204, UB City,
Vittal Mallya Road, Near Lavelle Road,

06th February, 2017

We’re into the final minutes of the match. The fourth official has just indicated 3 minutes of added time.

Is there a final twist in the tale? It’s Arsenal 1 – Manchester United 1. But for a last minute miracle, it seems to be headed for a drab draw.

It’s Granit Xhaka, the new Gunner recruit, with the ball. He passes to Mesut Ozil, who has been operating in a much deeper role than he would prefer.

Ander Herrera comes in from the rear and attempts to the steal the ball but Ozil is too smart for him. Ozil skips past Wayne Rooney, and Oh My Word!

What a brilliant pass down the right to Theo Walcott, who finds himself in acres of space.”

“The clock is ticking down. Walcott delivers an early cross into the box…and…yes…yes it’s in!”

“SANCHEZ….ALEXIS SANCHEZ with a delightful flick of the back heel, and the ball whizzes past De Gea into the back of the net. It’s Arsenal 2 – Manchester United 1 and Arsenal find themselves top of the Premier League table.”

If you are a football fan, and an Arsenal fan at that, then your face might just look like Johnny Depp’s right about now (and I don’t mean like a movie star!). Questioning the last time Arsenal ever scored a last gasp winner at the Emirates against rivals, Manchester United, or for that matter, the last time Arsenal found themselves on top of the table. Time to ease your mind and save what’s left of your fingernails, for the events described above were more a figment of my imagination than reality. Turns out you, football fans, are in the same boat as the regular readers.

The purpose, in fact, of my little commentary piece, was merely introductory in nature. After all, it’s not every day you get the opportunity to dine (and review!) at a restaurant named after a football player (unintentionally, of course!).

06th February 2017 – Ah Mondays! How we loathe you! But why? Is it because of the early morning wake up after a two day weekend that passed by faster than the speed of light? Or is it because each monday is a reminder of the duties and responsibilities that await you when you go to work or school? Or is it because you have no one to blame for your life’s miseries? It wasn’t until my first month in office (sounds presidential doesn’t it?) when I truly experienced the monday doldrums.

However, this first monday of the second month of the year was particularly bright. And I do mean literally! The sun was out on a bright blue sky and its rays penetrated through the gaps in the curtain windows, waking me up from my good night sleep. I was in for a festive morning as I made my way to the hotel lawns to attend the wedding festivities (the same one as described in A Tuscany Wedding). Now weddings can be boring, especially when you are a guest with no particular responsibility. Not when you have me by your side. Having attended several South Indian weddings, I knew exactly what was going to happen and when! Using this to my advantage, I thought it best to liven (and lighten) the mood with a few crude, inappropriate (and completely hilarious!) jokes – some which even managed to get a few laughs from complete strangers.

It was well past noon when we made our way back home, feeling full after a more-than-satisfactory meal at the wedding. It was about time too! I had only requested leave from office for the half day.

To anyone who knows the layout of the city of Bangalore, Whitefield (racist innit?) may only be roughly 20 kilometers away from Central Bangalore, but given the routine traffic that the city is plagued with, the journey could have take any poor traveller an easy two hours. However, in tune with the bright Monday we were having, we were spared any such traffic.  No sooner had my father inserted the key into the doorway than I rushed through to my study table and opened my laptop. It was time to get back to work. Ah Mondays!

There is a common misconception amongst people that the ‘circling’ behaviour by sharks is a clear indication of their intention to attack their next victim. In reality, the ‘circling’ is a merely a judgement mechanism as they seek to form a 360 degree image of what they are confronting in the water. Following a similar mechanism and behaviour, my sister had been circling my parents for days, hounding them to take her out (no…not that way!) to her favourite Mexican restaurant – a personal favourite of mine as well. Given that my father was scheduled to fly abroad the next morning on work, we decided there was no better time than the present to take a trip down to Mexico. 

It was quarter to seven when we locked ourselves in different rooms and began to change. Being the first one out, I still had five minutes to while away while the others got ready. So, I began browsing through the Internet, through my favourite websites. Now we already knew where we wanted to go, we knew the name of the restaurant, and having been there before, we knew exactly where it was, so I’m not entirely sure why I thought it a good idea to check out the restaurant one more time online. But I did! Turns out when the world is busy labouring in the cruel, cruel world, the staff at Chinita’s is fast asleep. Fortunately, ain’t no plan like a back-up plan. Or in this case a back-up restaurant.

Vijay Mallya, prominent and unscrupulous Indian business tycoon, might not have the best business mind – given his failings in the Formula One, Cricket, Aviation, and Beverage markets (wow that’s a lot!) – but his involvement in the development and establishment of the luxurious UB City in Bangalore has to be applauded. After all, fifth time’s the charm! A prestigious mall rather than a city in and of itself, UB City is home not only to some of the most ‘lavish’ stores, but also our restaurant of choice – Sanchez.

As you might have implied from my earlier statement, this wasn’t the first time I had dined at the Mexican restaurant. Back then (and this was just a couple of months ago!), the restaurant was under a different, yet slightly similar, name – Sancho’s. What I learnt, much later, was that there was a change in management resulting in a change in a name as well. As the famous bearded writer once wrote “What’s in a name?”. While in normal circumstances, I would have written a review of my earlier visit of the restaurant, I think it would be in everyone’s best interests if I merely insert extracts of my earlier experience where relevant.

It was half past seven when we reached the restaurant. Unlike most restaurants in the city, Sanchez has an open-floor plan that offers diners the opportunity to dine while enjoying the beautifully pleasant weather that Bangalore’s evenings have on offer. As we entered the near-empty restaurant, we were immediately seated and handed our menus. It’s not every day that a restaurant delights you with it’s menu. The last time my sister and I dined at Sanchez (or Sancho’s), the menus were wooden blocks arranged in the form of a brochure. It really was quite inventive. However, like I said not every day is the same, and it was really unfortunate that a change in management also brought about a change in the menu cards. While the menu still retained its brochure-like form, the use of normal paper, rather than wooden boards was disappointing to say the least.

Our night started with a live demonstration on ‘How to Make Guacamole #101’. The chef walked up to our table, pushing a trolley, on which sat a large, dark, rock-based serving bowl, accompanied by several smaller cups filled with ripened avocados (sliced in half), chopped onions, diced tomatoes, chilli powder, lemon wedges, and most importantly, salt. 

There’s a famous saying – “You can always judge an Indian restaurant by the mint chutney it serves.” Well almost famous! As with most sayings, there’s always room for modification. So, if I may be allowed to take certain liberties – “You can always judge a Mexican restaurant by the guacamole it serves.”.

So it was all down to the guacamole taste test. Would this unnaturally green dish impress us? Would it set a good sign for the rest of the evening? Or was it time to reset the ‘Days without Bad Meals’ board?

Guacamole making in our household is common practice, so much so that you can call us guacamole connoisseurs. Almost twice a month, we would find ourselves carving avocados, dicing up tomatoes, chopping onions, and mixing them in a bowl to make a bowl of delicious guacamole. So what did we think of the guacamole made in front of us? Well for starters (see what I did there?), the guacamole had all the right ingredients – though personally I prefer chopped green chillies to red chilli powder. The texture was right on the money, as there were remnants of the avocado pieces, which added a little crunchiness to the guacamole. In terms of the spice levels, which we had requested to be mild, was indeed mild. If there was a crucial mistake in the dish, it was definitely the unusually high salt levels, owing to the second pinch of salt that the chef, believing it to be necessary upon tasting, added to the mixing bowl. While not entirely inedible, it certainly wasn’t as appetizing as we had hoped for.

 ( From left to right ): Tortilla Soup; Guajillo Lamb Chimichangas; Chipotle Chicken Tacos; Serrano Chicken Tortas; Tres Leches
(From left to right): Tortilla Soup; Guajillo Lamb Chimichangas; Chipotle Chicken Tacos; Serrano Chicken Tortas; Tres Leches

Next came our main course. The first dish to arrive was the Tortilla Soup. Ever since I laid my eyes on the Sanchez menu, I was intrigued by the concept of a Tortilla Soup. What could it be? Was it made out of blended tortilla? (Yuck!) I have never been much of a soup person (a souppie?), so despite the curiosity creeping inside of me, I never really thought about ordering it. And this visit was no exception. So it was a stroke of luck when my mother decided to order the soup, after deeming her appetite to be quite poor. I awaited in all eagerness for the arrival of the dish. What came next was the last thing I had expected. Turns out that Tortilla Soup looks nothing like tortilla, rather is eerily similar to Dal Makhani, right down to the swirls of fresh cream on top. Now I would normally not critique a dish unless I have tasted it. In this case, a sip of the soup was enough for me to form an opinion. To start with, it is important to mention the lack of steam emanating out from the bowl – an indication of how hot the soup really was. I don’t recall having to blow on the spoon before sipping the soup. While the dish may have looked like regular tomato soup, albeit slightly darker, it tasted anything but. What it did taste like, and this might sound quite bizarre, was salsa. That’s right. Salsa! Though unlike most salsa dishes, this had a surprising after taste of tamarind. Though not palate numbing, the soup is definitely not something I would order, even on a ‘soup-craving’ day.

The next dish to arrive was the Guajillo Lamb Chimichangas. There’s a funny story behind the order of the dish, one that dates back a couple of months to my first visit. So while ordering the chimichangas, the waiter asked my father if he would prefer the small or large portion. Still reeling from a heavy wedding meal, my father chose the former. Recalling my last visit to Sanchez, when I ordered the small portion of taquitos, I nearly mistook my main course for a pre-appetizer. So having experienced Sanchez’s ‘smaller than small’ portions, I advised my father to go big. If I were to describe the chimichangas that we served, it would have to be lamb samosas topped with sour cream, guacamole, and diced tomatoes. The dish may have, sadly, not looked Mexican but, believe you me, it was the most Mexican amongst all of the dishes. The pulled lamb was soft, succulent, and melted as soon as it touched my lips. The avocados and drizzle of sour cream added texture to the dish. Most importantly the guajillo chilli sauce in the “samosas” effectively added a little ‘kick’ to the chimichangas.

Moving on, the next dish to be placed on the table was the Chipotle Chicken Tacos. Unlike its predecessors, the tacos seemed to have arrived from the correct destination. The chicken, smothered in chipotle sauce, was sandwiched between the soft corn flour tortillas. Garnished on top was a handful serving of guacamole and drizzled sour cream. To describe the taste of the dish, I am going to have to rely on my sister’s opinion. So according to my sister, there was hardly a fault in the dish. The tortillas were cooked and not floury, the chicken was moist and succulent, and the chipotle sauce was, first, detectable, and second, provided the entire dish with some much needed spice. ¡Ay! Caramba! Caliente!

The last of the main course arrived in the form of a subway. Huh? Wait! Submarine Subway? How is that Mexican?

I’ve always tried my level best to sample new items wherever I go, irrespective the cuisine, for the prophecy states “One shall truly conquer a cuisine when one shall try all its items”. My previous visit to Sanchez led me to try a Taquito. Given its diminutive nature, it was a true sampling. This time, I decided to try out the Tortas – or what I later found out and termed it as ‘Mexican Sandwiches’. To describe the sandwich as ‘filling’ would be making a critiquing mistake. It took the sandwich, along with a couple of chimichanga pieces, to really satisfy my appetite. Apart from the dismal portion size, I was also disappointed by the lack of ‘serrano’ flavour in the chicken, and the absence of the refried beans as was mentioned in the menus. If there was one redeeming factor about the dish, it has got to be the side serving of sweet potato fries. I have never been a fan of sweet potato, preferring its lesser sweet cousin. However, if I were served another portion of those sweet potato fries today, I would gladly polish of the entire plate. The fries were crispy, as it should be, with the right amount of salt and sweetness. With the cup of sour cream on the side, it was the perfect snack for the perfect evening on a near perfect Monday.

It was now time for dessert. The last time my sister and I visited the restaurant, we compensated for the lack of main course by ordering, for ourselves, two desserts – the Air Bunuelos, star-shaped Mexican churros; and the Tres Leches cake, a slice of the three tiered milk cake. It was the latter that left a lasting impression on us, and without a second thought, we decided to order for the same. White in its entirety and enticing in its aroma, the Tres Leches cake arrived, placed at the end of a tall plate, and tantalizingly sat on a bed of milk. It didn’t take us too long to polish off the plate. If there was one word to describe the dish it would have to be – Milky. While the chicken in my sandwich was on one end of the moistness spectrum; the layered cake was on the extreme opposite end. Moist, spongy, and utterly delicious. If there was ever a crowning achievement to the dish, it was that I was able to detect the three types of milk used in the preparation of the cake – the condensed milk flowing at the bottom of the cake; the evaporated milk oozing out of every layer the moment the fork touched the cake; and the heavy cream that, rightly so, formed the topmost layer of the cake.

With our stomachs popping out and our eyes drowsy after a heavy meal, it was time to go home. We asked for the cheque and on its arrival, paid the bill. It took us a few minutes to get up from our chairs, and switch from a Mexican Fiesta to an Indian Siesta. As we headed out the exit, I looked back at the restaurant, looking forward to our next visit. Hopefully, next time, it would not be as a back-up plan.

Sanchez Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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