Margosa Road, Malleshwaram, Bangalore
Meal for two:?Rs 100
Bangalore, not surprisingly, probably has India’s highest number of trendy young restaurants per square foot. It also probably has the highest ratio of snappy restaurant names. Like Roomali With a View, Bean There Done That, Berry’d Alive, Om Made, Tea o’ Clock, LikeThatOnly, Something Fishy, Oogy Wawa and South Thindies. There’s also, potentially, Tiffany’s which, as a vintage movie buff, I wish I could buy out and convert into a breakfast joint, ha ha.
And then, at the extreme opposite end of the snappiness spectrum, there’s simple, humble little Veena Stores. ‘VS’, as it’s affectionately called, started out in the ’70s, selling murukku, and then graduated to serving tiffins. While one faction of Bangaloreans may swear by the idli-vade at Brahmin’s Coffee Bar at Basavanagudi; another faction swears by VS. It’s a minuscule tiffin joint, with a democratic mix of vehicles parked outside, ranging from scooters to Audis. Their idlis are superlative, and so are their medu vade, dipped in VS’s special minty chutney. (I’ve always believed that the combination of fluffy idli and crisp vada must be one of India’s great gustatory experiences.) VS also serves baath and industrial-strength coffee, with caffeine levels only just within the maximum permissible legal limit. The downside, however, is that you have to eat on the footpath, keeping one eye open for cops who could tow away your vehicle any moment. But given the regular clientele that lines up here enthusiastically every day, it’s obviously worth that small inconvenience.