BENGALURU: Tomato chutney with Thatte idli. Benne dosa with steaming hot sambar. Crisp brown vada with a dash of coconut chutney.
If these words titillate your senses, the next time you are on a foodie outing in Indiranagar, don’t walk into one of those fancy diners on 100 Feet Road. Instead, take a turn towards Double Road and go forward a kilometre-and-a-half till you reach the Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir Road in Cambridge Layout.
On this small road, bustling with activity at all times because of the Sai Baba temple, stands a little eatery called Om Sai Skanda Dosa Camp. Painted in orange and white, it looks like a run-of-the-mill shop. But don’t let the appearance fool you: it is a haven for those who like their food South Indian style and don’t want it to burn the proverbial hole in their pocket.
This 10x14 ft vegetarian eatery doesn’t boast big seating arrangements, but is there a better ambience than the sidewalk of a busy street, under the shade of a tree and in the company of friends?
All the food items are prepared at the counter, right in front of the customers and served on clean and cheerful yellow plastic plates. A dozen men work through the day to keep the place spick-and-span and the food simple and delicious.
The dosas include masala, plain, paper, bhath masala, onion and set, all falling in the `20-50 range. The dosas are made as and when the orders come in and are served with piping hot sambar within less than a minute of the order. Albeit a tad oily, they are soft and crunchy at the same time.
The masala in the masala dosa goes for balance with just the right amount of spice; for make no mistake, at Skanda Dosa Camp, the dosa is the star. The bhath masala dosa is a combination of dosa, rice, ghee and aloo palya, and will keep you full from dawn to dusk.
But the real attraction at this eatery is the melt-in-your-mouth thatte idli. Priced at `15, the idli looks like clouds on a plate and is served hot, soft and fluffy, with a touch of tomato and coconut chutneys. Throw in the crunchy vada, sized reasonably for `13, and you would probably agree with JRR Tolkien and his Hobbits about the need for six meals a day!
The rice bhath is priced at an affordable `25 and is one of the hottest-selling items, especially in the evenings. The pulav, priced at `40, is garnished generously with peas, carrots and curry leaves. Both items stand out for the limited use of ghee, which is the right way to make rice items that don’t lull your senses.
Open from 7 am to 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm to 10 pm, this dosa camp sees heavy footfall on Thursdays in particular as it stands less than 100 metres from the Sai Baba temple. Sunday is another busy day at Skanda but the eatery closes after lunch. So if you are planning a weekend visit, Saturday would be the ideal option.
On weekdays, college-goers , office-rushing men and women make up a majority of the customers, but as it stands just around the corner from one of the big residential blocks of the layout, families too frequent Skanda.
The early-morning and late-night clamour for parcels is quite something. But the efficient staff have an ear for all the customers and you will rarely be left waiting for more than a few minutes for your little yellow plate.
The only drawback is the restaurant policy of not serving beverages, including coffee and tea. But it is just as well. If after a heavy meal, you can walk away with a full belly and a wallet as heavy, or light, as it was when you walked in, having to wash down the food with a bottle of water or a Coke is a pretty good deal.