Having grown up in Dubai half of my life, I would say those were the best days of my life so far. There was never a day we skipped having seafood. It was a staple meal in the Pinto household. My Dad would come home from the market with massive crates of seafood. A norm in Dubai back then, this got divided and shared with the neighbors. Each took turns during the week to do the same. My neighbors were from Kerala and Goa. Hence, more love for the coastal cuisine.
I am a Mangalorean by birth, and a proud one at that. And yes, I can and do cook great Mangalorean cuisine at home (my Mom taught me well). When I am in the mood for it thou, as some of the dishes are quiet elaborate and time consuming to prepare.
So when Chef Naren Thimmaiah, invited me to come savour the dishes at “Karavalli” I was just a just thrilled. I get excited at the thought of home cooked seafood served anywhere and anytime.
“Karavalli” at the Taj Gateway, Bangalore is a hidden gem in the city. And may as well be the world’s most famous South Indian restaurant. It has been around for 26 years now, and the menu hasn’t changed at all. Chef Thimmaiah and his staff, have been serving authentic coastal cuisine. The menu am told is still the same with some new additions, yet keeping the authenticity of each dish alive.
Karavali means “Kanara” or “Coastal Karnataka”, comprising of 3 coastal districts – Uttara Kannada (North Canara), Udupi and Dakshina Kannada (South Canara). Kanara forms the southern part of the Konkan coast. Karavalli restaurant, serves Coastal cuisine from Kerala, Goa, Coorg and Mangalore.
The Taj Gateway Hotel, located close to MG Road does not look as appealing as it used to years ago. Step into the lobby, you get guided down the stairs through the back of the property. And I have to admit, this is a breathe of fresh air. The restaurant surrounded by greenery and trees. You are sure to resonate and forget that you are in the heart of Bangalore.
One gets transported to the coastal region without having to leave the city. The architectural design of the restaurant is an old Mangalore house with tiled rooftop. The rustic charm of the country side is the cobbled pathway, and a lotus pond with a running stream. The bonus being the fishes in the pond and some croaking frogs around.
What’s in my Glass?
I preferred to stick to a white wine that night. I chose the Two Oceans Australian wine. It is a perfect blend of floral notes, fresh and crisp. I like that it goes with any meal, especially with Indian Food. You can take your pick of alcohol from their extensive list off the menu.
What’s on My Plate?
The Chefs cook authentic coastal cuisine and this is the talk of the town to anyone from these regions who has dined here. They picked up the exact recipes as they were trained in local homes across the coast. They have maintained the standard and quality for years now.
The taste and the use of spices is just like home cooked food in each of the regions. And I can vouch for this as I grew up eating all these dishes. Each bite and I knew what spices used. Chef Thimmaiah was just surprised every time I mentioned the ingredients used to cook.
First off was the
Patrade – the is a unique dish packed with flavours of Colocasia leaves, wrapped around a paste of lentils and spices – pan roasted. To eat dip in the ghee provided. Most often its served in a gravy based form.
Oggaraneda Aritha Pundi – Steamed button Idly’s or steamed dumplings. These are seasoned with with coconut and cumin. A traditional South Indian dish.
Tiger Prawan Roast – This is one of karavalli’s best loved dishes. Fresh tiger prawns tossed in kerala spice mix. The fresh ingredients used are tomato, ginger, green chilli, coconut slivers, lemon juice and traditional spices. Highly recommended.
Meen Eleittad – Fresh Black Pomfret – marinated in malabar masala wrapped in a banana leaf and pan fried to perfection. This is another dish I highly recommend.
Nulose Con Ceboles Verde or Squid Chilli Fry– Squid rings stir fried in Goan masala with onion crushed garlic and chillies. What can I say I am a seafood lover.
Kane Bezule- Lady fish from the estuaries of Mangalore, marinated with spices, and pan cooked to perfection. This fish is a delicacy in Mangalore.
Appam a spongy rice cake or a special dosa is a popular breakfast dish. Eaten on its own or with any gravy. Mostly it is mixed with Toddy to give it a bit of fluffy texture. Great taste!
Koli Barthad (Coorg fried Chicken). – This is a a special marination used in typical Coorgi cuisine. It has more of a tangy and pepper spiced flavour.
For the dessert, Chef got two of the top served special desserts served at the restaurant. The infamous Bebinca, a Goan dessert, which is a delightful coconut based multilayered sweet served warm with vanilla ice cream. And the must have Ada Pradhaman rice flakes cooked in coconut milk and jaggery , thick and sweet.
Over all a lovely evening, Chef Thimmaiah hats off to you and your team for going all out with staying true to the authenticity of the Coastal Cuisine. I am sure coming back to relish some of my favorites. We had a special guest who was also dining at the restaurant. Wassem Khan, a noted photographer said he was the first to do the food shoot for the restaurant 26 years ago. And we had a good banter over good food. He vouched that the quality and the taste has still not changed. Again Chef Naren Thimmaiah, thank you for the lovely and memorable evening. And no blog of mine is complete without a mandatory selfie, (unfortunately a bit hazy) I had a guest photobomb this one. In all good spirits!
To know book your reservation call +91 9243452045
An average meal for two at this fine dining restaurant on an average ₹3,500 for two people (approx.)
Taj Gateway Hotel on Residency Road –
The Gateway Hotel Bangalore is designed to exemplify the true spirit of the city. Located at the heart of the city, it’s a perfect spot to lay back and enjoy Bangalore’s culture. Or get right into the action of the IT industry. Our spacious rooms with quick and intuitive service are a delightful match to Bangalore’s pleasant weather. The Gateway Hotel Bangalore is among the top hotels in the city and has won the National Tourism Award for three years in a row. Stay with us and see for yourself why. To know more “Click Here”
Until next time, stay connected. If you have dined at this restaurant feel free to leave your comment below.
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**Disclaimer: Even thou the invite was complimentary, all views expressed are my own.