Thursday, 2 July 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of Karavalli, Gateway Hotel Bangalore

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While I've been always in a look out to try new restaurants and new cuisines and dishes; there are some places I keep visiting and really look forward to visiting time and again. Karavalli is one such place where I know what to expect in each and every visit and that's exactly how I expect it to be.

The food here has been the most consistent visit after visit. It seems like Chef Naren has left no scope of improvement and that level of consistency, love and passion speaks in the form of the iconic 25 dishes. It is these signature dishes that make for a legendary menu that has been integral to the 25 glorious years of Karavalli.

I've always looked forward to an evening of conversations and food at Karavalli with chef Naren and this time around it was - Celebrating 25 years of Karavalli with its 25 signature and classic dishes. The menu for the evening was not a surprise and this was the best part about the evening.

The start was customary - A small portion of jaggery was provided to cleanse our palate and prepare it for the fabulous food that was about to arrive.

Starters arrived one after the other and like always I was in all awe with every passing dish. Read on for some food porn and this one clearly has no age bar:

‘Kuttanandan Karuvapila Konju’ – Tiger prawns pan fried with onion, tomato and fresh curry leaves. Memories of the previous visits over the years came alive; I looked forward to this preparation even before it arrived and even after it was downed with a cry as it headed to a finish. The ingredients are simple yet enough to get one on a food high.

'Koli Barthad' a chicken starter was pan - fried in a blend of roasted spices and corgi vinegar leaving a mild tarty after taste. The chicken and the spices married really well and would make for a lovely starter with a chilled pint of beer.

‘Kane Kaidina’ – Whole Lady fish was seasoned generously with fine ground Mangalorean spices and pan cooked leaving the fish downright delicious and succulent. Another fish served this evening was 'Meen Eleittad' - a black pomfret marinated in Malabar masala and pan-fried wrapped in a banana leaf. This preparation tasted as delicious as it looked with the balance of the spices and their flavor felt clearly yet not overpowering the flavor of the fish itself. Cooked a minute or two lower and this would have just kicked ass.

In the mains, it was a feast contemplated at an all new high. This indulgent course is not for someone with a weak appetite. There was:
'Allapuzha Meen Curry' - a moderately spiced curry of ground coconut, raw mangoes and ginger with the seer fish simmered in it.

'Kozhi Malliperlan' - delicious gravy of coconut milk and fresh spices with succulent boneless chicken drowned in it.

'Attirachy Ulathu' is something I've always enjoyed at Karavalli. It is a dry preparation of lamb cubes cooked with tomato, onion and fresh spices based from Travancore, Kerala.

What I've again always loved at Karavalli and in vegetarian is the 'Maavinakai Mensukkai' which is a dish of preserved mangoes cooked in a blend of chilis and coconut. It's a beautiful amalgamation of sweet and sour flavors. While this tasted great with the malabar paratha, I could mop this dish just by itself. A 'Pachakkari Stew' or 'Veg Stew' is hard to get wrong and is such a great combination with the appam and idiappam.

For desserts it was Bebinca and Dodol with vanilla ice cream. Bebinca is a coconut based Goan dessert and 'Dodol' served warm was a rice cake cooked gently in coconut milk and jaggery. Both these desserts are best enjoyed warm with vanilla ice cream and that's the way it was served.

A meal at Karavalli is never complete without a scoop of Banana-Caramel ice-cream which is a must-visit on your table before you can even think of calling it a meal.

What more can I say, "It's always been a great and consistent experience dining at Karavalli and with no surprises in store, the flavors still tend to surprise me ."

Address: Ground Floor, Gateway, Hotel No. 66, Residency Road, Bangalore
Phone Number: +91 80 6660 4545

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