Monday, January 5, 2015

A food walk in Malleswaram.

I made this small compilation to share with a set of friends I'd taken on a Food Walk almost two years ago. Later, this was shared with whosoever evinced any interest in it and has been floating around in public domain. I'm posting this here to make sharing easier. I would welcome others to use it and contribute to it and put it anywhere in public domain, with due credits to the author.

You can easily spend quite a few half-days (roughly four hours) exploring different cuisines or different parts of Malleswaram.

This is in no way comprehensive, rather a work-in-progress, at best.

The place.
The earliest extensions to the old city of Bengaluru, the native part of the city, were Chamarajpet and Seshadripuram (1892). Malleswaram and Basavanagudi though planned as early as 1892 were only executed in 1898 ‘with some urgency’ due to the intensity of the plague epidemics.* Malleswaram takes its name from the Kadu Malleswara Temple. Built around 1669, by Ekoji, the brother of Maratha leader Shivaji, the temple’s serene garden is full of old peepal, Ashoka, guava and other trees, amid which are several small idols of Nagas. It is popularly believed that when the temple was originally built, the entire area was a thick jungle, hence the name Kadu (forest) Malleswara. 291 acres were acquired for Malleswaram and laid out in a grid pattern, with Main Roads running North-South and Cross roads running East-West. It was promoted as a ‘model hygienic suburb’* well spaced and so well drained that ‘a deluge of six inches would not leave a vestige of standing water in any of the house sites’*. Within these new extensions the planning authorities paid attention to social hierarchies. So Malleswaram had eight blocks, one for each ‘particular section of the people’ similar to Basavangudi. The newly laid neighbourhood of Malleswaram became home to many nobles, Dewans and other educated people placed in Government service. These rich noblemen bought big properties of about 2-3 acres size and chose to retire here. The West of Malleswaram was peopled by the elites and the East became home to the middle and lower middle classes, a lot of whom were service providers to the ones across the road (Sampige Road). Thus, Malleswaram quickly became an area where erstwhile busy, rich and civic minded people decided to spend the last years of their lives engaged in various social and cultural efforts. 2-3 generations of their families lived here before the inevitable process of dissolution of joint families created the division and sub-division of these huge properties.

* A guide to Bangalore and Mysore Directory, by J W Morris, 1905 - quoted by Janaki Nair, The Promise of a Metropolis, 2005.

Needs verification - H V Nanjundaiah, one of the first residents of Malleswaram, is credited with having founded Malleswaram. He later donated his house to the Girls' School (13th Main). 6th Main Rd is named after him (board carries his name) (sources: wikipedia and ).

The people.

Though the initial settlers in Malleswaram were predominantly Kannada, Tamil
and Telugu speaking Brahmin families, similar linguistic denominations from
other communities provided services to them. With the arrival of the Patankars,
who were descendants of one of the Dewans of Mysore, this area saw an influx of Konkani and Marathi speaking people. A sizeable Marathi speaking population already resided in the lower wards of Malleswaram, providing service.  The South West block was the Mohammedan block, with its own flavours and character.With its numerous temples and Mutts catering to the various denominations which arrived here to settle down, this neighbourhood acquired a character of its own. With the setting up of the Indian Institute of Science and with the coming of other research and public sector organisations to Bangalore, post-independence, this area saw more waves of arrivals. The seventies and eighties witnessed the advent of apartment blocks and more influx. With people came their foods and Gods, their colours and festivities. Over the years, Malleswaram has been home to Nobel laureates, Dewans, writers, poets, musicians, artists, film stars, sports celebrities, industry bigwigs, film makers and the list goes on. A few easily recognisable people who call(ed) Malleswaram their home – Sir C V Raman, Badminton ace Prakash Padukone and his actress daughter Deepika Padukone, the Kirloskars, film stars Shankar and Anant Nag, musicians Veena Doraiswami Iyengar and T A S Mani, singer/actress Vasundhara Das, filmmaker M V Krishnaswamy and Kiran Rao, film director.

The melange.

Malleswaram, though on the surface looks like just another urban sprawl, sings a
different tune to you, if you care to listen. Every other home here boasts of a musician/ dancer/ teacher. This conventional stronghold may still wake up to the
strains of Carnatic music and Hindustani, but everything from Jazz to World Music reverberate through its leafy environs. The market and 8th Cross and the stretch in between comes alive every evening, specially so on festival eves, redolent with the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of a long-gone era. This place is best explored on foot and is ideal for people watching. And it is the unsung nooks, crannies and bylanes that can tug at your heart, with its quaint structures and stately trees, making you wonder about the hidden inhabitants within, with child-like curiosity.

Also highly recommended are the book shops catering to the various reading needs of the locals, opening another window into their lives.

References, if you want to dig more -

  • – a link for a heritage walk conducted in Feb 2009, detailing local history and heritage; Please refer map of Malleswaram here – a write-up on the Heritage Walk held in Malleswaram in Feb 2009, with photographs of landmarks covered in the walk.
  • - short films interviewing well-known residents of the neighbourhood
  • Jahnavi Pai's Bangalore Bajji Bonda MaP (BBBMP) on geocommons-
A few buildings of interest-

  • The erstwhile Tonga Stand and the Government School building near the now non-existent Malleswaram circle
  • Shiva Musicals (on Sampige road)
  • Villa PottiPaati, a Neemrana property (8th Cross)
  • Vema Lodge (just off 8th Cross), a typical Bangalore bungalow
  • Malleswaram market
  • Sriranga better known as Kanya Boutique (for traditional Kanjeevarams) (between 12th and 13th Cross)
  • Govt. Girls School (13th Cross)
  • Railway Station (13th Cross dead-end, reminiscent of Malgudi Station. Incidently, it is believed that the twin neighbourhoods of Malleswaram and Basavangudi inspired the creation of R K Narayan's Malgudi, of course modelled on Mysore, where he grew up)
  • Sir C V Raman's house (15th Cross)
  • Kaadu Malleswara temple and tank (Right opposite the temple is the 400-year-old tank - Dakshina Mukha Nandi Teertha Kalyani temple. Curiously, this latter structure was discovered buried, almost intact, on this busy road in Malleswaram in 1997, when workers began digging the site to construct a building.)
  • Crafts Council of Karnataka) (17th Cross)
  • Kirloskar house (18th Cross)
  • St.Peter's Seminary (8th Main, closer to Yeshwantpur circle)
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc.)

Food Hotspots
(listed from Mantri Mall end, along Sampige Road and its cross roads)

  • New Krishna Bhavan (Masala button idlis / Jowar/ Ragi Dosa/ Kadubu/Neer Dosa, Udupi special lunch on weekends)
  • Rasa (regional Karnataka for lunch/dinner – mainly non-veg, known for ragi mudde, koli saaru serves alcohol)
  • Halli Mane (akki/ragi rotti, haalbai, sakkarae holige - snacks and sweets, lunch – special festival spreads)
  • Bhagyalakshmi gulkand Stores (bun, butter, gulkhand)
  • CTR, now Shree Sagar (opp Malleswaram Club, 7th Cross, Butter Masala Dosa, coffee, khara bath)
  • Sri Krishna Mysurpa (7th Cross, famous for melt-in-the-mouth Mysore Pak and other sweets and savouries)
  • Adyar Ananda Bhavan
  • Nayak's (deep fried snacks and condiments – papads, traditional sweets, pickles)
  • Sai Shakthi Vegetarian (North Indian lunch)
  • Shenoy's – diagonally opp CTR (deep fried snacks and condiments – papads, traditional sweets, pickles)
  • Sahyadri Cafe, on Margosa Rd, at 8th Cross bus stop – dosas and coffee
  • Janata Hotel (8th Cross, Masala Dosa, Vada)
  • Iyer Mess, off 8th Cross – plantain-leaf meals 11.30 a.m. to 3.15 p.m. and 7.15 p.m. to 9.15 p.m
  • Asha Sweets, Sampige Rd, little ahead of 8th Cross (Badam milk, sweets and snacks, sugar-free sweets, Bengali sweets and traditional sweets)
  • India Drug House (groceries and health food - millets, native food staples, palm sugarcandy, jaggery) diagonally opp Asha Sweets on Sampige Road
  • Asha Food Camp, 9th Cross, corner ahead of Kodiyal (Idlis, paper dosa and North Indian lunch)
  • Moodala Mane, North Karnataka place (further up from Kodiyal) (regional delicacies and Khanavali-style lunch)
  • 9th Cross, Margosa Road – Mysore-style Churmuri
  • Curry Sprig (10th Cross, Temple Main Rd, North Indian, lunch)
  • Maiyya's (snacks and lunch)
  • Mangalore Stores (11th Cross)
  • Bakery at dead-end near market (Ragi bread, multigrain stuff)
  • Amrith Icecream (13th Cross - homemade icecream – Amruth special, special badam milk mix, indian flavours)
  • Raghavendra Stores, near Malleswaram Rly Station, opp Northside Manipal Hospital – Idli-Vade, khara baath, Shavige baath, Kesari bath, coffee, kashaya.
  • J P Balimo – lounge bar (5th floor, 13th Cross, Sampige Rd)
  • Veena Stores 15th Cross, Margosa Road (World famous in Malleswaram for its Idli Vada Chutney and coffee)
  • Rajbhog, 15th Cross, Margosa Road, diagonally opposite Veena Stores – famous for the 1011/- rupee Gold Dosa among 100 other dosa varieties.
  • Adiga's (South Indian snacks and lunch)
  • Bhajji/bondas and murukkus near Shanthi Sagar
  • Bhajji/ Bondas near Sai Baba temple
  • Pickles shop – hole in the wall, next to Navarathna jewellers
  • Hurigaalu angadi (11th Cross – cross road) (masala peanuts, fried chana, etc... traditional snacks)
  • Adyar Ananda Bhavan, 8th Main, 19th Cross.
  • K C Das, Sampige Road, near 17th Cross
  • Amma's Pastries, Sampige Road, near 17th Cross.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rainy days are here again so head to Raina's...

Think rains and you can almost smell the fresh, wet earth. But the olfactory association doesn't stop there. It almost always brings with it the smell of steaming hot coffee or tea and all those wonderful snacks that you grew up on. If rains do this to you, then there's one place which can make rains easy on you - Raina Ruchi Centre, (#28, Girls School Street), near Triangular Park, Seshadripuram, Bangalore -560020.  This small store run by Vijaykumar (9845221083) is like a one-stop shop for a vatiety of snacks, both North and South Indian. You get varieties of mixtures, namkeens, dals, peanuts, murukkus, kharis, khakhras, biscuits and other fried stuff. You also get a few interesting North-South fusion flavours here. You also find ragi-based snacks that add an innovative twist to some traditional snacks. Calorie counters, this place has some stuff for you, but you would be advised to give up the counting when shopping here. Introduced to this place and its goodies, by my friend Sapna, my personal favourites are the bite-sized Chintamani "nippattus" - deep-fried, savoury, crisp discs made of rice flour and seasonings of til, roasted peanuts, channa, coconut, hing and curry leaves. The bite-sized "pani puri puris" with pudina flavour that are sold here are melt-in-the-mouth. Some of their mini-khakhras come from Bombay. Their masala pasta is notable too. Though priced a little steeper than other snack stores, this store promises fresh stuff made in good quality oil. All in all, well worth a visit, if you are in that neighbourhood, before the rains come pouring down again......

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fickle over figs!

Figs were an early childhood aversion with me, given their unusual texture. But, having a generous neighbour with a fruit-laden fig tree helped. Later, I graduated to aquiring a taste for them, so much so that I wondered why I nursed an aversion in the first place. A recent article by Vikram Doctor on figs - (
brought back all those memories. I learnt with surprise that figs were inflorescences (arrangement of multiple flowers) or false fruits where the curved-in base of the flower is the fleshy, edible part enclosing the flower. But, serendipity knows no discretion. Just as accidentally as I'd learnt this, I also learnt more "disturbing" facts about them from Dr. M. B. Krishna, last Sunday on my Lalbagh walk. The figs are pollinated by very small wasps that crawl through the orifice in the middle (a.k.a ostiole) in search of a suitable place to lay eggs, whereafter the fruit grows seeds. Without this pollinator service fig trees cannot reproduce by seed. In turn, the flowers provide a safe haven and nourishment for the next generation of wasps. This accounts for the frequent presence of wasp larvae in the fruit!!

Whoever would have thought that the humble fig had made me - a vegetarian into a "vermitarian"!!!! I don't know if I can still pig it out on figs, now......

Apologies to all fig-lovers for spreading this niggling bit of trivia, which I'm sure you wouldn't consider trivial.... unless of course wasp-larvae are acceptable as or alongwith delicacies! Call me a pig for this?....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kamat Lokaruchi, Ramanagara, Mysore Road.

While on a road trip to Mysore, one of the must-dos is to have a meal at Kamat Lokaruchi at Ramanagara, right next to Janapadaloka. There are three kinds of meals on offer wth an unlimited supply of buttermilk - absolute manna for the hot summer months. Jolada rotti oota is a typical North Karnataka style lunch with the main course comprising of hand-pressed jowar rottis, served with brinjal yaennagai and kaalu (lentils), soppu (greens), shenga pudi (spicy peanut powder), rice, rasam, sambhar, curd and the usual works. The Ragi mudde oota has on offer ragi mudde (finger millet dumplings) with soppina saaru as the main course, followed by two palyas, rice papad, rice, rasam, sambhar and curd . The Karavali oota is a very interesting variant. It includes Pathrode (though small in size and a little non-descript in taste), Heeraekai Pode, plain akki rotti (Malnad style)/Coorg otti with kurma and kootu, oththu shavige (stringhoppers) with kai haalu (jaggery sweetened coconut extract), horsegram papad with curd-flavoured fried chillies, rice, rasam sambhar and curd. All meal options include  a banana for fruit. You can even eat the regular favourites like Dosas, rottis, puris, holiges, etc based on the time of the day you go and availability. As a parting shot, don't forget to pack "one for the road" - some ragi nippattus (the best that I've had, sometimes even better then the more popular, age-old, rice version) and antinunde (Dink laddoos made of edible tree gum, jaggery, dry fruits, copra and other flavourings).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Supper and theater!

The cafe at RangaShankara offers a good mix of ethnic and international cuisines for the hungry theater enthusiast. The cafe ambience is eco-friendly and casual. Weekday shows typically start at 7.30 pm, which leaves room for theater-goers to grab a light pre-show snack and drink. The Cocum juice and lassi are really good. Sabudana vadas and vada paavs are just right and fly off the shelves as soon as they arrive. There's light to heavy dinner fare too like Biryani, akki/ragi rotti, paav bhaaji , pasta and sandwiches. The akki/ragi rottis were probably the most authentic Mysore-style rottis I've ever eaten outside of people's homes. Bang on target with the taste! Overall, one can eat a satisfying supper (or dinner) at the cafe, within the convenience of the theater.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Restaurant: Suggi - A taste of Malnad, New BEL Road. (I believe that its pure veg. twin is in Basaveshwaranagar, opp. Panacea Hospital).
Cuisine - Karnataka - Coorg, Malnad, Mallandur (that's what the menu card said!!)
Ambience - one notch below fine dining, but definitely better than your average multi-cuisine melting pots.
Service - was a bit tardy for a new joint.
Meal for two - veg - a la carte around Rs.600, thalis around Rs.200, non-veg - combo meals around Rs.400, a la carte around Rs.800.

If you understand the Coorg Otti, Paaputtu, Kadumputtu, noolputtu or the Mangalorean Akki rotti, kai kadubu, neer dosae, ragi amblee or the coastal appam, idiyappam - this is the place to come to. This New BEL Road eatery seems like it goes all out to pamper the non-vegetarian palette, just as its counterpart is a pure veggie puritan. Maybe that explains the amazing combos of the above-mentioned foods with chicken/mutton/fish curries made in the local styles. But vegetarians fret not, the spread may not pamper you, but you definitely won't come back hungry. A fellow vegetarian that I am, I tried the Suggi basket (one each of Akki rotti, Appam, a very small idiyappam, kai kadubu and neer dosa) with the Badanaekai Gojju ( pricey for a humble badanaekai dish at Rs100+, tasted like a melange of eggplant with mushrooms, maybe the latter explains the price) and wasn't disappointed. Though IMHO, the neer dosaes and ottis could've been better. The Veg Thali was good, but not great at (I think) 90 bucks for akki rotti, yennae badanaekai, soppina saaru, rasam, rice, akki happala, majjigae menasinakai, run-of-the-mill characterless pickle, mosaranna, neeru majjigae, ragi amblee(absolutely without character!) and paayasa (very nice - semia with jaggery and coconut milk undertones) and a very tangy red mango-based chutney. I asked for the house specialty - "Wild jungle mango curry" and was gently reminded that it wasn't available in the current season.

Verdict - If you are a carnivore, then this place gives you a taste of cuisines that never before were available outside the Hindu Military hotel format - Kannadiga cuisine in a fairly neat ambience, though I don't quite know how much of an overlap there is here with its cousin, the Andhra cuisine. Vegetarians get a curtain-raiser on the local cuisine, though I wouldn't say that accounts for much. OK for a try or two, maybe it would be worth the while to try the pure veg twin at Basaveshwaranagar.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yugadi - my share of bella!

This Yugadi has been special for me for the sweetest of reasons - bella (jaggery). I was blessed with a serendipitous discovery of the famed Mangalore "ole bella" - dark, brown palm jaggery, in a neighbourhood store. Not only that, a thoroughbred city-girl that I am, I finally got to appreciate the nuances of various forms of  jaggery - I was very generously allowed to taste exotic forms of jaggery like karupatti vellam/ thaati bella (palm jaggery) and norae bella (special form of sugarcane jaggery). As if this was not enough, definitely the jewel in the crown, rather, the icing on my (jaggery) cake was the taste of "nolen gur er sandesh" I had just this evening, courtesy, my Bengali friend. She managed to fly down the very last batch of them with her - nolen gur (date palm jaggery) is highly sensitive to temperature and so at the max - a day's shelf life; nolen gur season ended much before the start of IPL-  in Jan itself! Bless her! Oh! the small, sweet pleasures of life!
For a "gur taste of bella", head to