Bloggers Meet over Coastal Food at The Coastal Macha
India and stereotypes come hand in hand, especially when it comes food. The world believes that Indian cuisine is all about chillies, spices, and curry leaves. I mean, why bother learning about the wide variety of cuisines from the different states, when the Indians themselves believe in the food stereotypes about the other regions? For the rest of India, especially us Bangalis, South India is just South India, without state divisions, where food is cooked with Narkol Tel (coconut oil), Curry Pata (leaves), Tnetul (tamarind) and Laal Lonka (red chilli). But, there’s a new restaurant in Kolkata that comes to the rescue. The coastal food at The Coastal Macha has stereotype-fighting qualities, and uses coconut to leave people asking for more!
Bloggers Meet over Coastal Food at The Coastal Macha
My first choice of cuisine is always Chinese or Continental. The rest are just experiments or attending invitations. Coastal Macha was a bit of both for me. I received an invitation to a bloggers’ dinner. I have to say, I walked in with a bit of curiosity and apprehension mixed together. This new food joint in the gastronomes’ paradise of Kolkata, Southern Avenue, has a carefully designed menu to include items that represent the variety of cuisines from the coastal areas of India. Goa or Andha – you name it, and they will put food from that state on your plate. And for that, they bring in spices, herbs and many other ingredients from down south, to get the most authentic tastes and flavours!
LOCATION AND AMBIENCE
Located on Lake View Road in Southern Avenue, The Coastal Macha has a unique décor. From paper boats on the walls, handbaskets as light fixtures on the ceiling, and most interestingly, sandy beaches in each table beneath the glass top – I totally fell in love! Besides, it seemed to speak about the kind of food it serves – authentic, rustic and coastal. And, it piqued my interest a little about what I would get to try from their Indian coastal food menu.
COASTAL FOOD AT THE COASTAL MACHA
Our menu of coastal food at The Coastal Macha that evening included some of the most delightful dishes prepared by The Coastal Macha. Our evening started with the unique taste of Sol Kadhi, and after gorging on the delicious starters, we gradually moved on to different veg and non-veg mains, which we enjoyed with appam and jeera rice. Let’s take a look at the different items we tried. (Warning: no dosa or idli, thank you.)
It’s a drink made of kokum concentrate, coconut milk and spices, and tasted nothing like anything I’ve ever tasted! It was sweet, spicy, salty and full of herbs, all at the same time, with an interesting taste and texture between a soup and a drink. I would say it’s an acquired taste. It was refreshing and new for me.
Rava Fish Fry
We Kolkatans have a deep relationship with fish fry, fish chop, fish cutlet, fish finger – basically, fish coated in flour. But, this one was Bhetki coated with semolina, and deep fried. Succulent and juicy, I loved this starter dish. The flavour of Bhetki was intact, without any overpowering fishy smell.
A dish from Kerala, it’s served in a banana leaf wrap. No, it absolutely different from our Paturi. The prawns are tossed in onion, ginger, garlic, and spices that you’ll only find in a household in Kerala. Wrapped in banana leaf, they are then pan fried. I found the prawns slightly rubbery, but the taste totally made up for it!
Mutton Pepper Fry
Again, a dish from Kerala, it has cubes of mutton that are pan-tossed with pepper. The mutton pieces in this dish were a little chewy, a collateral damage from frying meat with thick fibres, but retained the moisture of its sauce, and weren’t dry or leathery like the ones I’ve tried before. Plus, the taste was absolutely awesome!
Somewhere in the history of food, “Stew” went for a world tour, reached India, and turned veg, became “Ishtu”, incorporating Indian spices. The Coastal Macha’s veg ishtu is a variant from Kerala, with mixed vegetables simmered in whole spices and coconut milk. It’s a veg dish that even the t-rex in me recommends as a MUST-TRY!
This Mangalorean/Maharashtrian squid dish is cooked with grated coconut and a special Mangalorean spice mix. This light delight had delicious flavours, and didn’t contain the smell that’s usually strong in seafood dishes with a gravy. The squids were soft anf fresh, melting in the mouth, and thus, fetch a perfect score!
Chicken Ghee Roast
It’s chicken cooked with special Bedgi chillies, brought all the way from Kundapur, and roasted with pure ghee. Sound simple? You have to eat it to enjoy what a dishful of heaven it is. Apparently, the Coastal Macha exists because of the owners’ wish to make this dish available to the people of the city. And, I could not be happier!
The coastal food at The Coastal Macha just opened a new door and took me on a food walk along the coasts of my country. The amazing variety of flavours and tastes that I experienced excite me to think of the possibilities! It showed me the versatility of the known ingredients like coconut, curry leaves, chilli, etc., and the parts they play in creating various combinations of tastes to surprise the tongue every time. My repeated dining experiences at Coastal Macha has left me amazed by their constant improvement, from taste to texture, displaying expertise and dedication to reach perfection. And, I have to say, each dish was unique and authentic. I am so going back to this place – at least for the ghee roast chicken, and the veg ishtu with appam!