Monday, August 30, 2010

Wada Sambhar, Dosai Chutney and Vidyarthi Bhavan

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.


  1. yummy.... must visit on next trip to bangalore!

  2. Yes, Vidyarthi Bhavan has been the pride of Bangalore for over 3 decades.Our Morning walk is not complete till we drink the freshly brewed coffee whose Aroma lingers on for hours.

  3. Oh, how I miss Bangalore?

  4. Mouthwatering...must visit on my next trip to Bangalore.
    BTW, is the Madras Cafe of Mumbai you are refering to the one in Kalaghoda behind Rhythm House or the one in Matunga near Kings Circle...?
    Let's have more foodie blogs from you.

  5. Its very popular here in Bangalore.. Good that you enjoyed :)

  6. Masala Dosa is my favourite dish.
    thinking about it brings water in my mouth.

  7. My first time here, was need to read about on of our hangouts back in engineering college. :) Next time i come to Bangalore, surely must make a stop here to relive those old days!

    A good place surely.

  8. Next time you try CTR (CENTRAL TIFFIN ROOM) for a nice crisp butter dosa (Benne dosa) near Malleswaram 6th cross Play Ground. It was adjudged as the best in Bangalore last year.

  9. yummy... my mouth just dripped drops of water.. or saliva whatever its called.. amazing.. had i knew abt this when I was there, surely would have gone for this one..

  10. Excellent post, I am going to Bangalore soon and I hope to wean myself of this home sick feeling once and for all( which I know is never going to happen and got worse the last time I visited). I love my adopted country New Zealand, simply because it reminds me of the old Bangalore with all the circles (roundabouts) but I surely miss the people and the food.

    Good on you Gujju lady...

  11. Very nicely described. My dad used to take me to VB since I was a toddler. I can never forget each experience I have had there. And this is the first restaurant we visit whenever we are in Bangalore. Too bad because of the location I am in now, I can only drool at the pictures and the description you lucky people give us. Enjoy. And have a dosa in my name whenever you visit VB.


  12. Yes Disha, Not only vidyarthi Bhavan, several such Hotels serving from decades. Next time Please visit NMH, it is in VVpuram. In this hotel you have to taste Chapati and Vada Sambhar. Meanwhile tasty Shavige Bhath (vermicilie)available in SLV in Chamarajpet. dont Forget to taste these things.

  13. Fantastic and useful weblog. Thanks for publishing this. It’s useful and informative. Keep up the great. Resorts in Bangalore

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