My favourite city in India. Style, sass, food, music, shopping, with a weather to die for. Don't listen to them talk about traffic, crumbling infrastructure and dying seasons - every time I go back this place just gets better.
This was my most comprehensive visit so far - 3 days with G who knows the city inside-out. And the talking points included:
1. Natasha Inn - If you want cheap, clean accommodation in the heart of Bangalore city, go to Natasha's. India doesn't have the dorm concept in operation yet, so this place is rather more like a serviced apartment - bedroom, living room, washroom and a kitchenette - all for Rs 1,700 a night. The staff were friendly and the bathrooms were clean, but the location takes the cake: right in Victoria layout, a stone's throw away from Lifestyles and Garuda Mall. We pretty much covered the entire city during our trip, and none of the auto rides felt too long. So the next time you want to be in the city and *not* shell out $700/ night, this is your option. And yes, they have a pretty good in-room breakfast menu - idli, dosa, vada, uthappam!
2. Opus at Chakravarthy layout has got to be the most intelligent club/ pub/ night-spot I have been to. We were at their weekly karaoke night (titled: Croaknite!). Now this is not your traditional Page 3 club. But if you love all kinds of music ex-trance-ex-house, and want to hear some seriously good singing and do your own not-so-serious dancing, make sure you go here. G says on Sunday mornings this place becomes a taboo/ pictionary spot, and Thursdays are apparently quiz nights. Could someone start a petition to exempt this one place from the disgraceful 1130 curfew?
3. Liquid at Istha - I am normally too restless for lounge bars, but this place has an ambience that is worth checking out. The drinks were exceptionally good, and we even got two shots on the house (which tilted my review a bit, yes). This is an outdoor-ish layout on level 4, with very good service and a reasonably un-snooty crowd. And yes, it is right on MG Road, next to the Lido mall, which should make it easy to spot.
We also really enjoyed the brunch menu at Indi Joe's. And if you want some good North Indian food, try Sahib Sindh Sultan at the Forum Mall. It was a tad expensive though, and the decor is a bit gloomy. I really wanted to try out Olive Beach at Ashoknagar, mainly because an old friend manages the place, but I guess three days can only translate to 9 eatouts at most, especially if you were meeting folks and doing a fair bit of (window, damn you Lehman) shopping!
And finally, a word on the new airport - Open 24 hours, fabulous service and a nearly all-Malayalee workforce. A cool way to say - welcomed back home :P It took us 45 minutes on a Saturday morning to get out of the airport into the city, and 1h10m on a Monday night to get back. Not too bad, really.
PS: Another thing that came out of this trip: a reinforcement of my belief in travel companions, and how they can transform your trip completely. G and I had similar budgets/ adrenalin levels, and wanted to do the same things. Trip wise - we were an efficiency machine!