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How hot can it get? And while we struggle through the years to answer that question, how about a tall glass of beer or a smoothie or chilled iced tea – or whatever floats your boat – and some delicious food to go with it? We might be a whiny bunch when it comes to the weather, but give us good food and we are a peaceful lot. Well, most of the time, that is.
So here are a few places I think are great ‘hot spots’ for summertime lunches. No pun intended.
Whether you like their mains or not, Smoke House Deli has a new health menu that I would recommend the health-conscious check out. Their gluten-free pancakes for breakfast, bean sprouts and quinoa salad, and even the one with grape, asparagus and fig (with balsamic dressing) are perfect for the weather.
I find sandwiches the most convenient during this season, especially the ones that do not rely on mayonnaise to add flavour. The ones at Lazy Suzy are my current favourites, especially the Lazy Susy deli, made with soft corn bread and filled with ham, pepperoni, chicken lyoner, gherkins, caramelised onions and pesto. It is filling yes, but it is pretty decent for a quick meal on the go.
Caperberry restaurant does a lovely rendition of the cold gazpacho soup (with tomato purée as the base) as part of their regular menu and the prix fixe that can get rid of our summer blues in an instant.
And if you are in the mood for some Vietnamese food, check out the delicious summer rolls at Phobidden Fruit. The rice paper rolls are stuffed with vegetables (and/or meat or seafood) and served with a dip on the side – it is not only healthy, but refreshing as well. That and a large bowl of green papaya salad in a sweet and sour dressing, and your lunch is taken care of.
Dim sums are good for summer too, in case you did not know it. Yauatcha has a set dim-sum meal for lunches, which is pretty decent. Or else you could head over to Hunan for their vegetable crystal dim sums, or even the shrimp har gow.
Thai food is good for summer, but you do not have to dig into a rich coconut-milk-based curry for that. The evenings are fairly pleasant and a bowl of gaeng jued woon sen (clear soup with glass noodles) at Rim Naam at The Oberoi is a good way to begin dinner. You can, of course, choose to add prawns to it too. The yam som-o, a fresh pomelo salad with Thai dressing, is an ideal salad for the season. It is light, healthy, and the flavours are delightful. For main course, I do love the stir-fried bok choy with green asparagus, coupled with steamed jasmine rice.
Most Indian food at restaurants is tough to deal with in summer, as I have – often and harshly – discovered. But then again, there are places that go easy on the spices and oil, making your meal a lot healthier. Imli in Indiranagar serves a North Indian thali that usually includes a dal, a vegetable of the day, some curry, and rice or roti. It is rarely over the top and if you share it, it is perfect.
Appam and stew is one of my favourite summer meals, and Ente Keralam pulls it off rather well. That and some nannari (a sharbat made with sarsaparilla extract) to drink, and you will not feel the heat much. The stew here is lighter than most other restaurants serving food from Kerala too. Then again, idlis are probably the lightest, and I can eat them for breakfast and lunch. Mind you, it took me years to like idlis. The thatte idlis at Om Sai Skanda Dosa Camp (one of my regular haunts in Indiranagar) are a favourite. Then again, I cannot resist their plain dosas either.
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.