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Updated: October 13, 2011 10:49 IST

Still a gem at 60

Madhavi Shivaprasad
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Soft spot: Savouries and sweets at Banaras Sweet House in Chickpet. Photo: Varsha Yeshwant Kumar
Varsha Yeshwant Kumar Soft spot: Savouries and sweets at Banaras Sweet House in Chickpet. Photo: Varsha Yeshwant Kumar

Like most old stores in Chickpet, the Banaras Sweet House holds its place in the history of the locale. Sixty summers ago, Ram Prakash Agarwal established this sweetmeat stall on Avenue Road to indulge his love for sweets. Ram's legacy is now taken forward by his three sons, who efficiently manage the eatery, keeping it open on all 365 days of the year.

The Sweet House stocks more than 165 varieties of sweets and savouries — Bengali, Gujarati, Marwari and sweets from the south.

The first thing you are asked when you enter the eatery, without even waiting for you to place your order, is: “Badam doodh lenge?” It is quite amazing, the amount of pride that one simple drink generates. Definitely not unfounded you think as a medium-sized cup, with an abundance of sliced almonds, is placed in front of you. Just the perfect drink to cool off on hot summer days.

Served at Rs. 10 per plate with the sweet and spicy ‘pani', a light snack of hot samosa is highly recommended. They are crispy to the touch and light enough to relish.

Having been around for so long, the place is a popular landmark in Chickpet. “People use our shop as a landmark in their addresses. They meet with prospective clients here and while waiting for them, they sip our badam milk,” says owner, Narender Agarwal.

Innovation and improvisation has been the trademark of three generations of Agarwals. All the recipes belong exclusively to them. “The only complaint our customers have about us is that we do not have branches in other locales. But that is not feasible as it would mean compromising on quality,” says brother Vishal Agarwal.

All the delicacies — Bengali malai sandwich, the Gujarati dhokla, khandvi, kaju katli — are made of pure ghee.

There are at least 26 varieties in just the cashew sweets section, innovatively designed to resemble jalebis, apples and more. Homemade chocolates are also available. Customers can opt to have their sweets packed in trendy packages for special occasions.

That this place has survived in spite of lifestyle changes is testimony to the quality of the goods they stock.

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