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A Few Good Things

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A Few Good Things

Tag: JustBe cafe

Navaratnas : 9 Must Visit Restaurants in Bangalore

Bangalore is home to thousands of restaurants. Its tough selecting the best and most unique amongst them. The criteria I have used is based on Longevity, Consistency and Uniqueness. These are the Nine Jewels – the 9 Must visit restaurants in Bangalore.

  • The first 5 are legendary  – they are part of Bangalore’s history. Many have been around for more than 50 years. They are located in Old Bangalore – Malleswaram, Basavangudi & Lalbagh. All of them serve authentic Karnataka taste S Indian food . Most of them are Tiffin joints serving traditional Karnataka tasting food. (Yes the taste of Sambar and Chutney changes across the 4 South Indian states). These places are always crowded, service is fast & effecient and they are very affordable. BMW’s and Mercs line up outside these shops and don’t be surprised if you bump into Rajnikanth, Puneet Rajkumar or the Padukone family.
  • The Next 3 are unique new ones run by passionate entrepreneurs. They serve healthy food – Vegan, Millet based food in a lovely ambience. They are also located in traditional Kannadiga localities of JP Nagar, Jaynagar and Sadashivnagar.
  • The lone North Indian Restaurant – In a city packed with Italian, Chinese and Continental restaurants its difficult to find a good authentic North India restaurant. It was a close call between two restaurants and I finally chose the newer one because of its brightness and positive energy.

The First 5 : Traditional and legendary, They are timeless. 

No 1 – Veena Stores at Malleswaram – Light as air Idlis and yummy “Savige”

A small standing joint spread across 150 sft it dates back to 1977 . It all started when  Suryanarayana Hegde moved to Bangalore from Sirsi as a 10-year-old after the death of his parents. After working as a cook for 10 year in a doctors house he started his own restaurant on Sampige Road. That closed due to labour problems. He then started Veena Stores with mainly condiments and a limited menu of coffee, tea, badam milk and Idlis.His son Pradeep a diploma in electrical engineering joined the business in 1987. Pradeep now runs the restaurant with his wife.

Veena Stores serves a limited menu – Fluffy soft Idlis, Vada, Khara Bath, Kesari, Pongal, Lemon Rice, Puliyogare, Coffee all of this served fresh and piping hot. The Savige (Vermicelli)  is the best. The Mint Chutney they serve is a hit. (The restaurant does not serve Sambar). Very reasonable priced all dishes are in the 20 – 30Rs range. Sumptuous breakfast for 2 will be less than Rs 150/-. Good to know Kannada while ordering and please go with a driver as parking is a challenge.

  • Address : 187, 15th Cross, Margosa Road, Malleshwaram, Bangalore
  • Timings : 6.30 AM – 12 Noon , 3.30 PM – 9 PM

Veena Stores at Malleswaram

No 2 – CTR (Shiv Sagar) at Malleswaram – Best Place for Dosa

This hotel was started by Y.V. Subramanyam and brothers  in the 1920s. They hailed from a village in Kolar, whose residents are Ashtagrama Iyers of Tamil origin. Subramanyam sold his hotel the mid-1950s. It still has a vintage wall clock and rosewood furniture with Italian marble table tops. It is said the brothers passed on tips about preparations to the new owners along with advice to take care of workers by not overburdening them. It was established as Shree Sagar in 1950 and after changing hands a few more times it was bought by the current owner in 1992 and renamed Central Tiffin Room (CTR)

This is the best place in Bangalore for Dosas. And they come in many varieties Benne Masala Dosa, Butter Masala Dosa and Crispy Masala Dosa. They have seating inGround & 1st floor. It has the ambience of a Coffee House. Apart from the Dosas CTR is also known for its Idly Vada, Poori-Saagu, Kharabath and Kesaribath, Mangalore Bajji and Filter Coffee. It has won awards including the Times Food Guide “Best Benne Masala Dosa in Bangalore” and Burrp.com’s “Best Benne Masala in Bangalore. Very reasonable prices – A sumptuous breakfast for 2 will be about Rs 200/-

  • Address : 7th Cross, Margosa Road, Malleshwaram, Bangalore ( Opp to Malleswaram Grounds)
  • Timings : 7.30 AM – 12.30 , 4 PM – 9 PM

Best Dosa

No 3 – Brahmins Coffee Bar commonly known as Brahmins Cafe – Basavangudi  : Consistent quality and awesome Chutney

Brahmin’s was set up by Narasimha Rao, in the 1960s. Jan 27th 1965 to be precise. They initially started by serving traditional Filter Coffee and sourcing snacks from outside. Soon they started making limited variety of high quality S Indian tiffin. They have stuck to this winning formulae over the years. The speciality here is their Chutney. KN Saraswathi (the founder’s wife) who is in her 80s is still believed to supervise the preparation of the restaurant’s chutney every single day. It’s one of the many things that have remained constant at the restaurant. And there is a person serving serving unlimited chutney from buckets. The menu hasn’t changed in over four decades – Idli, Vade, Kara Bath and the sweet Kesri Bath. Each one of these items is truly delicious and incredibly consistent. (The restaurant does not serve Sambar)

  • Address : Ranga Rao Road, Near Shankar Math, Shankarpuram, Near Basavanagudi, Bangalore
  • Timings : 6 AM – 12 Noon , 3 PM – 7 PM

Brahmins Coffee Bar

No 4 – Vidyarthi Bhawan – Gandhi Bazar, Basavangudi  : Truly legendary  – a tradition since 1943

Located on the main road you enter the restaurant walking by a street full of fragrant flowers. “Vidyarthi Bhavan was primarily started for students, as the name suggests, but its popularity increased, and today we have celebrities from all fields who brainstorm over our dosas and coffee,” says Arun Kumar Adiga, who runs Vidyarthi Bhavan. On weekends there are over 3000 walk ins as people wait patiently for the seats to be freed up.

Vidyarthi Bhavan Basavangudi

The wait is worth it – The dosas are rich and soaked in butter. To this day, six dishes on Vidyarthi Bhavan’s menu — benne (butter) masala dose (along with saagu-masale), puri-saagu, idli sambar, uppittu, chow-chow bath and rave vade have celebrity status! And its been consistent over the years.

Garland shops near Vidyarthi Bhavan

  • Address : 32, Gandhi Bazaar, Near Gandhi Bazaar Circle, Basavanagudi, Bangalore
  • Timings : 6.30 AM – 12 Noon , 2.30 PM – 8 PM

No 5 – Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) – Needs no introduction 

MTR needs no introduction. Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Vidhan Soudha and MTR are the 4 pillars that define Bangalore. There are many MTR restaurants in town and abroad but I am referring to the iconic 1st branch near Lalbagh. The others are no match to the original one. Started in 1924 the restaurant is spread across 2 floors and has a lot of seating. There are even rooms that can be reserved for families.

The food served at the MTR is all veg, Karnataka Brahmin fare and owes its origin to the Udupi Cuisine of coastal Karnataka. The decor is old age. For many years, the customers entered the restaurant through the kitchen so that they would be able to satisfy themselves about the restaurant’s cleanliness before they ate there.

During  WW 2, MTR found it difficult to make Idlis, since rice was in short supply. They experimented with Semolina instead of rice and thus invented the very popular breakfast item of Rava Idli. The Tiffin here is wonderful and over the weekends its customary for Bangaloreans to go for a walk in Lalbagh and then Q up for breakfast at MTR. However if you are visiting for the 1st time visit them for Lunch. Its an elaborate multiple course meal with unlimited servings and you will struggle to complete it. Important to note that they are Closed on Mondays. Paid 3rd party Car parking is available diagonally opposite.

  • Address : # 14, Lalbagh Road , Bangalore
  • Ph: 080 – 22220022 (Reservations are taken for lunch & dinner only)
  • Timings : 6:30 am – 11:00 am & 12:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Mavalli Tiffin Room Bangalore

The Next 3 : Unique, Healthy Food run by passionate entrepreneurs. 

These are not as well known as the earlier 5. They are a new age of restaurants promoting healthy food. They have a lovely ambience, tasty food and are reasonably priced. After the rich fare with dosas soaked in butter in the above 5 restaurants  – the light and healthy food here will be a refreshing change.

No 6 – JustBE, A Vegan Restaurant that offers a lot more

A classy Vegan Restaurant at Sadashivnagar it serves Vegan food without Oil, Dairy products, Refined Products like Maida, Sugar etc. Serves a variety of tasty and healthy  continental dishes from Nachos, Sandwiches, Sizzlers to Pizzas and Asian Bowls. The idea is to appeal to the younger generation. The ambience is calm and serene. the place also has a Meditation Room and the only Svara (Sound Healing) room outside of Auroville. Servings are large and a meal for two costs about Rs 1000.

JustBE, A Vegan Restaurant

Read more about JustBe : https://vak1969.com/2018/07/12/justbe-cafe-eat-meditate-satiate-in-a-holistic-zone/ 

  • Address : 383/31, 13th Cross, Sadashiv Nagar, Bangalore
  • Timings : 11 AM – 11 PM

No 7 – Vaathsalya’s Millet Cafe, A Millet Only Restaurant 

Located at JP Nagar this place serves a wide variety of dishes – from Cutlets to Thali and everything cooked here is mad with Millets or Red Rice. Jyoti the owner is passionate about furthering the cause of Millets and after years of seeing the benefit in her family has started this restaurant to espouse the cause. the signature dish is their Thali. The store also sells handicraft , ladies handloom clothes, and organic products. A calm and quiet place on weekdays – it can get busy on weekends.

Vaathsalya's Millet Cafe

No 8 – Prem’s Graama Bhojanam, A Millet Only Restaurant 

This is another Millet only food restaurant that serves a wide variety of dishes that look and taste like regular S Indian dishes made with rice. All of this served in a rustic village ambience. The Dosas, Vadas, Paddu’s are all made of Millets. They also have Rotis of all the main millets served with curry. Thali options are available at lunch. The water that is served tastes like the “Teertham” you get in a temple – mixed with Camphor, Tulsi, Clove & Cardamom. The Matka Kulfi was also very tasty. At the end of the meal they give you a concoction “Kashayam” to improve your digestion. Its a very affordable place. Between four of us we ordered 2 plates of Paddu’s (Kuzhi Paniyaram), 2 Dosas , all the 4 Varieties of Millet Roti’s with Sabji and Kulfi and the bill was only Rs 884/-.

Prem's Graama Bhojanam Bangalore

No 9 – Urban Tamasha – Bright and Positive 

After so many S Indian fares I had to include one North Indian restaurant. In the new Bangalore areas of Indiranagar , Koramangla and Sarjapur you will struggle to find a good North Indian restaurant. All you see is Pubs , Italian, Chinese, Continental , Sandwich cafes, Coffe Bars etc. I have always felt that Tandoor in MG Road was the best bet for North Indian food. Good variety, authentic N Indian, consistent quality and great service. But I recently found a place that had all this with 2 additional advantages – A bright ambience full of positive energy and a wider variety of dishes.

This place is Urban Tamasha a newly opened restaurant at Indranagar.  The North India food and starters were great – they also have Pasta, Noodles and Pizza options – which works out very well when you go with the younger generation. Non veg dishes available. Lunch has a buffet option. No Alcohol is served.

Urban Tamasha Bangalore

  • Address : 2011,1st Floor, HAL 2nd Stage,100 Feet Road, Indiranagar
  • Timing : 12Noon to 1 AM

………..and one more thing

At the end of every presentation the legendary Steve Jobs used to have a slide titled “One more thing” – having worked in Apple I will take that learning from him and add one more restaurant to this list.

Sree Krishna Kafe Koramangla 

This is where I have been going Traditional restaurants of bangafor breakfast once a week for many years. And it would not be fair not to include it. Located in Koramangla next to Anand Sweets its the only restaurant that serves authentic Tamil Nadu style food. Idlis, Upma, Pongal, Dosas for breakfast and evening tiffin and plantain leaf lunch. The Sambar here is distinctively different from the other restaurants listed above. Its like a mess – always crowded with regulars.

Sree Krishna Kafe Koramangla

  • Address : 5th Main, Near Anand Sweets, Koramangala 5th Block, Bangalore
  • Timing : 7:30AM to 10:30AM, 12Noon to 3:15PM, 5:30PM to 10:30PM

PS : For the best thin Crust Pizzas visit Toscano or Little Italy – Both have multiple branches in the city 

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JustBe Cafe – Eat, Meditate & Satiate in a holistic zone

If you are invited for a treat to a place where the food is cooked Oil free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Color free – chances are that 99 of 100 people would make a polite excuse and wriggle out. I guess I was the odd one out when by chance I discovered JustBe. Its not just a restaurant but a lot more – with many unique zones that includes the one and only Sound Healing Therapy room outside of Auroville. Do plan a visit to JustBe at Sadashivnagar, but before that read on about this place and the passion of Nidhi  who conceptualised and developed this place.

JustBe is a classy boutique restaurant – Its unique and it serves amazing fresh food. Tasty, nutritious and aesthetically very appealing.

The Spinach Quesadilla, Crunchy Nachos, Hotpress Batata Sandwich, Asian Curry, Garden Pizza, Pink Lemonade, a variety of smoothies and many more interesting dishes will keep your taste buds captivated. The servings are large – and thats the 1st philosophy at the restaurant – Eat sufficient quantities of one item and don’t mix and match too many dishes in your meal. 

JustBe is not just a unique restaurant it is a holistic Zone of peace and tranquility. A zone of positive energy where you can Eat, Meditate and be Satiated to the full. You can let go of the stress and JustBe in touch with your inner self.

Every Sunday 9 AM a group Vipassana session is conducted for old students. You can use the facility to come and meditate whenever you are in the mood for some Soulitude. 

They also have a library and a Yoga Hall where Yoga, Tai Chi, Qui Gong and many other classes are regularly held here.

What I feel in love with was Svaram – the Sound healing room. The only such facility outside of Auriville Pondicherry. Its a unique experience and its just getting started. Here is a brief Video about Svaram and the therapy room. 

JustBe also hosts a Sunday farmers market that sells a wide variety of fresh organic produce and a shop that sells handcrafted clothes, Jewellery and more.

It requires a passionate, creative person with an eye for detail to run a place like this – And that person is Nidhi. A housewife tending to her family and teenaged children her life transformed after attending a 21 day retreat at Swaswara (An Eco Retreat near Goa) organised by Sharan in 2016. (This organisation was started by Dr Nandita Shah in 2005 to prevent and reverse lifestyle diseases by identifying the cause of the disease and using food as a medicine – https://sharan-india.org/about-us/)

While attending the program Nidhi was ailing from high Cholesterol, Skin Allergy and Migraines. She had heard from friends how this 21 day program not only transformed you but also taught you the techniques to lead a healthy life.

JustBe was born thanks to the learnings from this 21 day program. Nidhi’s eyes light up as she talks about this program and how it has changed her life. The only medicine we were served during this program was FOOD – she says. Food is the core element of our being and the right food, cooked correctly can solve all your health problems. The body needs proteins , minerals, calcium etc – the body gets stressed when it has to hunt for this amongst fried, unhealthy food. Yes they are tasty and addictive – but not healthy.

During the 21 day session they were served a wide variety of global cuisines – but the one common theme across all of them was Vegan Food cooked with no oil, no diary products, no preservatives. Add to this no refined food was used – so No maida and sugar. Inspite of this the food was tasty and delicious. And they were taught how to cook with these principles. 

Over 21 days Nidhi was convinced that this was the solution for a healthy body and mind. Her Jain traditions further helped her to imbibe the concepts deep within her  and she practised it with heart and soul at home. The transformation at home was also magical – and health bloomed at home.

This then took her to the next step of wanting to share the benefits of this learning with a wider audience through JustBe. And she practises what she has learnt to the minutest detail. No food is cooked in Aluminium dishes, No microwave is used and no Bone China Crockery is used in her kitchen. She was lucky in finding the right cook – a trained Chef Prem Darshan who after years of serving in high end restaurants and hotels in India and abroad joined her and is now running the kitchen with the same zeal and enthusiasm. They jointly developed the menu keeping in the mind the younger generation and hence most of dishes were continental.

I tried having a debate with Nidhi on the positives of milk and honey trying to understand why they were eliminated. I have grown up knowing that a glass of hot milk in the morning and a spoon of pure honey is as good as nectar. Nidhi demolished this notion by explaining that nature has given us enough food. The human baby needs milk for a few years just like other mammals and then graduates to other food. Any food taken from animals is developing cruelty towards animals and the ethos associated with that food is negative.

I failed in the debate  – I was up against a woman who has many a certificate in NLP, TA , Counselling etc – and was no match for her strong conviction and rationale argument.

By now we had spent over an hour chatting and it was time for my evening cup of tea – but felt a little conscious asking for masala tea after this educative session. Sensing my predicament Nidhi got me a Smoothie – made of Spinach, Mint, Banana and Pineapple. It tasted divine. Thats the beauty at JustBe – I would never have drunk a smoothie of these ingredients at home.

And as I drove back I kept wondering – can I really make a shift to a diet that is devoid of Milk, Sugar and Oil. That would mean no Coffee, Tea, Chocolates, Sweets…. all of which I love. I am not sure. Maybe I should ask my wife to attend the 21 day program at Sharan.

This is a unique restaurant in Bangalore and probably India. Its a must visit so the next time you happen to be in Sadashivnagar do visit JustBe

JustBe

  • 383/31, 13th Cross, Sadashiv Nagar, Bangalore
  • Open from 11 AM – 10 PM
  • Meal for 2 Approximately Rs 1000/-
  • Valet parking available
  • https://www.zomato.com/justbecafe

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