Ista – The newest hotel in town!

Ista has taken the place of the old Lido Theatre, which was pulled down sometime ago. I’m sure a lot of you would remember the theatre. Located on Swami Vivekananda Road, it is close to Trinity Church and opposite the Taj Residency. However, since it’s situated on a one-way you need to come around via Ulsoor market and Ulsoor Police station.

The entrance to Ista

The word Ista is from the Sanskrit word, which means dear or favorite. It was launched about 3-4 months ago and the publicity has been quite low key till now. That’s been deliberate, the GM of the hotel, Nikhil Kapur tells me, as they feel that word of mouth publicity will work much better in spreading the word about the quality and experience of both staying and eating here.

It has a capacity of 140 rooms and is doing good business right now (going full house right now!). Kapur also tells us that they are on a rapid expansion plan, with more hotels coming up in Mauritius, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad shortly.

Lido, the 24 hour coffee shop and restaurant

We started with lunch at Lido, named after the theater. It’s a 24 hour coffee place where they have just introduced the Sunday brunch, about 3 weekends ago.

The vegetarian and non-veg starters were pretty good, including the corn cutlets, chicken kebabs and squid and then Chef Subroto sent over some really well done and delicious prawn grills. I settled for a Caprioska. You have a choice of vodka based cocktails and beer, which are both a part of the brunch package.

While we were enjoying the lovely Bangalore weather on the outside section of the restaurant, we got sun, clouds and rain all in the time period of a couple of hours. Typical Bangalore weather, I guess!

A view of the lounge chairs on the sun deck

On the same floor, a little beyond the eating area is the tastefully done swimming pool and the sun deck with lounge chairs. Though some kind of a light screen between that and the eating area would probably be a nice idea. Below the swimming pool (on a lower level) are also another set of lounge chairs. A nice area to just relax and while away time though with the road not very far away, you will get some noise here.

With Alvin Price’s soothing vocals belting out country and western classics (at times, you forget there’s a live singer!), it’s an ideal setting for a long and lazy Sunday brunch. If you compare it to the Leela brunch, the variety is a lot lesser. Also, most of the ordering is done off the menu, unlike the Leela. Of course, the Leela lunch is also a lot more expensive at around 1400/-. The Ista brunch comes at around 900 + taxes.

For lunch, they alternate between Indian and continental fare and it was the former on offer so and we tried the Kerala fish curry and chicken in a white sauce (cashewnuts and onion base). The fish was reasonably good though it could have had a little more punch. You can also choose to have soups and salads if you want a lighter fare.

Some of the delicacies on offer

And keep some space for dessert after all the food, since there is quite a wide selection of sweets and delicacies to choose from – from tiramisu to fruity tarts and chocolate cakes to mango delights.

Lido has a nice contemporary ambience, with a comfortable d├ęcor and seating. Also, the fact that it’s part open, lends to its charm. You can get a nice view of the surrounding areas from the restaurant.

Besides Lido, there are 2 other eating/dining areas. One is the lounge, which is called Liquid and has a half-open and half covered seating arrangement on the rooftop garden. So on a breezy Bangalore, evening, it will be a pleasant place to hang out with friends and family. It’s open through the day.

The formal dining area is called Zaman and serves Indian cuisine. It’s quite formally done up, compared to Lido, so this would probably make more sense for a business lunch/dinner. There’s also a private area you can book for a large group, which is a separate room with a view.

They have loads of exciting packages planned over Christmas and New Year, ranging between 2-5K, if you’re looking for things to do and places to go to during the festive season.

The hotel is a part of the same group which runs the Ananda Spa in the Himalayas. Their Mauritius hotel is next and scheduled to open in December. After that, the plan is to open a hotel a year for a few years to come, including one more in Bangalore.


A view of the hotel

A vodka based drink called Madras

Chef Subroto in action

A view of the pool

Alvin Price providing the live entertainment during brunch

Lounge chairs below the pool area

Delicious grilled prawns

View of the desserts

For those with a sweet tooth!

A view of the grill area

There’s something for everyone!

Visitors enjoying their meal at Lido

A view of the Liquid Lounge

A view of Zaman, the Indian restaurant

(Text by Anita, photographs by Dr Vivek M and Anita)

8 Comments so far

  1. Mehak (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

    WOW; the place looks Awesome !! One more reason y I need to come to BLR soon ….:P

    Very Very Yummy Pics :)
    But the Pool looks more like a Pond…Don’t know maybe thats the latest chic thing IN!!!!

    ohh so this is owned by the grp which owns the Ananda Spa..which again is one helluva place….so can expect Ista to be of the same standard & quality…

    But Buffet Options are more much more in Chennai than B’lore……

  2. Divs (unregistered) on November 21st, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

    somebody help… there’s a flood of juices in my mouth ;-)… excellent pics!!

  3. Gini (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2006 @ 7:57 am

    Love the pictures. Looks like it’s the place to be!!

  4. Aqua (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

    yummy! and don’t ya think chef subroto looks like a mix of dilip vengsarkar and south indian actor venkatesh?

  5. Sequira (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2006 @ 8:33 pm

    Hi Mehak,
    I do not agree Madras has more buffet option. Yah! you have lot of Imly everywhere.
    bangalore comes next to Bombay in verities of eating joints. Thanks to Anitha for the nice writeup.

  6. Dr Vivek M (unregistered) on November 23rd, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

    Aqua: You are damn right about the chef!! Great imagination; you seem to describe him perfectly!!

  7. anita (unregistered) on November 24th, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

    mehak: nice place, yes. and the pool was actually reasonably big. btw, i think there are quite a few buffet and brunch options in town. did you get a chance to try sue’s food place? i love pigging out at their weekdays buffet!

    divs: thanks! wasn’t difficult to eat or photograph!

    gini: thanks!

    aqua: haha, didn’t think of that one!

    sequira: thanks!

    vivek: she’s got a vivid imagination :)

  8. ABHISAKE (unregistered) on December 10th, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

    this is beautiful.being a h.m passed out i would definitly have a wish to be a part of that.

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