Bengaluru is the first city that I had travelled to when I had begun my career as a market researcher.
I stayed at a hotel called St Marks there which was pretty new then. Every morning I would go down to the buffet and stuff myself with sausages, bacon and ham and the cheese stuffed omelettes. Those were innocent days.
Over the years I got bored with hotel breakfasts and began to head out in search of local favourites while travelling.
That’s when I returned to Bengaluru and was at the St Mark’s once again. I asked the concierge for a local breakfast suggestion and he pointed me to MTR or Mavalli Tiffin Rooms at Lalbagh. I was warned that there is a queue for breakfast there. Luckily, being a late riser, I reached well after the South Indian breakfast hour and didn’t have to wait for long to be seated.
I was led to a table which I had to share, and ordered the masala dosa, as suggested by my table mates.
My dosa arrived, and I took my first bite of it.
Its thick texture, which culminated in a final crunch, and flavour packed taste spoilt me for all dosas thereafter. Every time I had a dosa in Mumbai after that I tearfully remembered the dosa at MTR.
I enjoyed the rava (semolina idli) and filter coffee there too.
In a subsequent visit I met local blogger, the lovely and lively Monika Manchanda, and we went to a place called Sri Krishna Kaf’e (sic) at Koramangla. This is a pretty basic, 50 year old, South Indian eatery holding on proudly in an area surrounded by swish modern cafes.
Monika introduced me to the ‘podi’ dosa which I fell in love with it. The dosa is thinner and crisper tha the MTR ones, because they are Tamilian explained Monika, and is decked by a beautiful red masala, the podi. The masala is flavourful but doesn’t burn your tongue.
The other great Bengaluru breakfast experience was when I was at the Sheraton which people on twitter told me is in Malleswaram or old Bangalore. Monika and another blogger, Nandita Iyer of Saffron Tales, suggested that I go to Veena Stores for idlis.
The idlis were delightfully soft and won my heart though I am not much of an idli lover otherwise. Veena Stores is a small shop where you can buy South Indian tiffin items and have them while standing on the road. A bystander suggested that I try the pulliogre (a Tamilian tamarind rice) which knocked me off my feet with its fresh flavours. My chauffeur then took me to a small shack called Raghavendra Stores by the railway station where I enjoyed the medu vada that he recommended and joined me in finishing.
It’s not all about stand and eat places at Malleswaram. A Singaporean Chinese lady, who tweets from the handle @skinnylatte, pointed me to CTR. I went to this restaurant which is a landmark here. A popular eatery where you share a table. As suggested by @skinnylatte I ordered the benne or butter dosa. This is even crunchier than the MTR version and once again won my heart.
Next on my sights are the highly recommended dosas at Vidyarthi Bhavan and the Anglo Indian breakfast at Koshy’s.
Guess I need to plan a Bengaluru trip soon.
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Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.
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