A sea of traditions

A sea of traditions

Twenty-five years ago, coastal culinary traditions found anchor in a quaint and serene locality, situated under two giant tamarind trees. Tiled with authenticity, literally and figuratively, it had all the makings of a Mangalorean home evoking nostalgia to those who visited it. The familiar flavour of the home-kitchen continued to stay consistently through the years. As Karavalli at The Gateway Hotel Residency Road reaches another milestone — its silver jubilee —  the waft of nostalgia remains even as new coastal flavours emerge.

No one can narrate the culinary story of 25 years better than Naren Thimmaiah, Executive Chef, The Gateway Hotel Residency Road, who has been with it for the last 24 years. With a keen eye on things simple, he always comes up with a truly great dish, supported by his team.

“The menu reflects the culinary legacy of the coastal regions of South West India — a distinctive compilation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies from the best of the Mangalorean Bunts and Konkanis, Kodavas from Coorg, Keralites, which include Calicut Muslims and Syrian Christians of Travancore; Havyaka Brahmins of Vitla and the Portuguese of Goa. We have been exploring the mystique of these regions and are showcasing the most popular 25 classics and ‘Malvani Curry Trials’ to the existing menu,” he elaborates.

The lunch and dinner menus are a roller-coaster ride through dishes as ‘Camaro Con Cilantro’ (prawns flavoured with fresh coriander and cooked in a delicate saffron sauce), Aulmin Mirsang Fry (Fresh button mushrooms, capsicum and onions, sautéed with tomatoes and Goan xacuti masala – a complex blend of 18 spices), Nagli Ambat (A traditional Mangalorean lady fish curry with hog plums – a speciality of the Konkani community) and the special tamarind ice-cream.

The ‘Karavalli Classics’ include the Crab Milagu Fry (Pan roasted fresh mud crabmeat in spices), Kane Belazu (whole lady fish seasoned with Mangalorean spices) and Oggaraneda Aritha Pundi (Steamed rice dumplings, flavoured with coconut and cumin) among  others.  The ‘Malvani Curry Trails’ is known for its distinctive cooking style with delicacies such as Vangi Che Bharit, Gole Amti and Bombil Fry.

The dessert safari is incomplete without Bebinca and ‘Dodol’. Thimmaiah does not forget to add that the chefs are trained in the kitchens of traditional homes and continue to procure ingredients from their origin. “Karavalli practises old traditions from the Kerala region like ‘Pothi Choru’, a meal often carried on long journeys, home-cooked recipes like ghee rice and chicken curry are wrapped in a banana leaf and served, well, quite ritualistically.

For those who want a sampling of the cuisines on offer, a special five-course degustation
menu has been designed, he adds. Over the years, the place has grown, quite like the tamarind trees in its courtyard, and needless to say, the coasts are much closer now.

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