The Arbor Brewing Company(ABC) , started by Univ of Michigan grad Gaurav Sikka with the help of the founders of the Arbor Brew pub from Ann Arbor ,Michigan aims to provide the same experience of original pub and eatery while maintaining their recipes, standards and business philosophy. As a Penn State alumni I had enjoyed the rivalry between the Nittany Lions (Penn State) and Wolverines( Univ of Michigan) in my college days and was looking forward to re-living an authentic all American brewpub experience in the heart of Bangalore which would remind me of my time at college!
Like a typical American brewpub the lighting is not too bright, recreating a perfect “underground pub” feeling.
The brews have stayed true to the flagship brand with a few Indian additions. Having heard good things about the their signature India Pale Ale “Raging Elephant” called as the “Sacred Cow IPA” at Ann Arbor, we decided to give it a try along with “Phat Abbot Tripel”. For those who are not well accustomed with the world of craft brews their menu had detailed description along with alcohol percentage and suggested food pairing making the selection process much easier. The Raging Elephant IPA was hoppier than average IPAs making it quite bitter however by far the best of the four beers that we had for the night. It goes well with grilled meats however not a great choice for spicy foods as the tastes clash. The Phat Abbot Tripel was fruity with a hint of spiciness and as the name suggests typical of a Belgian style tripel on the stronger side at 8% v/v. When compared to the Raging Elephant IPA it was less hoppy, less bitter and a better accompaniment with spicy foods.
The food menu was quite extensive covering a range of American classics from wings, pastas, pizzas, loaded fries, steaks , fish tacos and burgers . For appetizers we ordered the Turkish Kebabs which barring their appearance didn’t taste remotely Turkish but was rather reminiscent of Indian seekh Kebabs with the stronger levels of heat which overwhelmed any Mediterranean flavors. It was served with a Bourbon barbeque sauce which was a bit underwhelming and didn’t quite compliment the kebabs. This is not a dish that I would recommend.
The staff were very friendly and welcoming, and the hostesses had seated the crowd quite well depending on the type of group that came along. Larger office parties, and college going students were separated from families and couples ensuring everyone got to enjoy without getting in each other’s way and full credit to the management for a well thought out layout for the place.
Moving on to our second round of beer we ordered Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout and the Belgian style Brasserie Blonde. The stout had rich notes of chocolate and coffee however lacked body which is typical of a stout, wasn’t crazy about it. The Brasserie Blond was mild , versatile , not very strong and went well with the food.
For the main course we ordered the Mediterranean Lamb burger and the tenderloin with the red wine and pink peppercorn sauce. The Lamb burger was a delight with beautifully seasoned lamb patty and a delicious harissa paste, accompanied with a generous portion of fries. The lamb was cooked to perfection. The steak was very tender although it was a bit too cooked for medium, the sauce was a big winner for me! Though normally I prefer cracked pepper, the pink peppercorns had a brilliant balance between sweetness and spice which went perfectly with the red wine sauce and every bite was oozing in flavor. I would recommend not being scared of chewing whole peppercorns as they are not pungent like regular black peppercorns. The steak was served with beans and classic Lyonnais potatoes with mushrooms. Overall this was the best dish of the night.
To finish off our dinner we ordered the chocolate mousse. This was a bit disappointing as the mousse was rather dense and way too sweet. The chocolate flavor which was excellent was suppressed by the density and sweetness of the mousse.
However, it doesn’t change the fact it was an overall positive experience one that is an absolute must if you are visiting Bangalore or planning an evening out in the city. Personally, I am reminded of my college days and classic all American brew pubs and couldn’t have asked for more! Overall, the service was a 10/10. Food 7.5/10, Ambience 10/10, hence I would definitely recommend a visit to Arbor Brewing Company, Bangalore.