One reason why I wanted my wife to deliver at Lakshmi Maternity Home, apart from the fact that it had a very famous Gynaecologist, was because it was very next to Veena Stores. It proved to be very convenient for me and the visitors to have Idli/ Vada early in the morning or keep a flask full of hot Coffee ready for those who visited to see the new-born.
Veena Stores is quite an unlikely name for a hotel, but that’s exactly what it is. The name is synonymous with fluffy Idlis, crisp Vadas and Pudheena Chutney. It’s a small but very popular vegetarian restaurant in Bangalore.
What started as a condiment store in 1977 has morphed into a popular eatery much sought after for its soft melting in the mouth Idlis served with only Chutney in unlimited quantities, huge crisp Vadas, spicy Shavige Baath, Uppit and Kesari Baath. Kesari Bath, though very tasty has an overdose of ghee accounting for the rich taste. Unfortunately today we do not exercise leading a sedentary lifestyle and any extra helping or overdose of unsaturated medium gives the jitters. But you can still have all of this without forgetting to lick the fingers and you will not be poorer by even 30/-. Wash down the above with a small serving of Coffee/ Tea or Badam milk (I prefer Coffee) one goes home feeling heavenly.
This unassuming address, (Opposite the Telephone exchange on 15th Cross, Malleswaram) is on a one way zone. Every morning and evening, for years, the regulars and the visitors savour yummy Idlis standing on the footpath. Don’t worry, no pedestrian will grudge this encroachment. Usually, the clientele slowly increase in numbers in the evening (after 5 pm) as the fresh aromas entice them for a stop over before proceeding home.
You can see the dough being freshly grounded. The chutney is warm to touch as mixies are not made use of. Ground in stone rollers the taste is superb.
Reach here on a Sunday morning and all you can see is the board which says ‘Veena Stores’ and a throng of people under it thrusting their hands in, bringing food out! Chances of meeting your long lost friend in this crowd are very high.
As I said, the Idli-Chutney-Vada trio are mind blowing. Of course the small vadas are good as is the Puliyogare or the Vangibhath, but don’t miss the chutney. The Idlis are small, fluffy ‘melt in the mouth’ types. If you are looking for a place to sit down and eat, this is not for you. But if it’s charm (and chutney) you’re looking for, you know where to go.
It’s also a haunt for the joggers and office crowd. There are some regular chaps playing Basketball at Beagles and coming to Veena Stores every evening. Can say this with authority as I myself was a regular for a few years. I am eating here from the days when a Idli cost 40 paise. Now it is Rs.2.50 an Idli.
I remember reading long back about Veena Stores in India Today and many other magazines and newspapers. Veena Stores becomes a habit for my sisters, brothers-in-law, nephew and nieces when they are visiting India. This might be true for many in Malleswaram also! Simply goes to show that people look at quality and not the size of your eating outlet.
Who knows, I may be having a sip of coffee with my son at Veena Stores after seeing my grandchild!
Veena Stores Noorkaala Baalali (May Veena Stores live for 100 more years)
183, 15th cross, Margosa road
Malleswaram Bangalore 560 055
Open from 6am -11am and 3.30-8 pm