A rare predicament assails this dispatch: most restaurateurs, gourmands and greedy-pops were happy to chew the fat over Bangalore’s tastiest beef, but every single person declined to give us directions to their local meat suppliers. “No one wants attention right now,” we were told by one restaurant owner.
A Mangalore store renowned for its ready-to-fry beef cutlets is under renovation, and “now mostly deals in pork,” we discover. A trip to the butcher’s market in Shivaji Nagar on a Sunday is revealing. All the workers we encounter at the stalls in Russel Market are reluctant to speak with us, and refuse to name their owners, citing the risk of getting caught in the cow cross-fire already battering other parts of the country.
No beef ban applies in Karnataka, but the noise of vigilantism appears to have rattled Bangalore’s meat suppliers, many of whom have been in the business for generations. With little faith in law-and-order and lots of anxiety, this list of beef dishes, catering services and cold storages was assembled for anyone who’d like to cow down in case we’re forced to bow down.
Filet Mignon: Portland Steakhouse & Café
There would be a tournedo if a Bangalore beef list didn’t acknowledge the superiority of Portland Steakhouse’s filet m., a sizeable portion of juicy tenderness. On Portland’s own recommendation, we suggest you eat it with simple pepper sauce.
Getting there: #1 Brunton Road, Off MG Road.
‘Phal’: Siddique Kebab Centre
Siddique’s is typically assailed by a jostle of hungry customers, and on big days, and the owners behind the counter are barely able to keep their cool in the crazy rush. Still, perfect concentration goes into the phal here: supremely thin slices of beef infused with heat over a burning slab of stone. Once off the stone, it’s showered with lime, salt and pepper. It’s hard to imagine a dish this basic with such fan following, but when the first slice melts in your mouth, you know you’ve phal-len for it too.
Getting there: #44, Aga Abdulla Street, Richmond Road.
Buff Fry: Kairali
This deserves an honourable mention because our Malayali friends would murder us otherwise. At Kairali, a little shack-like canteen in BTM Layout, you’re assured of nothing but the basics and great taste. The Buffalo meat fry – animal categorically announced on the menu – is light, crunchy and a quick fix for any mood, ranging from Malabari homesickness to existential despair over the state of the republic.
Getting there: #11, near Aiyappa Swamy Temple, Madivala
Cheesy Beef Lasagne: The Only Place
This family-run business offers a cheesy Beef Lasagne whose picture is in Bangalore’s dictionary next to the words “comfort food.” Several swank steakhouses have taken over its USP, and The Only Place can now seem stuck in time, dishing out the same over-cooked meat poured over with a sauce that’s stodgy and floury. Still, the over-filled waiting area is a sign that for many, the restaurant lives up to its name.
Getting there: #13, Museum Road.
No beef ban applies in Karnataka, but the noise of vigilantism appears to have rattled Bangalore’s meat suppliers, many of whom have been in the business for generations.
Grills: Party Chef
Harish Ousu, partner at brand-new catering and hospitality service Party Chef, says their most requested order so far has been Kerala style Beef Cutlet. This mince patty, seasoned with gentle spices, is crumbed, fried and served with mustard sauce, mayonnaise or a garlic butter. Almost better, however, is BBQ cut with a wine marinade: we’ll certainly drink to this smokey, boozy hunk of meat.
Getting there: Find them on Facebook to book their services.
Beef Stew & Ramen: Thran
In Kammanahattan, as it is lovingly called by a plurality of its locals, a small restaurant that feels like someone’s living room serves the heartiest ramen in the city. Mild in flavour, large in portion, Thran wins big points for the authenticity of its Korean food. Beef soup has a slight kick to it, while kimbab is tightly rolled to form tiny coloured gems on a platter. But the best, most adventurous thing to eat here is beef and octopus stew. Squid stalling.
Getting there: #507, 4th cross, 2nd block, CMR Road, Kalyan Nagar.
Cold Storage: Bamburies
Home to the best cuts of ham, prosciutto and Goan sausage, Bamburies offers limited varieties and quantities of beef cuts, but whatever they sell is of impeccable quality, and they are more than willing to help source for your requirements. “We don’t have access to a farm set-up,” they tell us, but they do claim they’re hooked up to some of the city’s best local suppliers.
Getting there: #39/1 Richmond Road, Ashok Nagar.
Oxtail Soup: Bhaiyajees
As the only food service in the city with an all-beef menu, Bhaiyajee’s fan following on Sunday afternoons can compete with the frenzied crowds that gather around the other Bhai’s home in Mumbai. An inventive menu includes beef cocktail samosas, nihari, oxtail soup and their most in-demand item, the Special Beef Biriyani. They’ll deliver meals across the city and also offer catering.
Getting there: Log on to http://bhaiyajees.com/Menu.php to place an order for home delivery.
Beef Burger: Café Thulp
Café Thulp’s Smoking Gun is the kind of burger that feels like a reward you’d give yourself at the end of a particularly hard day. The delicate pulled beef center is so generous you can bury your face in it, and so soft it vanishes on your tongue. Topped with Chipotle Mayo and in house BBQ sauce, this is the beef burger to beat in the city.
Getting there: #998, 1st main, 1st block, Koramangala.
Life By A Thousand Cuts: Abba Foods
Established over fifteen years ago, Abba Foods is the go-to supplier to gourmet eateries in the city. The inventory here includes Chateaubriand, T-bone, Fajita strips and Korean Bulgogi. Apart from the expensive restaurant quality cuts, Abba Foods comes recommended for tender boneless chunks of beef, best for home-cooked curries and biryani.
Getting there: #42, Aga Abbas Ali Road, Ulsoor.
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