Breaking fast in Bangalore
Bangalore hasn't done a great job of preserving it's heritage. A number of heritage buildings that withstood the ravages of time, have made way for new constructions, across the city, specifically in the past three decades. Some traditional eateries however continue to not just survive, but actually thrive, choosing to mould consumer behaviour rather than fall prey to it. Here are our picks of some great places to have a traditional breakfast in Bangalore. Just so we don't think all that's new is bad, we've included a couple of new ones that do a great job of combining the best of the old with the new, even if it doesn't reflect in their architecture.
One of the oldest eat outs in Bangalore, dating back to 1924, MTR has been at its iconic current location for over 5 decades. The Rawa Idli is the most popular dish and is believed to have been invented by MTR during world War II to tide over a shortage of rice without compromising on quality or wholesomeness of food.
When: 6:30 AM to 11 AM, 12:30 PM to 2 PM, 3:30 PM to 9:30 PM (Closed on Mondays)
What: Rawa Idli, Masala Dosa
Why: History, old world charm, hygiene standards and food that is tasty and authentic
How much: INR 300 for 2
Tip: Eat early morning and walk across the road to breathe in the fresh morning air and at the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens.
2. BRAHMIN'S COFFEE BAR
The entire menu at Brahmin's Coffee Bar. Source: Zomato.com
Started in 1965 by KV Nageshwar Adiga, Brahmin's continues to operate out of its 200 odd sq ft 'stand and eat' premises near the Shanker Math, conveniently close to to the popular Bull Temple (Basavangudi), that lends its name to the surrounding neighbourhood. Conossieurs and old timers continue to rate the filter coffee here, the best in Bangalore.
When: 6:30 AM to 11 AM, 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM (Closed on Sundays)
What: Idli, Vade, Coffee, Kesari Bath – basically everything on the menu
Why: Simple, no fuss, wholesome and tasty food, served with chutney only!
How much: INR 150 for 2
Tip: Combine an early morning breakfast with a visit to the Bull Temple and the Bugle Rock Park. The takeaway chutney is always thick, unlike the one that's served on site!
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Vidyarthi Bhavan, started in 1943 as a small eatery for students (hence the name), is a part of the culinary history of Bangalore and a place where time and tradition stand still. What has changed though, is that it attracts more than just students. In the sixties and seventies, it was a popular hangout for artists, poets and theatre personalities - many of whose pictures adorn its walls. Politicians of all hues continue to patronize it (some having eaten here since their own college days). It retains its popularity amongst old timers of South Bangalore and also attracts tourists, newer Bangaloreans and visitors to the city - as the long queues on weekends and holidays testify
When: 6:30 AM to 11:30 AM, 2 PM to 8 PM
What: Crispy Masala Dose and Poori Sagu
Why: Mangalore tiled roof, skillful waiting staff that serves multiple orders simultaneously, frozen in time charm and some of the finest dose and Poori
How much: INR 200 for 2
Tip: Follow up an early morning Breakfast with a stroll down the colourful Gandhi Bazaar and the streets that radiate out of it, wind your way through flower sellers, fruit and vegetable vendors and streets selling spices.
4. UDUPI SRI KRISHNA BHAVAN
Source: www.udupisrikrishnabhavan.com (no longer exists). This picture has previously been used on other sites
Kempegowda started buidling his city of boiled beans in 1537. Udupi Sri Krishna Bhavan has been standing tall in this area, often called the Pete (more popularly known as 'Majestic', after a, now defunct, cinema hall) for many decades. The name betrays the geographical origins of its founder while the chequered floor, antique furniture and lungi clad waiters are from a different era. The food though is timeless.
When: 7 AM to 10 PM
What: Almost everything on the (relatively) extensive menu
Why: Heritage eatery in a grand old building in the oldest part of town
How much: INR 200+ for 2
Tip: The lanes off Balepet have an assortment of yummy streetfood, including Gujarati and Marwari eats like Khaman, Dhokla, Samosa and Pyaaz Kachori (served with kadhi). This is a great place for authentic street food from various parts of India!
Shri Sagar has been around since the 1920s. What has changed is the name - from Shri Sagar to CTR many decades ago and back to Shri Sagar, more recently. The location hasn't changed in a long, long time. Nor has the taste and quality of food, if those who've patronised it over generations are to be believed. The good thing is it is slightly easier to get a table here than at some of its equally well known bretheren (Vidyarthi Bhawan in particular). Many consider the Benne (Butter) Masala Dose here the best in Bangalore. We have no reason to disagree.
When: 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM, 4 PM to 9 PM
What: Poori and Benne Dosa
Why: Reputedly the best Benne Dosa in town
How much: 200 for 2
Tip: Combine a visit here with a trip down to the historic Kadu Malleswara Temple that predates this grand old neighbourhood and gives it its name.
6. VEENA STORES
Part of the legendary trio of Malleswaram (CTR and Janatha Hotel being the other two), Veena stores has held its own commendably over generations. With a reputation far out of proportion to its tiny dimensions, long queues of folks waiting patiently early morning are a common sight, as is the likelihood of them running out of a popular dish by late morning!
When: 6:30 AM to 12 Noon, 3:30 PM to 9 PM
Where: 187, 15th Cross, Margosa Road, Malleshwaram
What: Idli, vada, kesari bath.
Why: Iconic 'hole in the wall' outlet that dishes out possibly the best idlis in town.
How much: INR 100 for 2
Tip: Combine a breakfast here with a walk around the streets of Malleswaram, across traditional markets with fruit, vegetable and flower vendors, shops grinding coffee beans, Iyengar bakeries and traditional temples.
7. KOSHY'S PARADE CAFE
Set up at one end of St. Mark's Road, when MG Road was still South Parade, a largely residential avenue in the centre of the British Civil and Military Station of Bangalore, a municipality distinct from its native twin called the Pete or city, furthur west, Koshy's has been a popular hangout for long. Journalists, advertising folks, artists as well as the general public have for long met here, and continue to do so. Unlike others on the list this isn't strictly a breakfast place, with elaborate lunch and dinner menus and multiple cuisine options.
When: 9 AM to 11:30 PM
What: Omlettes, Cutlets for Breakfast. Curry - Rice combos (Fish/Prawn) for lunch, Appam and Stew on Sundays and Beer in the evenings. Fish and Chips.
Why: Atmosphere and crowd. Food, especially North Indian and Chinese, can go wrong
How much: Breakfast: INR 500 for 2. Lunch/Dinner: INR 1000 for 2
Tip: Combine with a visit to Cubbon Park across the road. Home to running, yoga and laughter clubs over weekends. The High Court, State Central library and Museum provide a glimpse into a fast disapearing British Cantonment town.
8. Indian Coffee House
Source: Wikimedia Commons
A pan Indian Icon, rather than a Bangalore one, Indian Coffee House is part of a chain of workers' cooperatives, that started in the late thirtees in India. The Bangalore outlet stood on MG Road for decades before it moved to its current location on Church Street - given high rentals. Waiters, many of whom have served for ages, still turn out in cummerbunds and fancy headgear, as they always have, to serve the crowds that have clearly diminished since the modern coffee chains came up.
When: 8 AM to 8:30 PM
What: Coffee, Masala Dosa, Cutlets (mutton and veg), Scrambled Egg
Why: Nostalgia and a signature mix of Indian and English dishes.
How much: INR 200 + for 2
Tip: Post your meal, walk further down the street to the church its named after, St. Mark's Cathedral. The church is over 200 years old and the plaques inside tell interesting tales.
9. TAAZA THINDI
Source: Jaunty Roads Archive
It is tempting to think Legends have to be old and well known. Here's one in the making. Serving traditional South Indian food with a mighty difference. It's clean as a whistle, portions are just the right size to avoid wastage, food is high on quality and taste, service efficient and prices astonishingly low for this day and age. They're environmentally friendly too and won't pack you a meal unless you get your own vessels. Zero plastic.
When: 7 AM to 12 Noon, 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM
What: Anything on the menu. Dose, vade, Idli, Kara Bath and Kesari Bath.
Why: Clean, efficient, hygienic, authentic and honest
How much: INR 150 for 2
10. A HOLE LOTTA LOVE
Off the beaten path again! A rather new fangled cafe in a part of town that's hardly traditional, but by far the finest all day breakfast place in the city, when it comes to the English style breakfasts. A number of old timers that served English/European style breakfasts have closed down or gone downhill. This one appears to be a worthy successor. Hope we're predicting a future icon here!
When: 10 AM to 10 PM (Closed on Mondays)
Why: Excellent English Breakfasts served all day.
How much: INR 500 + for 2