That food unites is an oft-repeated cliché, but there is no simpler way to put it. In fact, such is the unifying power of a good meal or drink, that in Bengaluru it has led to inception of some interesting groups.
Take a look at some of Bengaluru’s food groups and clubs that have made the most of the power of social media in spreading the delicious word.
The breakfast club, literally
A good breakfast can always help set the perfect tone for your day. For Naveen Suresh, Founder of Bangalore Breakfast Walks (BBW), the desire to seek out authentic food in Bengaluru led him to several legendary eateries where generations of patrons can vouch for the preparation and flavours remaining unfalteringly the same. Not wanting the current generation of people to miss out on this, BBW came into being in 2016.
“Our first breakfast walk was at Gandhi Bazaar, Basavangudi. We started with Vidyarathi Bhavan followed by Namma SLN, and Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room,” says Suresh. “BBW received a good response and we continued to organise breakfast walks in other parts of city. Recently, we even travelled to Hassan and Melkote, among other places to explore food,”
There are no fixed meeting times. A plan is made, members are notified via events created online or on messaging groups and the group gets together. This is how they sampled an all-millet based breakfast at Prem’s Grama Bhojanam when it was new to the city and had the legendary half masala dose at Sidappa. One of the group’s top discoveries has been Chowdeshwari Palahara Mandira at Maddur.
So the next time you are stuck for a good breakfast place, BBW may just have the answer for you.
Who can resist a good biryani?
Always on the lookout for a good biryani fix, Renukesh Bingeri, the founder of Bengaluru Biryani Club (BBC) realised that food groups that existed did not really offer the right recommendations. “We realised that biryani is a dish with several nuances, many variations and several back stories. With the idea of creating an exclusive group to discuss this one dish, BBC was born,” he says.
The group’s first meet happened when they hit the 50-member mark. They met for a 6:00 AM breakfast biryani at Hoskote's famous Anand Dum Biryani. BBC’s social media posts caught the eye of some media outlets and soon membership grew.
BBC has two types of events. Biryani Talks is where they strike an exclusive deal with a restaurant and ensuring a footfall of anywhere between 80-150 BBC members. The other, Biryani Hangout, is when the group gets together in smaller groups to try out a new biryani place the group has come across, usually around 20 people.
Most recommendations come from members, but all events are hosted only at places that have been vetted by the admins of the group. Some great finds have been the Gardi Ustad Pehlwan Biryani, in Shivajinagar, set in an Akhada, a traditional Indian gym. There is also Hotel Sahana in Wilson Garden.
Bet you are thinking of biryani right now aren’t you?
Bengaluru has long since become the beer capital of the country, what with the ever-growing number of craft breweries and steadily increasing number of beer lovers.
“Craft & Co. was founded as a forum for everyone to openly discuss, agree, and even disagree on not just craft beer, but any craft alcohol,” says co-founder, Akash Hirebet. “Today, India has seen a rise in craft spirits, and cocktails, and it made sense for us to be inclusive of all craft alcohol,” adds. It could be just sharing thoughts on a drink that someone had, discussing industry news or new brands entering the market, etc.. Occasionally, the group works with a host brewpub to come up with a collaborative brew that is launched at a meet-up.
“We typically organise formal meet-ups every 2-3 months, but we do have the occasional smaller, or impromptu meets. Meets are typically planned in association with either a craft alcohol brand, or at a brewpub, wherein, a reasonably priced package is worked out for each attendee” says Hirebet. Crafts & Co has presence across India but Bengaluru is the most active geography with over 800 active members, and on average 45 odd people attending a meet up. Care to make some friends over a pint?
Encouraged by a proliferation of food photos on social media, Kalyan Gopalakrishna, Founder & Chief Curator, Bangalore Pork Lovers Club (BPLC) began meeting with like-minded friends for pork-only meals in 2012. This eventually led to organising an exclusive 16 course Pork dinner at Siam House in 2013.
The city had a few pork-based meals at a premium restaurant but this came to a halt. Gopalakrishna began to receive requests to organise a porcine dinner and he finally bit the bullet in 2017. The first event was at The Siam Trading Co (now defunct) with a 10-course all-pork menu from soup to dessert.
Currently the group hostscurated events for their members. In the long run, the objective is to become a catalyst for anything to do with pork in Bengaluru.
Gopalakrishna takes on all the curation, from identifying the restaurants to working with chefs on the menu. “So far I have managed to not repeat any cuisine/dishes,” says. Some of the cuisines featured at these dinners include traditional Mexican, American, Eastern Europe, Japanese Australian BBQ, as well as regional cuisines across India. “Some of the singularly outstanding dishes I remember are Pork Pozole from Oaxacan region of Mexico, Biscuit & Gravy from USA, Pork Loaf from Latvia, and Fermented Pork Sausage from Isaan region of Thailand.”
End on a Sweet Note
The best way to enjoy desserts is with someone who loves them equally. That was the premise for the Desserts Club taking shape. “We always knew that not everyone is keen on desserts but, the ones who are, take it seriously. If anyone wants to know where to get the best cheesecake or Baklava or Mysore pak in the city this is the group that can answer those questions,” says Vinay Nagaraju, Founder, Bengaluru Desserts Club (BDC).
The word on the group spread with a dessert challenge—Earthquake Challenge—an ice cream eating contest. The event had a whopping 70 participants and the fastest team finished in little less than a minute.
Meet-ups happen every 2-3 months and are centred round finding the best desserts in the city. “One of the best discoveries we made is Gulkand Center in Shantinagar, which remains one of our favourite places. For Indian desserts we love Sri Ram Villas that does some a Pumpkin (Kashi) Halwa and Gajar ka Halwa. Tiramisu from Caprese in Shangri La, list goes on,” says Nagaraju.
The group also acts a stepping stone for budding home-bakers and chocolatiers giving them a platform to showcase as well as sell their products. So the next time you have a hankering for something sweet, let this group tell you what you can try in the city.