Last Saturday I realised that there is more to V V Puram (Vishweshwarapuram) than the famous Food Street or Thindi Beedi and of course the Avarekai Mela. When tour and walk organiser Unhurried.in announced an afternoon food walk in this part of the city I presumed it would be at the Food Street. But then the Food Street springs into action only after 4pm. I was a little confused and decided to check out.
Thanks to heavy lunch-hour traffic I reached V B Bakery (short for Vishweshwarapuram Brahmin’s Bakery), the starting point for the walk, a quarter of an hour late. I was the last to reach 😦 . Mansoor Ali, Unhurried’s food and architecture expert, was the walk leader for the day. As a starter we were asked to pick up an item of our choice from the bakery. I chose the Congress bun, one of the bakery’s signature items. The concoction of butter and Congress kadalekai sandwiched between two slices of bun just melted in my mouth. I loved it!
The Food Street, which is on the left side of the bakery, wore a deserted look which is when I realised that the walk was not on Food Street. Our lunch stop was the New Modern Hotel, a stone’s throw away from V B Bakery. A bright art deco building, the hotel has been a favourite with V V Puramites since 1965 (the year it started). Back then, there was an older version of the hotel right opposite. The old Modern Hotel does not exist anymore. We were taken in by the simple and elegant old world ambience of the hotel.
Lunch was a typical Karnataka thali which had rice, chapattis, sambar, rasam, curds, papad with a tangy thondekai (ivy gourd) curry as accompaniment for the rice and sagu prepared from greens as accompaniment for the chapattis. I finished off my meal with a glass of buttermilk. A Mangalore bun prepared from mashed bananas was an additional takeaway treat.
The New Modern Hotel or NMH is run by an Adiga family. The NMH Bakery beside the hotel is a recent addition. As part of the walk we were asked to savour an item from the bakery. We couldn’t ask for more!
It helped that our walk leader is an architect. As we walked we enjoyed the views of many vintage homes in the area. Thanks to Mansoor, we got acquainted with art deco architecture prevalent in 1960s’ Bangalore. An inmate of a charming vintage house was kind enough to welcome us in. To say that the interiors were classy would be an understatement. I just don’t have words to describe how it felt to be inside this house. The ceiling in the central portion of the house was high, there was ample ventilation and light. The red floor added to the brightness. Our eyes were drawn to the sepia-toned photographs on the walls and paintings of deities by Raja Ravi Varma. Our host explained that the house constructed 83 years back belonged to his father Mr Nanjundaiah, who worked in the Attara Kacheri (old name for the Karnataka Government office). The photos of Mr Nanjundaiah and his wife occupy a pride of place on the wall. Antiques and implements which were used in the 1960s adorn every nook and corner of the house. Bamboo poles hanging from the roofs served as indigenous cloth driers. Other rooms had Cudappah tile flooring. An old well in the rear of the house is used even today. Visiting this lovely house made our day!
Our next stop was at the Janatha Hotel which has been in the area since 1965. A generous serving of Kesari Bath proved to be an apt dessert to the culinary and architectural feast we had that afternoon. But not before devouring a plate of crispy masala dosa 🙂.
We next dropped into Vasavi Condiments most famous for its annual Avarekai Mela. The endless rows of shelves were teeming with various delicacies. Picking up something from here proved to be a hard task and I finally settled for spiral murukkus.
The walk ended at V B Bakery. Over here, I couldn’t think beyond the Congress buns so I packed a couple of them as a takeaway.
Like the Basavanagudi Food Walk, this one too is a treat for foodies and will leave you wanting more!