New-age retro hangout
The architecture of Dollops is a much a hit as the food.
STEP INTO Manipal and ask any young thing walking around where you can grab some great food and the answer would probably be, "Dollops!" And then if you go ahead expecting a hip and trendy place, are you in for a surprise! Dollops is an architect's dream come true. With its tiled roof, red oxide benches and stone floor, this antiquated building-turned-restaurant will make you feel so much at home. A well in the premises, dry otherwise but full during monsoons, adds to the old-world charm of this place.
If the ambience can do that much, just wait until the food tickles your taste buds. "The food served here is simply lip-smacking," drools one of Dollop' many frequenters. And even before I can ask her, she ventures: "Oh yes, it is definitely easy on the pocket too." It figures, considering that anywhere between lunchtime and dinner, this place is full of with hungry people.
Fascinated as I was with the architecture and the food served here, equally intrigued I was about how such a historic-looking place ended up with an incongruous name like Dollops. "The name just happened; the students christened the place themselves. In fact in the registration book, it is named something else," laughs the owner, Ashit. He goes on to add that Dollops started out as an ice-cream parlour, which served the now-defunct brand of ice-cream, Dollops.
Before the discos and bistros made an appearance in Manipal, Dollops was a major hangout for the student crowd. From an ice-cream parlour, it made a smooth transition to a full-time restaurant. It now specialises in serving some of the best north Indian and Chinese vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes in town.
From the menu, amongst the Indian-bread range, try the garlic naan or the kulchas. Non-veggies could add a chicken mughalai or peanut chicken to go along with it. Vegetarians could try Kolhapuri dishes or the spicy kurmas with Indian breads. Bottom line is that anything you try, the flavour is unique to Dollops and definitely paisa vasool.
The building which houses Dollops is around 50 years old, almost as old as the knowledge city itself. And the architecture is such a hit with customers that Ashit has never had to consider changing the décor. "Indians and foreigners who dine here, whether they are students or visitors, love the décor because they say it feels like a home," he says.
While there are no plans to change the décor, students can look forward to some new additions in the menu. "Ethnic food is the rage now, and because this a student town, it could be in demand all the more. So we are thinking of adding regional cuisines like Goan and Mangalorean a la carte," says Ashit.
The USP of Dollops is its timeless architecture, and when that combines with delectable food accompanied by modest prices, you have a winning formula of a successful eat-out, one place that the alumni of Manipal will never skip when they visit their alma mater years down.
and Chinese food
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