This visit to Prem’s Graama Bhojanam (PGB) is in conjunction with the awareness drive towards the upcoming Organics Millets International Trade Fair 2018, from Jan 19th-21st, 2018 (OMITF).
(See Contest details at the end of this post)
PGB is the concept of N S Krishnamoorthi (NSK) who is passionate about promoting local foods with an emphasis on millets, in an aim to create awareness about these ingredients and their health benefits.
Restaurants such as these, play a very active and key role in popularizing these foods that have been nearly forgotten and help in their resurgence.
NSK is a well read and well travelled person. He comes from a family that used to grow their own millets for years and hence his roots are steeped in the soil of his land. He is also a passionate cook and has researched and created several recipes.
He has studied the food habits and food histories of several communities and civilizations in detail, both in India and abroad. According to him, the fundamental of healthy eating is – Eat regional and Eat seasonal because genetically our systems are tuned to local foods and ingredients that are in season, are at the height of their nutritive value.
Several trials with ingredients and recipes over the years, with feedback from all cross sections of people and several travels through interior villages and small towns to learn their food habits, finally culminated in his quitting his coporate job and subsequently opening his first restaurant in Chennai, 3 years ago. The Minister of State (Karnataka) for agriculture, Shri Krishna Byre Gowda, chose to dine here on his recent road trip to promote the OMITF.
Despite being a trained baker, as far as his restaurant was concerned, he wanted to break away from that branch of food production and serve food in its local avatar.
The success of the first restaurant, prompted NSK to open one more place in Bangalore and this is managed by his franchisees, who just like him, have left their mainstream jobs to follow their passion.
Great thought has been put into naming the restaurant, and the usage of Sanskrit words is in order to make it understood throughout India. Prem meaning love, is also NSK’s son’s name and Graama Bhojanam translates to Village Food. Hence traditional food served with love, is how they want the place to be portrayed.
The value statement right at the entrance, declares their commitment to their beliefs.
PGB is housed in a bungalow in Jayanagar, along side a very busy street. Fortunately the sound does not carry inside once the door is closed and one can enjoy the meal in relative peace.
The decor aims to be rustic and traditional. Warli art has been extensively used to symbolize the theme, both indoors and outside and Rangoli adorned tables bear the food that is served.
Even the kitchen and serving area have utensils clinging to the walls just like they used to be stored in the olden days.
Tidbits of information via wall mounted posters, tell us about the benefits of millets, black rice. flax seeds etc.
The idea is to serve home style food that is free from all additives, colors and artificial flavors. They strive to serve that which is not easily available in most restaurants and what one would feel comfortable eating on a daily basis.
Even the drinking water that they serve, has been fortified by steeping edible camphor, tulsi (holy basil), cardamom and cloves in purified water.
His formula for creating good food is to balance all 3 elements of a good end product namely the ingredients, recipe and process.
Some of the dishes like the Thatte idli, took 300 trials and 4 months to get the desired result and he states that he can now make the softest of idlies in 10 different ways, without the usage of artificial leavening agents.
He also has in depth knowledge of the variants of black rice and has created a halwa with it that is one of his signature desserts.
He also stocks and sells the Vepilaikatti, which is not very well known among the younger generation.This is a pellet made from hand pounded lime and citron leaves along with ajwain and spices. This raw food is to be eaten like a pickle and has high fibre, antioxidants and is a probiotic.
The serving technique has been kept simple and there are 2 fixed menus, one for lunch and one at dinner. A fixed plated meal (thali) both in limited and unlimited versions, cover most of the fare that is available. A few a la carte items can also be separately ordered. Some of the items are created using black rice, red rice and bamboo rice but one would have to find out their availability in advance.
My experience –
The thali meal was a good way for me to sample a bit of whatever was offered and it consisted of 4 kinds of ‘mixed rice’ made with 4 different types of millets. Sambhar rice with foxtail, Rasam rice with barnyard, coriander rice with kodo and curd rice wit Little millet.
A little bowl of Ragi mudde along with its accompaniment of Saaru (curry), a vegetable palya (side dish), a jowar chapathi with dal, a chutney and a dessert of Black rice halwa, made up the rest of the meal.
The flavors were spot on and every single item had its own identity. The food was truly homely and delicious and would easily be something that one can eat on a daily basis. The quantities in the limited thali were very substantial (and of course too much for me 😀 ).
I also got to taste their spiced buttermilk and Panakham, a traditional drink with jaggery and dry ginger. These can be ordered from the menu.
Their prices are very reasonable and do not pinch the pocket, with the set meal at Rs 125 + and the unlimited one at Rs 200 +
This place surely warrants a visit by those who appreciate or wish to learn more about this kind of food and ingredients. NSK usually stays in Chennai but does travel often to Bangalore. And when he is at the restaurant, he is more than willing to spend time with his diners and help them understand the principles on which they function.
For more pictures see My Facebook – Prem’s Graama Bhojanam
1) Share the above FB post on your facebook walls
2) Like the Prems Graama Bhojanam Facebook PAGE
3) ON THE BLOG comments below, tell us on what dates the Organics Millets International Trade Fair 2018, is going to take place.
Format for eg – the OMITF will take place from x date to y date, 2018
Contest ends at midnight of Sun, Dec 31st, 2017, IST.
Prizes are transferrable to your friends and relatives, so please participate from everywhere.
3 lucky winners will be randomly drawn from those who accurately fulfil ALL the terms above.
Each winner will win a couples voucher for a total of Rs 500, to be redeemed at lunch time at Prem’s Graama Bhojanam, Bangalore, before Jan 31st, 2018, Only on Dine in.
Redeem the vouchers on any day (weekday or weekend)
between 12 pm – 3.30 pm, at –
Prem’s Grama Bhojanam,
234, 32 A Cross 2nd Main Road,
7th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore
Prior reservation needs to be made to avail of this voucher.