There are many Andhra joints in Bangalore, but in spite of the numbers there are a few that have been voted as the best places to lick some spicy rasam off your fingers.
So, this writer called 15 people and asked them to name which Andhra food joint took them closer to nirvana. Bheema’s on Church Street and Nagarjuna on Residency Road figured on top of the list. I revisited both to find out why.
Bheema’s, Church Street
Located on a street that has a number of offices and is close to Brigade Road and MG Road, both of which are popular shopping areas, it’s not surprising that Bheema’s is almost always crowded.
There are just two reasons why one must visit Bheema’s . One is the vegetarian meal, and the other is the biryani. The vegetarian meal starts with chapattis served with coconut chutney and a variety of palyas (vegetable dishes). This is followed with rice and sambar, and then rasam. It goes without the saying that everything is unlimited and the table attendant won’t blink even if you ask for your 10th helping of rice and ghee. The full meal is designed for people with large appetites and if you eat big you won’t be disappointed. The biryanis come in three varieties—vegetarian, egg and chicken. It goes without saying that it’s the Andhra chicken biryani that is most popular, but if you are vegetarian don’t worry. The vegetarian biryani makes for a perfectly satisfying meal and is served with gravy and a mixed vegetable raita.
Chilly chicken is a hot favourite at Nagarjuna.
We waited for 45 minutes for a table during lunch hour. Church Street is packed with eating joints, but not one person in the waiting lounge stood up to leave and eat elsewhere. It’s noisy. Not surprising, considering the place can seat 132 guests at one go. The first floor which is quieter serves alcohol, but the vegetarian full-meals are not served here.
A meal for two at Bheema’s will cost around Rs180.
Nagarjuna Residency, Residency Road
The Nagarjuna chain has been around for 24 years and is a favourite with old timers along with the good old RR restaurant on Church Street. But, while RR seems to have lost its charm, the Nagarjuna chain does brisk business. They have a number of joints across the city and have a new branch coming up on Lady Curzon road.
Not forgetting the veggies, here’s a vegetarian platter at Nagarjuna.
The best thing about Nagarjuna is the green dal they serve with their vegetarian meals. It’s just a tad spicy and makes a great combination with hot rice and generous helpings of ghee. It is difficult to move on to rasam or sambar once you’ve tasted the dal. A variety of vegetable dishes are served along with spicy onion chutney. I could personally have an entire meal of just rice, dal, ghee and chutney. Nagarjuna is famous for its chicken dishes. Other than the biryani, people order their spicy chicken roast a lot too.
It can seat 200 guests, but getting seating can still be a challenge. The is décor fairly tasteful, but amid all the waiters constantly serving unlimited meals and the chatter of the crowd you’ll barely get to experience it.
A meal for two at any of the Nagarjuna will cost around Rs200.