AT THEHEEBEE SAYS :
As part of the 1st- Food Lovers’ meetup organized by the group ‘All About Food – Southern Indian Regions‘, we headed to Indian Coffee House for breakfast on one Sunday. This was the first meetup organized by us and we wanted to start it with something that is legendary and a characteristic attribute to Bengaluru. After checking out many options, we finalized on ICH, Church Street, Bengaluru.
We were supposed to meet at ICH at 8.00 AM as that is when they start their service. To understand the atmosphere, we reached there little early and to our surprise we found people already waiting for the service to start. We talked with few of them and got to know that they are regular customers who come from distant areas to ICH to relish breakfast on every weekend. Wow! How much the people still love the place and its offerings. We met a gentleman for whom it is a custom of past 10 years to have weekend breakfast at ICH. We met another gentleman who visited Bengaluru after 6 years and who brought his whole team for breakfast to ICH on that day. There were few couples who has just finished their weekend jogging at Cubbon Park and headed to ICH for breakfast. It was amazing… within no time of its opening, the place was full. The best part was the proud feeling that every customer had.
ABOUT ICH :
As told by Wikipedia & Discover Bangalore, Indian Coffee House is a restaurant chain in India run by a series of worker co-operative societies. It has a strong presence across India with nearly 400 coffee houses.
ICH opened its first outlet on M G Road in January, 1958. It was due the efforts of communist party stalwart A. K. Gopalan who setup the workers’ cooperative that the ICH was born. They started ICH in a 36 years old building on M G Road.
On 5 April, 2009 the iconic ICH on M G Road got closed after the Indian Coffee Workers’ Cooperative Society Limited lost a legal battle with the owners of the building to continue in the premises. After that it reopened on Church Street, less than a hundred meters away from its previous location.
AT THE FIRST STEP :
It is housed in an old commercial establishment on Church Street. There is enough car and two-wheeler parking available in Church Street and adjoining lanes/roads like Brigade Road, M G Road and Museum Road. However during the rush hours even an inch of parking space in these areas will be a challenge. We got to know that there are people who would park their vehicles as far as Garuda Mall and taken a auto to reach ICH… now that’s like ‘A lot can happen for lovely Coffee!!’
Frankly speaking it is little difficult to spot ICH on Church Street. It has a very normal looking board and the building in which it is hosted, seems to be very old.
It has faced the beating of time but still tries its best to hold on to the vintage and rustic charm of the past. The tables are the same old with typical white sunmica. They have also carried with them the old pictures which were put in the M G Road premises. These pictures are simple, yet they may be decades old and give an idea of the kind of advertisements that were done during that period. One small room is used as kitchen and there is a small washroom. Cutlery is again vintage – thick white ceramic plates and thick transparent glasses for water. Fork and knife are given as a custom with English breakfast items.
Stewards still wear the fancy outlook which they are wearing for decades. It contains of a white dress with bright red belt and turban. Though it does not match the current times, it still explains the royalty that the legendary ICH used to have back in history.
ICH has a very limited menu and many things out of that limited menu have been scrapped, making it further limited. They have a variety of Indian and Western breakfast dishes, meal during lunch hours and beverages – hot coffee, cold coffee, lime juice and rose milk.
Scrambled Egg on Toast :
This was ‘THE’ best thing we had at ICH and this has been so far ‘THE’ best Scrambled egg that we have had. It was very soft and texture was similar to poached egg, very soft and semi-solid. Salt and spices were not added and were left to the customers to sprinkle it as per preference. Bread was very well toasted and the combination was out of the world. This is a #mustHave and highly #recommended dish at ICH.
Lamb Cutlets :
Cutlets made out of minced meat and deep fried. Meat was of a very good texture. Spices did not resemble any specific region but it tasted more like the cutlets served in trains by IRCTC. Onion and cucumber salad was served along with it. An overs-sweet tomato ketchup was adding to the overall experience.
Khara Bhat (Upma) :
This was an OK dish. We feel that we get better Khara Bhat at Darshinis. It was served with Coconut Chutney.
Tomato Omelette :
This was again another delicious dish. Soft omelette with big pieces of tomato. Omelette was of perfect texture and it tasted delicious with the over sweet tomato ketchup.
Masala Dosa :
This was another hit dish. We had not expected to get such a delicious Masala Dosa after the ‘Khara Bhat’ experience. Masala dosa was very well roasted and the stuffing was lovely. It was served with Sambar and Coconut Chutney. This is the best Indian breakfast dish available at ICH.
Medu Vada :
Medu Vada was crisp and taste was good. Nothing very special about it, but it can be tried for a change. It was served with Sambar and Coconut Chutney.
While Coconut Chutney was very delicious, Sambar had a good improvement scope. It was little watery and lacked the vegetables.
Egg Sandwich :
Simple boiled egg stuffing between bread-butter. This was a little let down as the bread were very hard. It may taste good if the bread are toasted.
Filter Coffee :
Coffee tasted out of the world. Definitely they are up to the mark with their coffee. It was strong and sweet. It is said that they don’t use chickory in the coffee powder. But we could not verify this with the staff. However, something was definitely different in the coffee.
Rose Milk :
We ended our breakfast with Rose Milk. It was delicious rose flavored chilled milk. Temperature of milk was apt for the hot Bengaluru mornings. Taste of rose and sweetness was brilliant. We felt fortunate to end our breakfast on this sweet note. This is a #highlyRecommended offering at ICH.
It was amazing how 2-3 senior citizen staff members were able to handle all the guests very efficiently. They were calm and very helpful. Service was above satisfaction.
The place continues serving affordable food in a up-market locality surrounded by some expensive fine-dining joints around. A meal for two will cost around 150 Rs.