All iconic restaurants have a fan following that extends beyond the borders of cities and countries. For those of us familiar with Bangalore and the Taj Gateway Hotel there, we know of Karavalli – the hotel’s best known restaurant and a favourite of people who like South Indian food.
Well, Karavalli comes to Hyderabad till the 9th of August for those of you who like coastal cuisine. India’s rich geography ensures that every state lucky enough to have the sea at one or more of its borders has a repertoire of dishes that vary from the interiors to the coastlines. And most of South India, as part of the Indian peninsula, can boast of this feat. So whether it is Goa or Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Karnataka, you can sample some delicious food at the Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan, where the Coastal Delights festival is being held.
Chef K V Ramachandran, a native of Kerala, is an expert at cooking all kinds of South Indian food — from Mangalorean to Goan to his own Kerala cuisine. And he has assimilated the rich use of spices in food from Coorg to the extensive inclusion of coconut in Kerala food to create a menu that is full of tempting options.
We were served plenty of dishes but what lingered in my memory were the Atirachy Ularthathu – meat cooked in spices like cinnamon, pepper, aniseed and cloves; the Coorg Fried Chicken, cooked with Coorgi garam masala and the native vinegar made from kodampulli – garcinia cambogia or kokum as it is known — giving the dish a lovely black colour; and the Tiger Prawn Roast. Each one was distinct in its flavours and extremely tasty.
For the mains, Ulli Theeyal – a shallot curry with a base of roasted coconut as a gravy, Alleppey Fish Curry with a blend of flavours and Chicken cooked with coconut milk. Each of them could be had with the Kori roti served – a crisp and thin Mangalorean roti made from rice flour or the Ney Chor — ghee rice.
The dessert – Ada Pradhaman – brown rice flakes in jaggery and coconut milk and Dodol – a Goan sweet made with jaggery and coconut were a perfect end to the meal. For those of you who have left Bangalore for Hyderabad and wish to relive your moments at Karavalli, here is your chance to do so. The festival is open for lunch and dinner.