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

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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!!

Weekend Ride Getaways from Bengaluru: Dam and Reservoirs

Weekend rides out of Bengaluru allows us to experience diverse terrains such as lush forests, functional or abandoned quarries, majestic hill forts, grand waterfalls, tranquil lakes, brilliant hill roads to ride and serene dam reservoirs.

Although Manchanabele dam, Thippagondanahalli Reservoir aka T G Halli Dam, Kanva Reservoir top the popularity charts – here are some serene, less-known dams and reservoirs around Bengaluru that make an ideal weekend one-day ride or drive destination.

Gundal Dam, Kollegal:
Located about 17kms from Kollegal town, the roads to this serene dam is brilliant all along except the last 5kms to the dam entrance – easily the biggest dam in the list, one can ride all the way on top of the dam and explore the backwaters.

Gundal Dam - Touring on the Triumph Daytona 675R and Yamaha R3

Gundal Dam

Useful Information on Gundal Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 158 kms
  • Location: Gundal Dam Google Maps link
  • What to See: Ask the locals for the partially submerged temple at Gundal dam (entry to the temple is governed by BRT Wildlife Forest Guards
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Where to eat: Chowmein, Soupy Noodles & Momos at Dhondeling Monastery at Bailur, Kollegal
Chowmein and Soupy Noodles at Dhondenling Tibetan settlement kollegal

Chowmein and Soupy Noodles at Dhondenling Tibetan settlement

Harobele or Arakavathy Dam, Kunuru
Located near Kunuru (on the Kanakapura-Sangama road SH92), Harobele or Arakavathy dam is fed by the Arkavathy river is flocked by school kids on field-trips on weekdays and desolated on weekends.

Arai Quantum 2 helmet at Arakavathi or Harobele dam Karnataka India

Peace is its own Reward!! – At Harobele Dam

Useful Information on Arakavathy Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 80 kms
  • Location: Arakavathy Dam Google Maps link
  • What to See: How a dam works? (Wish teachers take students here for a demo instead of pictures )
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Where to eat: Biryani at Sumukh Restaurant, Kanakapura town
Biryani At Sumukh Restaurant MG Road - Kanakapura town

Biryani At Sumukh Restaurant MG Road – Kanakapura town

Dandiganahalli Dam, Dandiganahalli, Gauribidanur
Located near Gauribidanur, Dandiganahalli is only frequented by the locals for fishing or that occasional theppa (coracle) boat-rides. The place is absolutely serene and the cool breeze makes a wonderful excuse for quick-nap

Dandiganahalli Dam near GauriBidanur Chikkaballapur

Dandiganahalli Dam

Useful Information on Dandiganahalli Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 90 kms
  • Location: Dandiganahalli Google Maps link
  • What to See: Its just a beautiful spot to spend time!!
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Don’t be deceived by the huge water-body one would see before reaching Dandiganahalli
  • Where to eat: Masala Dosa & Filter Coffee at Nani Hotel, Vijayapura
Masala Dosa at Nani Hotel Vijayapura

Masala Dosa at Nani Hotel Vijayapura

Mavathur Reservoir, Kanakapura Road
Known by locals as Mavathur kere, this is a large man-made reservoir with levee on one side. Access to Mavathur kere is via a narrow-dirt road (you will do just fine on a motorcycle though!) and frequented by shepherds and their herd, this is a beautiful place to spend cool mornings or evenings!!

Mavathur Lake Kanakapura - weekend ride destinations from Bengaluru

Mavathur Reservoir – Peaceful!!

Useful Information on Mavathur Reservoir:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 64 kms
  • Location: Google Maps link [Look for the left-turn after the Kalyani motors Maruti showroom (before Kanakapura town)]
  • What to See: Relish the water and the green fields around
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Do not visit this place in a hurry, we wanted to spend an hour, but ended spending more than three
  • Where to eat: Masala Dosa, Kesari bath and Filter Coffee at Vasu Hotel, Kanakapura town
Masala Dosa at Vasu Hotel KNS Circle Kanakpura Karnataka

Masala Dosa at Vasu Hotel

Vani Vilas Sagara Dam, Chitradurga
One of the most scenic dams in Karnataka, Vani Vilas Sagara boasts of picture-perfect beauty with blue-water, windmills and hills as a backdrop and ignore the runaway-type highway to reach the dam.

Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam Chitradurga

Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam

Useful Information on Vani Vilas Sagara Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 181 kms
  • Location: Google Maps link
  • What to See: stunning views from the dam & brilliant roads!!
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Carry a wide-angle lens and an SLR !! (Pano-mode on phone doesn’t justify to capture this beauty!!)
  • Where to eat: Thatte Idly with Vada and butter at Pavithra Idli Hotel, Kyathasandra OR Khali Dosa with Ghee at Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffen Centre, Chitradurga town
Khali Dosa at Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room Chitradurga

Khali Dosa – Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

Thatte Idli and Vada at Pavithra Idli Hotel Kyathasandra

Thatte Idli and Vada at Pavithra Idli Hotel

Naaidu Biryani Batlagundu Dindigul

While the biryani-trinity of Thalapakatti, Venu’s and Ponram’s dominate the popularity charts of Dindigul Biryani – it’s the small, no-franchise, unique outlets serving Their version of Dindigul biryani with a slight individuality that excite a biryani-fan.

One such unique biryani getaway is Naaidu biryani restaurant at Batlagundu serving some delicious biryani (mutton and chicken) along with some lip smacking meat-sides such as mutton sukkha, chicken fry etc.

Dindigul Chicken Biryani at Naaidu Biryani Batlagundu

Traditional Dindigul Chicken Biryani served on a plantain leaf – deliciousness!!

Located on the highway connecting Dindigul and Theni at Batlagundu ( about 35 kms from Dindigul) this small biryani place is a welcome relief from the crowded and overpriced Thalapakatti outlets – making it the perfect lunch stop for travelers heading to Theni or Thekkady.

Naaidu Biryani Restaurant at Batlagundu

Useful information:

  • Timings: 11 am to 11 pm Open all days
  • Cash only no cards
  • No dedicated or separate parking
  • Contact Number: Mr.Saktivel 09677753238

Naaidu Biryani Restaurant was discovered by a dear friend during one of his rides – the food is delicious, easy on the wallet and sports wonderful roads to and ahead till Thekkady !!

Road from Batlagundu to Theni aboard the Yamaha YZF-R3

Delight to Ride – road from Batlagundu to Theni – mind the crosswinds though!!

Periyar Ghat - Enroute Kumily on the Yamaha YZF-R3

Periyar Ghat – En-route Kumily, too damn scenic !!

A day with the Kawasaki Ninja H2

Some weekends are surreal!! Never did I dream of riding a full-fledged production motorcycle with a supercharger – the last motorcycle with forced induction to roll-out off a production line was in the 1980s.

Launched in 2015, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is the world’s only supercharged production hyper-sport street-bike.  Held together in an electric green trellis frame, with the gorgeous star wheels and a brilliant silver mirror paint, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 looks like it appeared out of a worm-hole from another galaxy – imagine Silver Surfer meets a motorcycle!!

Kawasaki Ninja H2 Review in Bangalore

Kawasaki Ninja H2 – Best Relished on a Expressway!!

How does it feel to ride the Kawasaki Ninja H2 ?

It’s built for one and only one purpose “outright speed”.  Hammering this thing off the line is the only way to ride!!

Beyond 4000 rpm with all the electronics – its an absolute effort to keep the front wheel on the ground (even in 6th gear)

However, around a slow corner, the engine throws tantrums with abrupt throttle response, gas-on and everything is back to its best behavior 😀

The Ninja H2 is so mindbogglingly fast – 200 kmph is a joke and it’s just getting warmed up for more!! It commands absolute attention while riding and razor-sharp reactions of an experienced rider.

I have never experienced this kind of urgency and violence in a motorcycle to go so overwhelmingly fast.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 India Review

Stealth Bomber on Wheels !!

Kawasaki Ninja H2 in India - top view

Made to go fast, very fast!!

Some interesting facts about the Kawasaki Ninja H2:

  • The Compression Ratio on a Ninja H2 is a mere 8.5:1 which is the same as Royal Enfield Classic 500 (pun intended :D)
  • The Kawasaki Ninja H2 is the most commercially successful forced induction production motorcycle in the history
  • The logo/emblem on the front of the motorcycle is known as the ‘Kawasaki River Mark’. The River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s created by Shozo Kawasaki, founder of Kawasaki. Since then the symbol has been adopted by KHI Group (Kawasaki Heavy Industries) to express the company’s technology, originality and innovation.
  • There is NO Start button, but a Ignition ON/OFF Slider on the handle to crank the motorcycle
  • The stunning paint job on the Kawasaki H2 boasts of using pure silver to create the mirrored effect !!
  • Attention to Aerodynamics:
    • The chin spoiler on the upper front cowl (below the headlight) is function disguised in form,  that contributes to generating more down-force
    • There is a slot to tuck the bum of the rider into the seat for more aerodynamic position and also as serves as an anchor during the had acceleration

Hold on, no review of the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is complete without mentioning the ‘Orgasmic rasp of the supercharged engine’. Blip the throttle and the supercharger whirs and whistles – sheer music to a motorcyclist!!

Living with a Kawasaki Ninja H2 in Bangalore - India Review

A Hoot to Ride + the intoxicating music from the supercharger!!

It sounds like nothing else on the road and feels like nothing else too!!