Friday, March 10, 2006

Just chill

Just chill
Deccan Herald

Lassi jaisa kuch bhi nahin – to beat the heat that is. No wonder the buzz never dies down these days at the nondescript lassi “bars” dotting City thoroughfares.

Lassi jaisa kuch bhi nahin — to beat the heat that is. No wonder the buzz never dies down these days at the nondescript lassi “bars” dotting City thoroughfares.

In terms of opulence and ambience, they are no match for their upmarket cousins — ice-cream parlours and restaurants. Yet, wayside lassi joints such as Sreeraj Lassi Bar and National Lassi Bar have their share of dedicated clientele, which grows as the mercury climbs up.

The lassi joint, also known for its inimitable brand of kesar kulfis and ice-creams, is a hit with people from all walks of the society. Sreeraj’s is a rags-to-riches story, of a man who walked the length and breadth of the City, selling kulfis on the footpaths to become the owner of a hugely successful enterprise. C K R Abdur Rehman Khadiri, a native of Mahe, used to sell kulfis in a cyle-cart — at 25 paise each — in Frazer Town, in front of Jyoti Nivas College and near National College Basavanagudi. In 1974, he opened a small joint on Lavelle Road. “I used to sell hand-churned lassi at Re one. Even now, our lassi costs only a pittance,” says Abdur Rehman, now the proud owner of a chain, which has branches in Shivajinagar, Kamaraj Road, Jayanagar, Gandhinagar, Koramangala, City Market, Frazer Town and RT Nagar.

Located opposite the West Gate of Lalbagh, National Lassi Bar is a hangout for both the young and old, who also visit the botanical garden. The joint offers sweet and khara lassi at reasonable prices. Check out the kulfi sticks here — kesar badam, mava kesar and ilachi special — they will melt in your mouth. With the sun beating down on the City, Bangaloreans are going bananas over papaya and sapota milk shakes too. Old-timers swear by the Sree Ganesh Fruit Juice Centre, which came up in the ’70s. Sree Ganesh boasts of over 30 outlets, including those on Church Street and Gandhi Bazaar. Ask what’s on the menu and the shop assistant will reel off a huge list of juices and milk shakes: apple juice, mango juice, pineapple juice, grape juice, tomato juice, sweet lime, water melon juice, sapota milk shake, apple milk shake, banana milk shake, mango milk shake, papaya milk shake, butter fruit and masala soda. All the juices come in the price range of Rs 10-25.

If you are hanging out anywhere in Koramangala, Juice Junction at KHP Colony will be worth a visit. Rajashekhar, the owner, insists that the musk melon, mixed, pomegranate and carrot juices should be had with grilled sandwiches. “We have customers from as far as Mekhri Circle coming for our juices, cheese sandwiches and fruit chats that cost Rs 18,” says Rajshekhar.

Hotel Empire has juice outlets at all its branches on Church Street, Central Street, Kammanahalli, Commercial Street, CMH Road and Shivaji Nagar. The hotel is famous for fresh juice, milk shake, sundae, melbas, faluda, ice-cream shake, ice-cream soda, moktail, soda lime and lassi. “We do not add a drop of water in fruit juice,” says Shaukat, an employee of the

hotel.

Cool Joint, a fruit juice and sandwich outlet in Jayanagar, is chock-a-block with parched souls right through the summer. Swadeshi Fresh Fruit Juice Centre on Church Street and Bowring Stall on St Marks Road are two other fruit stalls in the City. If you want to go organic, visit Namdhari’s outlets in Indiranagar or Koramangala and have a glass of organic juice. It contains only natural flavours, poses no health risk and is highly nutritious.

With fruit juice and lassi centres making hay while the sun shines, can sugarcane and tender coconut vendors be behind? For the poor man on the street, sugarcane juice priced at Rs four a glass is manna from heaven.

The popular summer cooler of Mumbai, gola, has now come to Bangalore. The gola is crushed ice sweetened with a syrup of one’s choice. To get a taste of the cooler, check out the kiosk in front of Spencer’s on MG Road. Also available at a nearby kiosk is lime juice, which you can have with salt, sugar or ginger.

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