Sometimes relishing home-cooked food on a working day satisfies hunger pangs. And doesn't make your wallet considerably lighter afterward, fantastic, right? Off the beaten track, hidden away on the ground floor of Mittal Towers, is this tiny food corridor that has been giving the harried office-goer a respite of good home-cooked North Indian food… Bhaiyajis. It's about eight years old, no frills, has a few odd tables to sit at in one shop, while the one next to it has a sweet counter (mithai wala), savouries, and a long steel table where customers can stand as they snack… It's a basic canteen-meets-dhaba. So why review a place that has nothing fancy to offer? And that too an office-goers' go-to for desi khana? Because it serves the famed Bihari staples, Sattu parantha and sattu puri, and also takes bulk orders (50-60) of litti chowkha, Bihar's calling card.
First, a lesson in Sattu, which is a roasted flour of chickpeas, to which some add roasted barley for a more wholesome taste. The dough ball is stuffed with Sattu mixed with coriander, onion and spices, baked over coal, and served with copious dollops of ghee. Many serve it with chutney, or the chowkha, which is a mix of potato, eggplant, tomato mashed with green chillies, spices, onion and mustard. Streets in Patna, Muzaffarnagar, where the owner of Bhaiyaji Food Court is from, and even Lucknow, serve litti chowkha with fresh radish and onions, or with a chicken or lamb curry. Today, many have taken to frying the litti instead of baking it, for added flavour. It's delicious, if you like earthy tones.
It's also healthy… given how carbs are off the menu, and keto seems the way forward. A word of advice - balance it out as Keto is unhealthy for the liver, and the brain needs carbs!
On any given work day, Bhaiyaji’s is filled with hungry office-goers who can get "ghar ka khana" here, be it rajma chawal, keema aloo with roti, sattu parantha and puri, mattar puri with aloo ki sabji.
The Bhaiyaji in question is Birendra Kumar and his brother Mukesh Kumar. They started a small eatery, the North Indian version of a military hotel, a dhaba built along the lines of a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), about eight years ago! Today, the executives in and around the CBD make a beeline to Mittal Towers on MG Road for home-cooked fare, a variety, at the most economical prices. There is a Bhaiyaji at Manipal Centre too, and also one in the heart of Chickpet Market. The most popular item on the menu, according to Kumar's daughter, are the North Indian meals that have three different sabjis of the day, dal, rice, curd, roti and papad, and the parantha. The mooli (radish) parantha was delicious, even if the serving was rather large.
Sattu is a relatively unique offering on a Bengaluru menu and the sattu parantha and puri were good. The parantha came stuffed with a spiced sattu that we loved…! With it came with an aloo-channa (sparse) gravy and chowkha, which they serve with most breads. Yummy.
The next was the sattu puri with aloo gravy, which was delicious, very home-cooked in texture and taste. The bhindi masala was simple and tasty, slightly oily but scrumptious, nonetheless. The paneer bhurji, made with home-made paneer with its grainy texture was quite good (again, oily). The chowkha was very good.
A malai sandwich and a jalebi completed the meal. There's also chaats for the evening "chai" seekers, samosa and kachori too, and sweets like malai sandwich, jalebi, gulab jamun and rosogulla. They also sell packed of fresh savouries - potato chips, mixture and more.
You can see Bhaiyaji and his daughter busy at work… him in the kitchen… which is also the reason why the food is consistent. His daughter mans the bill counter during school vacations, while the able, affable staff get busy taking orders to a dozen. It's not a place for that specially thought-out meal but if you are in the neighbourhood and need some sustenance for breakfast, lunch or dinner, North Indian or Bihari in flavour, walk in, order and eat amidst the steady hustle and bustle. Standing, of course.
There are three other stalls on this food corridor in Mittal Towers, Jerome Café, Arvind Ladduwala and New Platter, though Bhaiyaji is the most popular. The setting made us feel we were in the middle of Lajpat Nagar market in Delhi. The taste is such too.
This small and bustling eatery that feeds the minions is heartening, for sometimes, nothing hits the spot quite like a home-cooked meal. Made bya no-frills Bhaiyaji who knows his food, serves it with passion, and does not mince words. "Khana to khana hai." Often, just simple fare is the best, and the Bihari babu is on point.
Bhaiyaji, Mittal Towers, Ground Floor
Meals for two: `250
Must have: Sattu parantha, Puri, Litti chowkha on bulk order, Puri aloo, North Indian meals, Mooli parantha