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When hospitality got its NORSE Code

Posted June 8th, 2018, 10:45 AM IST

When hospitality got its NORSE Code

Surreal experiences are few and far between. And this one travels through time, too. A quaint medieval Nordic village, inspired by Norse mythology’s barley-spouting Viking Bygg Vir! It was an ordinary day which turned absolutely extraordinary with this Great Gatsby inspired Viking virtuoso - the Byg Brewski that spread its wings on Hennur Road (after wowing tipplers in Sarjapur). If novelist Scott Fitzgerald was inspired by parties at Long Island’s north shore for The Great Gatsby, then managing owner, Pravesh Pandey, aesthetic-minded owner managing director Arun Gowda and others have created a magnum opus that gobsmacked us Hennur Road residents into wonder. With the Viking Byg Vir’s haven in terraced and courtyard beauty, the gentle rush of flowing water — the Byg Brewski, easily fits into the idyllic environs of a Finnish or Roman countryside.

Absolutely surreal and much more than a brew paradise — we trudged to a land of Vikings, where each niche, five exclusive bars, an English pub, nightclub, fine dine, and phew, there’s much more, left us totally wide-eyed. It also houses the longest silent kitchen, from the man who designed and curated its global menu, Sabyasachi Gorai, formerly of Olive Bar and Kitchen. It’s a boutique village from another era, spread out over a whopping 65,000 square feet. The largest microbrewery in Asia, it opened its doors on May 31. Business is already brisk, even though the brew will only begin to flow two months from now. While Byg sows malts with his wife Beyla, this Nordic village flummoxed us into silence. Yes, antiquated walls, iron helmets, flame torches, the team has redefined dining out to Gatsby proportions.





We liked the burgeoning menu that Chef Sabyasachi has curated - over 200 recipes, though the consultant chef moniker is a bit worrying, and Pandey informed us that Chef Sabya will be at BB every month for atleast 15 days. Chef Ravi from Kanpur went on to delight us with Indian khana, from a menu that holds plenty of global and local fare. Nice. Now, for the eating, we started with a karari roomali roti — a khakra inspired, chatpatta bite. This is when Pravesh Pandey, who has been a trendsetter with earlier hospitality forays like Social and Smokehouse Deli, has outdone himself. The Magic mushroom dim sum was tasty. We loved the Piggy chop dim sum with its barbeque stuffing. The dill sprinkled prawn har gao was delicious, delicate dreamy layers, and the sauces - chilli, coriander and XO, were yum. Would have loved a burnt chilli oil too. We had Gulabo Chicken, marinated in beetroot, juicy and succulent. The local use of banana leaf for steaming was interestingly substituted with an Assamese tupula leaf that helped retain its juices. We liked the smokey tenets of the Charcoal mushroom in a sesame douse.

The Josper Pork Ribs came out smokey from the Spanish over, subtle in flavour, with a quinoa mash — unique, although the meat was slightly tough. Now, any brew house worth its salt in Bengaluru has to have a rocking chilli beef. This one was subtle, with sautéed onion and chilli. The beef slices could have been thinner and packed more of a punch too. Even so, it mixes great with the gimlet, courtesy mixologist Karthik (earlier with Diageo) who now mans the five bars in this expansive Viking village. It was served with a freshly-made Kafir lime concoction. We liked the cocktail sausage spin on desi flavours.

Our bellies filled, we sat, sill dazed by how much this medieval marvel had to unearth, we decided on a wholesome desi main course! We ordered Nati koli with Malabar paratha and Ragi mudde. The curry was perfectly spiced and so delicious, the chicken so tender. The ragi mudde gets full marks, melt-in-the-mouth tenderness that we happily dipped into gravy, even as some wondered what’s to like about swallowing ragi dough!

The Tamarind zest chicken and paneer were alright. The Khatal or jackfruit biryani was aromatic, perfectly dum-ed. The menu has interesting specials too, like Mangalore Gongura Mamsam, or dal makhani or gosht, Pan Asian specials, baos, dimsums, soups, pastas and pizzas, there’s enough for the five-bar bamboozle! And then it was dessert, a Karari cheese cake that was moist, delightfully light and perfectly chocolatey! The salted caramel cheese cake was scrumptious and not too sweet. But our show stopper, something we have looked for in menus across town was the Tres leches. It came drizzled in the most creamy milky glaze, with cake also drizzled, delicious, we would have liked more drizzle on the drizzle!

“This has been an over ambitious project, more than two years in the making. We wanted to create a tourist destination which is not just F & B but a must-visit. From performing arts to music, Trapeze artists, circus acts, fire dancers, burlesque dancers and Broadway shows, international acts coming in live, Byg Brewski is that Viking in shining armour that gives Bangalore it’s own iconic space… It is a 1,400 seater restaurant. We will be serving 16 beers on tap. Basic four to five Indian Pale Ales, stouts, lagers different flavours, with fresh herbs and fruits hops from the US. We also have our own yeast lab, which is the heart of the brewery where we curate our own yeast,” explains Pravesh. Their brew master is the award-winning Martin Bernard, a French Canadian from the US. A high energy club will be launched soon, with a Gothic castle. “A lot of internal thought has been given to each part, we harvest our own ice, have our own RO plant, even our own rain water harvesting and are giving our waste water and malt waste to farmers around," adds Pandey.

There is a gourmet restaurant in the offing, straight from a Viking fiesta. Given its mammoth size and almost intuitive design philosophy, architects Matthew and Ghosh, led by Soumitro Ghosh, with aesthetically inspired owner Ajay Gowda have created a place like no other. “Ajay personally came with a lot of input and is blessed with an aesthetic sense,” adds Pandey. Yes, it's a living breathing Viking outpost that stuns with its philosophy. With places and menus to unearth, like a true voyager.

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