On the 19th of June, I had been to this restaurant called Sea Spice by 7 Star, a restaurant in the 3 star hotel Shetty Gardenia (no relation, I assure you) in Banashankari (south Bangalore). It had been a while since I visited a restaurant serving typical Mangalorean cuisine, and this place didn't disappoint. Mr VP accompanied me, and we were joined by the official guests for the review, Delilah Martis and her husband Gautham Rao, both fellow Mangaloreans in exile like me.
We ordered only coastal fare - from kokum drinks to chicken ghee roast, prawn & mussel sukka to seer fish masala fry - for our appetisers. For the main course, the unequalled neer dosa with a prawn curry, and the ubiquitous boiled rice with a typical Mangalorean chicken curry. I wasn't disappointed at all, and apart from the distance my guests had to travel to get here (they live in Marathahalli), they didn't have any complaints about the place either.
The food is pretty authentic, and isn't very expensive (sea food in Bangalore is otherwise pretty expensive). For the four of us plus the photographer, the total for all that we ate came out to around 1850, which was great. The service is quick and good, and although the decor and the look of the place isn't a very 'coastal' look (it's more modern with a fine dining look), the food made up for the missing coastal appearance.
The Bangalore Mirror site seems to be having a problem at the moment, and so as soon as it's back up, I'll post the link here for the review.
$$$: Moderate, not too expensive considering they serve sea food
Verdict: If you live all the way on the other side of town, I wouldn't ask you to come till here for good Mangalorean food, but if you're anywhere in south Bangalore, then this is the place for Mangalorean food.
Sea Spice, #1890, 9th Main, Kaveri Nagar, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Bangalore. Phone: 26715060, 26919790
The full review is here:
I'm on a seafood diet I see food,I eat it. Dolly Parton.
For people living in the coastal areas,seafood is so ingrained into their daily lives that in certain parts of coastal India,Brahmins eat fish.Thankfully,I have no predispositions towards any food group,and am open to enjoying anything created in the kitchen by any artist (oh yes,cooking is an art).Getting good Mangalorean cuisine in Bangalore was a little hard to come by in the early years,and according to owner Abhay Shetty of Sea Spice,his father started Bangalores first Mangalorean restaurant,7 Star,in Gandhinagar in 1973,introducing Bangaloreans to the joy of rice and fish curry.The success of 7 Star saw the mushrooming of several similar joints around Gandhinagar,most noticeably Hotel Fishland,which was started by a customer of 7 Star after he began having difficulty getting a table for lunch (at 7 Star).
My guests for the evening were Delilah Martis and her husband Gautham Rao,both Mangaloreans in exile like yours truly.Driving across Bangalore was a tad difficult on a Saturday evening (they live in Marathahalli),and so they hoped the drive was worth it.When asked Why Banashankari as opposed to the city center,pat came the reply from Abhay,South Bangalore has no Mangalorean restaurant.And at present,the MG Road area is in a bit of a mess with the metro work,so once things settle down there,an expansion is definitely on the cards.
We started off with drinks from a fruit native to the coast,kokum (Garcinia indica),in two different forms the regular sherbet and a mildly spicy kadi with coconut milk and spices,and an ambachye panhe a green mango drink.The kokum drinks were both good,and there wasnt anything to complain about the mango drink either.Off to a good start! This was followed by typical coastal stuff Mangalorean chicken ghee roast,seer fish masala fry,prawn sukka and mussel sukka.For the uninitiated,a sukka is a dry dish with grated coconut,fenugreek,turmeric,ginger,garlic and the works.The seer fish fry was the best,and tasted fantastic,closely followed by the prawn sukka (prawns seemed very fresh),although Delilah couldnt quite place her finger on why it didnt feel authentic enough.The ghee roast was cooked well but Gautham thought he'd tasted better ghee roasts,while the mussel sukka tasted good,with the mussels being fresh.
The hotter the place,the spicier the food - this induces sweating,which evaporates leading to cooling.Simple,aint it However,Mangalorean cuisine isnt overly spicy unlike those of other places,primarily due to fact that the coastal weather makes you sweat naturally,so no need to further spike the spice levels in the food.While discussing such fundas,our main course arrived the unequaled neer dosa,along with prawn gassi (gravy),and the ubiquitous boiled rice with a chicken Kundapur (named after the town it hails from).
Although not wanting to complicate matters,Delilah thought the prawn from the sukka seemed fresher than the prawn in the gassi,but the prawn gassi dish as a whole was better than the sukka.Dandy! The neer dosa was soft and fluffy,but Ive had fluffier neer dosas I guess this is one dish where whats made at home would be better,and not just because of the love added by mom.
The boiled rice with the chicken Kundapur is something that can only be relished in person,but suffice to say it was really good.Gautham and Delilah liked the dish,and as far as authenticity goes,I can chime in and say that having eaten quite a bit of it,it was as good as it gets.Unfortunately,we were stuffed and couldnt try another classic from South Canara kori rotti;perhaps another time.The desserts we had werent all that impressive.While the coconut pudding was pleasant,the fried ice-cream wasnt all that great,especially the outer coating of desiccated coconut.The payasa,similar to kheer,wasnt available,and would perhaps have been an apt finishing touch to an otherwise pleasant dinner.Sea Spice by 7 Star (tribute to the original restaurant),part of the 3 star hotel Shetty Gardenia,offers you a near fine dining experience of typical Mangalorean cuisine in crisp and pleasant surroundings.The coastal look may be missing,but the feel is made up with the food.