Snack brand Adukale recently opened Old Bangalore Cafe in Jayanagar atop an experiential store of their products

From Adukale’s range of products
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Once upon a time, a lady fed up with the political bickering in her region, decided to leave Sengottai in Tamil Nadu. She moved across Coorg with her band of brothers along the River Cauvery and settled in the Mysore-Hassan area. They became the founders of the Sankethi community.

Sankethis speak a mix of Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam, though the written script is Kannada; and their cuisine reflects a similar amalgamation of Southern sensibilities.

“Historically, our community’s love of food and music is well known,” says Bharath Kaushik, CEO and Director of Adukale and the Old Bangalore cafe. “The brand was started in 2009 by my parents M S Ravindra and Nagaratna Ravindra, and my aunt Malathi Sharma in their kitchen. They called it Sankethi Adukale (Adukale means kitchen in most South Indian languages) and the first product they rolled out was rasam powder.”

At the Adukale experience store and Old Bangalore cafe in Jaynagar

At the Adukale experience store and Old Bangalore cafe in Jaynagar
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“My father had a sales background working with General Mills which launched the Pilsbury brand in South and East India. He took up agriculture for a while, and then in 2009, when I moved to the US, he started this venture.”

“My grandmother was an exceptional cook and they wanted to check out the feasibility of commercialising this talent and if there was a market for these products. It started off as a hobby for them when they were in their late 50s and the rest is history,” he says.

Having begun with rasam powder, they moved on to chutney powders and gojjavalakki (a dish of tempered flattened rice). Today, they sell as many as 56 products ranging from masalas and breakfast mixes to ready-to-eat snacks and sweets. According to Bharath, the brand’s growth has been organic via word of mouth, with no active marketing till he joined them in 2017.

Avarakalu uppittu from Adukale’s range of products

Avarakalu uppittu from Adukale’s range of products
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“We opened our flagship store in Malleshwaram in 2018. Instead of putting up hoardings, we decided to open a store in a high visibility area, so customers could sample our products.”

Its success led them to conceptualise an experiential store “where people could come and enjoy the brand in its entirety. Here in this store, we have married two brands — Adukale and Old Bangalore Cafe which was started about six months ago.”

Bharath says the Old Bangalore Cafe is modelled as a QSR or quick service restaurant, where people could come to eat and also get introduced to the brand, in a casual atmosphere with a focused menu. At the location in Jayanagar, the café sits atop a store, while the menu features dishes made from the Adukale range of products.

“There’s so much more to South Indian food than the usual idli, vada and masala dosa. For instance, string hoppers, adai dosa and mor kuzhambu are usually not found in restaurants but are a part of South Indian meals. These items as well as Bangalore-chaats such as nippattu bhel and Congress bhel, all created from products in the Adukale range are available at the cafe.”

From the Adukale experience store and Old Bangalore cafe in Jayanagar

From the Adukale experience store and Old Bangalore cafe in Jayanagar
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The menu at the Old Bangalore Cafe includes items such as nuchinunde (steamed lentil dumplings) and gojjavalakki, a range of millet-based dosas and idlis, as well as snacks like churmuri and drinks such as panaka (a jaggery-based drink), haalu mensina saaru (pepper milk rasam) and tambuli (buttermilk) shots.

The former software engineer who by his own admission went “from code to kodbole” hopes to open four such cafes in each of the “cardinal points” in the city, apart from the already existing traditional distribution channels..

“We hope to position ourselves as the custodians of Karnataka’s culinary traditions,”Bharath says. He adds that any item they introduce follows the same format of no additives and packaging what would normally be made at home, but on a larger scale. He firmly believes that is the reason why most of their customer feedback is “it’s just like how my mum or grandmum makes it.”

“Food is inherently sacred to us. People who try the brand return to it. That comes with a lot of trepidation and it is a huge responsibility to maintain our standards,” he says, adding that it has become a popular item in the luggage of returning NRIs.

The Adukale experience store is in Jaynagar 4th block next to the Jain Temple.

From Adukale’s range of products

From Adukale’s range of products
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

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