One late afternoon, I was on MG road trying to kill time before meeting my husband. I was browsing through some stores and doing some shopping/window shopping. Since my return from the US, I have been getting used to my mom’s first class South Indian filter coffee everyday at around 4.30 pm. Typically, I don’t drink too much coffee and am not an afficionado by any measure. Infact, for all the years in the US, all I had on a daily basis was a cup of instant coffee with hot milk in the mornings. When on the road, I have enjoyed Starbucks too.
Anyway, as I strolled along I realized that it was my coffee time, ‘mom’s South Indian filter coffee’ time. I was at The Bombay Store, and the nearest coffee joint is the Cafe Coffee Day(CCD), which is adjacent to it. I went to the counter to take a look at the menu. There were the typical espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, decafs, and the like. So I asked the guy at the counter if they served the regular South Indian filter coffee, after all I am in South India, aren’t I? And there was no such coffee available. Also I noticed that the per cup coffee prices ranged from the early to the late 30s. I next headed towards Barista, further down from CCD. I could smell the cappuccinos and espressos as I neared Barista. I didn’t even bother going in. I wanted my South Indian filter coffee, and that was that.
I walked down further and the very familiar coffee smell greeted me from the India Coffee House (ICH). I walked in and to my surprise the table right next to the big window overlooking MG road was available! I sat at the table facing the window and ordered for a coffee right away. The waiter brought me a cuppa Kapi. No frills and no jazz, just the way I wanted it. The saucer had water droplets, having just been washed. It was a nice big cup of fresh South Indian filter coffee, just like mom’s.
After I got the coffee, I ordered a masala dosa. He brought it almost immediately. Nice and very home-made. Loved the simplicity of both my dosa and coffee. I noticed that the menu card hadn’t changed in all the years. And the prices were down right low! Right in the middle of MG Road and I just had to pay a total of Rs. 22/-!! Amazing! (Any coffee at CCD was around Rs. 35/-)
I enjoyed the window view as I cleaned off my cup and plate. Nothing had changed. The ICH has probably remained the same for all the 60 odd years. The same old ceiling fans, a few old posters and hangings on the walls, the same red+white uniforms on the waiters, a few tourists, and some regulars. It had the old Bangalore colonial hangover and I was almost transported back in time.
View from the window
There has been the rumor that ICH is going to be razed to the ground, like everything old in the city. The location is very prime. In fact, I am surprised it is still standing what with the espressos becoming the norm in the trendier parts of town. I don’t know for how long it is going to be around, but thanks to ICH, I hardly missed my mom’s coffee that evening. And my hub got to meet a happy camper!
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Filed under: Bangalore, dosa, food, friends, India Coffee House, MG Road