One of my favorite restaurants in Bangalore – Karavalli at The Gateway Hotel, runs a seafood festival every year. This year’s Aquafest runs from the 15th to the 30th of November and is truly a gastronomical delight. For those of you who have never heard of Karavalli (face turning blue), it is an award winning restaurant that focuses on home-food recipes sourced from the coastal regions of South West India. (Think Mangalorean Bunts and Konkanis, Kodavas from Coorg, Malayalees, Calicut Muslims and Syrian Christians of Travancore, Havyaka Brahmins of Vitla and the Portuguese of Goa). The only restaurant in India to feature in the Top 50 list of The S. Pellegrino Asia’s Best Restaurants, Karavalli has always lived up to its legacy of creating fantastic food and amazing memories for me.
Last week I had the chance to dine with the most affable, humble and accomplished Chef Naren Thimmaiah during the preview of the Aquafest menu. I have to thank dear Monika Manchanda of Sin-A-Mon Tales, for taking me along as her date for the night. And what a fantastic date it was 😉 Natasha and Nitin were our other partners in crime and this night turned out to be the best! (P.S. We didn’t even drink a drop of alcohol the whole night and all of us were buzzing with the food high!). Chef Naren kept popping in and out of the scene to enliven the night with the most fun stories. It was like dining in an old friend’s house and that made the experience so much more special. Somehow I stay away from writing about my favorite restaurants, because I don’t want to be judged about my obvious love for them. Or for the simple fact that I will take up cudgels with anyone who dares say anything negative about them. But Karavalli cannot disappoint – it’s just in their lineage to be amazing. So I proudly present to you – Aquafest 2013.
I decided to just do a picture review this time because we literally ate everything on the new menu and also because EVERYTHING was amazing. I have to tell you that these dishes are created especially for the festival, so better get to Karavalli by the 30th to ensure you don’t cheat yourself of some amazing food. And go in a group, so that you can try more things from the menu – sharing is so much fun in this case! Needless to say, leave your vegetarian and non-seafood loving/ seafood-allergic friends behind (Oh, the unfairness of life!).
If I HAD to pick my favorites (so so difficult) the Octupus Uppumunchi, the Kane Jeera Meera and the Kuttanadan Karuvapila Konju absolutely blew my mind. The Ramasseri Idly was also da bomb. And Oh… the Banana Caramel Ice Cream! (it was not part of the menu but DO order it). I’ve told Chef I’m coming back for a tub! (Sweet Dreams are made of these…)
The Gateway Hotel,
No.66, Residency Road,
Bangalore – 560025.
Ph: +91 80 66604545
Parking: Valet available
Cost: Rs.3000/- for a meal for two without alcohol
The festival is on from 15th – 30th Nov 2013.