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Curry on a budget

Don't go for the view. Don't go for the location. Don't go for the interiors. Just go for the very good food

IF YOU don't go to Mount Carmel College, you can't be blamed for not finding Curry Story. It's in a bylane off one of Vasanthnagar's winding alleys that emerges perpendicular to Mount's. And once you get there, we won't blame you for um-ming and er-ing outside the building. The entrance, with its small doorway and winding staircase, doesn't inspire much confidence. But once you're in there, it's a different story.

Curry Story, started by two enterprising brothers Ravi and Ashish D'Abreo, is a blend of teen hangout, budget dining and foodie altar. Notes are left for friends on the bulletin board and most people who come are regulars, referring to the very friendly stewards by name, and asking for the same things they've probably had on their last five visits.

Intimate dining

Tables are close, very close, to each other and you are privy to other people's conversations without much effort. Since the clientele usually comprises excitable college students, this could turn out to be quite an entertaining experience. Besides, once the food arrives, your mind will miraculously find focus.

Ravenous and beginning a very late lunch, we kicked off with a series of starters which threatened to take the thunder out of the meal; Curry Story has to be one of very few places where they take their starters very seriously. We had the golden fried baby corn and a gobi Manchurian (China Town Cauliflower), both of which were very tasty. Curry story is also rightly proud of its starter salsa sauce.

The soups come in quite generous quantities, we had the sweet and sour soup, but be warned that not all soups will always be available, especially, I suspect, if you're late like we were.

On to the meal — we played safe and stuck with curries and appams, but did venture into the substantial Italian fare by sampling the Fasta Pasta. It was well above average, not boutique Italian perhaps, but definitely not something to regret later.

When you're at a restaurant called Curry Story, predictably the speciality is curries, some of them Mangalore style since that's the region the brothers are from, but also Thai and Burmese. We suggest you stick with the appams and accompaniments, of which there are a wide range. The stews are excellent, the Thai curries are excellent, the north Indian dishes are excellent. We had them all with appams (even, we must confess, the north Indian paneer and baby potato dishes), since we were wise enough to call ahead and ask them to save appams for us. Appams are usually available at lunchtime, unless you're headed for a late lunch, but if you're going there for dinner, you need to call ahead and ask them to keep some for you.

Remember that each item on the menu is usually meant for one person's consumption, so you could trigger a minor stampede at your table if you order appams and one dish to share. Each dish is for one quantity, and averages Rs. 50, often much lower, allowing you to order many curries and mix and match your meal. Unfortunately we were so full with all the soups, starters, Italian and curries that we had no room left for dessert. But, rest assured, we'll be back. Dial 51231177 for reservations.


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