Everybody has a morning ritual. Some people prefer to start their day with exercise; others prefer snoozing their alarm about a dozen times. If there’s one thing that everyone agrees on, it’s a good breakfast. Bengaluru (literally meaning ‘town of boiled beans’), named so after a starved Hoisala king was served beans there, surely lives up to its gastronomic name when it comes to the morning meal.
Early bird specials
If you’re in Bangalore for a day and want to try out some local fare, chances are that you will be directed to Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (fondly known as MTR by the natives). Famous for their rava idlis, dosas and vadas, the place starts filling up from 6:30am. Get there early to jostle with the regulars for a good seat but be prepared to stand in line.
Established in 1924, this is one of Bengaluru’s oldest eating places and going by the standing-room-only crowd day after day, we’re sure their dosas live up to their reputation. Veena Stores is another stand-and-eat joint in contention for the city’s best idli-vada. Regulars get small portable chairs along to enjoy their breakfast in relative comfort. Shutters go up at 6am, so make sure you set your alarms.
Hungry late risers
Vidyarthi Bhavan has been a long-time favourite with the always-running-late crowd. The waiters rush to take your order and the food is brought out within minutes. Waiters juggling many plates of dosas stacked on top of each other is a regular sight here. Be sure to request extra benne (butter) or thuppa (clarified butter) if you like your dosas a little buttery.
Long before CCD and Barista made coffee drinking trendy, there was Brahmin’s Coffee Bar. Their idlis are bestsellers and people can be seen queing up for tokens every morning. Since they believe in self service, be prepared to balance your idli plate and hot filter-coffee mugs while avoiding the jostling crowd.
The Central Tiffin Room is another place to have a great dosa in the city. Winners of the Times Dosa Contest, they make all their food without onion and garlic. Started in 1926, the Udipi Sri Krishna Bhavan is a typically Udipi restaurant and regulars swear by their benne dosas. If you prefer to have your breakfast right around the corner, then head over to one of the many Adigas restaurants dotting the city. Keep in mind that their speciality is basic – cheap South Indian food – and you won’t be disappointed by their idlis and vadas.
West on my plate
With the IT boom in the 1990s came the out-of-towners. Bengaluru is now home to many expats and non-Kannada Indians and this has led to a major change in the culinary scene. For the eggs-and-bacon types, Koshy’s is your best bet. Here young IT techies mix with college-goers and conversations can go from world politics to European football in a second. Scrambled eggs are served with a side of baked beans and sausages, and their Sunday-special Kerela stew is sold out within hours.
The city’s only drive-in restaurant, the Airlines Hotel, serves a mean brekky in an al fresco setting. Waiters bring your food to your car and seconds can be ordered with a god old-fashioned whistle. Just leave your plates and glasses on your car’s bonnet and they’ll come with your bill.
The Egg Factory is a great place for all you eggheads. Spanish omelletes, Parsi-style akuri (scrambled eggs) and egg-based desserts are on the menu here. This place is open all day, so all the night owls can get their yolk fix any time.
(With inputs from Joanita D’Souza)