These are a pair of restaurants in Bangalore that I thought were excellent. Kanua especially impressed the hell out of me. So much so that I ate there two days in a row.

Therefore, Legend of Sikandar first. It’s a mughlai joint, with Hyderabadi chef Shaikh Arif Ahmed at the helm. He spent time at the table with us and took care of the ordering. So, we were a little spoiled.

Waiters at the window.

Chef Ahmed picking a kebab…

And lowering it into the tandoor.

This was my favorite kebab of the meal, a gilafi but without onions. Tender meat enrobed with peppers. Piquant luxury from a chicken.

A seekh kebab.

Cream-marinated chicken.

Another chicken variation. I wish I had more details for you, but no menu was available to take away and conversation of course precluded notes.

Papaya chutney.

Oh, and also my camera batteries died on me so a lot of these photos suck, even by my standards! Here’s the burrah kebab, a mutton chop. I’m not a fan of the garnishes, but they make business sense I suppose.

A third regret: no photo of the khubani ka meetha, a sweet apricot dessert from Hyderabad that was the best I’ve tasted yet–including those from Hyderabad.

Now onto Kanua. I loved this place. Is it my favorite restaurant yet in India? Very possibly.

It’s off the beaten path on the outskirts of Bangalore near tech developments. It’s the open air floor on the top of this building.

The cuisine is southern Konkani, so the food is related to the Mangalorean restaurants I posted about in Mumbai. (Though the restaurant does include at least one northern Konkani dish.) I found it to be remarkably different than those places, though, with a brightness, simplicity and elegance that the coastal joints lacked. Food is cooked in earthenware pots. Rice and vegetables are grown specifically for Kanua, and they only use produce which is natural to the region. I don’t know how much of this is BS, but the food is exquisite.

The flavors include coconut, jaggery, tamarind and chilli. It’s sweet and hot. Or rich and sour. Or both, but lush.

Okay, I’m being a dork. Here are some photos.

A passionfruit soda. I love the details Kanua spends time on: the beautiful water jug that sits in the middle of each table.

The red roof tiles typical of Mangalore. Cool music plays in the background.

Here’s another view of the interior, an open space that somehow feels cozy.

A dish of pumpkin that shows how we eat with our eyes. The sauce was full of onions and the fragrance of coconut oil was like incense.

More beautifully colored food, a dish of shrimp in a red chilli sauce.

This plate includes black chickpeas with yam; the pumpkin; a bittergourd medley of sweet, bitter, hot and sour; the shrimp.

I love the plate so much here’s another angle.

And a closeup of the bittergourd: you guessed it, that’s chunks of sugarcane in there. Not too bitter, not too sweet!

Oddly, I didn’t eat seafood at Kanua! The vegetarian was so good. Here’s a dish of vine spinach and papaya. Are you looking at that beautiful paanpolo (neer dosa)? Are you? Look at it!

And look at this, too! It’s made of jackfruit seeds and green chillis. LOTS of green chillis. Often, India’s cuisines aren’t really all that hot. But damn, this was hot! Hot, sweet and good.

This is a vegetarian appetizer made from yam (elephant foot yam, aka suran). The vegetable itself is rather bland, but coated in a crispy batter and dipped in a sour-sweet chutney, it tasted great.

A mutton curry in a thin tomato sauce, still packed with flavor.

And a chicken biriyani. It was good, but after Hyderabad a bit quotidian.

A dessert of hot plantains. Too much cardamom?

And a blissful crisp, fresh pastry. You can see I was eager. You dip the spirals in gently sweet saffron milk. Delectable.