renovation. Is it open now? Go find out and add a comment on my review. A beer is on me 🙂

Seating option 1 :

There are some extremely colorful patio chairs opposite the lift. There’s also a swing out there ! Did I pick this? Hell no, too girly!!

Seating option 2:

Next up, you see a dimly lit wooden chairs and round wooden tables, more like a coffee place does. Did we pick this? Hell no! I’d pick Starbucks to this !!

Seating option 3:

There is a rooftop seating, which was not serviceable when we entered. And we thought that was a good thing that it was not open, because it was so damn hot, during April and sitting directly under the Sun, would kill us, like literally!

Seating option 4:

There is some decent amount of seating at the bar. We weren’t drinking, so this wasn’t something that we picked!

Seating option 6:

From when you exit out of the lift, at the right most part of this restaurant is a seating that’s probably the best. You’ve got a pool table around this area as well. And there’s a very nice world map in green grass engraved on the wall! Very neat job, sir! The seating was quite good. There was a huge mist fan, which was spraying out cool water, towards our table, which was a blessing 🙂

Seating option 5:

Just on the sides of the Seating option 6, are about 4-5 bar stools, overlooking the road. This is what we picked before moving onto Seating option 6 🙂 Yes, I know I wrote option 6 before 5!!

MENU

Now, this is an extremely cryptic menu. but when you get to know how thoughtful it is, you’ll appreciate it 🙂 The menu is actually in the form of a desk calendar.
Flip the pages, and every month has a different kind of food viz. Soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, main course, desserts.
Turn around the flip book and start flipping the pages and you’ll have the same story with the beverages!
Voila!! 1 book , 2 menus!

BEVERAGES

Since, we weren’t having alcohol, we skipped to the October section of the beverage menu for non alcoholic stuff . Did I just say stuff? 😛

We picked 2 smoothies, both chocolate based.
Beverage 1: Cookie & cream
Beverage 2 : Brownie bonanza

Both these beverages were probably the worst chocolate drinks I’ve had in my life. There’s nothing worse than this. Stay the hell away from these 😦 They tasted like malt and Parle-G mixed in milk. I wouldn’t be surprised, if they actually do that! These were the most obnoxious chocolate drinks I’ve ever had. That has haunted me so much, I’ve not touched a chocolate drink since then 🙂

Both the drinks looked similar, and tasted similar too. And those drinks were obviously not something we could continue on with. We ordered for a coke and a ginger ale. Such was the luck with the beverage section, that even packaged ginger ale, by Schweppes didn’t taste like how it should. Somebody go fix the beverage serving please!!

Both the smoothies costed 150 each, and the other bottled ones were minimally priced.

With such a poor beverage start, how did they still manage to get a 4* rating from me and an average rating of 4 ? It’s got to be the food, right? Let’s see what we ate 🙂

FOOD

We had a tough time dealing with the menu. It was big battle. Then came our hero Phood Fillosophy to the rescue! We opened up his review and saw him rave about the bhel. This bhel dish is called the ‘Kolkata by Trawler’. We picked this one !

Kolkata by Trawler:

This is basically a Jhal moori from Kolkata, also known as Bhel puri, down south. This comes in a steel box, with a see thru glass lid.

What’s an experience worth remembering is that it’s not pre-mixed.
All the ingredients are kept in small bowls inside the box. What we need to do is pour ’em all in the steel box and give that bad boy a shake !! Did I let the staff do it for us? Hell no! I couldn’t let the staff steal that opportunity from me 🙂

The ingredients seemed very fresh and it had the sweet chutney in the same bowl as the spicy mint one.

The taste was all right, definitely not something from up east, be it Kolkata or Orissa. The ones from Kolkata are absolutely different. This was more like the Bhel Puri you get here. The reason I feel that’s the case is, that it would feel more like home for people from here. Don’t call it Kolkata then? 🙂

And yes, this is the first time a bhel costed 200 bucks 🙂 The quantity is pretty generous, it could serve 3 people easily 🙂

Next up was a simple Margherita Pizza.

Classic Margherita:

This was probably just the best pizza I’ve had in a long time. I could compare the quality of this with the one I’ve had @ Toit, Indiranagar. It was light, thin crust, had an amazing taste of the sauce and had correct portion of cheese topping! Interestingly, it had a red chilly seasoning, not sure why! It tasted very good!

Even though I follow a gluten free diet, 95% of the time. This was one of those 5% times, when I did give in and had 3 slices!! It was thin crust, so it was easy 🙂 Imagine doing that with the Dominos!! Haha.

This will set you back by about 250 bucks, which is a great price for a wholesome pizza !

So far, so good right?

The last thing we ordered was something that just caught our eye while browsing through the elaborate menu. We had stuck to the vegetarian options on the day, so a lot of other things were ruled out!!
We both love cheese and when we see cheese, we’d say yayy! I’d like that with extra cheese on it 🙂 🙂
We picked a street food, chilli fritters. This is called ‘Meri Cheese Teri Chilli’.

Meri Cheese Teri Chilli

This dish is probably designed by an ardent cheese lover!! No arguments about it, this dish packs a punch and one of the many reasons behind the rating of 4, is because of this dish! We absolutely loved this( and of course the pizza as well and whole Bhel mixology experience !! ).

The chilli fritters, instead of having a veg filling, had a jalapeno cheese filling! If that didn’t sound good already, take a bite, and the cheese would ooze out of that little hot fritter and fill your mouth and your heart with joy. Pure joy!!

Here comes the AAM story. They have something called the ‘AAM-o-naise’. Which is basically aam(mango) flavored mayonnaise! they had given us a regular chilli mayo dip along with this dish. But, we had to ask for this mango flavored one. I’m pretty sure we put this one in our bag and walked out of here. That was so bloody good. Every single mayo will have a huge crush over this one 😉

This dish did set us back by 250 bucks. A little too pricey for a street food, with cheese? It’s cheese, so may be it’s worth it 🙂 the quantity was 4 fritters, which is good for 2 people.

SERVICE

The service is extremely slow. God forbid I had to get back to office, on a relatively empty Monday afternoon crowd, I would be late, really really late! I wonder how they manage the crowd on weekends, when it would probably be crowded. We got whatever we asked for, a different seating, water, stupid smoothies, food, tissues, fan, lighter etc!! So, that basically means, they’re doing okay, but just that they need to pull up their socks and be quick! food did not really reach early, we waited for quite a bit. We didn’t complain, we were on a holiday!!

The bill came in a very nice OPEN BOX, or sort of something that needed to be opened! It was designed like a matchbox and said the words “We never burn a hole( in your pocket)”.

There’s this little wishing wall, where you could write your wish. I didn’t write anything, as I thought I HAVE everything I needed, only to realize now that I HAD it, don’t have it now. It’s been a month since I visited this place, I now feel, may be it wouldn’t have killed for me to have wished for something, which I don’t have anymore 🙂

My friend took a small little break in the middle to order a cake for me on my birthday. They didn’t have an entire cheesecake, but settled for a slice of it, and got the birthday wish written on it 🙂
Why did my friend have the immovable decision of only picking a cheesecake, you may ask. It’s cos I love cheesecakes 🙂

They got me a surprise Oreo Cheesecake, which was a baked one. I thought the cheesecake didn’t taste as good as I’d like it, but I wouldn’t crucify them over a birthday cake 🙂 I loved the writing, it was messy and that’s what makes it different! Notice the ‘N’ in Dushyant, it’s upside down and mirrored! These little things bring a smile on your face. With all the air coming in from the mist fan, it was a struggle to light the candle, the staff did a good job trying to shield the candle 🙂

The Open Box Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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