Indulging in Coastal Goodness at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Indulging in Coastal Goodness at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Taj Bengal Kolkata presents Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal, an event to indulge in the beauty and essence of rustic, home-cooked meals and celebrate the signature ingredients and flavours of the cuisine of Karavalli region, a place located on the South-West coast of India. And, it is led by none other than Chef Naren Thimmaiah of Karavalli, Bangalore.

Indulging in Coastal Goodness at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal 2017: by Oendrila De JustODThings

Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Karavalli – The Gateway Hotel

If you are a foodie in India, you must have already heard about Karavalli – The Gateway Hotel in Bangalore. It is an iconic South Indian restaurant, not just because of the goodwill of its brand, but mainly because of the amazing food that it serves, their hallmark being authenticity, owing to the extensive research of 26 years by the restaurant’s chefs.

Chef Naren Thimmaiah

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Chef Naren Thimmaiah at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Naren Thimmaiah, who has brought to Kolkata such expertise to the city of foodies, has been the face of Karavalli for around two decades. As a chef, he has many accolades, certificates and more to his name. He was the fourth Indian representative at the internationally acclaimed World Gourmet Summit, and was featured by a Chowhound among the Top 10 Chefs in India. And, while he is considered a valuable source of contributions to the food world by magazines, television and much more, he himself stays committed to learning about the dishes of South West coast of India and refining the menu of the restaurant and put South Indian food on the global culinary map.

Karavalli Food Festival at the Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Indulging in Coastal Goodness at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal 2017: by Oendrila De JustODThings

Indulging in Coastal Goodness at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

The Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal, available till the 20th of August 2017, offers a carefully curated compilation of Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian delights, with Seafood dishes included in the non-veg category. The menu includes dishes that celebrate the beauty of ingredients that are commonly used in every household, and highlight the fresh, local and seasonal produce.

Authentic Recipes from the Coasts at the at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal 2017: by Oendrila De JustODThings

Authentic Recipes from the Coasts at the at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

Tiffin Karrier

This section twists the Thali concept. It is an attempt to recreate the traditional concept of packing lunches for men in the house for their work, and packs the essence of Karavalli cuisine in a tiffin box. One carrier serves two diners.

West Coast Seafood Grill

Fresh catch from the sea, marinated in the much-loved spices from the kitchens of local homes, and then grilled – the dishes are a must-try for seafood lovers to experience and enjoy the true flavour and texture of each fish or meat.

Wood Fired Curries

These include curries cooked on the traditional Ole, slow-cooking them over fire wood by steaming or boiling. The result: richer, tastier dishes, with a smoky touch, wherein the juices and flavours of the ingredients remain intact.

Pothi Choru

This is a combo meal option to form a single meal in itself. It is a meal in a banana leaf wrap, and is served on a half banana leaf, to introduce a Kolkata diner to the joy of opening the leaf parcel and getting the whiff of the food inside.

Dabra Coffee

The meal ends with a cup of piping filter coffee. To make the presentation traditional, it is served in silver dabra set!

These are originally created in the homes of different coastal communities of India, like the Malayalees, Coorgs, Portuguese descendants in Goa, Moplahs of Malabar, Havyaka Brahmins of Vitla, Syrian Christians of Travancore, etc. They have been reinvented by Karavalli without losing the rustic quality in them, and the sampler menu at the Karavalli Food Festival has brought the beauty to the plates of the Kolkatans. 

My Experience

Coastal Food at its Best at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal 2017: by Oendrila De JustODThings

Coastal Food at its Best at the Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal

I have had my experiences with food from across the coasts of India, right here in Kolkata. Obviously, these go much beyond idli, dosa and vada, though, these stereotyped examples of South Indian food also feature among my favourites. And, I have always been immensely impressed by all the spices and flavours used in the dishes from down south, and how well they use all the local ingredients, including the seafood, in their food. The items from the chef’s sampler menu which I tried at the Karavalli Food Festival made me fall in love with coastal cuisine again.

Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal Kolkata 2017: by Oendrila De JustODThings

Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal Kolkata

The sampler menu included Tiger Prawn Roast, Meen Eleittad (fish), Koli Barthad (chicken), Chattamvade (Masala Vada), Arita Pundi (rice dumplings), Patrade (colocasia rolls), Sungtache Kodi (Goan prawn curry), Alleppey Meen Curry (fish curry), Karavalli Mutton Curry, Vazhapoo Thoran (banana flower stir fry), Pachakari Stew (veg stew), Mavinakayi Menaskai (mango curry), Appam, Malabar Paratha, Sannas, Bibing, Dodol, Ada Pradhaman, and a lot more. 

Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal till 20 August 2017: by Oendrila De JustODThings

Karavalli Food Festival at Sonargaon Taj Bengal till 20 August 2017

I found similarities between any of the dishes from India’s South Western coastal homes and our own home-cooked food. The reason, as Chef Naref said, is probably the use of some very basic ingredients in all Indian households; it was astounding how well the simple ingredients became a hero in each dish, while the other ingredients played an important supporting role. While the Vazhapoo Thoran reminded me of our very own Mochar Ghonto, the sweet and sour Mavinakayi Menaskai felt like something all aamer chutney-loving Bangali would enjoy. The honey-like after-taste of Kokam in the mutton curry, and freshness of the prawns in the Sungtache Kodi – it was indeed a delightful journey of gustatory experiences – one I recommend for everyone.

Karavalli Food Festival at the Sonargaon Taj Bengal till the 20th of August, 2017.

Pocket Pinch (excl. tax): Vegetarian: Rs. 1850; Non-Vegetarian: Rs. 2150; Seafood: Rs. 2450

 

Oendrila De

The unique, odd, crazy journey of OD, i.e. Oendrila in the world of fashion, food and everything else in this big, bad, beautiful world.

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