Dumadum Mast Kalandar
Leftovers at Mast Kalandar are never recycled. The young owners often get the recipes and pickles from their homes and aunts! Photo: Murali Kumar K.
IF YOU enjoy licking curries, chutney and pickles off your fingers in between bites of some healthy paranthas, Mast Kalandar is the place you've got to be eating in. It's for tongues that crave chatpata vegetarian stuff, with an assurance that it's healthy all the way.
Firstly, it's wonderful to see that the paranthas are wheat, thank heavens, not maida. No cashewnut gravies, vermilion tandoor colours or the ubiquitous garam masala here. No artificial colours or flavours either. The only things orange and yellow here are their interiors.
It's also reassuring that the three young entrepreneurs who set up Mast Kalandar are widely travelled sales and business execs in the consumer retail and IT industry, who graduated from the fortresses of IITs and IIMs, but got restless in their jobs and decided to cook up something, literally.
Husband-wife Gaurav Jain and Pallavi Gupta teamed up with colleague Anand Sri Ganesh to come up with this `Eat Happy' restaurant. Kalandar, by the way, means carefree happy person in Persian.
For those on the move
"Whenever I worked late at Wipro, my dinner was invariably pizza. I would ask my husband why no one delivered stuff like paranthas. As a working professional I knew the biggest problem we all faced: getting ghar jaisa khana when you're on the move, with the right ambience and at the right price point. This is a gap I always found," says Pallavi.
So the food they serve at the joint, in a hope to fill this "gap", is very homey. If you choose, say a low cal palak-corn Mast Curry Combo, it's a meal in itself. It comes with a wholesome bowl of daal tadka, two jowar rotis, raita, a diced salad of cucumbers/carrots/radish and li'l bowls of divine chutneys. And yes, if you are the essential "healthy eater" you can always order extra rotis. The rotis are super thin, yummy, and healthy, and from the tandoor (unless you ask for the tawa version). And you can eat your fill and not be stuffed. "The idea is that one must be able to go back and work!"
And this is a big essential, considering the eatery is nestled in the IT hinterland off Bannerghatta Road, with a soon-to-be-opened branch in Koramangala.
Having done a market survey at their workplaces they saw people lining up at parantha and idli counters for breakfast "we realised we are the kind of people who want to wear our Levis but eat our rajma-chawal as well," says Pallavi, as Ganesh and Gaurav take turns at the cash counter. They are clad in the Eat Happy red-and-black Ts and caps. "We wanted to do away with stuffy white shirts and ties for waiters," they explain.
You must start off the meal here with a cool drink of masala shikanjee, a chilled nimbu pani with masala specially picked up from Modinagar, a hot favourite among Delhiites. Next, you can opt for all-time favourites aloo, mooli or gobi paranthas. But pray, be adventurous and try the sweet-sour chutmuk, stuffed with all the chatpata stuff that goes into your bhel puri, including the chutneys and bhujia sev! Don't wince, it doesn't crunch.
Heath freaks, please note that the leftovers are never recycled. You must have the healthy sprouts parantha stuffed with baked assorted sprouts. Those with a tongue for sizzling stuff, try the spicy corn (totally addictive). All these come with a range of chutneys that are changed every day so that customers don't find it repetitive. The day we landed, there was this knockout spicy dahi-mirch (curd-chilli) chutney, a pineapple relish, and tomato chutney. The true blue Punjabi should go for the sinful Punjabi paneer. A Bengali recipe for the tangy dum aloo is teamed with lachcha parantha and not-fried-in-ghee Marwar ki gatta curry. Rice eaters can check out rajma-chawal Dilli style, the very masala pulav or the sober Boston veggies with rice.
They've also improvised on the Italian panini sandwiches with `naninis' aloo/paneer/veggie stuffing in strips of naan that transform into grilled sandwiches!
The restaurant can seat over 60. Lunch is between 12 and 3.30 p.m. and dinner from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.. Mast Kalandar is at A1, 80 ft BDA Road, Opposite Ranka Apartments, off Bannerghatta Road. Contact 51527475/51507172.
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