In all sincerity, I am not asking this question in a condescending manner, and by no means am I pouring scorn over this city. Maybe this is the scene in most big cities across India - I wouldn't know - lived here all my life. But facts are facts, or at least, I'm not aware of anything else, so please feel free to educate me, for I'm all too willing to learn (it could help me reduce my freakin' weight, which seems to have frozen for a while now!). What is it that Bangaloreans can do weekend after weekend in the city? Most of the historical landmarks are gone, and the ones that remain aren't maintained by the ASI or the state govt., Cubbon Park and Lalbagh are passe now (come on, I've lived here all my life, I can't keep going there all the time!), Bannerghatta is too far away to visit every weekend, and what's more, the lions are in really bad shape there (and now there's some stupid bug that's killing the big cats because all the PETA and animals loving lunatics insisted that instead of feeding the big cats with beef, they be fed chicken meat injected with protein hormones that have reduced the resistivity of the cats - OK, more on this later, let's not deviate), the aquarium has the same species of marine life that were there more than a decade ago (perhaps it's the fourth or fifth generations of those species now, with probably some funky mutation from being couped in a glass box), Fun World isn't really fun, go carting isn't for everyone (ditto with bowling), I'd love to spend every weekend at Blossoms but know I can't, so that's out, we don't have impressive museums here to visit once in a while, the city central library is good but hey, it's a freakin' library - who speaks in one huh? And unless you're the academic type, ppfffbbt, and I certainly am not the type to go visiting temples every week (psst, EVER :) ). So there you have it, the only thing that my friends and I can do week after week is meet up at some place where we can sip on a cuppa (tea for me, thank you) and/or grab a bite and engage in long conversations.
Now watching movies and the like are something we do, but the central point is we can't be 'engaged in conversation' during a movie, and unless we're the only ones watching the show (like confessions of a shopaholic perhaps?), movies are out as well. This isn't a Mumbai where we have a beach front or a Marine drive where we can sit on a parapet wall with the waves crashing beneath our feet, and neither is this Delhi where we have roads good enough to drive a BMW and kill someone and get away with it because of our 'connections' (of course, assuming we can even own a BMW in the first place, and then pull ourselves to commit the ghastly acts that seem to come oh so naturally to some people). So that brings me eating. And eating we do and how!
Coffee shops and cafes dot almost every residential by lane in the city, and the CBDs (OK, no true CBD, so let's just say 'areas surrounding malls') are full of places that can spoil one for choice. Pubs and bars are usually pooled around one of the central areas of the city, or in one of the posh residential/commercial neighbourhoods (like Koramangala, Indiranagar, etc), while restaurants are spread across the city like butter over a slice of bread. And so we eat. We eat and eat and eat, and then we eat some more later. It's no wonder then than even a half-assed attempt at opening and running a restaurant that serves even half-decent food works in Bangalore. People love to eat out, and as long as there's variety (even if the variety includes some crappy options), the citizens are happy. Once in a while, those who aren't locals (read Kannadigas), or those who don't get to eat local Karnataka food often, throw caution to the wind and land up in some teeny-weeny hole in the wall place that probably serves raagi-mudde (raagi balls served with a fiery gravy) or some such dish not usually available at the fancy-shmancy locations. This constitutes adventure, although purely in the gastronomic sense though, but adventure none the less.
And so while not engaging in some charity work over the weekend, and while not sleeping off a massive hangover or nursing one of those 365-days-a-year-cold (I'm told Bangalore's penchant for causing people to start sneezing as soon as they cross the tarmac after touchdown is legendary), we Bangaloreans eat. We may spend time sipping a granita or a smoothie or a cuppa, but eventually we'll be eating, and eating out in force. That's what we are good at now, and by the looks of things, that's what we'll be good at.
We may not have a street-food culture as rich as several other cities, but the fact that groups like the BJN always experiment with Bangalore first with any place they plan to launch is testimony to the fact that we are a city that eats out. Myriad cultures, religions, nationalities even, make up the hoi polloi of Bangalore, and so there's potentially an untapped market in almost every one of those demographics (or is it demographs, or demographies). If you're a 'politically-correct gourmand', then maybe you'd be a tad disturbed at the gastronomic culture here because here as long as the food tastes good to you and needn't conform to the actual authenticity of the dish, the junta will rave about orgasmic bliss. If, on the other hand, you can take off your politically correct hat and just be a silent spectator amidst all the chaos, then no matter which part of the world you come from and where your loyalties lie, you'll conclude this: in Bangalore, as far as food is concerned, anything goes. [This line was added after the 4th comment because my 27 yr old brain hadn't realised sooner that I'd missed it: Based purely on the variety of cuisines available in this city, ] this truly is the gastronomic capital of the country.
* I'm sure the last sentence will elicit brick bats and stinky, worn-out shoes. Hunting season opens.
** I'm still sure the last sentence will elicit brick bats. Bring 'em on.