Think idli and dosa and the last place that comes to mind is Marwar, Rajasthan. However, this is the story of a Marwari family that has been serving a variety of South Indian staples for more than two decades in Hyderabad. Their shop is a little bigger than a hole-in-the-wall, but it is still one of the go-to places for many dedicated customers after all these years.
Bhattad Ki Idli – Rambharose Bhandar was started by Govindlal and Meena Bhattad in the late ’90s. Speaking to The Better India, Yogesh Bhattad, Govindlal’s son, says, “When this restaurant was started, it was purely to ensure that we were able to earn our daily bread. My father had suffered a rather huge loss in his business, and this, for us, was a way to stay afloat.” Little did they think about how that small outlet would grow and become an icon of Hyderabad.
Yogesh tells me how his parents had always enjoyed making and serving food. He says, “If people found out that Govindlal was cooking then they would always line up simply because he was so good at it.” In his 70’s, Govindlal enjoys cooking up a storm even today and Yogesh adds, “The taste of his food is something else, and no matter what I say, it will not do justice to it.”
With an initial investment of Rs 30,000 Yogesh says that it took almost three years to establish themselves and slowly, as people started to appreciate the food’s consistent quality, recognition started coming by.
The first outlet that was started was barely 3-by-4 feet and it was only the quality of the food that made customers return. Even today, while they have grown to three outlets, each of which is not more than 10-by-30 feet in size, it is the food that attracts people.
“When papa [Govindlal] started, they would serve moong and pyaaz (onion) pakode, but realised that the demand for these items were restricted only to the evening hours. It was this realisation that led to serving varieties of idli and dosa,” says Yogesh. “We can churn out almost 70 varieties of dosas at any given time and some of our bestsellers include the signature RBS (Ram Bharose Special) dosa [filled with grated paneer and onions mixed with peanut chutney and spices], which sells close to 5,000 pieces every month and the idlis are served along with a spicy peanut chutney.”
In order to continue to attract the younger crowd, variants like cheese garlic idli, pizza dosa, mexican dosa, and even a schezwan dosa have been introduced.
Yogesh says, “When my parents started this business, they had a large number of college students frequenting the outlet. Even today, twenty years later, when these people visit Hyderabad they make it a point to come and eat at the outlets and commend us for ensuring that the quality has remained unchanged. These are the small heart-warming moments that keep us motivated.”
The best part about the food that is served at Rambharose Bhandar is that it leaves you at just the right level of satiety.
Yogesh says, “Our intent is never to make you want to skip your next meal after having food at our outlet. Everything we prepare is easy and light on the stomach.”
A plate of idli, in which one gets four pieces accompanied with a karam podi (chilly powder) and peanut chutney, is priced at Rs 35. A basic dosa starts from Rs 35 and can go upto Rs 120, depending on what one orders. There’s also a special chocolate lined dosa for their young patrons.
With close to 150 daily footfalls in each of their outlets, Yogesh is looking forward to expanding the brand and serving many more.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)