When I first moved to Bangalore, one could actually go to a fancy restaurant dressed in a natty kurta, tattered jeans and slippers. This was a complete revelation to Dubai-bred me where we don't even take the trash out without putting on makeup first.
With the opening of that awful temple to sciolism, Toit, we've seen a slew of glitzy, sneeze-and-you'll-break-a-glass "restrobars" welcoming the not-quite-ready-to-leave-college crowd dressed in their Friday night best.
So it was just lovely to step back in time at the Portland Steakhouse on Brunton Road or the Porterhouse Steakland as I called it for weeks. The restaurant has outdoor seating under an awning, clean-by-Koshy's-standards tables and chairs, and the friendly-but-also-surly waiter uncles prerequisite if you're looking for old Bangalore charm. The minute I stepped in, I knew I was going to love it.
The Deets on Portland Steakhouse
We were greeted upon arrival by a waiter uncle who seated us next to another family with a baby (roughly around E's age). This, to me, is the hallmark of a family-friendly restaurant - families ought to sit together. Both the times we ate here, the restaurant's proprietors visited our table, which is always a nice touch.
The seats are quite wide - E's booster seat straps just about fit around the seat and seat-back. We were handed our menus (and a breadbasket) and orders were taken within 15 minutes. And our food arrived in another 15 minutes.
I've tried a few steaks here and the filet mignon is the best. Each steak is done to your liking (on weekends; on weekdays it's hit and miss) with your choice of sauce on the side. The steak is served with a portion of (the creamiest) mashed potatoes and a salad. We haven't tried any of the sandwiches, burgers, pasta etc. that the menu offers, but may have, if the place was called Portland Burgerhouse.
I had packed some cut fruit for E to eat play with and once she was done flinging it around, the kindly waiter uncle brought us another breadbasket for E to eat play with. He didn't even make a face at the foodE's mess.
The only negative thing I have to say about the Portland Steakhouse is that the toilet does not have a changing table. I had to resort to using a secluded bench within the restaurant's premises to change her diaper. It really isn't that hard to fit a little Koala bench on the wall next to the hand dryer. If cramped airplane toilets can do it, so can a big restaurant.
All in all, the Portland Steakhouse is a lovely place to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon especially if you have a hankering for the Bangalore that once dared to call itself the Pensioners' Paradise.
A meal for two (with refreshments and dessert) costs around INR 1700.