With the unfortunate dip in the quality of steaks at past favorites like Millers 46, Portland Steakhouse is poised to be crowned as the only place (see what I did there?) to head towards for large chunks of well cooked beef.
The place is run by the daughter of Bangalore's favorite "meat man", Haroon. She's often in the restaurant, table hopping, making recommendations.
I've visited the place a couple of times, always over the weekend. Reserving a table is recommended. I was surprised to read about reservation troubles and less than polite Maitre'Ds because of the excellent experiences I've had. On one occasion, we arrived very close to closing time, and they were more than happy to welcome us and let us eat a relaxed, unhurried meal well past the regular lunch hours.
Let's break this down:
Elegant, spacious, relaxed, with a touch of old world charm. Comfortable seating, open spaces, a couple of water bodies (not too well maintained though), shades of white and cream abound, mild incandescent lighting in decorative frames.
Reminiscent of dining spaces from members only clubs influenced by our colonial past. Well located, but might need a little bit of GPS wrangling to get to.
Well what can I say, this place delivers the goods and then some. I've had their Chateaubriand, Filet Mignon, and Supreme. They were all excellent - and I don't use the word lightly - succulent, flavorful, well cut, and fresh. I also liked that the weights were indicated on the menu. I've eaten at far too many restaurants where the steak is the size of a disappointing cutlet.
But now the really great part - presentation, degree of "doneness", and accompaniments. Quite possibly the best I've had in the country. The sides aren't an afterthought slapped on to the plate from some dubious casserole in the corner. The mash, vegetables, Corn on the Cob are really really good and make for a truly hearty meal. I added on some creamed spinach and by God was it good! One can choose from an array of sauces, I strongly recommend the Bordelaise or the Mushroom.
The steaks are cooked according to your specification, the descriptions on the menu aid the choice. When Portland Steakhouse say "Slightly pink, warm center" , you get "slightly pink, warm center" and not "mostly brown, hot as hell all over".
I've also tried their Poached Fish with glass noodles - really light, and delicate - good for folks who have sensitive palates, or are calorie conscious; and their Calamari RIngs - fairly good, not exceptional.
I was coerced into trying their Cherry and Rhubarb pie. It was tasty but could use a slightly thinner crust, and perhaps a little less gelatin. The cherry pie at The Only Place was much better.
They have a fairly standard beverage menu with a selection of wines etc. Their iced tea is good and long.
We were greeted and seated promptly by the Maitre'D. Service is definitely a notch higher than the other steakhouses in the city. Order taking, dish recommendation, wine pairing etc. have been given some thought and effort, and are generally executed well. Water is poured promptly, and a basket of outstanding pretzels and breads arrives at the table shortly. Also, I love the way in which the food is brought to the table with plate covers, set down in front of the guests, and then unveiled ceremonially. I haven't seen it anywhere else in Bangalore, and I give Portland Steakhouse mad props for their old school approach to food service (and that also includes the lovely little sauce boats on the plate)
Prices are reasonable and one gets value for money. I hate restaurants with overpriced, miserly portions. Portland Steakhouse definitely isn't one of those places.
I look forward to returning to this fine establishment, and recommend it highly to folks looking for a good steak or even just a nice dining experience.