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Sunday, 9 November 2014



When I tell my friends and others in the UK that one of the very best places to eat beef is in the  land of the 'Sacred Cow' - India - they raise their eyebrows in surprise. I assure them that I am not pulling their legs.

Just before ending my very first visit to Bangalore in early 1994, my wife suggested that we ate a good biryani at a place which she considered to be good at making this kind of dish. We headed for Shezan's, which was located in an old-fashioned bungalow in Lavelle Road. The bungalow no longer exists, but the restaurant does, having relocated to another place in the same road. I looked at the menu and noticed that a large chateaubriand steak with trimmings was available for about 2 pounds (GB). I said that I would have that as the same thing would cost many times that in the UK, and that getting good biryanis was not difficult in London. The steak was outstandingly good. This was my introduction to eating beef in Bangalore.

We have visited Shezan's may times since, and always enjoy eating there. Some years after my 'discovery' of Shezan's, which also calls itseft 'The Other Place', I was taken to Only Place ('OP'). This restaurant was originally started by Haroon in a location on Brigade Road. Later, it shifted to Museum Road. Haroon and his son Shoaib served some of the best beef steaks that I have ever eaten.

The late Haroon of OP

Haroon died about 2 years ago. Shoaib and one of his relatives inherited the restaurant in Museum Road, and ran it as a partnership. About a year ago, Shoaib and his partner chose to split up. Shoaib left Museum Road, and his former partner continued to run it. We visited the restaurant once or twice after Shoiab had left it, but were not nearly as satisfied with it as when Shoaib had been involved.

After some time, Shoaib opened his OP at a new location: 311, 6th Main, 2nd Stage, Off 80 Feet Road, Indiranagar . This place in Indiranagar is in no way related to, or connected with, the OP in Museum Road. Shoaib's OP in Indiranagar is yet another reincarnation of the place that Haroon first created many decades ago in Brigade Road. The quality of the food and service at the 'true' OP in Indiranagar has not suffered in the slightest from the shift from Museum Road to Indiranagar. Shoaib's OP still serves some of the world's best beefsteak. You will spurn Aberdeen Angus, Charolais or Wagyu beef after eating what Shoaib and his team prepare with beef bred in Karnataka!  Shoaib's beef is so good that major embassies in New Delhi order it from him.

The Indiranagar OP, which should really be regarded as the ONE and  ONLY 'Only Place' is located in a tree-lined street opposite an open space belonging to Defence Colony Cricket Ground. Some of its tables are outside in the shade of the leafy branches of huge trees. Other tables are indoors in a simply decorated dining room. Apart from being a place to enjoy superb beef as well as seafood (try the king fish [seer fish] steaks and the jumbo prawns), this is a pleasant place to linger and to escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore. Whatever you choose from Shoaib's extensive menu that  contains mostly European (rather than Indian) dishes, you should leave space for a portion of  Shoaib's deliciously fruity apple pie. Shoaib's OP is not only renowned for its deservedly highly praised beef, but also for the aforementioned apple pie. So, even if you are a vegetarian, there is at least one reason for you to visit Shoaib's OP in Indiranagar. I have never tried the vegetarian dishes at OP as I am a true carnivore!

Finally, please do not confuse Shoaib's 'original' OP in Indiranagar with that establishment that is now running in Museum Road. The latter will disappoint you; the former - in Indiranagar - will delight you.

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