Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aa Yent-ne Craaass banniiii!

I wandered into Veena stores this weekend and was surprised to see that they have become all streamlined and modern. Instead of screeching over peoples heads for idly, you now pay up over people's heads and get a coupon which you then give over people's heads to get the idly.

The idly however remains just the same. As does the hot-and-cold staff who, on a good day will reward you with radiant toothsome smiles, and completely ignore you the next time around. There are several strange things about the store though, which I shall compile into a compendium of coschans below:

Why is it a shop and not a hotel? What sort of shop sells idly anyway? How can pasty idly taste this gorgeous? How on EARTH do they get those vadas like that? Why do BTS buses have a special wail when they brake to a halt at the bottom of the slope in front of the store? Why does the same idli taste silly when parcelled and taken home? What on earth is Brahmi juice and who is going to drink it when they can have wonderful filter coffee?

To all these I have only one answer: Mwah.
Veena stores, 15th cross, Margosa Rd, Malleswaram.

Needless to say, the idly vada only whetted my appetite, so I waddled over to TRFACTR (The Restaurant Formerly Known as CTR), who are planning on changing their name officially to a heiroglyph of a benne masale stuffed with a goli bajji. Another slew of questions hit me instantly:

Why bother changing the name of a restaurant when nobody cares? How in the name of all things heavenly do they get their benne masale like that? Why don't they hand out xeroxes of the coffee maker's foot for daily worship? Has anyone benefitted from the poster of wise sayings installed on the wall in 1753? Has anyone cleaned this poster since 1753? Can I please sit in the family room? Hello table-sharer, which cross and main are you from?

And to all these questions is another simple answer: Silence.

Just eat your dosa, do not talk. Central Tiffin Rooms (aka Shree Sagar, 6th Cross, Margosa Rd)

Terribly satisfied and strangely unable to move, I decided to roll down the rest of Margosa Road, crash into the flyover-in-progress and worm my way over the debris to Bhagyalakshmi Butter Gulkand store.

Established in the latter half of the jurassic period, they have successfully evolved their menu to support 4 items: (a) Butter (b) Gulkand (c) Butter Gulkand (d) Special Butter Gulkand.
Apparently there are 7 people in Malleswaram who actually buy items (a) and (b). As for me and several other people who like the feeling of being gobsmacked with an industrial strength sugarbuzz, (d) is the perfect choice. To make it, take a plastic sheet, slather on a years supply of homemade butter, add three spoons of gulkand (rose petal preserves) , top up with tutti frooti and sweetened banana.

I ate four spoons of the good stuff, whirled around 5th cross screaming "Sugarbuzz.. sugarbuzz.." and miraculously found myself at 8th cross. Walked into Janatha Hotel, once famed for its sweet sambhar and monster-sized vadas. Still lovely, but considerably less crowded. I think it's because people can't spot it after the strange Palm-Like Dracaena tree in its mini courtyard got walled in.

The vada in my stomach assisted greatly in rolling me down to Asha Sweet centre (8th Cross, Sampige Rd). After loading up on basundi and badami haalu, yodelling Bantu reethi kolu 28 times, whirling around 8th cross and collapsing in a dead faint, I decided to document the remaining Malleswaram restaurants, food shops and wannabes of note below. Kindly do the needful and oblige.

(y) Rajanna's chaat, 8th cross, 5th main. Easily identified by a stertorous "Kotte shiva, kotte!" emanating from a buzz of humanity surrounding a chaat trolley.

(e) Villa Pottipatti, opp Rajanna. Beautifully restored Malleswaram Bungalow, now a Neemrana hotel. They have a french restaurant that you have to call ahead to reserve. Whatever!

(n)New Krishna Bhavan, 3rd Cross, Sampige Rd. Nice, but fairly average always-been-there joint. South Indian Naarth Indian Mini meals type place with an ok-ish speciality restaurant called Gopika.

(r) The Basil, 3rd cross, Sampige Rd. Hmm. Sorry you cant be called that in Malleswaram.

(i) Cafe Coffee day, 13th cross Sampige Rd and 18th Cross 8th main. Eh, you know the deal.

(s)Om shakthi Mess 2nd Cross, Sampige Rd. Palakkad aakum. Their rice servings come on a side plate covered with a layer of rice exactly one grain thick. Fantastic. Oda-oda resaththa vittu aathula panna chorum koottaanum kuduppaalaakkum. Enna, manassilaacho dee?

(w) Shenoy Stores: 8th Cross Margosa Rd. Chakli, nippat, thindi.. y'know... Not my favourite to be honest.

(a) Sri krishna Sweets: A recent entrant into Malleswaram from Tamil Nadu, they haven't bothered changing the spelling of their speciality sweet from its Tamilized version : "Mysurpa". A bit overrated, though their freebies are fun.

(m) Iyengar bakery, Vyalikaval main rd. Lovely benne biscuit, baked nippat and sponge cake. Good stuff. Try maadi nodi.

(i)Butter sponge: An offshoot of the Basavangudi version. Not really great, though their speciality sponge cake: Butter Sponge, is rather nice in an eggless, chavukku-chavukku sort of way.

(a) Amrit Nice Creams 11th Cross, 7th main. Uyyo what a lovely. Run by nice Melkote Iyengar mama and husky voiced mami. Home made vanilla, pyoor saffran and manoranjani ice creams served vith or vithout vooden spoons. Warning: Since the ice creams are made with milk without mixing in lard, they have a distinct paal vaasne (milky smell).

(r) Love Luck stores: 12th cross, Sampige Rd. Well if they can survive with a name like that in the 2000s they've got to be old as the hills. Chutney pudis, pickles, condiments and the like. Good stuff.

(a) HaLLi mane: 4th Cross, Sampige Rd. A faux village restaurant. This newish entrant has gained insane popularity among the locals, and blends right into the food scene in conservative Malleswaram. Skip the North Indian Thali and try out the local specialities: Ragi and akki rotti, ragi mudde, cocum saaru etc. Quite nice.

(ma) Sri Rama Coffee Works: 9th Cross, Sampige Rd. Good old fashioned coffee powder shop. They also sell something called Mammary tea, which I havent had the courage to ask them about. Mumsy has developed a unique communication system with the shop lady. She'll pull up silently by the kerb and pretend to ignore her. The shopkeeper will scoop our weekly quota of filter coffee powder straight from the grinder into a packet and hand it over to her silently with a 10 rupee note. Mother will make blank calls to random people to pretend she is busy and wordlessly hand over Rs 100 and drive off. Strangely though, you can't tear them apart when they meet each other in different circumstances, such as in the 12th cross market or at an oxygen bar.

Acknowledgements: Veena store and CTR pics from the lovely blog of Bellurramki.

45 comments:

Poojitha said...

hey..was a gud read...
wud b even more better if u cud write about othr gud eatouts in blore.. :) ..

??! said...

there were about five gazillion items there which I've never heard of, let alone tried. And I thought I was a desi-foodie. zank you for enlightenment.

shub said...

Wow. Awesome read.
Is Butter sponge still there? It came up about 8-9 years back I think.

Gosh, I feel old!

Wasn't Eat Out (8th main, 15th cross) around in your times? The dosas and cutlets were hot property in the laaaate 90s. Then it all went downhill and they shut shop I think. There was also one of those American style fast food places called Miami below Eat out - one's first burgers and pizzas and hot chocolate fudges were had there :)

Adding one more to the list, Hanuman stores' (sweetish) Bhel with LOTS of sev puri on top :)

I love Lucy said...

Saar.Whats the plan here?
To kill us bangaloreans-not-living-in-blore-currently aa?

But seriously,namma ooru food is just awesome!And your description of the aforementioned is awesome too :)

Pri said...

awww i miss my table-sharers. sometimes in komala vilas you'd share one table with three families and you could borrow extra chutney from kind table sharer if waiter was too busy or ignored requests such as "boss yeradu dry chutney tankodi pliss".

iyengar bakery is also haawing wunderphul puffs/pups and honey cake no?

thu that butter sponge is so sidey. didnt they open one in airlines hotel?

Pri said...

heeeeeee i love how shub says "in your times... 90s"

Ph said...

You are a mean person. I have to wait two whole months before I can even get a taste of any of this. Mean. Mean. Mean.

Rambodoc said...

Great style, as usual!
I have eaten out just once recently (in B'lore). It is that place in a gully near that hotel near the Assembly that serves hot, hot South Indian food served by hosts and hostesses in traditional dress.
I am sure my comment was clear as sambhar!

Bikerdude said...

poojitha: Thanks.. Sure, will keep em coming :)

?!!! Heheh anytime.

shub: Eat out - oh yeah that was definitley my time! My first taste of gobi manchurian at a staggering cost of Rs 10. Needless to say I could only afford to split one plate with a few friends. Its shut down now and some darshini is in its place. Miami is well and truly gone though. Ah those days of melty "italian" softees listening to Michael Learns to rock :p Hanuman is still there if Im not mistaken.

I love lucy and ph: banni, banni yella thinsthene :)

pri: Nonsense person :p Where is komala vilas in blore?

rambodoc: Do you mean Shyamprakash hotel? Were there hostesses too?

Spunky Monkey said...

It is my firm belief (after much market research, but of course) that Bangalore South, that is Jayanagar, Basavanagudi and Gandhi Bazaar have the best eateries in all of the town.

Varry cheeep, varry besht aalso.

Pri said...

err hello it is on that road [kind of near ulsoor lake but not really, near that st johns school]

Bikerdude said...

spunkymonbkey: Exx-the-Cuse Me :)
But I do agree, Vidyarthi Bhavan's MSDOS comes quite close (but not close enough0 to CTR.

Pri: Ne'er been men. Will try it sometime. Thanks.

RustyNeurons said...

Once upon a time Asha sweets had the best baadaami haalu, but now, they disappoint my taste buds :(

Abhipraya said...

Ok I dunno how I landed here but I am glad I did. Your post has driven me crazy and now I have to get that benne masale! I wish I had never moved :(

Thoppai mama said...

Yaakri, num dharwad oota nimmooraag sigthaitho illo?
(Why, our dharwad food getting or no in your oor?)
Illandra burree Jayanagar 3rd block.
(if not, coming only to Jayanagar 3rd blk)
Alle joLad rotti, gureLL chatni, badnikai palya, hasi meNsinkai chatni sigthaav!
(there jowar roti, gureLL chatni (sorry no englis), brinjal curry, green chilli chatni getting)

Ph said...

You guys are killing me. Enough already. And don't tempt me by saying thinstheeni. I want NOW! And Thoppai mama please to tell us the name of the place. Nange dharvad oota thinadhe ishta.

Bikerdude said...

rusty: Youre right- their Badami hall is a bit temperamental, just like the proprietor.

abhipraya: take the hint and move back I say, everybody is.

thoppe mama: Jnr yaak hogbekri. Majesticalli kamat yatrinivas idiyalla. Joladha rotti, kaaLu, yeNNegai ella kodthare alli.


ph: aitappa next time Mc Donalds bagge bareethene

I think , therefore i may be said...

hi bikerdude

gr writeup.kinda succinctly sums up. we are a local information service provider. http://www.findnearyou.com. we are launching in bangalore and hyd shortly. Avbl in chennai. Can u provide info on bangalore eatouts. we can pay but may be small sums.
Look fwd to ur feedback about our site. Thanx Ram

I think , therefore i may be said...

hi bikerdude

forgot to add that i have njoyed my food in bangalore tremendously..janardhan hotel morning breakfast, annapoorna meals, Kumara park evening chaat, dosas in coxtown mobile cart.empire parottas and ghee rice, olympus kebabs.

thoppai mama said...

Ninne comment bardid ell hoethree??

Anyway, PH-ge sorrry haeLbaek-ri.

Aa JNR-naag in angadi mucch-kond hogyaar.

Baek andra Vidhana Souda Assembly hostel-naag 'mallige ootada mane' anth-appat dharwad oota haakthaar!

baere baekandra bd saahebr haeLo hung majestic naag yatri nivas, thappidra minerva circle.

aadra, kharae haeLbekandra dharwad burree! Alle court edurgadae 'Basappa KhanavaLi' anth.

KaNN mundh rotti daba-daba badudh bisi-bisi haakthaar-aaha-aen haeLli!

Preeth said...

Hilarious stuff. I came here earlier and did not read simple because I was working on my own version and I dint want it to cross paths. Almost felt bitter about getting beaten on the Blore gastronomic trail hunt (now I understand how all those directors making Bhagat Singh would have felt like. 'What? you also aa?'. But even unknowingly, we have not one place in common. Surprising isnt it. Thats Banalore :)

Bikerdude said...

i think etc: Thanks!

thoppai mama: aiyo i never knew of the existence of the vidhana soudha one. Will go instantly. I think its time I made a trip to Dharwad anyway. Top off the excellent joladha rotti with a box of melt-in-the-mouth Dharwad Pedas from.. err.. whats that shop?

Preeth: Et tu South Bangalore aa? :) You have an awesome blog going too man. Made good reading!

Spunky Monkey said...

Haven't had the Masssaale at CTR, but I have had the Janata Hotel one. Nothing great, I thought.
Vidyaarthi Bhavan is of course the last word on Masala Dosa. Although the size is progressively coming down.
Neevoo South Bangalore-aa?

Thoppai Mama said...

Dharwad hogi burree. Alle oota maad bekagiro jaga andra..

1) Basappa KhanavaLi. oppojite Court.

2) Line Bazar-Mishra peda. evening 4.30 only stand in queue, yaakandra ondh dinakk limited quota. Sikkavara Shiva!

3) Gund PangaLa (also called pHad)
near KCC bank clock tower-not far from Line Bazar. Lucky iddra alle Girish Karnad saahebru bund scooter stand haaki ondh plate pHad hodiyodhu noadbahudhu.

Also catching only a typical drama (saamajika naataka)with enchanting names like 'Goudara Gadla' at one of the late night dives.

Ellaa nodi bundh review bareetheero aen kathi?

Suri said...

:)
A very definitive blog about pre-bog things-to-do around the malleswaram area (i still wonder if its north, south or west - i stay in the east myself; have decided finally malleswaram is in another plane).
Keep it coming BD (do mention hookah joints too if u know any).

Bikerdude said...

spunky: janatha = vada. CTR= massaley. going to one for the other is like going to jalandhar to eat pasta, or to maples to eat butter chicken boneless. YOu follow? Illa pa full north narasappa naanu. Went to college in south blr though so quite familiar with the lay of the land.

thoppe mama: Of course ri. But yaavag hogthene anth gothilla.

suri: Malleswaram is in the North. 12km away from Texas (aka Lingarajapuram :p) Pre-bog huh ;)

Sankar K said...

Hey, don't diss Sri Krishna Sweets just so.. Try their fantastic polis (the traditional, masala with idli podi). The small ney jangri's are just the thing for those afflicted with sweet teeth :-) And mini ney gulab jamuns.

Landed on your blog via krish ashok's.

plush said...

:)..came here after ur comment on sou's blog...how did i miss ur blog all thses days!! ur ma and the coffee powder lady...too good..and so true...all mas and coffee pudi /hoovu ladies are like that!

Harishhh said...

I can now proudly claim I'm a "real" bengaloorian! Tried all the delicacies in Malleshwaram (except for a coupe of shenoy stores type tindi places).. We used to spend more time in Malleshwaram eating than in college studying!!

Anonymous said...

Oh!! I became nostalgic reading about Veena Stores and CTR.

Deepa

Anonymous said...

enri malleswara ella odadi 9th cross nalliro sahyadri (the best masale dosa in malleswaram) nimma kannige beelale illave. thadavagiyadaroo hogi banni. Nimma report card eshtu doddadagiruthe neeve nodi!

Bikerdude said...

sankar k: You're right. Now if they started spelling Mysore pak properly while they were in karnataka!!!! Its like spelling kaara kuzhambu corcolimbo in Chettinad.

plush and anon1: Thanks :)

harishh: Ehh dont worry you havent missed much. Good going with the rest of em though :)

anon2: Alli goli(Mangloor) bajji thindidene maraya. Ashtenilla. Eega hogbittu MSDOS try madthene. Thanks for the tip-off ;)

Preeti said...

This post brought back some great memories. Its funny how the best memories are always about food! In CTR, you ask for paper napkins (if you still need them after you’ve licked your fingers clean) and they give you newspaper bits…environment friendly too, alva? Is there still a Halli Mane? Not worth mentioning anthira? Cant wait for my next visit to beloved Bengalooru.
Glad I stumbled on your blog….cant stop reading all your posts, and laughing. Its going to be a long night.

Narayana said...

Ayyayyo, How did you cross 8th cross or 7th cross ? These roads have now renamed 8th cannot cross and 7th cannot cross! In fact, my brother who visits Bangalore every year crossed Margosa Road by hiring an auto ricksaw !

Bikerdude said...

preeti: heh yes. if the waiter likes you, he'll give you 2-2 newspaper napkins :) Yes yes Halli mane very much around and bursting its seams as usual. Defly worth mentioning.

narayana: lol!! yes it's quite crazy isn't it! too funny about your bro - lol

Prats said...

heheh...veena stores still remains like that and I agree, none of their idlis taste the same when you reach home...but we still trudge along and stand for long minutes, to get that idli over peoples heads....you can call ahead also you know ...he would have kept order ready...
And I agree CTR's msdos is simply great :)

Thindipotha said...

If you were of eating age in fifties and sixties(I mean between 1950 and 1965!)you would have remembered with nostalgic memories ! There were MTR and North End Hotels on the intersection of 8th cross(you can now cross it !) and Margosa Road and Planters coffee Home (where Halli Mane is now built). I feel that such eating places are now extinct ! One has to remember one more eating place which is not out of place ie. Devi Bhavan on 17th cross and Margosa Road Junction. These places were eatin g and meeting places of many well known writers and musicians ! The dishes eaten have in fact motivated them to write popular comedies etc. Please confirm the above facts with residents (originals only) who are now in their sixties and seventies !

Amrit Rao said...

Ellarigu nanna namaskaravannu arpisutthene..Looks like all you guys are malleshwaram loyalists.It was a great read and gives me more reasons to frequent that part of the town.There's a place in gandhi bazar,Srinivasa Condiments aka "Subbammana angadi" which is definitely worth a mention.Subbamma popularised the "evening thindi" culture in the 1950s.They make heavenly holiges(there's a slight dip in quality though) and kadlekais with weird names like congress kadlekai and computer kodbele :)..
check out this youtube link.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOPbeV-giSI

Prashanth. said...

I was surprised by your rating of New Krishna Bhavan: i really like their special items green masala idli, stuffed idli (they make only 7 of these every day), udipi guliappa. With all their quirks in the menu (some dishes available alternate days, some on weekends only, some after 4.30pm only), its a one-of-a-kind place.

I also used to like the Shakti place (opp SBM) on Sampige Road with their speciality starters: veg kababs, kasturi etc.

During the height of my Mancurian days, I used to frequent the gaadi near MES college often. The idlisfrom Bhatra-angadi near Malleswaram railway station are awesome.

Man, I miss Malleswaram

Bikerdude said...

prats: hey i didnt know you could call ahead. But yes the proprietor is very nice that way.

thindipotha: Thanks! That was a very interesting accounts of the old favourites eateries of malleswaram! Apparently devi Bhavan was also popular among the young men of Malleswaram , as it offered a strategic viewing point of all the women that caught buses at the 8th cross bus stand :) My aunt swears that they went out of business because they would order one cup of coffee among 8 of them and sit for hours watching the road :)

amrit rao: of course, who can forget subbamma angdi's holige! haven't been there in a while, must come check it out. neevu eekade banni, nammoorina idli-dose thinsthene :)

prashanth rao: man, I am ashamed to say, I havent been to any of those places (except MES gaadi)- and I thought I was a true blue malleswaramite. Needless to say i will go and visit all those places instantly. I also didnt know of the quirky specialities in the NKB menu. Must try them soon!

Gautham said...

hey!
just came upon ur blog. nice. was in bangalore recently. apart from veena stores, there is this small outlet in front the malleswaram railway station. i like their idlis far better. also, there used to be this guy with a cart in front of MES college making gobi and noodles. is he still there? there is also this small shop opposite sai baba temple where they make bondas and masala vades... nostalgic!

ChindiChitraanna said...

wow wow wow!! veena stores, ctr, gulkan store and janatha hotel... malleshwara's pride

Anonymous said...

Impeccable shortlist of Malleswaram's best. Are you sure the mammary tea sign at Sri Rama Coffee is still there? Our recollection is they removed it many years ago, shortly after we photographed it and rashly tried to ask them what it meant! No Longer In Bangalore

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