Seldom do you come across pop-up which you can’t afford to give a miss. The Culinary Tales Pop-Up by Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel at Firdaus, Taj Krishna is one such. My earliest memory of Karavalli was one where I had walked into the Gateway Hotel while wandering around Bangalore for a quick lunch. The expanse of greenery in between a city felt so fresh and the setting, apt for a thali. It was one of the most memorable lunches I’ve had walking out a happy man. Serving patrons since 1989, Karavalli has set a bar high when it comes to coastal food.
I couldn’t afford to not be there when the food of Karavalli was on offer in the city. For four days, it’ll only be the Kodagu food, Coastal Mangalorean, Goan and other dishes of the Konkan belt which will be served in Firdaus. The first dish on the table ended up being my favorite among everything else that lunch. The Koli Barthad is a Coorg preparation of chicken pan-fried in spices. The Coorg vinegar gives it a bit of acidity in a beautiful amalgamation with the pepper.
Dishes cooked in Banana Leaves is one that I find in most regional cuisines and the Meen Eleittad was no different done in a fiery marinade of Malabar masala. The Tiger Prawns Roast is the right example on the showcase of Kerala spices while still maintaining the delicateness of the prawns. There was burst of fresh green chilies, coconut and spices in the roast masala. All I needed was either an Appam or Parotta to neatly polish it off my plate.
But there was one dish which was interesting and it turned out to be vegetarian. Enter the Oggaraneda Aritha Pundhi, a rice dumpling lightly flavored in coconut and cumin. These small delicate balls of rice were like the perfect snack which you could sit down for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The light spicing ensured that it wasn’t overpowering and took seconds to pop-in.
My Main Course consisted of a plate of Sungatache Kodi or as we commonly know it as Goan Prawns Curry. I thoroughly enjoyed how each of them prawns were delicately cooked making it shine through despite being in spices. The other main courses included Allapuzha Meen Curry from Kerala, Karavalli Mutton Curry and Avial.
Ending the lunch with desserts from the Goan belt were the Bebinca and Dodol. The Ada Pradhaman too wasn’t overly sweet.
Karavalli has been the epitome of South and West Coastal cusine, showcasing the intricacies of dishes from the Konkan Belt. With the 4 day pop-up at Firdaus, this is one meal you should definitely not miss.