Best Strawberry Desserts in Bengaluru

Strawberry is by-far the most popular ‘berry’ used in desserts. In-fact next-to/on-par with mangoes, strawberry festivals are celebrated across the world and in India at Mahabaleshwar.

Being a strawberry lover, here is my pick of must-try fresh strawberry desserts in Bengaluru:

1) Strawberry Sundae:

Although strawberries taste best with ice-cream, the Gelato takes it to an entirely different level.

Where: Milano Icecream, Indiranagar

Strawberry Sundae at Milano Icecreams Indiranagar Bengaluru

Strawberry Sundae at Milano Icecreams Indiranagar

2) Strawberry Lassi:

A big dollop of thick curd blended with fresh strawberries – never did a lassi taste so delicious!!

Where: Sreeraj Lassi Bar (all outlets in Bengaluru)

Strawberry Lassi at Sreeraj Lassi bar Bengaluru

Strawberry Lassi at Sreeraj Lassi Bar

3) Fresh Strawberries with Nutella:

The purest form of consuming a strawberry!! Dip one in a jar of Nutella and get lost in yumminess!!

Where: Anywhere with good company 🙂

Strawberries with Nutella at Strawberry Festival Mahabaleshwar

Strawberries with Nutella

4) Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries and Cream:

Delicious pancakes served with whipped cream, maple syrup and loads of strawberries – A breakfast date done right!!

Where: The Hole in the Wall Café, Koramangala

Pancakes with strawberries and cream at The Hole in the Wall Cafe Koramangala Bengaluru

Pancakes with strawberries and cream at The Hole in the Wall Cafe Koramangala

5) Chocolate Pizza with Strawberries & Bananas:

God bless the soul who created this combo!! Chopped strawberries with bananas on a chocolate pizza – it doesn’t get better than this!!

Where: Onesta (all outlets in Bengaluru)

Chocolate pizza with chopped strawberries at Onesta Bangalore

Chocolate pizza with strawberries & banana at Onesta

Good to know: I highly recommend checking with the above restaurants on the availability of strawberries before-hand, since they are seasonal.

Have a berry-good day 🙂 🙂

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A day with the 2016 Triumph Thruxton R

Being a super-sport enthusiast, a retro styled cafe racer was always a treat to the eyes, but never to ride – the Triumph Thruxton R shattered such opinions and how!!

Blessed with the goodies to rival performance nakeds, the Triumph Thruxton R boasts of fully adjustable Showa Big Piston Fork at the front and Ohlins at the rear , Pirelli’s diablo corsa tyres, ride-by-wire tech, 3 riding modes ( Road, Rain and Sport), Traction control, ABS (which can be turned off at the rear wheel) and not to forget a lighter crank 96 bhp engine based on the Bonneville T120.

Living with a 2016 Triumph Thruxton R in India

Such a looker!!

City commute: 
The delicious scoop of torque at the low-to-mid RPMs mated makes this a confortable motorcycle to putter around town.

Touring:
With a tank-range of 200-230 kms and a not-so aggressive riding position, the Thruxton R’s touring abilities shine on good and broken Tarmac. But, can handle bad roads courtesy the fully adjustable suspension.

Where the Thruxton R lacks is the ability to carry luggage , being a single seater.

2016 Triumph Thruxton R - Long term review in India

Neat Blend of Style and Performance

Things I love about the Thruxton R:

  • Suspension: Our varied road conditions and the notion of ‘one motorcycle that should do everything from touring to commuting to corner-carving etc’ can only be justified with fully adjustable suspension that can handle all !! The Showa and Ohlins combo do a fabulous job at fostering traction to the wheels at all times
  • Seat: the suede-seat is super comfortable without compromising the looks
  • Handling: being a retro-styled cafe racer, I didn’t expect corner-carving abilities, but the suspension and chassis come together beautifully to handle any inputs to change the direction
  • Looks: From the beautiful Monza-styled fuel tank cap to fuel injectors designed to look-like the old Amal carbs – this is the motorcycle to impress your tinder date !!
Monza styled fuel tank for 2016 Triumph Thruxton R

Gorgeous fuel tank with the Monza styled fuel cap 

2016 Triumph Thruxton R

All the right bells & whistles!!

Things I didn’t like:

  • Side stand: getting that side stand on/off with a street riding boot is an absolute pain – not much leverage 😦
  • Bar-end Mirrors: look stylish but offer nil visibility
  • Wind blast: very evident at speeds above 100kmph

The Triumph Thruxton R is a very relaxed and lovely motorcycle to ride – offering an incredible blend of style with performance and  built to turn heads on the road.

HVR Veg Hotel Hassan [Breakfast Ride]

While Hassan is the gateway to some of my favorite places such as Chikmagalur, Belur-Halebeed, Sakleshpur, Kudremukh etc.

I could never find a breakfast place in Hassan worthy to blog- until I heard about HVR Veg Hotel from a buddy who studied in Hassan and it turned out to be great one.

HVR Veg Hotel has been dishing out delicious dosas, idly and vadas in a quite residential colony of Hassan town for over 25 years. Although they have a branch in Sheshadripuram, Bangalore – the original one is worth a breakfast ride!!

What to Eat:

Set Dosa:

Fluffy set dosa served as a pack-of-3-dosas/plate with aloo palya and delicious chutney.

Set Dosa at HVR Veg Hotel Hassan

Set Dosa – at its best!!

Masala Idly:

Super soft Idly with steamed veggies served as a pack-of-3 idlis/plate with chutney.

Masala Idly at HVR Veg Hotel Hassan

Masala Idly – loved them!!

Benne Khali Dosa:

Crispy dosas made with butter served as a pack-of-2-dosas/plate with aloo palya and chutney and don’t forget to add crispy vadas.

Benne Khali Dosa at HVR Veg Hotel in Hassan

Benne Khali Dosa – best relished with crispy vadas 🙂

Useful Information:

  • They don’t serve sambar, only chutney
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for less number of idlis and dosas per plate – you would be charged accordingly and helps to try more items on the menu
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • Parking: No dedicated parking, plenty of bylanes to park motorcycles and cars
  • Timings:
    • Monday to Saturday: 7 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm
    • Sunday: 7 am to 12 pm only
  • Location: HVR Veg Hotel, Basettikoppal Main Rd, Krishnaraja Pura, Hassan Link to Google Maps
NH75 - Bangalore to Hassan Highway on a KTM Duke 390

My new year began with such vistas on an otherwise boring NH75 🙂

Wish you all a fabulous 2018 🙂

Ride safe and hard!!

5 Offbeats Chaats in Bangalore

While the typical chaat landscape in Bangalore varies from south-indian style masala peas to north-india-based channa masala and tikkas to the spice-bred Chintamani/Bangarpet delicacies to the funky Mumbai-wala chaats.

There are some outliers whose definition of a chaat go beyond the regular and have become an expert in the art of integrating offbeat ingredients into their version of a chaat.

Presenting the 5 best offbeat chaats in Bangalore:

Kedia’s Fun Food, Jayanagar 4th Block

Kedia’s has been serving delicious Gujarathi-influenced street food in the guise of parathas, mithai and chaats for 15 years.

It is their Rasgulla Chaat which ticks the right taste buds with fresh rasgullas acting as the base (like Papadis) of the chaat. It’s not overly sweet to kill the taste of the chaat.

  • What to eat: Rasgulla Chaat
  • Orientation: 6th C Main, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore Link to Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 10 pm (all days of the week)
Rasgulla Chaat at Kedia's Fun Foods Jayanagar Bangalore

Rasgulla Chaat at Kedia’s Fun Foods Jayanagar

Thengu Mane, Rajajinagar

Thengu Mane means ‘Coconut House’ which translates to everything they make is coconut-based – from coconut lassi to tender coconut soup to tender coconut green tea and even coconut-based milkshakes (which are delicious).

The tender coconut pani puri is served with pani made from coconut water whereas most of the other ingredients/masalas resemble any regular pani puri.

  • What to eat: Tender coconut pani puri
  • Orientation: 185, 19th Main, 1st Block, Rajajinagar, Bangalore Link to Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 3 pm  & 4 pm to 9:30 pm (all days of the week)
Tender Coconut Water Pani Puri at Thengu Mane Rajajinagar Bangalore

Tender Coconut Pani Puri at Thengu Mane Rajajinagar

Arvind Ladduwala, Mittal Towers MG Road

Mittal Towers is popular 2 things – paid parking for cars & delicious marwadi & north Indian food outlets in the ground floor serving parathas, poori-sabzi, chole bathura, rajma chawal, mithai and chaats.

Arvind Ladduwala serve jalebi chaat, made with deep-friend jalebis (without being soaked in the sweet syrup) acting as the base of the chaat (like papadi). The jalebi used in the chaat has mild sweet flavor which doesn’t overpower the overall taste.

  • What to eat: Jalebi Chaat
  • Orientation: Ground Floor, Mittal Towers, MG Road Bangalore Link to Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 11 am to 8 pm (all days of the week)
Jalebi Chaat at Arvind Ladduwala Mittal Towers MG road Bangalore

Jalebi Chaat at Arvind Ladduwala Mittal Towers MG road

Sri Sairam’s Chaats and Juice, Malleswaram

Easily the maximum varieties of chaats (close to 99 variations) available under a single roof in Bangalore, Sri Sairam Chaats has been serving whacky chaat combinations since 20 years in Malleshwaram and all this at an average price of 35 INR/chaat.

Student’s special chaat is the coming together of all the possible flavored fryums & chips prepared in bhel puri style – absolutely delicious!!

  • What to eat: Student’s Special, Crazy Chaat, Chips Masala
  • Orientation: 35/1, Near MES College, 16th Cross, 8th Main, Malleshwaram, Bangalore Link to Google Maps [They have 2 outlets in Malleshwaram – one near MES College & another near Kadu Malleshwara temple]
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 10:30 pm (all days of the week)
Students Special Chaat at Sri Sairam Chaats and Juices Malleshwaram Bangalore

Students Special Chaat at Sri Sairam Chaats and Juices Malleshwaram

Punjabi by Nature, Koramangala

A proper dining place serving Indian & Mughlai cuisine, while their lunch buffet is popular during the day, their pani puri with served with vodka is a crowd favorite in the evening.

  • What to eat: Vodka pani puri
  • Orientation: 6, Krishna Industrial Area, Hosur Road, Near Forum Mall, Koramangala Bangalore Link to Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 12:30 pm to 11:30 pm (all days of the week)
Vodka Golgoppas at Punjabi by Nature Koramangala Bangalore

Vodka Golgoppas at Punjabi by Nature Koramangala

Chikkanna Tiffin Room Nagarathpet Bangalore

When it comes to food, Bangalore has never been so cosmopolitan!! Food from almost every corner of our country/globe has found its way here.

Yet there is something magical about the ‘local-food-gems’ which are known, nurtured and guarded by the locals.

Chikkanna Tiffin Room is one such local-food-gem thriving in the bustling lanes of Nagarathpete in the Old City Market area of Bengaluru. From the past 50 years, this humble tiffin room has been dishing-out delicious Masala, Khali and rice-bath dosas laced with lots of love and ghee.

What to Eat:

Masala Dosa:

Crispy brown masala dosa laced with atleast 25ml of ghee/dosa – things really cant go wrong with this combo 😀

The chutney and potato palya add to the taste.

Masala Dosa at Chikkanna Tiffin Room Nagarathpete Bangalore

Delicious is an understatement!!

Khali Dosa with ghee:

With all the ghee teaming with masala dosa, the other dosas and rice-items don’t get ghee by default, so ask for the extra ghee – worth the extra charge.

The Khali dosa which is crispy around the corners and soft at the centre can be ordered either as a single or double with chutney and palya.

Khali Dosa at Chikkanna Tiffin Room Nagarathpete Bangalore

Yumm Khali Dosa – crispy edges and soft at the core!

Rice Bath Dosa with ghee:

This avatar of dosa is the most difficult to finish – order this when you are absolutely hungry!!

The rice is spicy, but phenomenally tasty!!

The Idlis are decent, but not up-to the class of dosas.

Rice bath Dosa at Chikkanna Tiffin Room Nagarathpete Bangalore

Rice bath Dosa – for the hog in you !!

Useful Information:

  • Timings: Open between
    • 7 a m to 11 am & 5pm to 8pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
    • 7 am to 11 am only (on Sunday)
    • 5pm to 8 pm only (on Monday)
  • Cash only, no cards or electronic payment
  • Parking: Avoid the car (no parking available), motorcycles can be parked in any of the bylanes
  • No Sambar, No coffee or tea is served
  • Location: Chikkanna Tiffin Room, Nagrathpete Google Maps Link

Living with a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

Among other things, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R has the distinction of being the first Japanese super-sport to boast of 200ps power output. The 2014 Ninja ZX-10R is blessed with a fair share of WSBK pedigree such as race-spec titanium headers ( thus eliminating the need to buy a full system exhaust), Showa Big Piston Forks (BPF), adjustable rear sets, re-positioned crank with lighter valves, race-derived S-KTRC (Sport Kawasaki Traction Control) system etc

All these translate into the real world by thrusting supreme confidence while riding the motorcycle even for a noob.
As much as litre-class motorcycles are built for a specific purpose , the 2014 edition can don multiple hats of a racetrack hooligan to a tarmac tourer to even a commuter.

2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R - Long Term Review

Mean in a beautiful way !!

The review will mainly touch upon the ‘much-proven non-racetrack abilities’ of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

City Commute:
Despite the wheelbase and it’s weight, the Ninja feels very easy to maneuver in traffic and certainly the coolest running litre-class motorcycle I have ever piloted in Indian traffic – the fact that no part of the aluminium frame is in contact with your inner thigh helps too.
An added factor being the 3 riding modes ( Full, Medium and Low) that aid easier throttle management in traffic or wet conditions.

Touring:
As long as the roads are well-paved, the ZX-10R is beautiful to pace all day at 20-25% of the rev range and the riding ergonomics makes it one of the least tiring super-sport to chug kilometers.
Options to mount luggage (Kriega US-series) or any other tail-packs – do not exist !!
Also the ZX-10R thrives on 95-octane+ fuel – which is hard to find once out of the city.

2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in Bangalore

Hello Beauty!!

Things I love about the ZX-10R:

  • Engine: Beautifully balanced, smooth inline 4 engine tuned for optimal power for street or track riding. An additional secondary balancer shaft ensures smooth and linear power delivery across the rev range
  • LED Rev Counter on the Dash: Such a delight to see those LEDs light up as the Revs pick up and then Turing red upon reaching the redline – goosebumps!!
  • Adjustable Rear sets: The stock motorcycle comes with a 2-position adjustable rear sets which can alter the position of the rider foot pegs
  • On-the-go Mode Change: such a convenience to change either the power modes ( full medium and low) or the KTRC traction control while riding – no need to stop or adhere to procedures to toggle them
  • Suspension: For a full on sports-bike, the ZX-10R feels almost plush. Normal roads are dealt with graciously and low speed ride is sporty but excellent.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Power band: As with any litre-class through-bred which is expected to perform on a race track – all the power is stacked way higher up in the rev range, curtailing the low and mid range power.
  • Hazard Indicators: No 4-way/hazard indicators
  • Mirrors and Pillion Comfort: Are a lost cause!! except the functionality of embedded turn signal into the mirror they don’t serve any purpose
  • Mounting Luggage: courtesy the sharp slots on the top of the fuel tank , mounting a tank bag is not possible. Similar story about a tail bag too – no hooks to bungee or loop them around the rear seat.
Riding a 2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R - Long Termer

An intoxicating motorcycle, happy to rev higher and higher..

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is a very well-rounded package offering a sweet spot between outright aggression for the racetrack and poise, ease to putter around in traffic and the occasional touring.

NEB’s Saravana Bhavan Denkanikottai

Denkanikottai, a small town has been of special interest to me after reading the  numerous wildlife adventures of Kenneth Anderson, a hunter turned conservator of the British Raj years.

While Denkanikottai occupies a pivotal place in the Elephant Corridor of Cauvery Elephant Reserve, its claim to fame has also been a rich heritage of temples, Panchpalli dam and being a major producer + exporter of flowers –  its the promise of beautiful forest roads and good breakfast that lures me more 😀

And neither were a disappointment !!

Pongal and Vada at NEB's Saravana Bhavan Denkanikottai

That Pongal is delicious!!

NEB’s Saravana Bhavan is the best place in Denkanikottai to relish deliciously simple vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A humble abode of good food, NEB’s Saravana Bhavan has been serving since 15 years with a courteous staff who love talking about their food!!

Pongal-vada, masala dosa and filter coffee are an absolute must!!

Idly Vada at NEB's Saravana Bhavan Denkanikottai

They are ok, not great..

Masala Dosa and Vada at NEB's Saravana Bhavan Denkanikottai

Masala Dosas were good 🙂 Those chutneys served along – lip-smacking!!

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 7 am to 10 pm Open all days
  • Cash only no cards
  • Lots of space around to park motorcycles and cars
  • Location: NEB’s Saravana Bhavan, Denkanikottai Link to Google Maps
Serene Village near Kodihalli - riding from Denkanikottai to Kanakpura

Such serene villages along

Once you are through the delicious food, don’t forget to savor the lush-green forest raods around Denkanikottai towards Anchetti 🙂 🙂

Enroute Denkanikottai on a KTM Duke 390

En route Denkanikottai !!

Ride to Eat!!