01 Friday August, 2014
Our favourite Bangalore-based foodie, Nirja Raju, reveals what she thinks would make the ideal 2-day tour of this burgeoning city's epicurean hotspots.
When planning a trip to India, it can be easy to overlook Bangalore when compared to the towering temples of Tamil Nadu, or the decadent palaces of Rajasthan, but do spare time for a culinary affair to remember. Before the city got its tagline as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India, Bangalore was titled the ‘Garden City’ with tree-lined avenues bursting with bougainvillea, colonial buildings and parks. Still harbouring British influence with roads named St. Marks, Lavelle and Richmond and more, the heritage structures stand proud blending alongside quintessential south-Indian architecture. However, thanks to commercialisation Bangalore may not be the garden city anymore, but there’s hope as the city’s weather still remains pleasant and the food and pub culture has taken the city by storm thereby naming it the ‘Pub City’ – a place where locals’ enjoy a side of sushi and a pint of Asahi beer for lunch just as much as their local fare. If you have two days to spare, here is the ideal checklist for culinary indulgence.
At sunrise, the Flower Market is the place to be as the sunlight shines through the myriad of exotic blossoms. Enjoy the colours and aromas through this market, which is considered one of the largest in Asia.
MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms)
Covered by TLC’s Planet Food, MTR is a heritage landmark for south Indian cuisine. The seating arrangements can be noisy and chaotic but all will be forgotten once you bite into their crispy dosas with buttery goodness.
Basvangudi Market – Catch the local scene with vendors and their colourful displays.
Post-MTR, we take you to the suburbs of South Bangalore to a local gem – The Rogue Elephant Café. Set by the patio of a heritage mansion, the stunning backdrop makes up for the unfussy décor. Serving Mediterranean, Continental and Indian – the salads are what gather a loyal following, particularly the Fig and Panacotta salad with a caramelised balsamic dressing. The runner-up salads are the salty watermelon and avocado and melon salad. After your meal, explore the mansion which houses heritage artefacts, antiques and home-ware that suit every budget.
For Filter ‘Kaapi’ as the locals put it, Brahmin’s Coffee Bar is the place. Don’t expect chairs and a scenic setting, but do expect intensely aromatic coffee with the locals in the charming old world suburb of the city.
aPaulogy – revered as the nation’s most gifted illustrator, step into Paul Fernandez’s store for quirky illustrations of Bangalore in the 70’s.
Dress up for a performance, we’re not talking about the theatre, but something even better. The Teppanyaki Counter at the ultra-luxe, Shiros’ in UB City, aims to leave you dazzled as their Japanese chefs slice, dice and flame-grill your dish of choice on the spot.
Monkey Bar is the place where you can get up to no good. The spunky yet affordable menu has won them mentions in Conde Nast Traveller, which has you tasting spiked versions of Indian favourites such as the Aam Panna – raw mango with vodka and the Copper Monkey – whiskey muddled with passion fruit. Dance the night away on their retro lounge to house music, old school and commercial hits.
Enrol yourself with ‘Bangalore Walks’ for scenic walks around the city as the guides narrate a rich tapestry of heritage history.
Lal Bagh – Opt to have your morning tea in this 240 acre garden and enjoy the cascading greenery, glasshouses and scenic lakes.
Koshy’s is Bangalore’s meeting point for the young and old, their appams relished with egg and stew is priced at a steal.
On the historic Windsor Manor Bridge, stands a colonial villa playing host to artisan shops called ‘Raintree’. From designer clothing, accessories and home-ware, stock on gifts, souvenirs and a little indulgence.
Dapple in imperial decadence, at The Royal Afghan part of the colonial ITC Windsor Hotel. The chefs are known to serve diplomatic heads, US Presidents and known faces of sports and cinema. A simple setting, where the food takes the spotlight, indulge in a middle-eastern sojourn. The showstoppers are the grilled prawns tempered in spices which are soft as butter and the pudina paratha is roasted in a salty-savoury mix of pomegranate seeds and mint.
Walk down MG road, and enjoy the sights and sounds in the city’s main centre.
End your walk, at the luxurious Oberoi, Bangalore with towering French windows overlooking a botanical paradise of palm trees and fish ponds. Afternoon Tea is best enjoyed at their alfresco setup – the Polo Club. Facing the lush gardens, bask in the city’s enviable weather and treat yourself to an indulgent round of scones, sandwiches and desserts with a pot of tea.
Set in a stately ambiance of The Leela Palace Bangalore, with carved pillars and delicately draped Kashmiri shawls - Jamavar has earned its place in Forbes for hosting the who’s who of corporate royalty. From the coasts of Malabar to the gardens of Kashmir, choose from an array of signature dishes savoured by generations of monarchs.
Handcrafted Beer, live jazz music and a cigar is how you live the dream at Windmill Craftworks. A burgeoning abode of the international jazz scene, enjoy a classy ambiance as you reflect on your delicious memories in Bangalore.
By Nirja Raju, Founder and fellow epicurean of The Stylish Dish
After experiencing London’s exciting food culture for 2 years, Nirja worked in Bangalore as the Editor for the savvy city guide – What’s Up Bangalore? Being a travel and food aficionado, she created ‘The Stylish Dish’ which illustrates how food inspires art, design, fashion, travel and lifestyle.