Those who love chaat, will always find an excuse to go have some. It doesn’t matter if it is blazing hot outside, a pani-puri craving must be addressed promptly. Maharaja Chat Bhandar in Madhapur grew from a small ‘bandi’ into a sprawling space where cars like BMWs and Mercedes are parked. Just like cream-stone ice-cream’s car-to-car service, the Maharaja Chat Bhandar too carries a similar service. You needn’t really look, a general buzz of a gathering will guide you. The Chat Bhandar was set up over ten years ago near the Jubilee Hills check post; growing numbers made Veeresh, the current owner of the business to move to a location near Kondapur Police Station and now he functions from a permanent location near Madhapur Police Station; the joint is complete with CCTV cameras as well!

Soak in the sight of three stalls, each busier than the other. A man counts cash, looks behind and screams, “Do pav bhaji urgent! (Two plates of pav bhaji),” before the assistant hands over the plates, a dozen more orders are placed.

Couples and groups of friends huddle around cement slabs; rounds of pav bhaji, aloo chaat, sev puri come and go and you can hear a few burps in succession; when you talk of chaat, manners are usually excused as well. We speak to Veeresh, who took over the business from the previous owner a few years ago. He says that the cameras are for security purposes, “Film stars like Lakshmi Manchu come to eat here,” he beams.

The USP of Maharaja Chat Bhandar is their focus on providing hygienic chaat to customers; the water they use in their pani puris, we are told is filtered mineral water. “The quality of our food attracts a lot of expats and foreigners who are worried about hygiene,” adds Veeresh. This is perhaps a reason their chaat is priced higher than usual.

Try the Pav Bhaji; if you’re feeling indulgent, nudge him for extra butter. The spicy bhaji is tangy and is perfect for those evening hunger pangs. With all the rain we have been witnessing and promise of more to come, it might be the right time to go grab a hot plate of aloo tikki chat with dahi and imli chutney.

VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM

What: Maharaja Chat Bhandar serves traditional street food like pani puri and chaat

USP: Butter Pav Bhaji

Price: Rs. 40 for a plate of Pav Bhaji may seem overpriced but the taste makes it worth it

Where: Near Madhapur Police Station

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