Would you take a successful formula, do away with the winning ingredients, put together another brand and expect to pull it off again ? Well Charles Hayward went wayward and did exactly that 😀
The owner of the very successful 5 year old Connie’s Steakhouse which is famed for its pork and beef, has now come up with his new baby called The White House Diner (TWHD).
This place unlike its completely meat oriented continental (Connie’tinental ?) sibling, aims to solve the dilemma of their non beef and pork eating diners, by eliminating them (the meats, not the diners :-D) and staying with chicken, lamb, seafood and also a few vegetarian options.
I was invited to taste the cuisine and experience the place and the company of Charles with his anecdotes and stories, and of course the plate loads of food, made my lunch a very hearty and entertaining affair.
About Charles –
Charles Hayward comes from a family that loves its food. This love led him to follow his passion that fructified in a restaurant and going by the thriving Connie’s restaurant and steakhouse which he established, this was obviously the right choice. Of course, being a skilled cook who is very fond of his own cooking, did greatly help the cause 😀
The success of this place prompted him to think of expanding his horizons and a fortuitous offer from one of his regular customers, resulted in his obtaining a beautiful old 100 year old bungalow in Frazer Town, as a location for his new venture.
The ambience –
Gazing at the white colored walls of the home which was his soon to be restaurant, Charles lost no time in christening it The White House Diner. And in keeping with the theme he also decided to incorporte a couple of elements of the actual White House into the picture.
So 2 of the rooms of the house have been named after the Blue room and the third room is the Red room, as in the actual White House and the beautiful reclaimed pinewood tables and chairs have been painted accordingly.
There is a central hall with a cherished piece of furniture, which was the original dining table belonging to the owners. Sheet music manuscripts form the table decor, safeguarded by the cover of glass. These sheets also belong to the owners, along with the ancient piano in the lobby, where live performances are planned.
The cup stand on the wall, which is the hand crafted ‘Star of David’, is a part of the home too. In fact all the antique furniture has been retained and will be used in the restaurant. It is worthy of note that Charles built another Star of David literally with his own hands, to match with the existing one and create that symmetry that I have a thing for 😀
The fourth room is called the Teak room with its teak stained pine furniture.
An exciting secret Private Dining Room lies between the Red room and the Teak room where couples can celebrate special occasions in total privacy, complete with their own little table for two, a couch, a large screen TV (for husbands like mine who would rather watch TV than my face 😀 ), personalized decorations and food and drink. This can be booked for 3 hours but aims to create memories of a lifetime.
(The room is so secret that I have no pictures of it … actually I forgot to click and will rectify this shortly 😀 )
The walls of the central hall are lined with framed Fret art, which is created by carving out portions of wood with a fretsaw, thus creating various shapes. The art works are available for sale.
The old fashioned aura of the home makes itself felt through the ancient switches that have been retained.
Drop down lights provide a contrasting modern highlight, with flexible LED strips twisted into stylish shapes.
Outside the main home, the driveway holds the Cafe with the pastry and ice cream shop and delightful teal furniture creates that cozy ambience.
The garden bears two mango trees which are 40 and 60 year old and currently loaded with fruit, along with a hyper yielding gooseberry tree.
A few flowering plants add color to the place and also provide props to steal (as I did with the dessert).
The food –
TWHD is a sorely needed fine dining space in Frazer town, which till date has had mainly a surfeit of small restaurants mostly serving similar fare involving the tandoor !!!
Expanding its range over Connie’s, it serves Indian, Continental, Pizzas, Burgers and such. All their meat is Halal.
The menu is a combination of hearty old fashioned food and equally hearty modern fare. It is neatly classified and easy on the eye and color coded blue for seafood, green for veg, yellow for chicken (there’s a sense of humor now) and red for lamb.
Desserts are in magenta … because they attract you like a Magnet’a ? 😛 There is a ‘Live by chocolate-no death’ which might make chocolate lovers feel a bit more positive about the indulgence.
Commendably, all their sauces and mixes are made in house and they refrain from using what is ready made. This ensures a freshness as well as preservative and color free food. Even their mayonnaise and barbecue sauce are home made and quite delectable and lick worthy.
Being from a family that believes in eating well, Charles spoke of his mother’s policy of serving plates that were filled to the (b)rim with no space visible in between. It is the same generous concept that he carries on at both his restaurants, with portions that fill you up with a mere glance !!!
An endearing facet of the owner, is that his largesse extends to all his staff and he makes sure that they have special get togethers from time to time, where they get to enjoy all the dishes that they serve their customers.
The pastry and ice cream shop –
All pastries are made in house and likewise there is a similar plan for home made ice creams, which sounds very tempting indeed.
An exciting wood fire furnace is also on the cards, which will be something interesting to look forward to. This oven is being made to order and fabricated according to their own design.
My experience –
Since I was there for a tasting, Charles tried to make sure that I sampled as much as possible. So though the number of dishes may make you gasp, rest assured that I nibbled only tiny bits of each 😀
The indulgence begins right at the start with a seriously large portion of soup which is given complimentary to all diners. I could easily have made a meal of that chunky, delicious Minestrone, which is why I stopped a a mere teaspoon.
For the starters, I went with whatever was recommended and the Smoked honey BBQ wings with home made White House special spicy BBQ sauce, was truly finger licking, even for a wings ‘non fan’ like me.
The chicken Sexy kababs – extra chilli, were … Hai hai mirchi 😀 and succulent and went well with the green chutney.
I was urged to try the Hola paneer which is one of their veg items and the deep fried cuboids were crisp on the out and quite soft on the inside even after they turned cold. Vegetarians can definitely try this out.
The Grilled chicken salad with peanut butter dressing was tasted to the accompaniment of its story and Charles narrated how this came about when a new chef tried to impress him with a peanut butter dressing and obviously did a good job of it.
TWHD also has a kiddie menu and after watching me peck at tiny portions, Charles thought I would do better with a dish from there, resulting in Bangers and mash from the kiddie section 😀
It is good news for the locality that Mondays to Saturdays, they also serve an all day breakfast and I was given a glimpse of the fare via their ‘Happy breakfast’ with chicken ham, salami, sausages and 4 eggs. Truly a breakfast that will take you through the entire day.
They also have a Heavy breakfast with chicken ham, salami, sausages, chicken bacon and unlimited eggs.
The ‘chicken bacon’ is actually home made by the ever enterprising Charles and tries to match the bacony flavor for those who might miss it at TWHD.
The main course began with the Three’s Company Chicken Steak with 3 substantial fillets smothered in a rosemary, thyme and oregano 3 herbed creamy sauce.
The Mixed Seafood Steak was my favorite of course and was served with a handsome slice of succulent Seer fish lined with plump prawns along its center and served with flavored rice and French fries. The accompanying sauce interestingly reminded me of Mangalorean ‘ambot teek’ fish curry with its tangy and spicy flavor.
The Lamb Shank curry was next, with 2 enormous Nallis projecting out of the rich gravy. Though the gravy was flavorful, I felt that the lamb could have done with a longer cooking time, since the meat was not as ‘fall off the bone’ as I am used to.
One can opt for Indian breads to mop up the gravy but I opted to have a bit of the Jeera Rice instead.
Dessert was Tiramisu and their version was a flower shaped sponge layered with mascarpone, soaked in syrup and dusted with cocoa. It is one of their popular desserts at the diner.
The Caramel Custard is Charles grandmother’s age old recipe and is said to be refreshingly devoid of the eggy smell and feel. I had a miniscule portion, since egg based desserts are not my thing.
I was also served the Creme Brulee which I was too full to taste but I adorned it with a flower and shot it 😀
Location and contact –
Visit The White House for hearty food made with love and served in generous portions.
Make no mistake, this is a winner and the food will ensure that there certainly will be no Missed’steak !!!
You can find TWHD at –
Facebook page – White House Diner
Address – No. 1 Buddha Vihar Road, Cox Town, Bangalore 560005
Ph – 07406950122
For more pictures see My Facebook – The White House Diner
May 8th, 2018