A landmark that commenced operations in 1943 on the busy Gandhi Bazar main road, Vidyarthi Bhavan, as the name suggests, used to be an eatery mostly visited by students in and around Basavangudi. But that was then. Today, I have friends and family making trips from north, east and west corners of the city just to eat the popular "vidyarthi bhavan masal dose".
I have heard people cribbing about having to wait for nothing less that twenty minutes to get a table, or even how others breathe down your neck with a finish-fast-and-get-lost look as you eat. But then the wait and other small irritants are really worth it for the sakkth dose. And for the uninformed, they now have a token system and have created a waiting area outside where one can sit and wait for your number to be called out, or after getting your token, you can indulge in a bit of vegetable/fruit shopping instead of sititng around and waiting for your turn.
The once small Vidyarthi Bhavan is now renovated to accommodate more customers. Improved ventilation combined with ancient window grills and traditional wooden beamed ceiling keep the Hale Basavangudi charm intact. Not to forget the smart pencil sketches of famous Kannada personalities such as Sir M.Vishweshwaraiah and T.P Kailasam (amongst others) adorn the walls.
One of my recent visits here was on a Sunday, with family. As we entered, the strong combined aromas of ghee soaked dose, rava vade and filter coffee greeted us, as does the steady chatter of voices belonging to octogenarians, excited youngsters and kids. The aromas made me so giddy I dint know what to order first, but finally settled for the dose.
The waiting time for an order is about 15 to 2o minutes on a weekend, and about 10 minutes on any other day.
I watched as my plate of dose, one among the many plates expertly stacked on the arm of the staff arrives.
The melt-in-your-mouth, ghee soaked "masal dose" is beautifully roasted to a crisp golden brown on the outside and is soft and fluffy inside. Served with a generous helping of yummy thick coconut chutney, note that the chutney is poured into the plate, soaking the edges of the dose, making it taste even more delicious (possibly an acquired taste). I happily devoured two such doses. A meal here without filter coffee is incomplete, so that is what I downed next. My brother started with the rave vade, polished off three doses and ended the meal with a by-two coffee.
Satiated and happy, we all trooped home for a lazy Sunday.
On the price front, VB is considerably light on the wallet
PS: After a meal at Vidyarthi Bhavan, one can skip lunch and dinner!