Last week I was in Bengaluru attending my first tech conference. It was the last day of the conference and we all returned to our rooms close to midnight. And I convinced a few of my colleagues to come along with me for breakfast at Vidyarthi Bhavan. Some of them agreed and I had a breakfast date at Vidyarthi Bhavan!
My love for dosa dates back to the late 90s. We had moved to Ahmedabad and my neighbours were from Kerala. Every weekend, aunty used to prepare dosa and her Magan (son in Malayalam) was invited by default to the brunch. Soft dosas with lal chutney & sambhar, my soul would be on cloud 9. As years passed and I hopped cities, my love for dosas grew only stronger.
It was in Bengaluru when I got to try a different type of dosas (referred to as dose from now on in this post). From the neighbourhood friend Adigas/SLV to the iconic Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, I had the dose and fell in love with it all over again.
It was my first time here and in this blog post, I’ll share my review of Vidyarthi Bhavan. And by now, you know it was a date with dose, not anyone else. (PS: I am open to breakfast dates ;))
Vidyarthi Bhavan Spreading Love since 1943
Located in the bustling street of Gandhi Bazaar in Basvangudi, Vidyarthi Bhavan has earned the love and respect of the locals. Started before independence in 1943, Vidyarthi Bhavan catered to the needs of the local colleges in the vicinity. Slow and steadily, the word spread and Vidyarthi Bhavan became one of the go-to places for doses.
While the eatery changed hands, the taste, flavours and preparation remained constant. Even today, many believe that it’s one of the top places in Bengaluru to have dose. And that was the reason, I was up at 5 am to have breakfast at this iconic eatery.
Minimalistic and Simple Ambience
Hidden by the flower sellers on the busy street of Gandhi Bazaar, spotting the iconic eatery can be tricky if you’re eyes are not on the road. You have to cross a couple of flower stores to reach the eatery. The eatery has a separate pickup area on one side and a small bench for people to sit on. But that bench can in any way not handle the crowd that comes in to enjoy their dose.
Once inside, you’re welcomed with a scent of incense sticks, as a narrow alley leads you to the inside. The white and blue walls with chequered floors are a treat to the eyes. Walls are filled with photos and portraits of people who have dined here and that’s enough to remind you that you are at an iconic eatery. The place gets crowded really fast and from what I’ve seen, you may have to wait anywhere between 30-45 mins if you’re there around 8 AM.
A Date To Remember at Vidyarthi Bhavan – Review
We reached there at 6:15 AM and saw the owner performing morning pooja. There were already a handful of people outside waiting for the clock to hit 6:30 so that they could taste the legacy of Vidyarthi Bhavan. As the clock struck 6:30, the placard turned from closed to open and a sea of people including us got inside. Since we were four of us, we had the opportunity to try everything.
The restaurant was soon full, all the singles had to share a table with others and wait for the order to be served. Our order was virtually everything on the menu. Masala Dose, Poori Saagu, Kesari Bath, Upma, Idli, Idli Vada and filter Kaapi.
We looked around and waited for our order to arrive. The first thing that reached the table was Upma. Bright red in colour with big slices of Tomatoes made me drool. The consistency was perfect and there was flavour in every bite. It was soft and the granular texture with pieces of ginger in between just elevated the flavours. A must-try.
Soon, a man with a heap of doses arrived at our table and quickly slid 4 of them. The doses looked just what I had imagined. Perfectly roasted, golden brown in colour, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A characteristic of an authentic dose. I dug in immediately and the warm masala along with the delicious chutney just swept me over.
If I had to describe the feeling of love, this would be it (unless I meet the special person, this stands true) Even without the extra ghee that is served at MTR, this dose alone was enough to please me. The sambhar on the other hand was punchy too. Perfect to wake your tastebuds.
Poori Saago was again nicely done. The saago was cooked perfectly with subtle flavours and that crunchy urad dal made it better. Kesari bath on the other hand was nice but could have been better. I’ve had quite a few kesari baths in namma Bengaluru and this one didn’t amuse me much. Again, it’s not bad, just that I didn’t quite like it.
Lastly, the filter kaapi. Served in the traditional dabara, I was just waiting to try it. One sip of it and for once I forgot my current favourite cold brew coffee. It was bittersweet, just the way I like it. Couldn’t have asked for anything better. Finally, I liked the dose so much that I ordered one more and also finished one from my friend.
Visit Early To Experience Vidyarthi Bhavan
A lot of people in my circle can do anything to eat something special. Be it waking up at 5 AM to drive 20kms to eat dose. While the locals have mixed opinions about the place, as an outsider now, I can totally vouch for Vidyarthi Bhavan. The doses are perfect and so are the Upma, Sambhar and chutney. If only the walls could talk and tell a tale, the experience would have been unmatchable. For a meal for 4, we spent close to 800, with 7 Masala doses, and that’s extremely affordable.
The next time I’m in Bengaluru for more than a day’s trip, I’ll surely try to drop by and fall in love all over again with the crispy dose. It’s just magical and my blog post doesn’t do it justice. You need to visit Vidyarthi Bhavan to experience it for yourself. If you’ve been there, let me know your views about the iconic eatery. Drop in your thoughts in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.