Tuluva treats at Madras Pavilion's Kitchens of India
Ask Chef Sandeep Kapoor, curator of the ‘Namaskara Tulu Nadu’ festival, what exactly Tulu Nadu cuisine is, and he says, “It is a happy marriage of Mangalorean (known for its seafood) and Udupi (popular for its veg dishes) cuisines. So, we have the best of both of worlds, at this festival.”
Sure enough, our sampler arrives, the bana baraida juice, a refreshing blend of tender coconut water and ripe banana. This is followed by a saaru or soup, and we’re served with a deliciously light bele saaru, made from lentils and spiced with cumin and pepper... the perfect appetiser.
Flavours for the win
Influences from the region around are rife in Tulu Nadu cuisine, which predominantly uses native ingredients such as peppercorns, palm jaggery, cloves and kokum — most of which we get to sample during the course of our meal in various dishes. We begin with the crunchy sajji ke tarai da roti (coconut and semolina pancakes) served with a tangy chilli chutney, a delight.
Next up is the classic neer-dosa-ghee-roast combo, only our ghee roast is called natia kori – chicken cooked in ghee and chilli paste — the taste of which transports us back to the streets of Bengaluru.
But what takes the cake, or in this case, the fish, among the starters is the errai da meen, king fish dipped
in a mixture of salt and chilli and grilled. Simple flavours, but great on taste.
Sugar, spice & everything nice
Mains begin with a pineapple gojju, a sweet and spicy curry of pineapple, best eaten on its own, but we opt to mix it with our dal rice (kadalai belai kootu), which makes for an interesting combination. We aren’t yet over the flavours, and the yetti sukka (shrimps cooked in ground coconut) arrives. We are told it tastes best with neer dosa, but having devoured that with our chicken earlier, we eat it as it is.
Just as good we discover, for the coconut really does pack a punch. We follow this up with mamsam biryani (lamb and rice layered with coriander and whole spices), which is as fragrant as it is flavourful. No meal from the land of the Tuluvas incomplete without its pork and our pandi edamanchi (spiced pork in vinegar) is perfectly cooked and not too spicy, whether eaten on its own or with the dappa (small) dosa that it is served with.
It looks like Chef Kapoor has saved the best for the last, with the kori gassi-kori roti. The crispy rice bread is soaked with a spicy Mangalorean chicken gravy, and allowed to sit (intensifying the flavour) before it is served. Those with a sweet tooth must try the ragi manni, a fudge of palm jaggery and ragi, worth more than one bite.
Till June 25. Dinner only @ Rs 2,200+ taxes per person. Details: 22200000