A well-kept secret

Affordable snacks

quick The service counter at the canteen.

The canteen may be in the corner of Vidhana Soudha, but the strong aroma of filter coffee reaches the Chief Minister's office that is situated on the third floor. Coffee and the bisi bele bath is also served to the staff working there and the common man on the street who visits the building on official work.   
Entering the Vidhana Soudha, which is now virtually a fortress, has become a difficult task for the common man.  Those who make it in however never miss an opportunity to sample the  popular masala dosa and strong filter coffee at the canteen. (Note: after 2.30 pm every one is allowed to enter Vidhana Soudha, after getting a pass at the entrance.)

The officer's canteen is not only hygienic but also cost effective. Masala dosa that costs Rs 18 between Rs 23 outside costs only Rs 7 for the staff and Rs 13 for the visitors. Rice bath is priced at Rs 7 and a cup of special coffee or tea comes at Rs 5. Takeaway parcels are allowed only for the officials.
“It is just for the sake of maintenance that we collect more money from the visitors. Ideally, we would like to charge the same for all,” said Vasanth Kumar, Canteen Manager. 

The canteen opens at 9.30 am and shuts at 6.30 pm. Every day they make nearly 200 to 300 dosas of different varieties and same amount of rice plates are served. Masala dosa, bisi bele bath, all types of bajiis, strong coffee and Malnad kashaya (a  medicinal drink), are the most popular items on the menu. The place is also famous for hot beverages like coffee, tea, badam flavoured milk and kashaya.
During the lunch hour, it is hard to enter the canteen as it is filled with staff enjoying the popular rice sambar available just for Rs 5 or on occasion even the ragi balls.
 “A plate of mirchi bajji and a cup of kashaya are a must for me. I am addicted to it,” said Chandrashekar, a peon at the Chief Minister’s office.

Many officials, however, say that the canteen is losing its reputation compared to the days when it was run by the Government. Guru Murthy from the Department of Personal and Administrative Reforms said,  “Till 1997, we used to get great food but now the flavour and taste has gone down. Masala dosa is the only thing that I really like here now,” he adds, having been around for the past 28 years.

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