Places visited since last I graced these pages:
In no particular order of preference (or is it):
1. Thulp (Kammanahalli)
This place is a beautiful blend of old graceful interiors with high tired ceilings and new-age comic book colour splash in their walls and table ware. Replete with a shelf of books for your perusal and board games like Scrabble, Thulp has one of the most interestingly designed menus and place mats I have seen so far in Bangalore. The food is equally interesting and tasty to boot – a win-win combination. The prices are fair and the items on the menu ranging for all day breakfast meals, starters, sandwiches, burgers and entrees have intriguing names which invariably makes you curious enough to sample the food- a great marketing strategy in itself. The chocolate mud pie (shared by three) as a palate cleanser is a Thulp must.
They even have a contest on. If you can design them a placemat they like, you get 30 meals free! 30 Days of Thulp it is!
2. Infinitea (Cunningham Road)
Ever since I have been acquainted with Bangalore some 12 years back on a trip to visit my brother while he was studying in Joseph’s, I have only ever lived in and around Cunningham Road, my first stay being on Ali Askar Road, off Cunningham. Two years later I started my BA in Mount Carmel College on Palace Road, off, you guessed it- Cunningham Road and that’s where I lived for 6 years. Now I am back again and this time (yes I am staying off Cunningham, if you must know) the first things I wanted to do was visit the places I have long standing associations and where a lot of my Bangalore memories originate from. Infinitea is intertwined into the landscape of “my Bangalore” inexorably with my afternoon catch-up tea sessions, PG girls dinners, birthday parties, weekly meetings with my brother…and, so, that’s where I went with Pom on a weekday to have our favourite Mediterranean Chicken and iced tea after a terrible day at work for both of us. The menu remains the same, the prices also peculiarly so. The décor has had some interesting changes but the overall feel of the place remains the same. After visiting Thulp, I think Infinitea could also do with a shelf of books as a “chai khana” ambience demands it. The plating of the food has changed somewhat though, the only wrinkle in the visit. (I like my food to look the same, thank you very much.)
Website for online tea shopping: http://www.infinitea.in/Home.aspx
Tea Rooms at Cunningham: http://www.infinitea.in/TeaRoom.aspx
3. The Only Place (Museum Road)
This used to be that special place to visit in our college days when we had some extra cash and wanted to invest in a particularly nice meal. Now, it’s more a place one can visit when you need a reasonably priced place for a quick lunch on a work day. How times change. The open air ambience in a shady residential plot makes The Only Place a Bangalore favourite. Like the German Café of old on Lavelle Road, this restaurant drew and interesting mixed crowd of office goers, artists and the occasional student in severe need of good wholesome food, which reminds me, I need to investigate if the German Café since relocated to Indiranagar, is still active. I had a burger and lemonade, both very good, but if I recall, very few things on the menu disappoint. and for the animal lover, there are kittens amicably suspended from the chick blinds looking for someone to play with and/or feed them.
The only place unfortunately doesn’t have a website but this should help: http://burrp.in.com/bangalore/food-drink/restaurants/the-only-place-museum-road/overview-171186138.html
4. The Entertainment Store (Church Street)
I don’t know if this is Bangalore’s first, but the only comic book & memorabilia / entertainment store I have visited in the city so far. The stuff is unique and fun, with official merchandise from comic books and film franchises (I particularly liked the Alan bobble-head from The Hangover – mostly because he had the baby with the sun glasses strapped on to him). Their goods comprised of comic books, illustrated novels, apparel, stationery, posters, music-tv show-film DVDs etc. Albeit a tad overpriced, it is a good place to explore and sit in solitude on the 1st floor in the DVD aisle and pay homage to the store’s predecessor – the irreplaceable Church Street branch of Java City where many, many weekends were spent enjoying the C Street Band perform live Jazz & Blues and sometimes Retro, with some one-for-one Margherita pizzas and their trademark iced tea.
5. Naturals Ice cream (Commercial St., Fraser Town and many other places)
OMG. This has the best place for ice cream ever. Their flavours are mostly seasonal fruits and made from them to the extent you find bits of the fruit in your ice cream. If you love fruit and ice cream, this is a place you must, must visit. I particularly loved the Black Grape and Musk Melon flavours and I have strong advocators of the Chikoo flavour, but everything seems to be of superb quality.
6. Mantri Mall (Malleshwaram)
Grocery shopping in Auchan – the particular highlight being selecting the Rohu of your choice and watching the guy descale, clean and cut it to your specification (Bengali cut, please). As a slightly squeamish Pom looked on (quite fascinatedly despite the occasional grimace), it gave me immense satisfaction to finally be able to buy one of my favouritest fish and anticipate all the interesting things I could make with it afterward. I spied crabs and tiger prawns at the seafood counter, so when our tiny freezer has groaned out the last of it’s contents, I will be at Auchan once again
Auchan is the closest there is to an ASDA which is why, I suspect, Pom is such a fan. From clothes to electronics to home ware and all manner of groceries (yes, they have a wine outlet *sagely nod*) it’s got everything imaginable that one might need. The mall in general has most of Bangalore’s retail stores – from Marks & Spencer to Health & Glow and the requisite movie theatre, Inox, so it is a one stop shop for most people living close by.
Pom has also promised to take me to Phoenix Mall in Whitefield soon (it has Zara ), so I am looking forward to that now. If I haven’t already written about 1MG Mall, here it is: for an ex-pat or someone who is all too familiar with being reasonably free of crowding hoards of people while shopping for four years, this is your destination. You can almost meditate in the quiet shops in the mall, in the unhurried aisles of the food store, in the sparsely populated escalators… I could go on… a nirvanic shopping paradise compared to the usual hustle-bustle (honking and screeching) of the Bangalore without. The prices are of course prohibitive, which brings us back to Mantri Mall (Yaii).
1 MG Road: http://www.onemgroad.com/
7. Doff Pub (Indiranagar)
Met Vivica there after ages and so even minus electricity (and hence, functioning air conditioning), it made for a very nice hangout. The crowd and ambience seemed nice enough, though I am not convinced the wait staff is altogether “with it”. They insisted what I was drinking was a Sandy (not a Shandy) and took about 30 minutes to procure the bill. It’s located on the top floor of a high-ish building and offers a nice view of the busy, leafy 100 Feet Road below. There was this one thing I did not like about the place…oh, yes, congealed mayonnaise with the fries. Did not appreciate that.
8. Koshy’s (St Mark’s Road) – now you know this list is definitely not in any particular order of preference!
For weekend breakfast, this is a Bangalore must. It has the feel of an old-world colonial Bangalore, replete with white uniformed waiters who are likely to mess up your order but just about do not. The English breakfast is perfect and to me, reminiscent of the chai bungalow brekker, and the Koshy’s special coffee is a must. This and India Coffee House are my all time favourites and no trip to Bangalore is complete without visiting either of them. The paan kiosk (that has to be the poshest way of branding a paan wallah) next Koshy’s has the best 10 rupee meetha paan on offer.
Now that I have promoted the city at length, look out for the rants in the next post. And boy, do I feel a rant building up.