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Our Favorite Eat-outs in Bangalore!

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”                                                                    – George Bernard Shaw

Bangalore is a foodie’s paradise, no doubt. In the last one and a half years in Bangalore, I have been able to get a decent taste of this paradise! I’m a foodie. And I feel lucky to be in a country that keeps my taste buds titillatingly happy.

The belly rules the mind :)  -Spanish Proverb
The belly rules the mind 🙂
-Spanish Proverb

I’m a big fan of street food. One of my favorite things to do in a new country or city is to visit the local street food vendors. Indian Street food is a perfect way to sample India’s vast cuisine and culture. You get to stand around a food cart and watch the magic of vendors slinging ingredients together to make their local delicacies. You get to see the love and attention that goes into food and food consumption.  

Well, each area in Bangalore is a city in itself. It has its own popular eating joints too.

Here I list some of our(me and VJ) favourite places (in no particular order) – both street food and restaurants. I’ll keep adding to the list as and when we discover more places 🙂

1. Mavalli Tiffin Room(MTR):

Possibly the most popular South Indian restaurant in Bangalore, MTR has acquired cult status for its unique taste and purity, with people queuing up even early in the morning to get in.Earlier it was a single location restaurant(near Lalbagh gardens) but recently new outlets are being opened, notably in Indiranagar and Forum Value mall, Whitefield.

The restaurant with a cult status!
The restaurant with a cult status!

While I do feel it’s overrated at times, it has an authentic taste.

I love the bisi bele bath, khara bath and filter coffee here!  

Taste: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 6/10

Location : Here

2. Halli mane:

Yet another cult restaurant in the beautiful Malleswaram area, I was impressed with the ambience of the place. It’s quite spacious too.

halli_mane_mallesw_galleryfull
All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. 🙂 -John Gunther

One of our good friends introduced us to this place after a long 30 km cycle ride. The restaurant is a visual treat too with its village style atmosphere.

Dosa and coffee after some heavy cycling! :)
Dosa and coffee after some serious cycling! 🙂

My favourites here are Mangalore buns, crispy dosas and the filter coffee!

Taste: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Location : Here

3. South thindies:

A darshini type restaurant in Basavanagudi, it’s one of my all time favourites! How much does ambience and service really matter? For me good food is all that matters. If you are like me then you shouldn’t give this restaurant a miss at any cost.

South thindies in Basavangudi
South thindies in Basavangudi

I have had some of the best idli sambar, vada, dosas  and Mangalore buns here!

The pesarattu which is usually a Andhra delicacy is served here with different texture which is good.

“After a good meal one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
“After a good meal one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

And there’s the awesome filter coffee to wash it all down the throat!

 Taste: 9/10

Service: Self

Value for money: 9/10

Location : Here

4. Veena stores:

If you a great fan of the great Indian dough-nut shaped delicacy called the vada, then this is the place you should visit! They have some of the crispiest vadas in Bangalore!

The crispiest vada in Bangalore :)
The crispiest vada in Bangalore 🙂

It’s a small roadside shop in Margosa road, Malleswaram and one simply needs to walk up to the shop order the food – get the token after paying the bill and collect your food and eat while enjoying the surroundings. I think for decades they have been serving the same food with the same quality.

Veena stores in Malleswaram
Veena stores in Malleswaram

My favourites here are the vada, pongal and khara bath.

Taste: 8/10 (10/10 for vadas 😉

Service: Self

Value for money: 8/10 

Location : Here

5. Brahmin’s coffee bar:

This is one of the old joints which is still famous and running. Located in the Shankarapuram area in Basavanagudi, they serve some of the softest idlis in town. With a limited menu and quality food it’s a must visit for those who love south Indian tiffin. There is a dedicated person sitting outside for serving chutney!

Limited menu but great taste!
Limited menu but great taste!

My favourites here are idli and khara bath.

Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements. -Marcel Boulestin
Hot and soft idlis!!Anyone?

Taste: 7/10

Service: Self

Value for money: 8/10

Location : Here

6. Bobby da dhaba: 

Do you want to have the best parathas in Bangalore? Then this is the place to go to! I just love the hot and spicy parathas with that dollop of white butter on top of them. Perfectly sinful, I know!

Earlier it was located right next to the Ulsoor gurudwara, now the place is shifted to St. John’s road and is quite spacious now but with basic ambience. Cleanliness needs some improvement.

Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements. -Marcel Boulestin
Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements. -Marcel Boulestin

All the varieties of parathas are a must-try. So are Baingan da bartha, kadi pakoda and kheer. A glass of buttermilk to accompany these is a must!

Taste: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Value for money: 8/10

Location : Here

7. Eat street aka thindi beedi aka chat street:

Just a 400m stretch of road flanked on either sides by old buildings, Bangalore’s famous VV Puram eat street is a paradise for street food lovers! It only opens up after sunset when the vendors start rolling up their shutters and pushing out their carts. It has the perfect street food ambience.

Eat street!!!
Eat street!!!

You can start at one end of the road with the more common idli, vada, dosa.

Don’t miss out the paddu, mosaru kodbele, akki rotti, ragi rotti and thatte idli! If you like eating spicy food, don’t miss the mirchi bajji and other bondas.

The congress bun at VB bakery has etched an important place here. Butter gulkand fruit salad icecream can serve as a perfect dessert! You can wash all these down with a glass of masala soda!

At the end of every year, an Avarebele mela kicks off at the eat-street and is a culinary and visual treat for fans of the humble ‘hithakabele’. Almost 63 varieties of snacks and sweets and made of the humble avarekaalu(field beans).

Can you imagine some 60+ dishes made of these simple field beans??
Can you imagine some 60+ dishes made of these simple field beans??
avare dosa
Akki rotti(rice roti) made of avare kalu

Even if you are not a foodie, the gastro rich vibe at eat street is worth watching!

Taste: 8/10

Service: Self

Value for money: 8/10

Location : Here

8. 99 variety dosas:

This is one hidden gem that we happened to discover in Indiranagar 7th main during a leisurely evening walk. And eventually realised that there were similar joints in various other places too, notably, Koramangala 6th main, BTM layout, Bannerghatta, etc. And hats off to their ingenuity. These guys can actually create 99 varieties of dosas with the most awesome ingredients – Paneer, corn, mushroom, capsicum, potato, cheese and even noodles!

Watch them as they expertly toss in the dosa batter, add dollops of butter and then mix in whichever ingredients you like, to create one hot, melt in your mouth dosa!

99
It’s actually a visual treat to watch them make the dosas!

Hygiene is maintained to a reasonable extent too.

Taste: 8/10

Service: Self

Value for money: 8/10

9. Chakum chukum:

Unarguably one of the best Calcutta rolls in Bangalore, we were introduced to it by one of our expat friends who just loves these rolls and says these are one of the best things about Bangalore!

One of our favorite adda! :)
One of our favorite adda! 🙂

The Kati rolls (kolkatta style) be it Veg/ Non veg come with loads of varieties that every single time you visit, you have something new to try. Our consistent favourite has been paneer egg followed by chicken egg. The rolls are quite filling and always cooked to perfection.

One of the best Kati rolls in Bangalore!
One of the best Kati rolls in Bangalore!

Taste: 8/10

Service: Self

Value for money: 8/10

Location : Here

10. Ali Baba cafe:

Do you love the Middle eastern cuisine? Hummus, babaganoush, etc? Well, VJ just loves it and off late I’ve started liking it too. This tiny, less popular joint in Frazer town was introduced to us by Highway On My Plate(HOMP) in NDTV Good times.

After searching for a good half hour we finally found the place. It’s not so easy to locate the place for first timers who are not familiar with the area. One important landmark which we found out later is Richies Rahhams restaurant on MM road. The entrance to the restaurant on 1st floor is through a narrow, dark stairway and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone says they were skeptical to proceed. However, as you enter that restaurant things look a little better.

A small Persia in Bangalore?
A small Persia in Bangalore?

The decor is interesting, in that it doesn’t look like your typical restaurant. It shows that they have made an effort to do up the interiors. The modified ceiling, antique looking furniture, the curtains, artifacts, give the place a middle eastern look.

They specialize in 3 types of cuisines – Arabian, Persian and Bhatkali. As such, their menu is quite exhaustive, and most of the items were alien to us except for the few Arabian dishes. We had the awesome Persian yogurt or the Doogh. We were completely bowled by the Mezzeh platter that we ordered. It was the best one we have had till now!

One of the best Mezze platter we have had!
One of the best Mezze platter we have had!

And the simple dessert of Shaufa pana pudding completed a happy meal for us!

Taste: 8/10 (For Mezzeh platter-10/10)

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

Location : Here

 

What do you think of the list? Tell us about your favorite eat outs! We’ll check them out 🙂

Lake hopping in Bangalore

Are you exhausted after a hectic week but running out of things to do in Bangalore? Don’t have enough time to get out of the city but want to have a relaxing time? Want to do something different? Read on…

It was the last day of 2013 and my feet were itching (as usual :P) to go somewhere! I started pestering VJ. His twin brother AJ came to his aid and suggested something interesting out of the blue! Without a seconds thought he said, “Why don’t we go on a lake hunt?”. Yeah, now that’s what I call a ‘cool’ idea! The days were getting hotter in Bangalore and some cool breeze and a lazy walk along a lake was such a refreshing idea.

So, I quickly did some googling and short-listed few of the lakes we could visit. I knew that almost each area in Bangalore has its own lake.

Lakes in Bangalore
Lakes in Bangalore

But I was thoroughly surprised going through the history of lakes in Bangalore. The 262 wetlands that existed in Bangalore in 1962 had declined by a whopping 58 percent by 2007. And that many of them have vanished in the past few years!
We made a rough plan and set off!

1. Ulsoor lake:

Our first stop had to be the most famous lake of Bangalore. It happens to be the nearest one to our home as well. For me Ulsoor lake is like an oasis in the middle of the hustle-bustle of the city! Though it needs more care and maintenance it is still a beautiful lake in the city-centre.

Ulsoor lake - an oasis in the city-centre.
Ulsoor lake – an oasis in the city-centre.

The park adjacent to it lacks maintenance. But the jogging track is good. In the morning you can see army personnel doing kayaking which looks good. There is a boat club which operates in the evening hours. Part of the lake is covered with sea-weeds. Avoid going there during the Ganesh visarjan period to save yourself from the unsightly look.

Ulsoor lake - A beautiful lake which needs more care!
Ulsoor lake – A beautiful lake which needs more care!

Make sure you go there early to catch the sunrise! You can also make it a day trip by combining it with a visit to the nearby Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, have yummy breakfast at either MTR (Indiranagar) or the Egg factory, Ulsoor. For lunch make sure you go to Bobby da dhaba for some lip-smacking parathas!

2. Sankey Tank:

Our next stop was one of the most popular and well-maintained lakes in Bangalore and a walkers’ delight! It’s one of those few lakes which has resisted the time and damage caused by human settlement. Calm, serene and well-maintained.

Sankey tank - Calm, serene and well-maintained lake.
Sankey tank – Calm, serene and well-maintained lake.

Best time to go would be before 8.00 am and after 6.00 pm as it gets too sunny during the day. The lake is huge and the jogging track round its circumference is more than 1.5 kms which is well laid and fully connected.

Sankey Tank - A walkers' delight!
Sankey Tank – A walkers’ delight!

Take a walk, breathe easy, hear the chirping of the birds and go home completely relaxed.
It goes without saying that Malleshwaram and Sadashivanagar are some of the most charming localities of old Bangalore. And if you are a foodie (like me!) do not miss having breakfast at Veena stores (they have the crispiest vadas I’ve ever had!) or Halli mane (some nice dosas and Mangalore buns). We did both! 😉

3. Madiwala lake:

Our third lake for the day took me by surprise as I had no expectations from this one. In fact I was skeptical if we would even locate the lake easily. Little did I know that it was one of the biggest lakes in Bangalore. It’s also called as the BTM lake garden which is at one end of this huge lake. There is a well-maintained garden with children’s play area.

Madiwala lake - beautiful and pristine.
Madiwala lake – beautiful and pristine.

Also there’s a boating club which offers pedal boats in the evening hours. Entry tickets are nominal at Rs. 5 with no extra charges for cameras. Surprisingly many different types of water birds can be seen in the lake making it a popular spot for photo-walks. We thoroughly enjoyed the discovery of this beautiful lake!

Madiwala lake
Madiwala lake

How to reach this lake? It’s located in BTM Layout 2nd stage and can be easily reached if you know BTM area well. If you are new to South Bangalore, just reach BTM 2nd stage and look for 29th main road. This road connects the BTM main road and Bannerghatta Road. Keep going towards Bannerghatta Road via 29th main and you will reach BTM lake garden.

4. Agara lake:

This lake was once a serene nestling spot of migratory birds but eventually became a dump site of garbage and a hub for nefarious activities. Sometime last year in an attempt to restore the lake’s lost glory, about 400 volunteers responded to the call of Save Agara Lake Group to clean up the lake and its surroundings. So during our visit the lake was relatively clean with a walking track along its length.

The rejuvenating Agara lake.
The rejuvenating Agara lake.

The lake is under strict vigilance by the authorities who do not allow anybody between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Agara lake
Agara lake

One can find the iconic Calm, serene and well-maintained statue beside the lake facing the road.

Children-Globe-Rooster statue in front of Agara lake
Children-Globe-Rooster statue in front of Agara lake

Agara Lake is one of the rare natural lakes of Bangalore which hopefully will get back its charm!

5. Kaikondrahalli lake:

This small and pristine lake which is located off Sarjapur road is another example of a lake which was on the verge of extinction, but was revived due to the efforts of the people in the neighbourhood. Once a dumpyard, it is now the darling of the neighbourhood! There is a well-made walk-way around the lake.

The recently revived Kaikondrahalli lake
The recently revived Kaikondrahalli lake

Something about this lake was very impressive and when we came back home I searched for more info. about the lake and was thoroughly surprised to read about the community involvement in rejuvenating the Kaikondarahalli lake. To showcase this, the Stockholm Resilience centre has recently produced a short film titled ‘Kaikondarahalli Lake-The Uncommon Story of an Urban Commons’. It shows the story of how a group of engaged citizens in Bangalore transforms a polluted urban lake into a co-managed, healthy ecosystem with rich biodiversity, to the benefit of all in the neighborhood.

Kaikondrahalli lake serves as a model feat
Kaikondrahalli lake serves as a model feat

It was mid-noon by the time we decided to call it a day. We were tired but happy at discovering such peaceful and refreshing places in Bangalore.

Apart from these there are many more lakes in Bangalore like the lake in Lal Bagh garden, Nagawara lake(with Lumbini garden), Hebbal lake, Hesaraghatta lake(which received water last year after nearly six years!), Varthur lake(which totally lacks maintenance), etc.

Healthy lakes are not only the sources of recreation but are also important ecosystems that should be respected and cared for. Let us be responsible citizens and save these ecological clinics.

After all, sometimes it is that simple and quiet walk along a lake in the neighbourhood is all that we need to unwind!

Which is your favourite lake in Bangalore? Any recommendations for me? I would love to explore!