Monday, April 9, 2007

Brahmin's Coffee Bar

Shankarapuram, Bangalore.

Food : 3/5
Ambience : 1/5
Meal for 2 : Rs 50

See the crowd?

This tiny, unassuming eatout had recently been voted as one of the best idli - coffee joints in Bangalore which invoked our curiosity to check out the place ourselves. But as luck would have it, we would always end up here when it was closed - on Sundays and after 7pm on other days. They are also closed between 11 am to 3pm on all days.
It opens at 6-30 am and by the time we reached the place, around 8 am on a Saturday morning, it was packed, with people spilling over to the road and many families even having their tiffin-giffin in the confines of their cars.

Tiffin thintheera?

The coffee bar serves only 3 items - idli, vada and kesari baath - and of course, coffee and tea. Since this is a 'self-service only' joint, you have to first buy the tokens for your items at the counter near the entrance. Then starts the herculean task of squeezing your way through the crowd milling around. When you finally reach the serving counter, catch your breath, get your snacks on a tray and turn back, you realize that you are now faced with the near impossible task of making your way out of the place without spilling tea or dropping a steaming idli on someone around or worse, yourself!
Once outside, there is an old man standing right near the entrance, pouring chutney for everyone on their plates (a prize for making it out of the place in one piece, perhaps? ;)). Now that the hardships are done with :), its time to happily gorge on the simple but superb food. The idlis are quite fluffy and soft, the vada - crisp and not over done. I'm not a huge fan of kesari bath and Balaji found it was fine but a tad too sweet - too much of pineapple, we guess. There is an unlimited supply of chutney, thanks to the thaatha who happily pours it for all who ask.
Nothing better than a steaming cuppa to end an enjoyable breakfast. The coffee and tea -served in Kerala tea house kind of glasses - are quite good and upto the mark.
This place is definitely worth a try for true blue fans of idli-vada-kaapi. We do not have the exact address or phone number of the place but to get there, take the Bull Temple road from the Gandhi Bazaar side. There is a HOPCOMS and then a Neeladri office on the left. Take the right turn in front of this, go a little ahead and to your right, when you see a place teeming with people, some sipping piping hot coffee and some downing steaming idlis - you'll know you are at the right place!

Did you know.......
.......................that the idli finds mention in the Kannada writings of Shivakotiacharya in 920 AD, and it seems to have started as a dish made only of fermented black lentil? One description circa 1025 A.D. says the lentils were first soaked in buttermilk, and after grinding, seasoned with black pepper, coriander, cumin and asafoetida. The Kannada king and scholar Someshwara III, reigning in the area now called Karnataka, included an idli recipe in his encyclopedia, the Manasollasa, written in Sanskrit ca. 1130 A.D.