Maharaja – Mangalore


There are times in life when you meet a total stranger and yet feel an instant connect.
I was fortunate to experience such bonding, when I met the soft spoken and elegant Komal Prabhu some months ago at a Mangalorean food festival which she had come to organize at a star hotel in Bangalore.

Komal was married very young and spent those early years of her marriage, remaining in the background and taking care of her family. When her father in law began a hotel and food venture in 2000, ten years after her marriage, she then stepped into one more role of her life, which was to handle the food and kitchen part of the business.
In a couple of years she and her husband went on to open their own restaurant called Maharaja in the heart of Mangalore city, after which there was no looking back. Her admirable rise to becoming a very savvy and able business woman, happened seamlessly as if she was ‘to the Maharaja born’ !!!

The successfully running Maharaja is now one of Mangalore’s iconic restaurants and is very popular both among resident Mangaloreans as well as visitors from elsewhere in India and abroad.

The place serves mutli cuisine fare which includes the ubiquitous Chinese, North Indian, Tandoori and local Mangalorean (the Bunt and konkani style) and can seat 350 diners in a space that encompasses a non AC terrace section, an AC dining hall, a 25 seater conference hall and a 75 seater hall.

The decor is simple and pleasant and the draw is mainly the food. While the other cuisines might appeal to the local palate, visitors like myself would head straight for the local dishes which include the freshest of seafood that Komal personally goes to procure from the docks on a daily basis.

I was privileged to be her guest on my recent visit to Mangalore and I was impressed to see that the endearing warmth with which she personally greeted us, was not reserved just for us but also for every stranger entering the place … a true sign of a good host.

Where the food was concerned, we did not even dare order, as we completely relinquished the decision making to her 😀

What followed was a sea food fiesta and no prizes for guessing what we began with 😀 Their signature Prawn ghee roast was a finger licking ecstasy and an exciting sign of things to come. Ghee roast is a classic dish from the Mangalorean Bunt community, which obtains its intense red color from Byadgi chillies and its flavor from its special masala and of course its smoothness from the addition of ghee’leeful amounts of ghee !!! This can be had with Neer dosa or sanna or rice … or just plain, for sea food crazed folk 😀

I would have been content with just this but of course I had no say in the matter 😀 Crunchy yet juicy Bolenjir (silver fish)rava fry, Fish tikka made from Melgu fish (butter fish?) and a enormous slice of Surmai (seer) fish masala fry, found their way to our tummies in an act of Seer gluttony !!!

Knowing my weakness for squid and crab, my temptress then tempted me with Squid butter garlic and Crab in greens.
The squid though tender, was a bit sweetish and I would have preferred a spicier variant.
The crab in spinach was something unusual and the pleasure of experiencing that lusciously tender crab meat, was further enhanced by the chef being kind enough to unShellfish’ly un’shell the crab as a special request. This not so easy service is not normally offered and one has to be really speShell to avail of it 😀

While their chicken and mutton dishes are also popular, I was stubbornly fixated on the seafood and for the mains I had the handkerchief soft Neer dosas with yet another of their signature curries, the Prawn hinga udda, which is a special curry flavored with asafoetida water.

Boiled rice and Daali tove (pronounced tovaey) were had, to assuage the conscience a bit. There are no pictures of this, so you will have to take my word for it 😀
Daali tove is the Konkani version of seasoned dal and it has it’s own characteristic subtle flavor.

They also have quite a substantial fish and chicken thali, priced at a ridiculously low Rs 100 each and with ice cream included, this is outstanding value for money in that ambience.

Desserts consist mostly of ready made ice creams and a caramel custard and though the latter was recommended, we were too full to try anything.

Maharaja has a full fledged bar and I am sure that many people would be able to comprehend the bliss of chilling out with a cold beer on a hot afternoon with some spicy fish fry for company.
One could also order from the soft drinks and lime sodas and Mocktails. The Cocktails include the very local sounding Srinivas Special, with orange juice, pineapple juice, wine and vodka 😀

Maharaja is a place that lovers of the local cuisine should dine at while visiting Mangalore. The local fare is authentic and appealingly home style and Komal personally takes charge of putting together the masalas everyday.

Kudos to Komal for running the show like a Boss. Truly a Maharani at this Maharaja !!!

Jan 17,2017

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About Currylines

A food and travel enthusiast who plays with words
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