Europe on the Menu

July 10, 2008

Home-style Med fare at The Ugly Duckling

Walking up the stairs of the slightly nondescript office block, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a restaurant named The Ugly Duckling. Kitsch? Minimalism? An over-the-top Disneyland theme, based on its fairy-tale nomenclature? What my friends and I found was a warm, cafe-like space, with quirky décor and sunny, happy music, to keep the tempo lively.

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling, launched by Shalini and Nikolaj Kielland, is modelled on a typical European cafe, and is run as an extension of their home. The menu is limited but atypical — all the dishes, inspired by flavours from South Europe, are treasured recipes collected over the years from friends and family. While the restaurant offered the standard options of Pastas Arrabiata, Carbonara and Alfredo, it was the rest of the Med spread that really caught our eye (and fancy).

Our table especially loved the Ugly Duckling Melt (sauteed vegetables on a grated potato base, baked with a layer of Mozzarella), the Lamb Souvlaki, Greek Chops (pork chops in a spicy marinade, served with a fresh salad, baby potatoes, tzatziki and garlic bread), and the fresh, delicately seasoned Ugly Duckling Salad. For afters, I recommend the wonderfully light Creme Caramel and the more sinful Ferrero Rocher cake. Indulgent, yes, but something about the place just urges you to eat well!

The relatively small space fosters a casual cosiness, allowing us to kick back, drop all pretensions, and just enjoy a relaxed, home-style European meal. Both off-beat and upbeat, The Ugly Duckling is the perfect place to unwind with friends, or even make new ones.

The Ugly Duckling. 5th floor, Sona Towers, 71 Millers Road (next to the HDFC Building), Bangalore 52. Tel: 22375982. Meal for two: around Rs 800. Only beer served, along with non-alc drinks.

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