Bangalore is an inspiring mish-mash of old and new
The city offers plenty of eating options to choose from
Here are 10 dishes that top our must-eat list
Bangalore is a contradiction on every turn. It is still reminiscent of the sleepy old town which was unexpectedly (and a bit reluctantly) thrown into the dizzying world of a bustling metropolitan. Old Bangloreans often lament the population that came pouring in with the city becoming an IT hub, and more recently, a startup hub. Traffic became a nightmare in a city where the romantic alleys couldn’t handle the swelling pressures of millions of additional cars. But with any change, there also come its own set of advantages. And in my opinion, this sudden transformation of Bangalore (now Bengaluru) allowed the food scene to experiment and develop. Gone are the days when you would go to Bangalore and only indulge in dosas or at best Kodava food from the region of Coorg. Bangalore is an inspiring mish-mash of old and new, and has plenty of options on offer, regardless of whether you are visiting only for a few days or live there. Here are 10 things that I suggest you try when in the city:
1) Benne Masala Dosa at CTR (Malleshwaram)
There is reason that this sits at the No.1 position on this list. And to understand that reason, it is imperative that you pay CTR a visit. This is hands-down, the best dosa I have eaten in my life, and I know many food lovers and experts who feel the same. Not the Tamil-style thin dosa that you may be used to, the dosa here is typically Kannadiga. Fluffy on the inside, it is cooked with plenty of butter (benne) to make sure it has a golden crunchy layer. Also, this is served only with chutney and not with sambhar, another anomaly. Go early and be prepared to share your table with others, as the crowds never abate.
The Only Place is something like a Goan Shack, right in the centre of town (just off Brigade Road). This is also always packed, so you may need to wait for a table. The menu is old-school and not gourmet in the least. Pepper steak, burgers, pies and the like, there is something for everyone. Go with a bunch of friends and try out a variety of items. The burgers and the apple pie never disappoint.
3) Soft Eggs and Andouille Sausage on Sourdough Toast at Toast & Tonic
Toast & Tonic is the newbie in town, the hottie that everyone has a crush on. From Chef Manu Chandra’s stable, it is chic and nouveau. That’s where the frills end. The food speaks for itself, complemented by a bar that you would go back to. They make their own flavours of tonic and that is what you should try here. Pair that with the flatbreads and the Soft Eggs Sourdough Toast and your evening is set.
Photo Credit: Kunal Chandra
4) Beer and Nachos at Windmills Craftswork
A bit out of town, this one takes work getting to. But once you are there, you realise that the trip was worth it. Windmills is a brewery, styled like a jazz theatre. Time your visit so that you attend a performance too and ensure you book your table ahead. Place your order on the iPad on your table and sit back as service is a tad slow. The beer is the star here and plays quite a sweet melody. Surprisingly, it is the nachos that shine in the menu. Baked inhouse and topped generously, they go fabulously well with the beer.
Though The Fatty Bao has waddled into other cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the original one at Bangalore continues to be the best, perhaps because this is home to Chef Manu Chandra. The lovely terrace is a delight, perfect for Bangalore weather. Order whatever you like, the menu is outstanding. However, do ensure you try the Char Siu Bao. It is to die for.
Photo Credit: facebook/2's company
6) Pasta at Toscano
Toscano is a must-visit for a couple of reasons. The authentic Italian food is one of those, as is the fresh produce used. But also, for its location. UB City is not only a mall or an office complex, it was far ahead of its time, a cyber hub of sorts before any such existed across India. And for that, you must head there.
7) Seafood at Karavalli
The seafood restaurant in Taj Gateway Hotel, just off MG Road is a seafood-lover’s dream come true. The flavours are bold and options plenty. Prawns, crab, fish, whatever be your choice of meat, there is great variety to choose from. Pair the curries (Allapuzzah Meen Curry is my go-to dish) with appams or neer dosas to enjoy them.
Photo Credit: instagram/karavalli
8) Mysore Pak
Well not really Bangalore’s claim to fame but there’s a slim chance you’ll make your way to Mysore, thus you may as well try the ever-famous Mysore Pak while visiting Bangalore. Get some packed up and take it for friends and family back home too. Anand Sweets and Gundappa Sweets both do good versions.
9) Coin Paratha with Chicken Ghee Roast at The Permit Room
The Permit Room is a recent addition to Central Bengaluru and one that experiments with Indian favourites. Expect the unexpected here, a signature twist to familiar dishes. What to order? The ghee roast chicken and coin parathas will not let you down. The cocktails are well mixed and the location is central so if you’re planning to meet someone there, this is a great option.
Photo Credit: www.instagram.com/thepermitroom
10) Local Meals at Vidhyarthi Bhavan
This is an old favourite and one you must do for the sake of nostalgia. Not a place for languid meals, you share tables, get served in a jiffy and get going. The masala dosa is what you should order and some coffee on the side.
Bengaluru offers many more options and is a good place to start - a phrase that restauranteurs understand well. Thus, it comes as no surprise that now-popular chains like Social and Fatty Bao tried the Bangalore market before they went to other cities. Add to that, the weather is ethereal, all year round making alfresco seating the norm here, not the exception. So, there’s no excuse to skip going out and trying all these wonderful places. Where are you dining tonight?
About the Author:
Harnoor Channi-Tiwary is a marketing specialist who wandered into the world of writing and never left. For more than a dozen years, she has been writing about food and travel. Harnoor steered the editorial direction for NDTV Food till January 2017 as Head (Content) prior to which she worked with Marryam H Reshii on the Times Food Guide 2014 and authored an e-book amongst other notable works. She blogs at TheThoughtExpress, tweets as @HCdines and now lives in Singapore with her husband and six year old daughter (who's first word reportedly was 'yummy' and not mummy).
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