So we got there and immediately ordered a kokum kadi. Kokum, or brinda, is a fruit found in the Western Ghats region of western coastal India. It's used in the cooking in Goa and coastal Karnataka as a substitute for tamarind. The drink consists of coconut milk along with the kokum fruit, garlic, chili, and sometime a little coriander.
For starters, we had the prawn masala, which was superb. VP wanted to have only this and didn't want any other main course dish (he has a thing against coconut and can't eat things with coconut in it). The marinade was red chili paste, along with some garlic I guess. Simple, yet effective, and tasty as hell.
Another starter we had was the seer fish fry, which was again very nice. And of course, the famous chicken ghee roast. Since P is a vegan (lacto-ovo vegan to be specific), we also ordered a mushroom ghee roast, which turned out to be superb. The only non-Mangalorean dish that we ordered was a paneer satay with peanut sauce, but the peanut sauce (and the masala used) quite clearly had a coastal touch to it.
We were pretty stuffed by this time, so for the main course, we had appams and stew for P, while the rest of us had neer dosa along with prawn curry.
P liked the stew and the appam combo, and even I liked the stew, since in a lot of other places, they fill potatoes in the stew, but this one had more veggies in it. The neer dosa with the prawn curry was also very good, although I'll never like the neer dosas made outside home.
For dessert, VP wasn't going to be adventurous and so had a carrot halwa.
The rest of us had a raagi manni, which is made form raagi and is kinda like a custard when it comes to consistency. I liked this, although it would have been better had they tossed in a couple of cashew nuts into it.
The final dessert we had was a wheat payasa, which again, turned out to be great. It wasn't the usual milk-based on, and so had more texture to it, but then again, it didn't play spoilsport on the palate, and neither did it spoil the taste.
Along with the bill, usually you have some saunf that is served. Well, here we had saunf as well as betel leaves and the pink paste and the areca nut. I moved the saunf away to take a picture of only the betel leaves and the areca and paste, something that our waiter insisted that I take a picture of.
The decor of the restaurant is very reminiscent of the houses built in the countryside around Mangalore and South Canara. Wooden beams go across the roof (usually a high ceiling to allow cooling). The waiters also dress in the traditional mundu, which is a white lungi and have a cap made of the areca palm leaves. Suffice to say everyone enjoyed the food and we had a good time.
$$$: Moderately expensive, but value for money if you ask me. Our bill, with 13.5% VAT (yes, from now VAT is 13.5, not 12) came to around Rs.2600 (for 5 people).
Verdict: Must visit for traditional Mangalorean food.
Kudla, Hotel Ramanashree Comforts, 16, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road, Bangalore. Phone: 66995970, 66684050