Food Mood: 25 years of Kairalli

Bangalore has changed very rapidly over the last decade or so with the IT revolution gaining momentum. The traffic has gone up at a rate that only competes with the cost of real estate. We have more malls than we can visit. A big part of the city that has disappeared are a lot of the older restaurants and hang-out joints that defined what Bangalore was for many years.  In all this, one of the few things that have remained the same is the Karavalli restaurant at the Gateway hotel. 

The restaurant recently completed 25 years and had put out a special menu featuring their best dishes. The original menu itself has remained pretty much the same since the start. The bloggers that evening were joined by Chef Naren Thimmaiah, the Executive Chef who has been the mastermind behind the consistent and addictive taste of the fare at Karavalli.

Chef Naren Thimmaiah

We kicked off the evening with a very interesting cocktail with the key ingredient being curry leaves. I was quite sceptical when I was given the recommendation. But this turned out to be a delightful cocktail. Like the start to a great innings of cricket, the opening dish was by far my favourite dish that evening; the Tiger Prawns Roast had a lovely blend of tomato, ginger and a light hint of coconut with spices to leave you wanting more. I was willing to have the prawns just as a dessert. To anyone reading this blog, I recommend that you head over to Karavalli and indulge your senses in a plate of these delicious prawns, you won’t regret it. 

Tiger Prawns Roast

Tiger Prawns Roast

We sampled a variety of appetizers including the Aritha Pundi (steam rice dumplings), the kerela-style crispy raw banana and two varieties of fish. The first was the Meen Eleittad which is a fried black pomfret marinated in a spicy masala and wrapped in a banana leaf to give it a fabulous flavour. The fish was cooked to perfection and showed signs of gentle flaking when cut. The second fish that was served was the Kane Kaidina which was a pan-cooked Lady Fish. I wasn’t very enthusiastic with this one owing to the few bones which came up. Even taste-wise, this wasn’t a hit when compared to the pomfret. 

Aritha Pundi

Pomfret with masala wrapped in banana leaves

Kane Kaidina

Before the main course, we had some fabulous rasam. Despite being brought up in a tambram house hold, I am not a fan of rasam at all. However, I thoroughly enjoyed what was served. For the main course, we had a variety of curries (mostly stews considering this was a south Indian restaurant) which included a fish, some fresh veggies in a coconut milk stew, and a very interesting one that was made out of mangoes with chilli and coconut. We were also served some well-cooked lamb which I felt would have been spot on had the lamb been replaced by pork. The spices in the dish along with the ginger, green chillies, onions and tomato reminded me of a pork curry I had fallen in love with ages ago during a trip to Coorg. This was accompanied by some idiappam, Malabar paratha, appam and plain rice.

I ate just enough to keep just that little bit of room for dessert. We were served bebinca with ice cream, a tender coconut payassam and some dodol.  

Overall, it was a great meal with the star of the meal being the prawn. I had been to dinner at Karavalli almost five years ago, and it is great to see that the taste has remained consistent. So what are you waiting for? Get over there and go nuts.