There is a saying that goes – You can take Carol out of Kerala but you cannot stop Kerala from stalking Carol !!!
Well I made up that saying (in case you hadn’t guessed 😛 ) but that is currently the story of my life … and a very delicious story at that.
Those of you who have been following my escapades will know that I have recently returned from having a wonderful time and amazing food at a resort in Kerala. And fate being unable to deal with my withdrawal symptoms, kindly decided to favor me yet again with this invitation to Ente Keralam.
Ente Keralam (meaning My Kerala) is a restaurant that Bangalore is familiar with. With its offerings of traditional food, decor and ambience that exclusively represent the state of Kerala, their Ulsoor Road location is well known among food lovers.
While that is really not too far away from me, they have now opened a second place barely 600 meters away from where I am located, in the peaceful and Old Bangalore environs of the still green Richard’s town.
A charming, sprawling old bungalow, one of the few that still exist in this locality, is where the restaurant is housed (really no pun intended 😀 )
One enters into a large courtyard with a mango tree that provides its cover over the entire building. The entrance is a replica of a traditional Kerala home, complete with its sentinel pillars and there also is a traditional, old fashioned granite grinding stone placed at the entry.
The place can seat around 72 people including 12 people in the veranda with its 3 tables. The weather being perfect (read pleasantly cloudy), we opted to sit outdoors and that decision also boded well for the camera.
The decor is as Kerala as it can get, with an Uruli (flat bronze bowl) with floating golden marigolds at the doorway in between the wooden seats that span the entrance.
The usual iconic souvenirs like the Kathakali mask, the Nettipattam (ornamental headgear used on elephants) and the wooden boat, adorn the walls, both inside and outside.
Even their napkins are skillfully folded into endearing little boats that one does not feel like wrecking 😀
The refreshing Keraleeyam, their tender coconut punch, started us off on our voyage, along with the intensely green Lemon mint cooler and the Nannari sherbet made from Sarsaprilla extract.
2 little bowls of banana chips both salty and sweet are served at the table before the meal. I would advise against yielding to the temptation of popping in too many of these because they can effectively fill you up and hinder you from gorging on the rest of the meal.
For the starters, I opted to taste a bit of each of the Trivandrum style kozhi porichathu – deep fried spiced chicken and the Erachi Ularthiyathu.
Both the dishes were tantalizingly spicy and served with a profusion of fried curry leaves, just the way I like it.
Of course I had the prawns too and they won the contest with their absolute freshness and perfect texture. Learn to pronounce Konju Kurumulakittathu if you want to have those prawns. Of course you could also just point out to them on the menu but I wanted to show off and I asked for them by name 😀
Konju’ratulations to me !!!
The vegetarian companion had the Vazhapoo cutlet, feather light patties made of banana flower and potato and served with a beetroot sauce that was brilliant (in more ways than one).
While vegetarians have a lot to choose from, they can opt for the Sadya which is an unlimited meal served on a banana leaf, complete with rice, side dishes, gravies, crisps, pickles, chutneys, desserts, fruit and buttermilk. The daily sadya is enhanced on weekends, festivals and public holidays and they serve a few more items on these days.
Being Independence Day, we gave in to the captivation of gluttony and indulged in the full fledged special meal. Going left to right on the top row of the leaf (see picture), there was –
Nei parippu – dal mixed with ghee, Thoran – a dry vegetable with coconut, Avial – mixed vegetable, curd based curry, Kootu – a mixed vegetable curry, Mezhukuvaratty – a dry vegetable.
Top to bottom on the right of the leaf were the – Olan – a curry with ash gourd and coconut milk, Pachadi – a curd salad and Curd.
The second row from L to R had the Banana chips and chakara varatti – jaggery coated banana chips, fried Curd chilli, Inji puli – a ginger and tamarind chutney, Pickle, Chammanthi – a coarse chutney.
And at the bottom were the banana and papad
The bowls from L to R had the Katchiya moru – a seasoned buttermilk curry, Sambar, Rasam.
The glass on the right was the spiced buttermilk and below that, the Red rice.
Desserts on the banana leaf on the left were, going clockwise, the Ela ada – coconut and jaggery stuffed in a layer of rice paste and steamed in a banana leaf, Carrot payasam and Pal ada payasam – rice flakes cooked in sweetened milk.
Hoping that typing out the detailed description will help me burn off calories 😛
Yeah so we were not done yet because there was the Thalaserry egg biryani that we were asked to taste. This was served with accompaniment of Raitha (curd salad), Chammanthi (coconut chutney), Inji puli and papad. This is the Kerala style biryani that has originated in Thalaserry, a town in the coastal region of the Malabar.
Of course my camera consumed more than I did and while I barely sampled the above food, I certainly intended to make up with my ever favorite Appam and stew. A light, crisp appam with some creamy mutton stew with tender pieces of meat, was my actual major contribution to the consumption 😀
And yes I am a creature of habit, so I was not leaving until I had my quota of Ela neer payasam – tender coconut meat in thick, creamy coconut milk lightly sweetened with sugar … that you end up dreaming of when you finally get to where you belong after a meal like this … ie straight to your bed which fortunately is a mere 600 meters away (in my case of course 😀 )
This place is a boon for this locality, which despite its profusion of eateries within a kilometer radius, is still quite bereft of too many fine dining places.
They have a Sunday breakfast too, with combos of Appam/Idi appam/Puttu with stew/kadali curry/meat curry etc.
So if you want to Ente’rtain your palate, Ente Keralam is where you should head to.
Aug 15th, 2017
For more pictures see My Facebook – Ente Keralam-Richard’s Town