Time to go chaating

Time to go chaating

Most chaat-lovers swear by this place and anyone who passes by it cannot help but notice how packed it is. Shankar Bhel House on Wheeler Road near Fraser Town is not just a household name in Bangalore East area, but is also popular among food lovers in the City.

Started about 20 years ago by Y G Raju, this chaat house is probably one of the oldest eateries in Bangalore. “Before we started this place, my brother Y G Lakshmana and I used to sell chaats on a cart. We had just as many varieties of chaats even then,” recalls Raju. Although, the eatery opens only in the evening, the preparations for the lip-smacking items start as early as six in the morning.
There are over 15 items on the menu. And some of these are unique and not available elsewhere. For instance, the Singada Papdi Chaat and Timepass. “The Singada Papdi Chaat is very different and consists of many spices, patties and papdi,” explains Raju. “Timepass is a form of dry bhel, which can’t be consumed fast. That’s why it’s called Timepass as one can spend a long time eating it,” he smiles.
Then of course there is the all-time favourite Pani Puri and the spicy Masala Puri, which can be made sweet or khara as the customer wants it. Dahi Papdi Chat, Sev Puri and Cutlet Veg are some of the ‘ordinary items’ as the menu puts it, while All Mix, Chaat Mix and Bombay Special Mix are the ‘special items’.

“We have been coming here for a year,” exclaim Priyanka and Shifa, two students of class 10 who come to Wheeler Road for tuitions. “My favourite item here is the Masala Puri,” says Priyanka. “The masala and the bhel used here are so awesome. You just don’t get the same taste anywhere else,” she says. Shifa agrees and says, “I am trying the Aloo Chaat for the first time and it’s great. Besides, the service is also fast.”
The fact that there is no place to sit at the Bhel House doesn’t dampen the spirit of the customers. “Some of our regulars have been coming here for over 20 years now,” notes Raju. “We are happy with our business and have no plans of further expansion,” says Raju. However, the eatery does have a small outlet on Queen’s Road, which is managed by Raju’s brother Lakshmana. 

Another charming feature of the eatery is the token system. Depending on the item that has been ordered, green, blue and red tokens are given to the customers soon as they place their order. “The green tokens are used for special chaats which are priced at Rs 22. The blue tokens are for snacks like Masala Puri which cost Rs 16 and the
red tokens are for the simple items like Pani Puri which are priced at Rs 14,” explains Raju. Shankar Bhel House is open on all days
between 4.30 pm and 10.30 pm.

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