Some restaurants give you that feel-good feeling right up front. Salvadores is one. It’s like the restaurant in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts learns how to eat escargots. It has that 90s fine-dining feel.Jan 19, 2023, 14 52 | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 22 29
We are a party of three. We walk onto the terrace of Salvadores.
The gentleman who greets us at the door says his name is Dominic. Because the look and feel—ambience, if you like—of Salvadores makes us feel good, we find the need to say this to Dominic right away.
“What a lovely place, I exclaim, "are you the manager?”
“No, ma’am,” he replies.
He offers no further information. So we assume he is the maitre d’, by his solicitous air.
Some restaurants give you that feel-good feeling right up front. Salvadores is one. It’s like the restaurant in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts learns how to eat escargots. It has that 90s fine-dining feel.
Or, does the terrace make me feel like I am at a bistro in Paris?
The terrace is lit with lights shaped like Rudolf (the reindeer… with the nose), Christmas candles, Christmas tree… the festive season is still in the air. Dominic seats us and offers us woollen shawls to combat this crisp January air. We decline politely. We want to take it in—crisp air and all.
Salvadores has an interesting heritage.
Right now it is located where the famous and historically—what’s the adjective form of heritage now—it’s not “heritagely” now is it—significant Victoria Hotel stood. (And before it was Victoria Hotel, it used to be the Imperial Reading Rooms—a library for British officers and gentlemen.) It became “Victoria Hotel” in 1952.
In 2000, the colonial structure with its lovely verandahs was torn down and the now-empty lot was turned into a huge department store. Salvadores is located on its roof; which is where I sit—ruminating about all this.
The menus arrive. The wine list is great. We do wine.
Now I pause to ruminate about the name. “Salvadores”.
Where’s it from?
I google it (minutes before I learn about ChatGPT.)
“Salvadores” is a Spanish and Italian name.
So what do we do? We go French.
We start with the French Onion Soup. The traditional French Onion Soup is made with beef broth, but there is also a chicken version. Salvadores makes a mean French Onion Chicken soup.
And then we traipse the modern cuisine with the Arugula and Blue Cheese Salad. This blue cheese is a welcome thing. I don’t see this on many Bangalore restaurant menus probably because blue cheese is an acquired taste and for some, it can be quite pungent.
For the main course, I decide on salmon—it is served in a lemon butter sauce on a bed of cauliflower puree—and I also have the Osso Bucco Lamb Shanks. (Italian at last.)
And then doubling down on the Italian… dessert. Of course, it’s Tiramisu.
Dominic comes to the table and asks about a second dessert. He recommends the Poached Pears In Red Wine for our second dessert. But we have done too much of the wine… like there’s such a thing.
No, we said, politely. But the “no” was for only his recommendation and not for the second dessert. We choose the Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade.
The Tiramisu appears to be made the right way, with ladyfingers—this is not okra or "lady's fingers" the vegetable, as we know it in India. It's not sponge cake. We’re impressed. The Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade tasted on point, albeit a little dry.
Considering all the foregoing, it should come as no surprise to anyone that we were the last to leave. And as we leave—in the spirit of studying matters of history and engaging in journalism—we walk around and look at the walls—at the old pictures of Victoria Hotel. Dominic came over to say bye.
I was about to tell Dominic that it must be great to be employed in a restaurant with such wonderful Bangalore heritage, but he starts to jab and point at the photographs.
"My great grandfather Sir Donatus Victoria started the hotel," he says.
"Great grandfather"...? This gave us pause. We listened attentively.
And thus we learn that “Victoria” has nothing to do with the queen. It’s a part of Dominic's grandfather’s name.
My next question would—naturally—be to find out how the restaurant came to be called “Salvadores”. I am about to ask. Dominic beats me to it. And he points to a plaque on the wall.
"The Salvadores comes from my grandfather."
"Joseph Salvadore Victoria."
Click here to see a listing for Salvadores. Our meal with everything we mentioned ran us Rs 7000 for three.