When Basil opened its doors back as millennium turned, it must have been a very different place. But so was Manipal, and so was the world. Through the years, Basil has seen consistent reinvention even as the world around did the same, dispelling any possibility of going stale on the palate.
Which is not to say that a touch of tradition has not persisted. Basil, most often, is found on the lips of advice. It is a regularly recommended eatery, with a peculiar flair of holidaying on Wednesday, no doubt to better cater to the weekend crowd. Most foot traffic into the restaurant, therefore, is already armed with a few dishes on the tip of the tongue, waiting to dash out at a moments notice.
It is tastefully decorated, low lit, and low ceilinged upstairs, whilst the ground floor provides a glimpse into the inner workings of their kitchen running like well-oiled clockwork. A warm reception from the staff may be accompanied by excellent dish suggestions, in case one walks in unarmed. The air-conditioning is subtle, and effective at warding out the humid heat.
Dishes and advice, in Basil, go hand in hand. The Irish coffee, a frothy delectation which is quite the common subject of word of mouth, itself began as advice proffered to the keen-eared proprietor, Mr. Jackie. In the past, similarly, as the palates of his customers hungered for foods from various parts of India, or indeed the world, he proved obliging with dishes that since became a mainstay.
The menu contains quite the array of choices, which can be quite disorienting to the first-time visitors, and this is perhaps why recommendations play no small part in this experience. The dishes, in the current iteration, range from familiar items such as Honey Chili Chicken to the slightly exotic Quesadilla’s and Burrito Bowls. There is ample provision for vegetarianism, and the thought put into it is evident from the presence of a Vegan Salad on the menu.
The food is light on the mouth, but filling. The spicing is even handed, and on pairing the right dishes, the effect is profoundly satisfying. While on the first shot itself it might be difficult to decide which combination suits ones own particular taste, it is an enjoyable journey to figuring out the same thanks to the well-prepared meals. Even if dishes are commissioned on advice or whim, they are brought to quite the proper apportioning before making it on the menu, it seems.
Dessert is always a rather subjective experience, and universal favorites are hard to find. The Irish Coffee has merited many a recommendation over the years. So has the Chocolate Ice Cream over Biscuit Pudding. The latter took well to my sensibilities, and has since turned into my go-to dessert option no matter where we are, much to the annoyance of my friends (Especially when I suggest it while we are at the other pole of town.)
It is a good place for a small group to enjoy themselves on the tasteful blend of dishes. The prices seem well apportioned to the food that is provided, and while it is not a place to go everyday perhaps, it can be a place to go every week or so, if it falls to the liking.
They deliver unless there is heavy load on the restaurant itself, which may occur during the odd weekend, exams or when a new batch rolls into town.
Service speed: 4/5
Service courtesy: 4/5
Cleanliness and hygiene: 4/5
We recommend: Chicken Quesadillas, Irish Coffee, Chocolate biscuit pudding with chocolate ice cream. The pastas are well worth the try.
Find them on End Point Road, or call them at 0820 429 3284. Furthermore, they have tie-ups with online food delivery services in Manipal as well.