In a neighbourhood known more for fine dining, two fast-food joints gain ground

Simply the presence of a school has made a humble ‘darshini’ a happening hang-out on Cambridge Road in Jogupalya.

Passing in front of the Frank Anthony Public School late afternoon or around dusk, the crowds that throng the eatery are more noticeable than the bright red signboard bearing its rather inappropriate name ‘Ice Chariot’ (9845593814).

Perhaps the name alludes to a ‘cool’ atmosphere, for it definitely cannot refer to the food, which is piping hot always. The owner Dattananda Prabhu explains it away saying they intended to sell ice-cream but decided against it as their gobi manchurian and soup became the hot favourites.

Manchurian favourites

No wonder, given that the gobi and paneer manchurians are deliciously crispy despite being soaked in spicy sauces. These are available through the afternoon and evening, with vegetable fried rice and noodles.

There is also roti, kulcha and paratha with a choice of vegetarian curries. But, not many customers seem to choose that. The chaat counter also suffers the popularity of the manchurian snacks.

Ice Chariot was started as a sister concern to Sandarshini, a south Indian restaurant a couple of buildings away on the same road.

Further down on Sai Baba Temple Road, there are a few snack and juice joints, but it is Lassi Point (9844138011) that is crowded and brightly lit even as late as 11 p.m.

Tough choice

The two-year-old joint was started by Naveen M., who is from a family of shoe merchants. “Some of my friends in Delhi and Mumbai told me about the range of lassis and faloodas available in stores in their cities. I observed some of those recipes and replicated them here,” he says.

It sure is difficult to choose from the exhaustive menu.

On offer are fruity, spicy and minty flavours of lassi, falooda and milkshakes, apart from the regulars such as strawberry, vanilla, chocolate or coffee. Rare and local fruits also make their way into the recipes with butter fruit, papaya and cherries featuring.

There is always the royal falooda for a safe option, or you could try a ‘khara lassi’, spiced with jal jeera powder. There is even a spirulina drink, advertised for health. There are also fruit salads and jellies.

Weather neutral

“Cold weather and rain do not seem to deter our customers, they hang out here all the time,” Naveen asserts.

The reason could be the tall glasses of lassis that patrons could nurse as they spend time with their friends or the quaint stone seat around a tree in front of the shop, which is as comfortable as a seat in a lassi bar can get. Indeed, a chain café opposite looks on forlorn and empty.