Masala Dosa, Khara Bhath, Kesari Bhath
Copious amounts of filter coffee
Serving up a slice of old Bangalore along with crispy masala dosas, served with swag and drama.
This one’s a no-frills establishment. A big room with bare benches and quick service is all you get.
The ravenous students of National High School and Acharya Patashala, inspired Venkatramana Ural, a native of Udupi, to start a small canteen just for them in 1943. The prices were kept low and the eats delicious. Soon, word spread beyond the student community, and the adults flocked in. Flanked by the colourful stalls of Gandhi Bazaar, Vidhyarthi Bhavan sits unassumingly in the midst of the bustling market. After supplying your name to the waiting attendant, you wait around in small courtyard with other hungry customers. When a batch of people make an exit, you are called in along with the rest of your batch.
Once in, you grab the nearest vacant bench. Strangers might scooch in with you but deal with it. Soon, one of the waiters, with his dhoti folded up to his waist, makes an appearance and takes your order; they never use a pen or paper and yet their orders are always spot on.
Start off with a plate of Khara Bhath. It comes doused in chutney and its smooth, melt in the mouth texture is unlike any rava upma that you’ve ever tasted. The Kesari Bhath is a bright, neon-yellow blob that’s been cooked in generous amounts of ghee. It’s a joy to eat and you’ll soon be licking your spoon clean. Next, the piece de la resistance, the Masala Dosa arrives, neatly stacked on the waiter’s arm — you’ll need to see it to believe it! Once it is plonked down, you’ll immediately notice the golden pool of melted ghee oozing from the dark-brown dosa. And here is the magic — it’s the perfect creation which is crisp on the outside, and miraculously fluffy inside. It is truly one of the best you’ll ever have. Tumblers of frothy coffee are the last thing you can savour before you make your exit.
We totally get why this humble eatery is counted among the legends. We won’t mind joining the unending crowds to get a taste of those heavenly dosas, again and again.
Where: 32, Gandhi Bazaar Main Road, Basavangudi
When: 6.30am-11am, 2pm-8pm, Friday Holiday
Contact: 080 26677588
Price: INR 1oo for two
Find them on Facebook here.
Check out their website here.
Photos: Parikshit Rao/LBB