Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bangalore’s got a hole in the wall

Breakfast cravings? It is simple, go to the Hole in the Wall Café.

Yes that’s the name, the description of the place is almost accurate. It is a little more than a hole in the wall and can seat 25 people packed in. The cuisine is continental, wholesome and leaves you replete without burning a hole in the wallet.

A garage-turned-eatery opened by Bangalore-based rock band Galeej Guru’s lead singer Nathan Lee Harris and his wife Lynn D’Costa, a whiz in the kitchen, this cozy little place has breakfasts during the day and in the evenings it has got basic café foods, ranging from burgers and sandwiches to desserts.

Warm bright colours, easy on the seat furniture, fabulous music and above all, the cheery smiles of the hard working couple who cook and serve (friends and family regularly chip in too), have spread its fame far and wide. During the weekends it is buzzing constantly with activity and is full. Trying to get a table is quite a job, but worth the wait.

The Hole in the Wall
Youngsters living away from home are regulars here, perhaps lured by the wholesome breakfast available. Mouth watering waffles to the perfect hangover omelette keeps you gunning for more.

The menu boasts of diverse options of continental breakfast available till noon. The All English breakfast is a royal spread, with a fried egg, toast, sausages, bacon, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. The Only One is colour on a plate, with a deliciously yellow sunny-side-up, served with blood-red baked beans, grilled tomatoes and toast. The Sunday Morning is a concoction of baked eggs layered with mushrooms, tomatoes, coriander, and your choice of meat, and dripping melted cheese.

The menu at The Hole in the Wall
The fluffiest omelettes in town, with a choice of fillings, arrive on your plate bursting at their seams. Veggie-lovers can choose from cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, mushrooms and onions.

Unfortunately, breakfast options are a tad limited for those who don't eat eggs, though they could choose the Famous Continental, which is toast, butter, jam, fruit juice and a cuppa (chai or coffee), or baked beans on toast.

The waffles at THITW are golden and toasty and for those watching their waists, there is cereal with milk or sliced bananas served with yoghurt, nuts and honey.

Lynn and Nathan also serve sandwiches, burgers, cheesecakes and other light snacks in the evenings through the week, and are known for their secret mayonnaise and sauce recipes.

You can find the café via their Facebook page.

Hole in the Wall Cafe, Koramangala, 4th Block, ST Bed Layout, Bangalore
Call: 99005 17582
Meal for two: Rs 300

By Aditya Mendonca/ Raintree Media Features/

Read the story on the Goa Herald:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Of blossoms and bungalows

There is a city beneath the city and Poornima Dasharathi, heritage specialist, lifts the veil off the new to reveal the old as she takes you on a leisurely stroll down one of Bangalore’s oldest neighbourhoods, Malleswaram.

Sitting on the granite steps leading up to the Kaadu Malleswara temple under the canopy of a pipal, with birds chirping a mile a minute, it is easy to slip away into the 17th century when this was a hill peppered with boulders with a tiny temple perched on its top, visited by people from a nearby village, Madigenahalli.

Two centuries later, Bangalore claimed it and Malleswaram aka North Extension was born in 1895 under the rule of the Wodeyars. Our guide Poornima Dasharathi points out that we were at that moment in the oldest part of Malleswaram.

One of the temple’s earliest patrons was the Maratha king, Shivaji’s half-brother, Ekoji in 1669. Many patrons and donations later, the temple is a far cry from what it once was and has added colourful gopurams and easy to clean floor tiles. The sanctum sanctorum is all that remains untouched and has been retained exactly as it was originally built.

Kaadu Malleswara temple
Stepping outside, it is hard to reconcile with the busyness of everyday life, the crowds and traffic. Traffic includes largely indifferent donkeys from the nearby dhobi ghat. Dasharathi leads us to the popular Veena Stores on Margosa Road for a quick cuppa which can still give the new coffee chains a run for their money.

An IT engineer for eleven years, Dasharathi got the opportunity to travel around the world. The heritage walks in London and Melbourne left her impressed. After a stint with INTACH, she started Unhurried in January 2012 and has since then organised walks and tours to niche places as she believes there is more to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu than just Hampi and Mysore. A storehouse of information on history, architecture, customs and anecdotes, Dasharathi’s storytelling skills come into play during the walk.

The area’s earliest residents were the Telugu-speaking workers at IISc, the Saraswat Brahmins employed at Raja and Minerva mills, and high ranking government officials who were mostly Iyengars. Dasharathi led us past a row of new bungalows which now belong to the descendants of one of Malleswaram’s first residents, HV Nanjundaiah, the first Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University.

Scientist CV Raman's bungalow
A few doors down is scientist CV Raman’s bungalow that has been maintained by the Raman Trust and hence, untouched by developers. Dasharathi says that like most of the spacious bungalows, even this was influenced by the Europeans. There are jackfruits and hibiscuses and cotton trees, some we are told were planted by Raman himself. His wife who played the veena (Carnatic stringed instrument) frequented the Sevasadan Association, which is but one of the many cultural associations one can find here.

The walk was wrapped up at the Central Tiffin Room, now known as Shri Sagar, on 7th cross. Digging into some delicious benne dosa (butter dosa) with her family was musician and actor, Vasundhara Das, who is just one of the area’s celeb residents. Others include badminton player Prakash Padukone and his daughter, the Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone when she is in town.

Poornima Dasharathi, Unhurried
Dasharathi feels that people are growing more aware of the local history and have begun to appreciate heritage better when seen from a different angle that includes history, architecture, customs and occupations, which is unlike the generic descriptions usually given by tourist guides.

Other walks around Bangalore at Unhurried include the Pettah Walk and Cantonment Walk. They also organise tours to explore the eco trail in Banawasi, the culture-rich South Canara and Kodigeri near Ooty where John Sullivan first discovered the verdant Nilgiris. You can contact Dasharathi through the website

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/

Read the story on the Goa Herald:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Art of Appreciation

Designed to make art more accessible to the public, the art walks at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) help you understand and appreciate its staggering collection of paintings, sculptures, graphic prints and photographs.

Art could not have found a better home than the stunning Manikyavelu Mansion. Over 90 years old, the mansion was once owned by the Mysore Royal family. Equally regal and impervious to the changing cityscape outside are its trees – jamun, pipal, gul mohar and many other species that capture the imagination, so much so that the museum’s walks included the Arboretum Walk earlier this year.

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore
On a late Wednesday afternoon, the colours around the museum are sharper, as the sun whisks off the last traces of rain. A small group gathers around Tejshvi Jain, Assistant Curator, as she begins the Language of Visual Arts walk. A 45-minute walk, it takes visitors through the basic aspects of art and how to approach it.

“Enter a work of art visually and then go deeper,” suggested Jain handing out slips of paper. For most, it was the first introduction to the elements and principles of art.

The National Gallery of Modern Art which opened its doors to art lovers in 2009 has constantly brought out initiatives that have made it one of the must-visit places in Bangalore. Apart from the museum’s permanent collection, Signposts of the Times, there are travelling exhibitions that include gallery walks by assistant curators. The Signposts of the Times collection showcases Indian artwork from 1857 to the present day and its portfolio includes Abanindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Yusuf Arrakal, Raja Ravi Varma and MF Husain.

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore
As Jain took the group through the basics she pointed out the relevant paintings, giving space for discussions and concluded the walk by encouraging the group to split into smaller groups and assess any piece of art. Most works were untitled allowing the viewer to draw their own meanings from the paintings without being influenced. One of the visitors, Vivek said that the interpretation of art was to him both physical and experiential.

For Keerthana, this was a second visit. She says, “I know zilch about art and this walk was a good introduction on how to read a painting. It helped us see our perception is as important and not restricted by the artist’s interpretation.”

Science research students Seung and Prakash seconded this. They had attended the Introduction to Modern Indian Art, a 75-minute walk on Saturday mornings. “The walk was great. It showed us how to look at art…the technical aspects. I have seen other explanations at other museums but this was the first one where we were actually asked to interpret art,” says Seung.

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore
NGMA offers more to art enthusiasts with special walks like Experiencing the Landscape and Sculpture in Indian Art. Its auditorium hosts talks on art, film screenings, as well as dance, music and theatre performances. Secluded benches by the mirror pool are perfect to slip away and ruminate. Its two-year-old free reference library with a growing collection has also seen a steady stream of art students and professionals.

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/

Read the story on the Goa Herald:


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mango amore

Hot sweaty summers and the sticky juice of golden mangoes dripping from your fingers. Such are the simple pleasures of life, and these make one savour the passing seasons.

Just last week we came back from Goa with the car bulging with baskets of freshly plucked mangoes. I believe sweetness is multiplied when shared and as the saying goes, when you give, you receive. We gave away bags of mangoes and more mangoes have come back from others who had the same idea.

It’s been a mango with each meal and in between meals too. There are many different ways to eat raw mango – as a Thai salad, as a chutney, or just with salt and chilli powder, and we are currying favour with aunts for pickles and colleagues for mango rice.

Thanks to my Dad, we are particular about soaking a ripe mango in clean water for at least 15 minutes before eating. A friend had once demonstrated how to neatly eat a mango with a knife and spoon but we are completely desi in our style. We slice the sides of the fruit, voting each time as to who gets to gnaw on the seed. It isn’t an elegant sight but our home is our castle, and we don’t let shyness hold us back when it comes to food. 

Mango seekarne
Most of the time the only other way I like eating the fruit is as a seekarane – you mash the fruit with milk or yoghurt and crushed cardamom; if the fruits are sweet, you can skip the sugar entirely, if not, you can add some powdered sugar or sugar substitute and churn them all up with a large spoon. Set to chill in the fridge and you have a great welcome dish ready when you get home all tired and wrung out.

Mango Margarita. Pic credit: The Oberoi, Bangalore
Two exotic methods of combining raw mango with roasted cumin have come my way by way of The Oberoi’s Mango Amore festival in Bangalore. The first is a dessert – a panacotta with raw mango and roasted cumin sorbet - the delicate blend of cream and milk with the crunch of cumin is intriguing. The same ingredients – raw mango and roasted cumin - get naughtier in a daiquiri. 

The delicious delirium of mango mania has found us to be willing victims indeed.

By Sandhya Mendonca

Colour play

Bounce Style Lounge takes the way you wear your hair to a whole new level with well-trained stylists who can work magic with a snip of their scissors and high-end hair products that keep your hair looking its best.

There is something about being on the threshold of a new year that calls out to you to try a new look and it can be as effortless as getting a brand new hairstyle. And as one of the leading salons in Bangalore that swears by its mantra, ‘what you wear starts with your hair’, Bounce was the way to go. Everyone else seemed to agree; the salon was a whirlwind of activity to the steady beat of music.

Started in 2005 on Lavelle Road by a brother and sister team – Vikram Mohan and Prarthana Mohan – Bounce specialises in hair and offers other beauty treatments too.

Vikram says, “Hairstyling is not just about cutting hair. It is also about knowing the client’s lifestyle, personality, hair texture and face structure. The hairstylist has to study all aspects and then decide on the exact requirement of the individual. Here, experience and expertise come together.”

That is exactly where I started – with a 15-minute consultation with Anjali, the Art Director. The stylists are categorised according to their experience and the Art Director is way up there in the ladder. The consultation does not necessarily give you what you want but leads you to a style that works best for you.

Anjali came with seven years’ experience and has studied the art (and science) of hair styling in India and overseas. She began by asking me about the length I wanted, how open I was to experiment with colour, and how much time I had to spend on my hair. I have fine hair, and the length was not doing much for me, and as I hardly have any time to spend styling my hair, she decided to give me a bob with layers.

After a wash, she chopped away my hair to chin length and with it the copper highlights I had earlier and which had grown out. The haircut was simple, flattering and low maintenance. The shorter length made my hair look fuller. 

Next came the colour, which when done right, adds to the wow factor of any hairstyle. The co-founder, Prarthana says, “It is not just a flat cut but also other factors like colouring, which gives a lot of movement and texture, and adds shine to the hair.”

Anjali decided to opt for placement colouring instead of highlights because she felt placement colouring, which is done on only one portion of the hair, would be more fun and unconventional. We agreed on red which works well on warm skin tones. She used Schwarzkopf Igora’s 100-88 (a red shade) and a smaller proportion of 100-99 (a violet shade). She said that Schwarzkopf was a great choice as they had a wide range of colours, the consistency was excellent, mixing and application was easy, and the results were accurate.

After 30 minutes, she washed off the product with Schwarzkopf’s BC Bonacure Colour Save Shampoo and Moisture-Kick Moisture Spray, a leave-in conditioner, which she recommended as it is light and water-based and does not weigh down my hair.

It was the time of revelation, off came the towel and voila! the colour looked fantastic! The colour and the bob came together beautifully – it made a statement albeit a subtle one. 

Anjali suggested I use Schwarzkopf’s Deep Cleansing Shampoo and Colour Spray Conditioner to keep my hair in top form. She said that hair colouring was safe as long as you get your basics right. It starts with choosing the right salon, and the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair. How you apply the hair products can also make a big difference to how healthy your hair is.

Other services you could splurge on at Bounce are perming, straightening or you could try one of their fabulous manicures and pedicures.

Price (for the cut and colour): `3,500 approx.

Products used: Schwarzkopf Igora’s 100-88 and 100-99; Schwarzkopf’s BC Bonacure Colour Saver Shampoo and Moisture-Kick Moisture Spray Conditioner

Written for Hairsay magazine

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/

A high five from Innovate Publishers

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