Food peppered with anecdotes

Food peppered with anecdotes


Set in the heart of the
City, amidst confusing
one ways, is New Modern Hotel (NMH), an old Bangalore haunt. This establishment which was started in 1957 is owned by the Adiga Brothers – Narashimah and Padmanabha. Built on a huge space, the hotel (lodge) and what is called the ‘lunch room’ occupy a fairly sizeable portion on the A N Krishna Rao Road.

Patrons indulge in a meal at NMHFrom the outside, the place is pretty nondescript. A red and yellow building with fluorescent green grills might not be the prettiest sight but it does have a certain old world feel to it. A place filled with regulars, it stands defiant even as progress threatens to surround it with glass and chrome. Even the furniture here testifies to the anachrony of NMH. If you are the sort to be impressed by big names, then here is the list of the ‘who’s who’ frequenting the place. The management informed Metrolife that Girish Kasaravalli, BV Karanth, Girish Karnad, Shimoga Subbanna, DVG, have all called this place their own at some point or the other.

  This is a popular adda for the Gandhinagar crowd. Award-winning movies like Chommana Dudi and Samskara have all had their origins at NMH. Shekhar Adiga said, ‘‘Even today, the artists who come to participate in 45-day function of Ram Seva Mandali, stay here only. People like Kadri Gopal choose to stay here.”

 Asked why this place meant so much to them, Kasaravalli said, “I have been going there since I came to Bangalore in 1978. B V Karanth’s office was nearby. We’d all walk up to NMH. It was a daily ritual. After we finished work, we’d go there for a cup of coffee. It was a meeting point. It’s a very friendly hotel. We would even leave messages for our friends at the reception. The hotel staff would pass on the message. Even today when my friends come over they stay there. The food and the coffee are very good.”

Tradition is at the very core of the NMH. “We haven’t changed anything. The patrons like it that way,” informs Shekhar Adiga. They have even retained their telegraph code ENEMHOTEL, this is their gram to this day.  

The sambhar, idli and the dosa are cult favourites, it seems. The masala dosa is truly delicious. But the customers don’t only come for the food and that is obvious.
Like everything else, this story, too has a flip side. Anoopa Anand, a city-based writer says: “One pays Rs 66 for a masala dosa, a puri sagu, Vadai and two coffees, which is reasonable. But the service is poor and it is frequented mostly by men.”

 If you are a woman, especially one in jeans and a tee shirt, it might be a little awkward for you. But do visit the place, if not for the food then for some history and
nostalgia.

The NMH stands at A N Krishna Rao Road, Visheswarapuram, near Minerva Circle. They even have an email address, the only visible sign of buckling to modernity: nmhhotel_res@yahoo.com
Vani Sreekanta 

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