The best bhelpuri in town
I know a lot of people will agree with me when I say that Gangotree serves up the best bhelpuri in town. On Sunday, my mom wanted to go shopping and we ended right next to Dass Community Centre on Cathedral Road. What else to do but follow our rumbling stomachs into Gangotree right opposite Stella Maris College?
Now, I am no stranger to Gangotree. I spend my college years (Many would that be since I also did my Master’s at Stella) right across the road. Gangotree was then not so famous and the prices of the chaats were downright street-food kind. Rs.15 for a plate of heaped bhelpuri that could suffice for lunch. So a whole bunch of us used to troop down to the now-famous place and eat to our heart’s content. Slowly, everyone in my family got to know about this place. Well, not to mention the whole of Madras! Which lead to some expansions. No, I’m not talking about the expansion I the collective girth of the city. Well, that too. But I was talking about the building. Then they expanded the place, added a room at the back, an ice-cream stall in front, colourful plastic tokens, and some more rupees to their prices. Still, I couldn’t complain because no one quite made bhel like them. And the best part? You talk in Hindi to the men who make them and they will make it faster! They are after all Biharis and any kindred spirit from the North of the Vindhyas seemed like people from home for them. Anyway, that’s what I think.
My affair with the best bhelpuri in town underwent a slight change. I shifted from yummy bhel to yummier Dahi papdi chaat. The round fried white papdis swimming in a pond of red, yellow, green chutney is to die for. And to top it all the dahi was white, smooth and cooling and great to tuck into especially in the summer months. So that’s what I had last Sunday evening.
Since by now nearly every other person knew about Gangotree’s chaats, we had to wade through quite a bit of crowd right from the token counter (by the way, they have replaced colourful plastic tokens with printed paper) to the line for the chaat. After nearly 20 minutes of yelling “Bhaisaab, ek dahi papdi chaat please!” (Bhaisaab, One dahi papdi chaat please!) I got my prize. It was worth the 20 minutes and more. The explosion of flavours inside your mouth tempered with the cold yoghurt was nothing that written words can do justice too. (An aside: Is there a job out there where I can taste chaats like this and get paid for it? If there is, I’d like to have it. You can contact me immediately. I assure you I will do complete justice!)
Of course, Gangotree makes excellent dhoklas and sweets as well. But if I could, I would give it a 5 star just for its chaats!
Image courtesy: Gangotree