Walking up the winding staircase of New Udipi Anand Bhavan is a Hyderabadi ritual, second only to climbing up the minars of the Charminar
- you've seen it once, been there, done that, but you keep going back for second helpings.
No awkward silences or tentative gestures between you and the waiters - whatever Anand Bhavan has, in the true sense of hospitality, is laid bare for you. So unpretentious is the ambience that you might end up at the same table as your autowaala
. You'll find yourself sharing elbow space with a motley of multi-colored and multi-ethnic junta
which proliferates abundantly under the Charminar and swarms the narrow bylanes of Lad Bazaar
Anand Bhavan buzzes with heated conversations and laughter. Occasionally, plates falling on the ground raise some tumult, and are followed by some frenetic retrieval activity by the staff. But all in all, once seated, you can relax, and give in to the din around you or retreat into your own thoughts, as you are not even required to swat your own flies. Anand Bhavan has its own swatters, as it has its army of cleaners and waiters in different degrees of... waiting. Hungry Joes, and Janes in Burqas, will be eyeing you all through your meal - for once, not because you are too gorgeous to be for real, but to pounce on the scrubbed wooden table on perceiving in you the slightest inclination to leave.The Food
Chefs don their aprons for a variety of reasons - money, free food, nagging wife at home... - but at Anand Bhavan, they do it because it's their religion. It's no award-bedecked affair, but you'll be awed by the simplicity yet the sumptuousness of the food that can be had in a paltry sum of Rs. 27. Basically a tiffin joint, the restaurant serves North-Indian and South-Indian meals in addition to the large variety of dosas
Anand Bhavan's Special Idli, sauted lightly in desi ghee
and accompanied with red sauce, sets the pace for the day. With Onion Dosa
and a plate of Mysore Bajji
, and a serving of un-Mumbai Pav Bhaji
, the breakfast is quickly converted into a brunch. Mouth-watering, scrumptious, delicious... such adjectives get an added flavor due to the low prices.The Verdict
After sampling exotic
cuisine like the Lebanese Mattalaba (glorified baigan ka bharta
) and Japanese Steak (chicken leg piece in kaccha andaa
) at atrocious prices in the numerous restaurants that have recently mushroomed around town, there are reasons enough for you to try Anand Bhavan. While not regretting your decision, you'll nevertheless be ashamed to pay so less for feeling so fulfilled.