Monday, August 23, 2010

Bobby da Dhaba

Bobby da Dhaba has been on my ‘Places-I-must-eat-at’ list for quite sometime. Twice I have attempted to gain entry here and twice I have been unsuccessful (Traumatic school memories were revived. To read the consequences of an earlier adventure, click here). Determined to ensure that third time was in fact lucky, the Hungry Hippo Club set out ­­early on a Wednesday afternoon. Despite getting there at 12:30 p.m. we still had to wait a good forty five minutes. Finally, we were in!

The good bit about the queue is that you can place your order while waiting and be assured that it will get to your table fairly quickly. During our long wait, we ended up ordering a generous amount of food. We ordered two plates of parathas each, the Baingan Ka Bartha, Dal Makhani and a Paneer dish. The parathas were great. They have all varieties of stuffed paranthas: alu, muli, paneer, onion and they are all huge and delicious. They are also served with generous dollops of authentic white butter on top. It might not please the calorie conscious, but it definitely adds to the flavour of the food. However, two plates of parathas were a big mistake (no matter what you think in your hunger induced haze). We each ended up wasting almost three quarters of one plate.

We ordered the Baingan Ka Bartha because everyone else in the line seemed to be. Brinjal is not something that is cooked well everywhere, but I liked Bobby’s version. The masala is really spicy and the distinct flavour of smoked brinjal dominates. The smoky flavor is a personal favourite. The bartha was quite tasty and complemented the parathas quite nicely. The Dal Makhani had a wonderful creamy, garlicy flavour to it and has that indefinable home cooked touch to it. It’s not the best Dal Makhani I’ve had but it is pretty decent. The paneer was a little bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t very soft and the flavor was decent but not mindblowing. All sabzis have loads of white butter on top. The butter on the parathas was nice but I do wish they would reduce the butter in the sabzis. Sometimes, it ends up ruining the flavor of the dish.

The other thing that deserves mention is the buttermilk and lassi (matta). They are served in huge steel glasses and after having one each we were quite full. It may be best to share this with someone for otherwise you will be too full to appreciate the food. The kheer here is very good and definitely worth a try. I am also told that the jeera rice here is great. (As is obvious, we were in no shape to try that too.)

Bobby da Dhaba is shorn of all pretentions and this means that the ambiance takes a big hit. This is a dhaba in the true sense of the word (no AC’s and cushioned seats here) and during lunch time, the temperature inside the dhaba is quite uncomfortable. I ended up drinking copious amounts of water to battle the heat and for many people this would end up ruining their appetite. The dhaba also gets a big thumbs down for using disposable plates and containers for almost everything. (It’s almost like they don’t care about the environment and the crazy temperature all over the world?!)

I must say that my overall feeling as I left Bobby was disappointment (and an uncomfortably full stomach). Yes, the food and the whole set up was authentic and yes, the food was very cheap but the food was also not that great (I know there are people who are going to vehemently disagree with me). I don’t think it was worth all the hype. Since so many people swear by this place, I am going to go back sometime and give it another chance.

Bobby da Dhaba is fairly easy to locate: Go to the Gurudwara in Ulsoor and right next to it is a little shack with serpentine queues outside. If you go to Bobby da Dhaba, be prepared to stand in queue. No matter how early you get there, there are always a dozen people ahead of you. Please note that the place serves only vegetarian food.

Location: Next To Gurudwara, Kingston Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore

Pricing: Rs. 100 per person (for a lot of food).

This review is also available at:

P.S: On an aside, I'm in Madras for sometime now so do spead the word amongst your friends there. If anyone in Madras is looking for a food critic, do let me know. Also, if anyone is in possession of a nicer template for the blog, email me.

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