Some 6-7 months back my office shifted from a relatively quiet semi-residential lane in Indiranagar to the slam-bang commercial area of Residency Road. This meant that Udupi Vaibhava, situated next to our old office and had served many of us rather well, suddenly lost a bunch of business. We, however, needed something to find something.
On the first day in the new office I visited good ol’ Konark next door for “tiffin” and coffee. Food was good but transaction cost (of sitting down and waiting) was rather high. And then people in office started raving about this “IDC Kitchen” across the road, and a week later I went there for breakfast.
I asked for idli-vaDe, and the first look of the vaDe gave me the jitters – instead of one large vaDe, there were two tiny vaDes, the sort we make at death ceremonies here in Bangalore. The idli looked dense as well. “Oh gosh, this is Tamil-style food”, I thought. And then I found that the sambar was red and sweet, of the kind you normally find in Bangalore. It was a bit of a relief.
Yet, the food was confusing. Some of it was evidently Tamil style (the “pODi iDli” and stuff), but it wasn’t quite entirely Tamil style. The dosé was thin. Chutney was neither thick nor thin. Very very very confusing.
And then a few days later a friend insisted we have breakfast at “Cafe Amudham” in Siddapura, insisting the dosé there was excellent. I didn’t want to have a dosé that day, so I asked for iDli-vaDe, and once again it was insanely dense iDlis, but normal sized vaDes. The sambar was more Bangalore style as well – again massively confusing.
Based on these two data points (and that yet-to-be-sampled data point that is Rameshwaram Cafe), I hereby declare that there exists a new cuisine that I call “Hosur cuisine”. It is basically a mix of Bangalore and classic Tamil cuisines. It is like the chromosomes of the two cuisines having undergone a random crossover (and some mutations), and so different restaurants serving this cuisine have adopted different aspects of the cuisines of the two states – the style of sambar, density of idli, thickness of dosé, size of vaDe, number of chutneys served, etc.
And recently, having got quite bored of IDC (I’ve pretty much stopped eating there now), I tried the Virinchi Cafe next door to that. They make thick dosés but have drumstick in their otherwise red sambar. Incredibly confusing, and I can say that this is yet another “strand” of the Hosur cuisine crossover.
In any case, I’ve been brewing over this blogpost for a few days now, and then I saw Sandesh’s excellent dissection of Rameshwaram Cafe, and decided it’s time to put this down.
1. Their dosa is BLR style (thick ones, which are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside)
2. Their Sambhar is TN style (with nuggekayi and less ?????)
3. They have hardcore Kannadiga items like Akki rotti, but also make Pongal in the typical TN style (Ven Pongal)
— Sandesh Anand (@JubbaOnJeans) March 2, 2023
I’m yet to visit a Rameshwaram Cafe – the only one within my orbit is in JP Nagar 2nd phase, but it’s way too close to SN Refreshments to give it a try (and I have breakfast at SN some 2-3 times a week at least!). I suppose that is yet another random crossover of the Bangalore and Tamil food styles .
PS: This blogpost has absolutely NOTHING to do with my grandmother-in-law who is from Hosur