Eating @ Bangalore

Sandeep Pandit

Wednesday May 29

The Garden City, my home of 26 years. Since my first glimpse of this cultural Melting Pot (in a Sleeper Coach of the Karnataka Express Train in Mar 1990), this city has never left my taste buds down. The crispy goodness of the Golden Dosas (Indian Savory Crepes), the soft and fluffy idlis (Steamed rice and lentil dumplings), that spicy tangy sambhar (vegetable and Lentil broth) with a hint of sweetness from Jaggery, the chicken kebabs and the rolls made from the Rumali Rotis (Paper thin roti breads made as thin as a handkerchief, hence the name) and the abundant sea food inspired by the coasts of Karnataka, Bangalore has a lot to offer to anyone who wishes to EAT !

From the old school eateries of the busy markets of Malleshwaram and Basavanagudi (That inspired the classic Indian literature and Television masterpiece Malgudi Days by RK Narayan) to the (now extinct) Pubs like NASA and The Night watchman or the modern day chains like Maiyyas and the numerous Microbreweries that seem to have cropped up everywhere in the city, Bangalore has it all and has something for everyone in the world.

The city has changed from the sleepy green city to a melting pot of cultures and the capital of the IT revolution in India. With this constant churn of the cultures, new food habitats have come up. Back in the day (let’s say until early 2000s) the food map of the city was very clearly divided, based on what you wanted to eat. For example, Malleshwaram, Basavanagudi, Jayanagar (and adjoining areas) were traditionally the places to visit (and still remain) for experiencing an exceptional south Indian snack or meal. The CDB was full of the pubs and frequented by the pub crawlers. The carnivores used to love the Mosque roads near Cox town. But then the IT industry happened to us and Bangalore turned into a melting pot of cultures and a hot hub of food! The onset of the people from different parts of the country and the world, has brought an amazing flavors to Bangalore. There’s something for everyone here and here is a list that I have personally enjoyed and highly recommend:

South Indian Delights

  • Vidyarthi Bhavan- Mouthwatering Dosas and vadas and lots more, in a place that looks like an aged wine barrel
  • MTR near Lal Bag- The inventors of the Rava Idly, the Dosasand the Mallige Idli
  • Janata Hotel, 8thth Cross Malleshwaram- This is the place where I ate my first Dosa in Bangalore and it is worth it
  • Sri Krishna Bhavan/ Gokul, opp. Mantri Mall Malleshwaram- Mini Idlis or the bullet idlis immersed in sambhar is an absolute delight here
  • Veena Stores, 15th Cross Malleshwaram- By the road side at 15th cross, tuck into their steaming idlis with Chutneyand not to forget that vada and filter coffee

Rava Idli – MTR

I couldn’t resist taking a bite before taking the picture @ Vidyarthi Bhavan

Apart from the South Indian delights, Bangalore has been famed as the Pub city from the days of the Raj. In fact, it may be appropriate to call it now the Micro-Brewery capital of the nation. A lot has changed in the recent years, as some of the old school getaways such as ‘NASA’, ‘The Night watchman’, ‘Guzzlers’ etc have given way to the next generation breweries like:

  • Arbor Brewing Co.
  • Toit
  • Windmill Crafts
  • The Biere Club
  • Punjabi by Nature

I have been among the ‘transition’ generation, and I use this term, as it was folks of my age (Then in college) who saw these old school pubs in their twilight days and also witnessed the dawn of these microbreweries (when the purses had a few more rupees courtesy the new jobs).

Besides the traditional and the zest of youth, the garden city is home to global cuisine and you can find traditional Japanese, Mediterranean, Korean, Chinese (Not the Indo Chinese Type), continental and pretty much whatever you desire here. I have loved some of the places serving delightful global cuisine in:

  • Mezzaluna @ Movenpick
  • The Republic of Noodles @ Lemon Tree
  • Three Quarter Chinese (Well, almost Chinese food)
  • Hanoi Vietnamese
  • Shiro
  • The Tao Terraces
  • Hole in the wall

This city is not just a place on earth for me, it’s a part of my soul. It has shaped my thinking and my love for so many things, including food. Eating@Bangalore is all about its beautiful people, their hospitality, their wide arms and open minds. Words can seldom be worthy of what this beautiful place has to offer to everyone. I hope my words here are a worthy acknowledgement of some of the iconic places that have shaped my food journey. As I always say, food is not just nourishment to me, it’s spiritual, and Bangalore is one of my food pilgrimages.

PS – You can find some of my reviews on some of these fantastic institutions in my Zomato profile named, ‘BBQnBiryani’.