A Green Guide To Bengaluru, India, With Manisha Vinod Of The Circus Canteen

A Green Guide To Bengaluru, India, With Manisha Vinod Of The Circus Canteen

Manisha Vinod, co-founder of high-flying Bengaluru community hub The Circus Canteen, takes us on an insider’s tour of the Karnataka capital’s blossoming green spaces, farmers’ markets, restaurants and drinking dens

, the mighty capital of India’s
Karnataka state, has attracted a fresh breed of eco-conscious
travellers of late, in part, thanks to the arrival of its
community-first restaurant The Circus Canteen. A dynamic
farm-to-fork set-up crafted from reclaimed materials, the venue
hosts monthly farmers’ markets, art and wellbeing festivals,
pop-ups, craft and gardening workshops and a range of immersive
exhibitions, making it a creative hub for locals and tourists

Manisha Vinod, co-founder of the hangout, reflects on the
process of building the space from salvaged materials. “There was a
commercial building being refurbished at the time, so we took
everything we could to save the materials from going to landfill,”
she says. “We reached out to the wider community, asking locals to
donate any broken household goods or unwanted furniture.” Be it
rainwater gutters repurposed as planters or air-conditioning units
reimagined as art installations, each design detail has its own
story to tell.

Entrance, BCC
The Circus Canteen, Interiors

A look inside The Circus Canteen

In 2022, The Circus Canteen won the “sustainable interior of the
year” category at the Dezeen Awards – a triumph that Vinod
describes as a matter of pride for the community at large. The
Circus Canteen has created employment opportunities, provided
education for young people and continues to be a pioneer in
bringing greener and cleaner choices to Bengaluru. Read on for
Vinod’s picks for a top weekend in Bengaluru.

Where to eat, drink, stay and play in Bengaluru with local
Manisha Vinod

What’s Bengaluru’s vibe?

Bengalauru is experimental, free-spirited and honest. It’s a fun
city with beautiful greenery and perfect weather. Outside of the
seemingly never-ending summer months, there are incredible
monsoons. The city was purposefully designed so that there are
different flowering trees in every month of the year, which
explains its “Garden City” nickname. This month, the tabebuias are
in full bloom.

Where should we stay?

Indiranagar is a stunning residential area in the east of the
city. As of late, it’s bustling with bars, restaurants and cafés in
every nook and cranny. It’s the ideal green, pedestrian-friendly

Bengaluru, India Skyline
Bengaluru, India Streets

Sun-kissed Bengaluru, left, and a bustling street

What should we eat for breakfast?

That would most definitely be a crisp, hot dosa [a pancake made
from fermented butter, lentils and rice] at the Central Tiffen Room. Otherwise, a benne masala dosa
courtesy of Vidyarthi Bhavan. The vadas [fermented pulses formed
into cutlets and deep-fried] at Ballal Residency
are a must-try, also.

Where would you recommend for a romantic meal?

Manu Chandra’s new restaurant Lupa is a great choice. Olive Bar
& Kitchen
is better suited to those that prefer a calmer,
quieter vibe.

Any other food-focused spots to make time for?

Plenty. Start with authentic ramen at Naru Noodle
, before enjoying a seafood feast at Karavalli. Then, try Oota
for a fusion of Gowda and Mangalorean cuisine.

Give us a run-down on the local bar scene.

Bengaluru is often referred to as the “Pub City”, so you’re
spoilt for choice when it comes to drinking dens. Microbrewery Toit
is a neighbourhood favourite; Toast & Tonic is renowned for its
gin-based concoctions – the herbalist is a must-try; and Sly Granny
delivers when it comes to stellar playlists, vintage interiors and
killer cocktails. If it’s a night out you’re after, Mirage, Raahi and Gawky Goose are solid options.

Bengaluru, night
Bengaluru, city

Nightfall in the city, alongside a contrasting streetscape

How should we spend a weekend in the neighbourhood?

Kick-start your Bengaluru adventure with a visit to Ulsoor Lake,
then head over to Bengaluru Palace and Tipu Sultan’s Summer
Palace. Swing by the Malleswaram neighbourhood for streets lined
with street art. For lunch, it has to be The Circus Canteen – you
can easily spend a solid three hours at its Bangalore Creative
Circus, flitting between the art spaces and farms. My order? The
chimichurri prawns to start, followed by the Chiang Mai mushroom
pepper curry served with Coimbatore red rice. Early evening is a
great time to visit Lalbagh Botanical Garden.

Wake up the next day with a walk in Cubbon Park, a green haven
in the heart of the city. Grab breakfast at Vidyarthi Bhavan, then
explore different pockets of the city on foot with Gully Tours. Refuel at the Barton Centre, where you’ll
be rewarded with sweeping city views. I’d strongly suggest the
Asian dishes at On the Edge. Walk off the food with a wander around
the National Gallery of Modern Art. Come sunset, bar-hop
between the city’s coolest watering holes.

Bengaluru, Market
Baskets, roses

Market scenes and baskets brimming with colourful

Any local markets you’d recommend?

Early mornings are best spent at Russell Market – it’s brimming
with fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and meats. Bangalore
Creative Circus’ Farmers’ Market takes place every first Sunday of
the month, too. VV Puram Food Street should be on every foodie’s
hit list.

Tell us a secret spot only locals know about.

Kebab lovers should have Frazer Town firmly on their radar. Eden
Park Restaurant is a firm local favourite. If it’s a slice of
culture you’re seeking, a cycle around the waters of Hesaraghatta
Lake will satisfy.

Something to bring back as a souvenir?

Bold, bright shirts from Varnam, wooden crafts from Channapatna and, for
those with a sweet tooth, a suitcase full of dharwad pedas – a
rich, milk-based sweet unique to Karnataka.

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