A stereotype that shrouds the city of Bengaluru’s culinary landscape is that it comprises mostly vegetarian fare.

But what most are unaware of is that centuries of the city’s history are rooted in delicious meaty affairs.

Thanks to Bengaluru’s military hotels, which have been treating customers to kaima curry, bheja and paya fry for eons now.

One theory is that military hotels were started and run by Maratha descendants of Shahaji Bhonsle after they conquered Bengaluru in 1638.

Another story tells of how these hotels date back to the 1800,  when the city was struck with the bubonic plague.

As women and children were sent away to remote villages, the farmers stayed back and the hotels were then established to provide sustenance to them.

Some legends also connect the origin of military hotels in the 19th century to serve Tipu Sultan’s soldiers, and later, the British.

Situated in parts of Old Bangalore, which is now known as the Cantonment area, military hotels were the first eateries serving non-vegetarian food.

Some of them would add the prefix of ‘Hindu’ to specify that they do not serve pork or beef, but only chicken and goat meat.

Here’s a glance at two of the most iconic ones.

Shivaji Military Hotel: Started in 1924 by Rajiv’s grandfather, a Maratha named S Mannaji Rao, this is one of the oldest military hotels known for its authentic Donne Biryani.

Here, one can relish a crispy dosa alongside an endless serving of ghee and spicy keema, and succulent chicken and mutton dishes with biryani.

S Govindrao Military Hotel: Located in Cottonpet, Old Bangalore, this 112-year-old eatery was started in a small thatched room of Akkipet with just a few desks and seats.

The place is known for its slow-cooked Arabic biryani mandi, and idlis served with keema curry.