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Melting moments



The Mysore Pak particularly is a favourite with customers. — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

SRI VENKATESHWARA Sweet Meat Stall's Gandhi Bazaar outlet, which opened recently has successfully replicated all the taste, flavour, and range that the illustrious original in Balepet has been dishing out since 1954.

V.K. Choodanath Setty, who roped in his sons V.C. Hariprasad and Vishnuprasad, ex-partners to start this unit, surely seems to have done his father Venkatachalapathy Setty, the founder of the famed shop, proud. Choodanath however, has gone a step further and started a chaat counter at his shop and success seemed certain here too, since he has engaged chefs from Bihar to achieve that original north Indian flavour in the chaat.

Hariprasad, whose idea it was to start the chaat counter has found that it has led to faster sale of sweets since customers who come for chaat, seldom leave without succumbing to the temptation to taste the wide range of sweets and even take some home. The chaat here is tasty and the masalas have a certain unique flavour to them.

There are about 25 varieties of chaat including the unique rasagulla chaat where rasagulla syrup is drained to mix it with curds, masala and coriander are mixed together to produce a delightful compound.

The young and the old enjoy their chaat comprising of masala puri, bhel puri, samosa, cutlet, and aloo tikki. The mint chutney accompanying the samosa hastens the dish down your gullet.

The chur muri chaat made of white puffed rice, crushed with dhal masala, and bonda is worth all the Rs. 10 it costs. Jhalmuri is like bhelpuri. Raj kachori is filled with aloo masala and is topped with chaat and curds. And it is tempting.

Prasad says that the chaat joint has become extremely popular and hence they plan to have five more tables that can seat 25 people and an equal number can stand.

The store boasts of a good 100 varieties of sweets, and it's the Mysore Pak that is its plum. The success behind the Mysore Pak is a secret, and Prasad only discloses that the butter that is used for making the ghee is sourced from Tumkur, and no softening agents are used. They have four cooks to make the sweets and there is one person exclusively for Mysore Pak.

All the other sweets too are made with export-quality cashew. Prasad says people going abroad carry sweets from here. All that one needs to do is reheat them for about seven seconds and it tastes as good. The Mysore Pak is particularly a favourite for people organising parties and if one has to get a taste of it, one must be at the store at 5 p.m.. The sweet melts in your mouth as quickly as it disappears off the store's shelves. Sri Venkateshwara Sweer Stall sells about 40 kilos of Mysore pak everyday. And of course, Prasad, who has been the taster for the hundreds of varieties that are made everyday, has ended up putting on 25 kilos in the process.

The other famed sweet here is the anjoor dry fruit burfi. The store also makes the famed Tirupati ladoo just like it is made at the Balaji temple. Special items include cashewnut sweets, which assume the shape of fruits such as seethaphal, cherry, and anjoor. They also come in gift packs and are priced at Rs. 400 to 450 a kg.

The avarekai bean mixture made with cashew is popular and customers make the most of the season. Kaju pakoda, dry fruit mixture, and bitter gourd chips are the other hot favourites. Traditional sweets such as chiroti and peni are also available at Rs. 200 a kilo.

The shop has celebrity visitors too. Vijay Bharadwaj, Sunil Joshi, Sihi Kahi Chandru, TV stars are regulars at the store. More than 300 people make it to the store on Sundays. You can have more details by dialling 26677131.

M. V. CHANDRASHEKAR

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