Out of the blue, a day’s work came up in Mangalore. I had been dropping unsubtle hints of not having had a holiday in over 2 years for a LONG while. Mahesh decided that a short trip to Mangalore could easily be organised and so booked his tickets and a hotel immediately without informing me. Till the last minute though we were not sure if the holiday would happen as Mahesh was expecting to be called away to Chennai on work. Thankfully, that did not happen and the two of us along with 5 of my colleagues boarded the Kannur/Karwar Express on a Wednesday evening. We realised that the Kannur and Karwar Express was just one train with two names because of the end destinations. Mahesh booked on Kannur and then cancelled his ticket and booked on Karwar when he found out that we were booked on Karwar. At the station, we realised it was the same train!
The only preparations I had made for the holiday was to equip myself with a list of restaurants to try. I had dropped a mail to Ruth who blogs at http://www.bangaloresrestaurants.com/ and was super thrilled when she sent me her recommendations (The ones I tried are in bold):
1. Guthu – next to Platinum theatre – for Kundapur styled food
2. Ocean Pearl – for Mangalorean primarily and multi-cuisine
3. Dinoo’s fast food – for some brilliant pastries
4. Hao Hao for Chinese or its upmarket version Hao Ming on the same road
5. The vegetarian and the non-vegetarian restaurants at Deepa Comforts
6. Breakfast at Taj Mahal
7. Ice cream at Pabbas or Ideal Ice Cream on Market road.
8. Mangala Restaurant – they have a family section, don’t go by the grubby looks on the outside
9. And if ambiance does not matter, then a hole in the wall place called Narayana where you eat and scoot
I also managed to watch the Highway on my Plate episode on youtube and added The Woodlands Hotel and Kori Rotti to my list.
My first meal in Bangalore was at the canteen of the institute where our programme was being held. Our options were a deep fried bun or vegetable pulao. Not wanting to have a pulao in the morning, I picked the bun. It is basically a Mangalorean doughnut made from flour and bananas and is served with a coconut chutney. The bun was very soft and light, but I could not detect the banana.
My first bite in Mangalore was this doughnuty “bun”. Deep fried, soft, sweet, and delicious when had with coconut chutney.
After work got over, Mahesh joined all of us at Ideal’s for ice-cream. There was a lot of gadbad as there happened to be 3 Ideal outlets in the same location. Some of my colleagues went to the two other outlets before landing at the one where the rest of us were waiting. As a result of all the waiting, we ended up trying quite a few sundaes. The icecreams here reminded me of my childhood – combos of vanilla and strawberry, fruits, and jelly that all comes together quite simply without any jazz.
Gadbad @ Ideal’s
Chocolate Dad @ Ideal’s – crunchy, chocolatey, and just Rs 70!
Tiramisu @ Ideal’s
Cake Sandwich – the cake was dry and not that great.
Post dessert, we headed to Coral @ Ocean Pearl for dinner. We ordered Squid Ghee Roast and Kori Roti. To our dismay, the squid ghee roast was bitter. We immediately sent it back and asked for a Kane Masala Fry instead. Later, the chef conveyed to us that the dish was bitter owing to the chillies used. The outstanding kori roti and the kane fry made up for it. The chicken curry was rich and redolent with spices without being too spicy. The kori roti is an amazing dish- the crunchy roti when combined with the cream curry produces a beautiful texture.
Bitter Squid Ghee Roast @ Coral, Ocean Pearl.
Masala Kane (Lady Fish)
At the dinner table we planned the rest our meals. With sheepish grins, we also decided to throw in some sights – after all we needed to do something in between meals. The hotel staff told us that all beaches were closed due to the rains. We headed to Sultan Bateri the next morning and were delighted to see a ferry operating there. We jumped on to it without knowing what lay on the other side. Imagine our excitement when we learnt that there was a beach on the other side - Tannirbhavi Beach – which was open. We made our way towards the beach while other couples who were visibly very young and very touchy-feely headed towards the bushes and trees. The beach was absolutely empty. We spent a very happy one hour there – standing in the water, sitting on a branch and watching the sea.
Serene Tannirbhavi Beach
Beach done, we headed to the non-vegetarian restaurant at Deepa Comforts. This was the most expensive as well as heavy meal of our entire trip. It cost us about Rs 1100. We started with a Chicken Urval – a yummy spicy chicken fry with lots of onions and chillies. This was followed by a Kane Rawa Fry which was okay okay. When the bill came we were shocked to see that this cost Rs 400.
Kane Rawa Fry that cost us Rs 400.
We also had a mutton sukka with neer dosas and appams. The mutton literally melt in our mouths.
Mutton Sukka which we had with Appams and Neer Dosa
We were so stuffed at the end of this meal that we skipped dinner! Criminal na, considering we had so many restaurants to go to. But, we needed to give our stomach a break from the heavy Managlorean fare that we had been gorging on.
Despite the claims of a heavy lunch, we ended up at The New Taj Mahal Cafe for coffee. By the time we got here the goli bhajis were over. We settled for a coconut poli, bun, and a jackfruit special. We did not particularly like anything that we ordered here.
Coffee at New Taj Mahal Cafe.
Steamed Jackfruit Sweet – was too dry for my liking.
Next morning we boarded a Volvo Bus and headed to Udupi. We were there
in an hour and a half. We went to the Malpe beach that was fairly crowded
and not as clean as the Tannirbhavi Beach. I was literally jumping with joy
when I spotted raw mangoes at the entrance. This is such a common sight at beaches in the South.
Totapuri Mangoes at the entrance of the Malpe beach in Udupi
The sweet and sour mango with salt and chilli is my favourite snack at a beach
We then headed to the Krishna Temple in Udupi. Darshan done, we decided to go to Mitra Samaj. I had chanced upon this article while googling about food in Udupi – http://www.rediff.com/money/report/udipi/20040427.htm Mitra Samaj is a stone’s throw from the temple. We first headed to the tiffins outlet and were greeted by 68-year-old Narayan Rao who told us that if we wanted meals we would have to head to the Mitra Samaj on the opp side and if we wanted North-Indian fare to Woodlands down the road. We decided to go to Mitra Samaj for meals. I have to admit that I was quite hesitant after I saw the exterior.
Thankfully, Mahesh decided that we would have our lunch here and so we made our way up the stairs and seated ourselves on plain benches.
The meal we had here was the highlight of our entire trip. Priced at Rs 25 per thali, it was also our cheapest meal. The sambhar and the pineapple curry were spectacular. I asked for a second serving of the pineapple curry – it had the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spice.
Highlight of our trip was this simple and delicious thali at Mitra Samaj in Udupi
Though we were stuffed, we wanted to try the snacks at Mitra Samaj. We headed back to the tiffin section and ordered a biscuit roti, bun, and kesari bhaath. Narayan Rao greeted us and served us with a lot of warmth.
68 year old Narayan Rao who works at Mitra Samaj Tiffins charmed us with his warmth and simplicity
What we ate here was amazing – the best we had eaten so far. I could taste the banana in the bun at last!
We had the best bun and biscuit roti at Mitra Samaj in Udupi
Soft and spongy Bun and flavourful Biscuit Roti
For dinner that night we went to Guthu’s. Here we ordered the chilli crab and fish pullimanchi. While the fish looked fiery, it was the crab that was super duper spicy and had me in tears.
Crab Chilli at Guthu
Fish Pullimanchi @ Guthus
We were tired of the breakfast at the hotel and decided to head The Woodlands Hotel instead. The goli bhajji eluded us again - I was told it is served only in the evening :( Here we had a vada, rawa dosa, and khaara bhaath. The dosa here was not half as greasy as the ones I’ve had in Bangalore.
Breakfast at Woodlands Hotel
For lunch, we headed to Kori Rotti. This had been featured on Highway on My Plate. It doesn’t have much of an ambience. The emphasis I guess is on the food. We ordered a full plate of Kori Roti, Bangda Fry, and Mutton Biryani. The Kori Rotti had about 8-10 pcs of chicken and was priced at Rs 90. This curry was not as heavy as the one we had at Coral. It was like a good homestyle chicken curry. The fish was decent too. It was the Biryani that was an absolute let down. The meat was rock hard.
Kori Rotti that cost us Rs 90.
Bangda Masala Fry
Horrible Mutton Biryani
Our last meal in Mangalore was at Hao Min, a joint that is hugely popular with college students. It reminded me of the Chinese restaurants in Kolkata that dot almost every street. Cheap and greasy Chinese food which is quite yum. We ordered salt and pepper prawns, sweet and sour pork, and a friedrice. The prawns were too salty. The pork was quite good. With this our food journey in Mangalore came to an end. This holiday, we realised was all about the food!
Salt and Pepper Prawns
Sweet and Sour Pork