9 lovely breakfasts to have in Bengaluru

Travel and Places

They make good mornings better.

This story first appeared in Conde Nast Traveller on August 3, 2016.




Photo source: Getty Images


Bengaluru takes its first meal of the day very seriously. For a city traditionally known for its darshinis—small, stand-up eateries—the foodscape has changed radically over the past few years to accommodate the ever-changing mix of the populace. But in a place where breakfast is easy to find, where do you find a great breakfast? That’s where this list comes in:

Muffets and Tuffets, Koramangala

This charming little restaurant is set in a small bungalow. You can sit in the air-conditioned section inside or take a table on the small patch of grass outside.

The menu has continental and British fare and includes a mean breakfast platter. With a large waffle with maple syrup, sausages, perfectly-fried hash browns, a grilled tomato, slices of brown bread, eggs made your way and a bowl of baked beans, this is a meal you’d work through slowly.
Recommended: The breakfast platters. 


M&T breakfast


Raghavendra Stores, Malleswaram railway station

This traditional, unpretentious joint serves cheap and authentic south Indian Brahmin food. They make very few dishes, but make them exceedingly well. Idli, vada, shavige bhath, khara bhath, bisibele bhath, kesari bhath—that’s the long and short of their menu. And yet, you have people coming from across town to dig into this food. The idlis are soft and well-rounded. The crunchy vadasare pepped up by bits of green chilly, coconut and pepper stuffed into them. And finally, this is one of the few places in town that serve shevige bhat, a spicy dish made of rice vermicelli with seasoning.
Recommended: Idli vada and shevige bhath

Raghavendra Stores  idli-vada 1


Airlines Hotel, Off Lavelle Road

How would you like to breakfast with birds, in the shade of a large, decades-old tree? Bangaloreans have been doing just that for half a century at the Airlines Hotel. A venerated institution on the city’s foodscape, Airlines is a throwback to a more leisurely era. Most things about the place have remained unchanged over the years, including the delicious fare. You can linger over your food before chasing it down with superb filter coffee, served in thick-bottomed glasses that have all but vanished from other restaurants here.
Recommended: Akki roti, rava idli, filter coffee

Airlines Hotel masala dosa 1



South Indies, Indira Nagar

If you want to breakfast like a king, head over to South Indies. Here, you get delicacies from all south Indian regions under one roof, in a fine-dining ambience. The lavish breakfast buffet is an excellent repast, complete with dessert.


Suryawanshi, Indira Nagar

Maharashtrian food is a rarity in Bengaluru, despite the sizeable Marathi population. For those who love this kind of food, Suryawanshi comes as a boon. Its menu packs in the best of the state, albeit with a Kolhapuri bias. In a city awash with chutney and sambar, Suryawanshi helps you start your day with missal pav, kanda poha, keema pav, sabudana vada, shrikhand, aamras and sol kadi.
Recommended: Sabudana vada, misal pav 

suryawanshi missal pav 3


Kota Kachori, Koramangala

If your idea of a super breakfast is samosa, kachori and chole bhature, Kota Kachori is where you want to go. This joint makes wonderful Indori poha, aloo-pyaz kachoris, chole bhature and parathas. The décor is sparse putting the focus purely on the food.
Recommended: Aloo-pyaaz kachori, poha

kota kachori - chholey bhature 3

Ants, Indira Nagar

Take a roomy bungalow in a tree-lined street, deck it with taste, add a superb continental menu and voila! You have a restaurant with a long queue of patrons straining to enter and reluctant to exit. And did we tell you that this cafe has a store attached, one that sells authentic, hand-crafted stuff from northeast India?

Recommended: Cutlets, eggs with toast, sandwiches 



My Way Little Dinette, Ulsoor

The community that gave us dhansak, sali boti and berry pulav offers some interesting dishes for the first meal of the day too. Parsis love their eggs, mutton and pav, and can have these in any combination. Dishes like eggs on sali, eggs on kheema, akuri on toast and pattice are sure to set your pulse racing. Very flavoursome and aromatic, they are a feast for the eyes too, thanks to the tomatoes, coriander and other greens. Choose a seat by the window side at this bright, cheery restaurant and go to work on your food.
Recommended: Eggs on vegetables or meat 

My Way


Kaayal, Jeevan Bima Nagar

If you wake up one day and find your tummy growling in Malayalam, head over to Kaayal. Every morning on weekends, this restaurant dishes up a Kerala breakfast. Binge on puttu, appam, idli, dosa and uppuma. For accompaniments, choose from kadala curry, stew, chammandi (the Kerala version of chutney) and sambar.
Standout dish: Appam and puttu, served with kadala curry or stew

Kaayal parotta egg curry 2








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A writer’s life: Bengaluru to Mysuru

Travel and Places

Visiting R.K Narayan’s house in Mysuru, which is now a museum. 

This story first appeared in Mint on May 18, 2017 in the section ‘Weekend Vacations’.


R.K. Narayan’s house. Photos: Ganesh Vancheeswaran

R.K. Narayan’s house. 

The sun glinted off the chassis of the YP 2511 that stood on a short strip of railway track. As I stood looking at it, my father’s stories about the thrilling train journeys of his childhood echoed in my mind—he is a keen trainspotter. Steam locomotives, such as the one standing in front of me, played a starring role in many of his adventures.

I was at the Rail Museum in Mysuru.

Amid the railway memorabilia, my mind travelled to a city legend—and one of my favourite authors—R.K. Narayan. On this trip, my main interest lay in the RK Narayan Museum which opened last year.  In The Guide, one of his most famous novels, the lead character Raju graduates from railroad station food vendor to tourist guide. It’s a story that has stayed with me. And I was keen to see where he had lived.

Leaving Bengaluru at noon, I had driven down to Karnataka’s cultural capital for the weekend. Mysuru is the starting point for several weekend getaways from Bengaluru, like Coorg, Masinagudi and Ooty, which I had already travelled to. Strangely, Mysuru itself had been off the radar.

I started my trip to the city with a visit to the Rail Museum, later taking a leisurely stroll around the century-old Devaraja Market, which has shops selling flowers, spices, fresh produce, incense and souvenirs. The rest of the day zipped past, with sightseeing stops at the Mysuru and Jaganmohan Palaces.

The house has bay windows and a red oxide floor.

The house has bay windows and a red oxide floor.

Next morning, I found myself in front of Narayan’s old residence in the Yadavagiri area—the house in which he wrote many of his memorable stories. There was something comforting about the bungalow. The big trees outside, the bay windows, the red oxide floor of the portico, the rounded edges of the house, an old handpump—all these seemed strangely familiar. It was like visiting a favourite uncle’s house after a long time.

But then Narayan had been a favourite author of mine.

The house has showcases displaying Narayan’s certificates, mementos and awards. His armchair and a low wooden table are placed in front of a window. There are framed photographs of the writer and his family members hanging on one wall. The sepia-toned photographs show Narayan in some of his most candid moments. Keeping wickets at a game of cricket, standing with his wife and baby, resting on a chair, a wide grin on his face—telling glimpses of the man behind the famous writer.

Elsewhere, his favourite clothes, fountain pen, notebooks, umbrella and spectacles find pride of place. Framed accounts of his life are mounted on the walls, chronicling the rise of the journalist-turned-author. The surprise element is an account of their friendship by the late Khushwant Singh, who described Narayan as “deceptively humble and very lovable”.

A collection of the late author’s books

A collection of the late author’s books.

Upstairs, Narayan’s study has tall windows overlooking the street. Along one side of this room is a bookshelf holding several of his best-sellers. Framed stills from the TV series Malgudi Days, based on the book of the same name, grace another wall.

The museum is unpretentious, much like the man and his writing.

On my way out, I lingered on the porch. In his memoirs, Narayan talks of spending hours there, chatting with visitors or observing the general humdrum of life outside—all of it grist for his charming stories. I asked the museum caretaker a few questions about the writer; his reply, a crusty “I don’t know.” I found it amusing that he should be ignorant of the life of the person whose memories he was supposedly safeguarding.

Narayan would have appreciated the irony.



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Bangalore in 48 hours

Travel and Places

The IT industry and the pubs that Bangalore is known for today, are highly incongruous with the humble origins of this glitzy metropolis. Historians believe that the area on which Bangalore stands today was probably inhabited even during the Stone Age and Iron Age! Much later, a succession of dynasties such as the Hoysalas and the Talakadu Gangas occupied Bangalore, before giving way to Tipu Sultan and subsequently, the British. For the British, Bangalore was one of their important cantonments in South India. They have left behind a fine legacy, mainly in the form of exquisite churches and other buildings. Several of these can be seen even today. From being a ‘pensioner’s paradise’ in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Bangalore has morphed into a bustling, multi-ethnic centre of commerce and education today.

Here’s a two day plan for you to sample some of what the city has to offer. We hope that this will make you return to the city soon for a second helping!

Day One

  • 9 AM – Breakfast at Koshy’s

When in Bangalore, do as the Brits did. Have a breakfast that harks back to the time when the Burra Sahibs and their ladies used to pick up knife and fork, dressed in their daily best. The crowd at Koshy’s today is very modern and arty, but the building, the décor and the food all retain an old-world air. The waiters here do have a stiff upper lip, but if you ignore that and focus on the sausages, cutlets, omelettes and ‘full English’ breakfast, you will feel justifiably happy. Koshy’s is on St. Mark’s Road, close to where the road meets M.G. Road.

  • 10:30 AM – Tipu Sultan’s Fort and Summer Palace

This is a gem hiding in plain view. The Summer Palace is situated bang in the middle of the city – next to the City Market – yet most Bangaloreans themselves don’t know its location. Its teak pillars and frescoes make for an interesting study. The ruins of Tipu’s fort lie close by.

  • 12:30 PM – Commercial Street

One of the most popular street markets in Bangalore, Commercial Street is a good place from where to buy clothes, shoes, jewellery, furnishing and trinkets at reasonable prices. Bargain hard, as you would in most other markets of India.

  • 1:30 PM – Lunch at Mathsya

Mathsya opened just over a year ago, but became almost an overnight hit. An all-vegetarian affair, the food is memorable, and is served graciously and generously. While they have an excellent a la carte menu, the better choice would be their buffet. Offering a wide and interesting spread that varies from day to day, this is superb value for money. Mathsya is situated on Church Street, which runs parallel to M.G. Road.

3 PM – Browse at the old bookstores such as Bookworm, Blossom’s and Select Bookstore

Time was, when the Church Street-M.G.Road-Brigade Road district used to be dotted with bookstores. Most of them have vanished, which is why you should dive into at least one of these three stores. For all you know, they may be running on borrowed time. Each of them offers a wide and eclectic range of books from crime thrillers to medieval art to classical literature. It helps that the store owners are book lovers who can have an intelligent conversation with you, should you be so inclined.

  • 5 PM – Rangoli Metro Art Center

This is situated right next to the M.G. Road Metro station, and is a good, if rare, example of a thoughtful project undertaken by the city’s administration in recent times. It was built as part of the restoration of the MG Road boulevard. It is fast becoming a hub for activities related to culture, photography and art. Photo and painting exhibitions, multi-media installations and monthly Drum Jams (where a random crowd assembles and starts drumming together) are held here. End your visit with a few moments amidst the foliage on the walkway and have filter coffee at Dasaprakash.

  • 6:00 PM – St. Andrew’s Church

Feel the din of traffic fade away as you gaze up at the beautiful red building of this church, with its tall belfry and chiming clock. This 150 year old church is a fine example of Gothic architecture, as interpreted and followed by the orthodox Scottish Presbytarians. This was the central place of worship for the Scottish Regiment of the British Army stationed in Bangalore all those years ago. Spend a couple of hours taking in the architecture, the stunning stained glass work and the trees in the compound. One of the few remaining pipe organs in the world can be found here.

  • 8:30 pm – Dinner at Hyderabad Biryani House

There are a lot of pretenders, but the one we are talking about is located in Victoria Layout, near the Lifestyle store. The pale blue-green building is unpretentious, but the biryani served inside (including the vegetarian version) is worth killing for. It is perfectly spiced and cooked, without an overdose of oil. And the mirchi ka salan, which is served along with the biryani, must rank among the best in India.

Day Two

  • 9 AM – Breakfast at New Krishna Bhavan (NKB)

Start the day with breakfast at one of the best restaurants for South Indian food in Bangalore. New Krishna Bhavan is actually quite old. It is located on Sampige Road in Malleshwaram, diagonally opposite the Mantri Square Mall. Wade into crisp vadas, soft Kotte Kadubus and fragrant rava khichdi, before you wash them down with superb filter coffee. This simple eatery is extremely popular with the locals, and has every reason to be so.

  • 10 AM – Karnataka Chithrakala Parishath

Chithrakala Parishath is Bangalore’s premier center for the arts. The complex on Kumara Krupa Road near the Golf Course houses a good collection of traditional Mysore paintings, leather puppets and sculptures. Some of the paintings of the famed Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich are also kept here. On most days, you are likely to find an exhibition, a workshop and a performance of folk art going on here. Some works of art are available for sale.

  • 1 PMLunch at 13th Floor

As the name suggests, this roof-top restaurant is perched on the thirteenth floor of Barton Centre (on M.G. Road). Since the weather in Bangalore is pleasant for most part of the year, you can enjoy your meal at one of the tables laid out on the terrace. The hawk’s-eye view of central Bangalore is a unique and perfect accompaniment to lunch. 13th Floor offers Indian, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines; take your pick.

  • 3 PM – UB City

UB City is the grandest place for leisure and entertainment in the heart of Bangalore. It has a luxury mall (with stores of Louis Vitton, Canali, Jimmy Choo, Bang & Olufsen, etc.), a performance arena, a few spas, restaurants and watering holes. A great place for retail therapy and a drink.

  • 5 PM – Metro train ride

Hop on the Metro for a jaunty ride. The 7 km stretch from M.G. Road to Bayyapanahalli runs on an elevated track and gives you a good view of the city’s roads and buildings. You will see the Trinity Church, the lush lawns of the army-owned Ranjitsinhji Institute, the temples of Ulsoor and the periphery of Indira Nagar. You can get down at Bayyapanahalli and take the next train back to M.G. Road.

  • 7 pm – Take in a play or a concert

If you are in the mood for a play, head to Ranga Shankara in J.P. Nagar. This is the pre-eminent venue for plays in Bangalore. Ranga Shankara stages a wide repertoire of excellent plays in different languages. To attend a concert, the Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Vyalikaval would probably be your best bet, though there are other good venues too. Check the listings in the day’s newspaper or ask your hotel for help.

  • 9:30 pm – Dinner at Thindi Beedi

The people who named this place Thindi Beedi couldn’t have chosen a more apt name, because this is actually a street full of food carts and stand-up eateries. In Kannada, Thindi Beedi means Food Street. Bangalore’s ode to street food wakes up in the evening and is in action until way past midnight. Here, you will get roasted and sweet corn, bondas and bajjis of different kinds, regional specialties like the Davangere Benne Dosa, Neer Dosa and Akki Roti, pav bhaji and vada pav. Chase them down with desserts like Gulkhand, Holige, Falooda, Kulfi and ice cream. Thindi Beedi is situated in V.V. Puram, very close to Sajjan Rao Circle. Don’t miss this experience.


Do not miss

St. Mark’s Cathedral

A shade over two centuries old, this church has some excellent Roman arches, woodwork and ornate carvings. And large dollops of peace. The Cathedral is on M.G. Road, opposite Cubbon Park.


A commune situated about 30 kms outside Bangalore, Nrityagram is a dance school which follows the gurukul tradition. Founded by the late dancer Protima Bedi, it is situated amidst beautiful surroundings in Hesaraghatta.

Nandi Hills

If you are in the mood for a quick getaway to the hills, Nandi Hills is a good bet. Just 65 kms from Bangalore, Nandi Hills makes for an easy day trip. Try to watch the sunrise or sunset from there.

Flea markets aka Santhes

Bangalore has quite a few exciting flea markets like the Sunday Soul Santhe and the Lil Flea. Ask a local friend or your hotel to help you find one. Or, check the internet.


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