Bangalore restaurant reviews Gandhinagar

Basant Residency - for a Jolada Rotti meal I have been pining for

Friday, December 09, 2011Me! In words

When I was working in ETV Kannada, I ended up being the only woman on the programming team. It took me a good year to break the ice with this male-dominated office, but once I managed to do that I was considered one of the guys. Lunch, every afternoon was a quest - and thanks to those guys I discovered the best that Gandhinagar and Majestic had to offer, from the seediest of places that offered spectacular food to the better known places frequented by Kannada filmdom. And so I discovered the joys of standing on the roadside at a hole-in-wall place where you got mutton/chicken biryani only if you got there at 12.45. You stand on the road and eat and then wash it down with a goli soda from next door. There was also these fabulous Andhra meals and biryanis at Annapurna, there was also this place called the Mess, which served home made meals on banana leaves in a place that looked like it would fall down at any minute. One of the pleasures I was introduced too, being all new to Bangalore then and its cuisine was the jolada roti oota or jowar roti meals. Had it at Kamath and Pai Refreshments and used to be a fanatic. Once I quit ETV, I just never got around going to those places and indulging myself again.

And then off late, when I was taken over the "dying for some comfort food feeling", I found myself dreaming of this meal. Just happened to surf online about the meal and found on the Team BHP site that a place called Basant Residency in Gandhinagar were supposedly much better than the Pais' and Kamaths. This immediately took both of those places off my mind and we set out to discover it. 

The geography of Gandhinagar hasn't changed much in these past years. A couple of one ways later we managed to roll up in front of Basant Residency. This was not one of the places I had tried earlier and I was really skeptical about it being a family place. But when I got there I sighed a breath of relief. It looked just like a Pai or a Kamath would. We just about managed to squeeze into a miniscule parking spot and then walked in. Settled down and immediately the plantain leaves were placed before us. One glance around it was evident that jolada roti was about the only thing ordered.  

Here is the meal as it was presented. It started with a mix of fresh sticks of cucumber, carrot, radish and some spring onions. A handful of fresh methi leaves too were placed on the leaf. Loved the fact that nothing here looked faded or a little off. Every leaf on the sprigs of methi were fresh and full and the mini salad was freshly cut.
Then came the curd, the spiced buttermilk and a rice payasam that was sweetened with jaggery. I love anything curd-based and dipped into my little katori as soon as it came. Though thick, this curd was a bit too fermented for my liking. The buttermilk was great and so was the payasam. From the one spoon I had, it was of a good consistency and really sweet. Sudhakar doesn't like anything that begins with curd and has passed those genes onto junior and so we mutually agreed to exchange a katori of curd for one of payasam.

Then came the stars - a red bean palya, another semi gravy one of a type of gourd and finally the Enegayi. The Eengayi or stuffed brinjal gravy is the main accompaniment to the jowar rotis that keep coming to your table steaming hot. This style of making brinjals comes from north karnataka and has a mixed of tamarind, peanuts and coconut. It must  be had steaming hot or else the flavor is completely lost and this one had a lot of it. 

Waiters were running around with baskets of piping hot rotis. Each time you asked for one (and you can ask for as many as you like), they are placed on your leaf. You then open them out and take a spoon of the butter that is placed on the table and spread it over the roti. Only after that do you eat it with the brinjal gravy. Of course in between you can munch of the methi leaves, radish and spring onions for good measure. Each item brings a different flavor out. 

There was also the traditional chilli bajji of North Karnataka too that found its way to our leaf. Spicy but not the hell hounds having an BBQ on your tongue types.

The natural course of the meal meant that we progress to rice and sambar. Not too sure of what the sambar was since I wasn't served any of the vegetable in it. But whatever it was, it was nice. I have tasted better sambars loaded with more veggies and perhaps that is the only grouse I have here.

From my hostel days, if there is one thing I can survive on 365 days of the year, its rice, rasam and pickle. As with any vegetarian meal, this was served as well. Loved the rasam, it was more the garlicky-pepper types and with the freshly mixed lime pickle on the table, it was a superb combination. 

We did order a lime juice, but this is something you can avoid. It tasted like a mix between lime concentrate and lemon flavored Rasna. Bleckkkk!!

I did not miss the Kamaths and the Pais one bit with this meal. Basant made it a great way to come back for something I loved and still do - a good wholesome south Indian meal on a leaf. 10 minutes after we walked into the restaurant the place was packed and there was a line waiting outside. Two meals and two lime juices came to Rs 299. The loos are clean and this is definitely a family kind of place. 

Address: No: 3, 4th Main Road, Opp Jain Temple, Behind Syndicate Bank, Gandhinagar, Bangalore 
Cuisine: North Karnataka, South Indian
Wallet factor: Rs 300 for two
Cards Accepted: Not too sure. We paid cash
Parking: Maybe if you have one of those futuristic cars that you can fold and put into a briefcase! else you just got to be very lucky

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