Pre-1947 restaurants going strong in Bengaluru

A taste of Namma Bengaluru’s culinary history

Vidyarthi Bhavan

Bengaluru’s restaurant heritage goes back to pre-Independence times, when the city was still divided into pete, the old area founded by Kempegowda, and the British-dominated Cantonment.

Metrolife takes you on a guided tour of some of the city’s spaces famous for coffee and conversations.

Central Tiffin Room (CTR)

7th Cross, Malleswaram

7.30 to 12.30 pm, 4 to 9 pm

Launched in the 1920s, CTR is famous for its masala dosa and filter coffee. Started by Y V Subramanya and brothers, it is now managed by Sanjeeva S Poojari. The interiors and ambience have not changed much, and the fare remains affordable. “We have worked really hard to maintain the quality and consistency of our food. There is always a touch of tradition in our foods. I am very proud of my staff,” says Poojari. In the past, the restaurant would attract famous poets and musicians, many of whom lived in sylvan Malleswaram.
Top-selling items: Masala dosa, onion dosa, idli vada and filter coffee.

Udupi Shri Krishna Bhavan

Balepet Road, Chickpet, Bengaluru

7.45 am to 7.45 pm

The dosas at Balepet’s Udupi Shri Krishna Bhavan makes us want to go back in time and thank the owner. Started by H V Janardhanayya in 1926, the masterly recipes have been successfully handed down to the present generation. The masala dosa and halwas, especially badam halwa, are handed down from the past. The current proprietor, Subramanya Holla, has introduced some new items on the menu. The interiors have seen some alterations, but you can still spot pieces of furniture and fans from many moons ago.
“There weren’t many restaurants in Bengaluru back then, and everyone would throng to our place,” says Holla. For many generations of Bengalureans, a visit to the pete, or the market, meant a mandatory visit to Udupi Krishna Bhavan. “I have seen many ups and downs over the past 30 years. I am grateful to our regulars,” says Holla.
Top-selling items: Badami halwa, jamoon, dosa, Idli vada.

Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR)

14, Lalbagh Road, Mavalli.

6.30 to 11 am, 12:30 to 9 pm

MTR was established in 1924 by Parameshwara Maiya, who came to Bengaluru from a little hamlet near Udupi in coastal Karnataka. The restaurant became popular in no time, making a name for its open kitchen. To this day, anyone can walk into MTR’s cooking area, and check out the hygiene.
“Integrity is the backbone of MTR. It’s the core reason for its survival over the decades. Whether it’s food or conduct in business, emphasis is on ethics and fair play,” says Hema Malini Maiya, managing partner, MTR restaurants.
Some things remain unchanged in MTR: the tables, for instance, continue to be granite-topped. The dining rooms, the silver plates and tumblers, and the authentic Karnataka cuisine are other attractions.
“We are a family-run restaurant, and a lot of memories are associated with it. We do our best to maintain the tradition,” says Hema Malini Maiya.
“The 14 dishes are so right in quantity and quality. But save some space because you don’t want to miss out on their heavenly sweet paan,” says Karthik, a visitor.
Top selling items: Rava Idli, masala dosa, chandrahara (sweet), bisi bele bath, kesari bath and filter coffee

Lakeview Milk Bar

Kannan Building

89, MG Road

Claiming it’s the “oldest continuously operating creamery in Bengaluru,” Lakeview’s history dates back to 1930. An Englishman named James Meadow Charles started the restaurant, and it is now run by the Lal family.
“The place was launched in Ulsoor, providing customers a view of the lake while dining. Hence the name,” says Anish Vakharia, Managing Director. Some items from the past continue, “with a touch of inherited charm of Bengaluru.”
Lakeview offers a continental all-day breakfast (omelettes and sandwiches mainly), and ice creams in a variety of flavours. “Our black forest pastry is a favourite among the young and old,” says Kalpana, Anish Vakharia’s mother, who is also the creative genius behind their cakes.
Top-selling items: Black forest pastry, ice creams.

Koshy’s

39, St Marks Rd

9 am to 11 pm

Koshy’s is one of most popular restaurants in Bengaluru, and has retained its old-charm. Among famous people to have dined here is Jawaharlal Nehru. Prem Koshy, who runs the restaurant, says, “Except for the menu, nothing else has changed at Koshy’s. We have been in the service of Bengalureans for more than 70 years. My generation was born in Bengaluru and we are happy to be giving back to Bengaluru.” The menu offers 800 items, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
“Foodies say we serve the best appams. We also have a diverse cuisine including Korean, South African, Chinese,” says Koshy.
Top-selling items: Appam and stew, fish curry.

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