Seafood lovers rejoice. It is that time of the year when the iconic Karavalli at The Gateway Hotel on Residency Road brings to us Aquafest 2019, an annual celebration of all things coastal. Lobsters, crabs, tiger prawns, scampi, octopus, pomfret, red snapper, squids, the works, all cooked with the legendary lip-smacking homemade masalas and marinades which have made people return to this multi-award winning restaurant year after year for the past 29 years!
Tucked away independently behind the main hotel building, Karavalli’s serene landscape includes giant tamarind trees, cascading waterfalls, pink stone pillars and lush greenery against the backdrop of a traditionally tiled Mangalorean house. You may choose to sit indoors in an intimate setting or go al-fresco while soaking in the lovely weather of namma Bengaluru.
Authenticity and consistency are the hallmarks at Karavalli, where guests are served well-researched regional dishes made from recipes shared by mothers and grandmothers over the years. The restaurant kitchen is designed to use traditional cooking methods while ingredients are sourced directly from Mangalore, Kerala, Coorg and Goa which help bring out the home-style flavours of each dish on the menu.
The Aquafest pop-up pitches tent each year in the latter half of November with an extravagant menu of seafood specials. Why November? According to Executive Chef Naren Thimmaiah, who has been the face of Karavalli for several years, says, “The most varieties of seafood are found in abundance in the ocean between September and January. It comes shortly after the retreating monsoons and the lifting of the trawler ban. We capitalise on this opportunity and schedule the Aquafest promotion during November by offering an array of seafood items with different cooking techniques thereby presenting something new to our patrons”.
The Aquafest menu comprises of two sections - the first includes several new seafood preparations such as the deep-fried Baby Lobster Jirem Jirem marinated with freshly pounded peppers and cumin; Goan Octopus Chilly Fry with xacuti masala; pan-fried Silver Pomfret Recahdo with a sweet and sour pickle masala; Goan Prawns Caldeen; Koonthal Porichatu with batter-fried squids cooked in Kerala spices; and the Nei Meen Podimas, a preparation of shredded seer fish tempered with onion, mustard, chilli and Kodampuli.
The second section contains a selection of Karavalli’s signature dishes picked from the year-round menu such as the a fiery Sea Crab Ghee Roast; Tiger Prawn Roast; banana leaf wrapped Meen Eleittad; Kane Kaidina, pan-cooked lady fish; Allapuzha Meen Curry simmered in a moderate spiced gravy of freshly ground coconut, ginger with raw mangoes; Moplah Chemmeen Biriyani served with dry coconut chutney, yogurt relish and appalam. All the dishes are served with appams, neer dosas, idiappams, sannas, malabar paratha or unpolished red rice.
True to tradition, the crockery and serveware at this 88-seater restaurant is made from bronze, copper, brass and black stoneware. The service is warm and attentive with a knowledgable restaurant team who will explain every dish on the table before it is served.
You may wrap up your meal on a sweet note with a Goan Bebinca, Dodol, Udipi’s Kashi Halwa, Kerala special Elaneer Payasam or a Ragi Manni cake made from ragi flour, jaggery and coconut milk.
Chef Naren Thimmaiah sums up the Karavalli experience, “This restaurant was built on a strong ethos of showcasing the authentic household recipes of mothers and grandmothers. Nearly three decades down the line even today the majority of the ingredients are strictly sourced from the region to ensure the quality of the ingredients remain the same as you would use back home.”
Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel, 66 Residency Road, Bengaluru
Timing: 12.30 pm to 3.00 pm & 7.00 pm to 11.30 pm
Average price for two: Rs.4000+
Aslam Gafoor is a Bengaluru based hospitality professional, food lover and travel enthusiast...