Choudhury Palace -- Ramdeo Hotel
The best dhabas are invariably North Indian. On Karnataka highways, the sons of the soil seem to have struck up deals with state transport buses – the driver gets his jeera-bath for free, the passengers pay; as for retail customers, it is easier to turn them away with a surly ‘illa’ than bother to fry a samosa or two.
What a pleasant surprise, then, to come to Choudhury Palace owned by Danaram and run by Ramdeo from Barmer. It is 5pm, his tandoor is not fired yet; but he sheepishly asks if poor-peoples’ food will suffice – he can make thick, chewy bajra roties on his tawa, serve them with home-made yogurt, perhaps also dab some ghee on the side, dice onions and tomatoes for a salad, and brew up steaming glasses of tea. If you can chat about Barmer, Jodhpur or Bikaner, the meal is free.