Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hot holiges and lot more

Hot holiges and lot more
Aarthi R | TNN


Soft round balls of dough patted and filled with ground jaggery-coconut or ‘bele’ mixture; perfectly rounded, they are flattened and lined on the hot tawa. Smeared with fresh ghee on e i t h e r side, the bisi-bisi ‘holige’ is ready to be served at the Nisarga Garden restaurant on Infantry Road.
Gulpreet, who just finished one, completes it with — “Ummm... hot and good’’. Prof Sheena sits down with her son and husband, upset that there was “no bele holige’’ at the counter. But she ensured that not a morsel of the ‘kaai holige’ remained on her plate.
Predominantly South Indian and strictly vegetarian, this neat little hotel has been a steamy-hot hit with working people here since 1997. Crisp long paper roast rolled with masala, spicy chats, steaming samosas, pav-bhaji, a dozen rice varieties and ‘strictly limited hours’ for favourite hot parathas, channa bhatura and roomali roti.
The kitchen fires, lit at 8 am, sizzle and steam till the chairs are piled and counters closed at 8 pm. It’s almost impossible to reach the counters during lunch time. At times, all you get to hear are loud calls at the counter — ‘Vada ready’, ‘paper roast’, ‘vaangi bath’... A long wait ahead.
“I am a regular at Nisarga these days. My evenings are almost incomplete without a paper roast — plain/masala with mosambi juice here. I also like their dahi puri and fruit salad with nuts and ice cream. The best part — it tastes good, is clean and very light on the wallet,’’ says Rajesh K, who works as a web designer in one of the media firms nearby.
Flanked by star hotels, multinational and software firms, there’s never been a dry day at Nisarga. Over the years, their quality has opened the doors to good fortune for proprietors K H Venkatesh and K H Raghavendra. No formal education or training in hotel management, the brothers made a humble start as hotel staff elsewhere, making dosas, serving tea/coffee and manning counters. Now, they own the adjoining Chevron and Mint Masala, both luxury hotels. Before Nisarga, they had a small hotel in Sadashivnagar. Now, their group has grown to 200 workers. And they are sure that Nisarga will never have branches.
“It’s where we started off. It’s close to our heart. Our father was a hotelier but we lost the hotel after his death. And it’s taken a good 10 years to reach where we are today. We hope to maintain the good start,’’ says Venkatesh with humble confidence.
COST FACTOR
Self-service range — between Rs 7 for coffee/tea to Rs 40 for a complete South Indian thali
NISARGA GARDEN
Infantry Road, Opp. police commissioner’s office; Phone: 22289563 Closed on Sundays

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