If you have been to food street in VV Puram, Bangalore even once, you will know that there is a method to the way in which the street lined with eateries is to be tackled. An experienced visitor will tell you that you must start with a Congress Bun (bun filled with masala peanuts and butter) at VB Bakery, on one side of the street, and then work your way through masala dosas, dosa stuffed with chitraanna (lemon rice), akki rotis or go with some scarily red gobi manchurian on the way. Whatever your choices through the street are, it must always end with a stop at Shivanna Gulkand Centre for a plate of ‘balcony’.
Yes, it’s called balcony. Few people including the man who runs the store knows how the label came to be, but the best explaination is that it’s because it is made from Butter and Gulka nd . A combination of the syllables taken from the two main ingredients. But that is a story.
What is true is that Ravishankar’s father has been making and selling gulkand for more than a hundred years now. Twenty five years ago Ravishankar set up shop on one end of food street , the other other end from the VB bakery side and started to sell balcony. The original recipe is his father’s and the ingredients have remained the same since. Roses from Ajmer to make the gulkand, amla from Kashmir, butter from Mandya, butterscotch ice cream, sliced banana and a cherry to top it.
The extra sweet gulkhand combines well with the mild flavour of butterscotch icecream and this thrown in with fresh fruits and dates makes for a definite sugar high. That it only adds to the calorie count that you’ve piled on with your food street walkthrough is not so comforting either. But there is only place that makes and sells ‘balcony’.
A plate of Balcony comes for Rs 50, possibly the most expensive food item sold on food street and the shop still sells more that 50 plates a day. But that’s not all that Ravishankar stocks. Since his is the last stop on the street, he also serves Pepsi masala or just plain soda with masala “to aid in digestion”.
Apart from gulkand, the place also serves chaats, Bangalore style. You can also pack jars of gulkand for consumption at home.
This weekly series which appears on Tuesday looks at what’s new with food and how we are interacting with it.