Sankranti suggi at Halli Mane
The Hindu ,Metro plus Bangalore
Jan 13 2005

The idea is to keep our culinary flag flying high

Ambience: Traditional
Service: Quick and friendly
Wallet factor: Really affordable
Specialty: The Sankranthi meal in totality

Avarekayi bele bhaath, aambode, obbattu saaru, majjige huli, kootu, gasgasey paayasa, holige, pachadi, gojju, maavinakai chutney… to many it will bring lip – smacking memories of a cuisine unsullied by instant mixes and powders. Of firewood, smoky kitchen, and bustling women fragrant with the aroma of food. To the uninitiated, welcome to authentic festival oota of Karnataka.

This is one food festival you’d better not miss. Hallimane, branding itself as a rural restaurant in Malleshwaram, is hosting a three – day Sankranthi Habbadoota festival.

Sankranthi, the harvest festival or suggi season, is when a whole lot of freshly harvested vegetables, grains, pulses, roots, and cereals find their way into sumptuous, healthy food that drives away the cold and welcomes the beginning of the warmer days to come. It marks the movement of the sun into the northern hemisphere, according to the Hindu calendar, and is referred to as Makara Sankranthi.

And it’s going to be one superficial festival, the restaurant promises. Hotel staff will greet you with the traditional yellu – bella and will see you though the plantain – leaf meal or baley yele oota and send you off with tamboola, much like during an auspicious accasion.

Sanjeeva Rao Neelavara, proprietor of the restaurant, has resolved that the eatery will celebrate every festival from now on with a special food fest. Hallimane will be backed up in festive flowers, torenes, rangoli, sugarcane, banana stems, and more.

Big spread

We got a peek into what the festival holds, and we can vouch that it’s really tasty, filling, and healthy food that will welcome you. Have boiled groundnut for starters, and delve into bele kosambris (salads), yellu chutney (sesame chutney), playa (curry), kootu (all with a wholesome helping of coconut in them), five amazing varieties of sandiges and happlas (crispies), spicy masala – filled fried chillies, some terrific pongal and of course, the saaru (rasam), huli (sambar) and a bhaath.

One is spoilt for choice, what with over 20 varieties of dishes spread out. The menu varies on all the three days starting today, with the vegetables and sweets changing. Top off the meal with a plantain, and then mull over the goodness of your hearty lunch by chewing on paan.

Sri Thiru Swamiji, one of the patrons of the restaurant and the festival, says the food festival is an attempt to get people living in the city to appreciate their traditions, revive traditional cuisine and to provide an experience of newness to those not familiar with Karnataka’s glorious culinary tradition.

“Of late, there is a kind of foreign invasion in every part of our life; so also in food. The future generation needs to be introduced to our own authentic food. Moreover, people don’t celebrate festivals with the vigour they used to earlier. We hope to change that”.

R.Prabhakar, a food consultant who has been spearheading the establishment of ethinic restaurants in the city, says: “There are a whole lot of MNCs who come here and sell pizzas and burgers – foods that are not very healthy – at ridiculously high prices. We are not demanding that they shutdown. We only want to compete with them and provide wholesome Indian food at much more affordable prices”.


He invites Bangalore’s multicultural populace, from IT industry professionals to businessmen, to experience the festival and get a feel of Karnataka’s tradition.

The festival is on from January 13 to 15 between noon and 3.30 p.m.

Our sincere advice: skip breakfast before turning up for lunch here.

Our sincere warning: be prepared for swarming crowds and await your turn.

The restaurant has a seating capacity of 150. A meal costs Rs. 80 per head for adults, and Rs. 40 for children below 12.