The concept of Brunch I want to believe is popularized by a sleep loving, but deprived community of people who work hard throughout the week, party on Saturday night till the wee hours of the morning and get up to walk into a restaurant a little late for Breakfast and a little too early for lunch – something my relatives in Bangalore are unfamiliar with. The phone next to my hotel bed rang. That’s the thing with hotel ringers – you don’t know it’s your until the person on the other side gives up and disconnects the phone. I managed to grab mine in the nick of time. In a hoarse voice I said, “umm... Hello !” The voice on the other end was that of a very excited aunty. “Beta get up no. Sorry did I wake you up ? Never mind, I am coming to pick you up in 10 minutes. We are going to Vidyarthi Bhavan !”
“Okay aunty !” I banged the phone. The digital clock next to me read 8 o clock ! I had only managed to creep into my bed at 6 in the morning. ( p.s. all night club’s in Bangalore shut at 11:30p.m. – it is the after parties at somebody’s home that is the real party !) I changed into a track pants and a top and walked into the car 12 minutes later to find myself in the middle of the bustling area of Gandhi Market at about 8 30 a.m. Life and commerce had already settled down, indicating an early start.
We walked into the restaurant – which looks like the Madras Cafe of Mumbai. Only difference is – there is no waiting ka chakkar. You find yourself a table that is already eating their Masala Dosa or sheera upma and stand next to it. This means you have marked your territory ! This table is yours.
If they were eating Wada dipped in pipping hot sambhar – it means it’s still their first course and they are waiting for their Masala Dosa. Waiters in their skyblue shirts and white lungi’s are running around with a pile of plates – now this surely needs some major balancing technique without a Tray. Any table does not take more than 15 mins, meaning we only waited for about 5 minutes before an entire entourage of a Kanada family got up to make way for my wanna-be dosa loving Gujarati family settled in Bangalore. (note: there are gujaratis everywhere – you cannot escape distant relatives when you are a Gujarati.)
1 delicious Mendu Wada which was already in my stomach followed by a masala dosa i was waiting for can last you an entire day. It was soaking in ghee when it arrived. When the Dosa came without the chutney and sambhar I looked puzzled. Then a man running around with a big pot full of chutney came to our table and poured us some – okay not some, but alot of chutney. The dosa occupied one half of the plate and the chutney spread throughout the other half of the plate. By the way this chutney is unlimited and for FREE. I have never had such fresh chutney in my life ! It was all mouth Watering. After these 2 dishes there was hardly space for anything else but my cousin would not hear no for an answer. We topped it up with sheera and upma. Now I am not a big fan of upma – but this one is perfect. It melts away once inside – leaving a savoury taste in your mouth, followed by the sweet pineapple and almond sheera which tastes like little bits of heaven.
And after you are done – and there is no longer space to put in anything else – one is forced to have a cup of filter coffee. It is true – this meal is incomplete without the sweet filter coffee. By this time the person waiting on your head to get your table has become impatient. The man with the water glasses throws at you water so that you drink it and leave. The bill has arrived and you are encouraged to pay it at the counter. The already narrow bench on which you are sitting is too big to fit your big stomach. You inch your way outside, looking at the others savouring their dosai and wada sambhar and you cannot help but wonder if you should take a parcel back home just in case you feel hungry on the way ! You cannot help but wonder why you have fallen in love with this place in just 15 minutes from the time you walked into it – but one thing is for sure – Masal Dosa has a whole new meaning in this longish corridor style restaurant called Vidyarthi Bhavan.
No. 32, Gandhi Bazaar Road, Basavanagudi, Bangalore (080-26677588). Timings: Weekdays, 6.30am-11am, 2pm-8pm; Sundays and holidays, 6.30am-12pm, 2.30pm-8pm; Friday closed.