Good old UBG, the champion of the executive lunch buffet and the Union Place white collar chap, is no more. In its place is a lobby-bar of sorts with brilliant food and somewhat pricey drinks.
Food & Drinks
The smoked salmon with basil
The menu is now restricted to a few a la carte options. Admittedly, it's not extensive, but I prefer menus that are succinct and high on quality. There's a bunch of tapas options (each of which can easily serve as a meal), sandwiches and salads. They seem to have each of their dishes down to a tee, and their caliber was genuinely impressive.
We tried some Norwegian smoked salmon with basil, pine nut, tobiko
(flying fish roe) and honey mustard sauce, which came to Rs. 1100. It was absolutely delicious, and easily one of the best meals I've had in a while. The roe was lovely and brilliantly offset the gently smoked salmon, and the add-on honey mustard added an interesting sweetish tinge. I've always loved a good smoked salmon and caviar dish, and until now had to visit the woefully overpriced Tintagel to get one. This dish was huge, easily enough for a full meal. It also came with a side salad and a couple of pieces of (very crusty) pesto-topped bread.
We also tried the Spanish lamb meatballs cooked in cumin tomato sauce and served with hot crusty bread. At Rs. 910 it was slightly cheaper than the salmon, but also impeccably prepared. It was a warm, saucy dish, also with a side salad and portion of superbly crusty brown bread with herbed butter. The lamb was tender and deeply flavoured, and the sauce was a rich creamy herby blend. The salad that came with both the dishes had the same lovely dressing on crisp greens, and served as a quick-fix palate cleanser. I prefer soft bread so the crustiness of the bread was a miss with me. The curry fried calamari was also recommended, but we didn't try it this time.
The dessert selection was very, very limited. Chocolate fudge, cheesecake, tiramisu. We tried the tiramisu, a little expensive at Rs. 560, but quite good. It was a little too cold in the middle which was a bit painful, but the taste was great. It came with a spoonful of chocolate sauce with nuts and fresh strawberry and whipped cream.
It was afternoon so we couldn't go crazy experimenting with the drinks, but the variety is frankly extensive and expensive. A half pint of beer was pretty cheap, however, with Lion at Rs. 190. The fresh lemon (not Long Island, sadly) ice tea was quite good too, a refreshing afternoon drink at a reasonable Rs. 300.
Ambience & Service
I wasn't too excited about the ambience when I entered, as it really looked like a hotel lobby bar (unsurprising, as that is exactly what it is). But they sweetly ushered us into a private room as we entered, which would ordinarily be able to seat about 4-5 comfortably, which was nice. We had plush seats and couches with a latticed glass window that looked right into the bar so we could watch all the waiters' shenanigans.
The service was very good. It did take a while for someone to take our order, but after that it was all smooth sailing. The staff knows their stuff, are efficient and very friendly. We had a waiter named Boji who was a barrel of laughs, and kept us entertained throughout. Ask for him and you're set for the evening.
Brilliant if slightly pricey food, extensive drinks and great service. UBG's revamp has our vote even though it looks like a soulless hotel lounge.