This segment talks of the food and drink that is available at the resort.
Since we have our priorities right, we will start with the drink 😀
The Drink –
Wetlands the bar, aptly lies surrounded by the water of the Lily lake and is an island connected to the land via a charming little bridge that unfortunately does not sway … or one could have blamed it on the way out 😀
However, one can hold the encircling Lilies responsible for the urge to caption your selfie – Lily don’t be Silly (and this happened even before I imbibed any liquids from the bar 😛 )
‘Husband Day Care center’, the sign at the start of the bridge, assures wives that they can leave their husbands here and go off to do their thing, as long as they pay for their drinks. I guess they have no idea that wives would rather opt for a reversal of roles. In any case none of this applied to me, since I was smart enough to travel without my husband, in the first place 😀
The bar is constructed with the same rammed earth technique as all the other buildings.
The aesthetics are a mix of the regional and the colonial, with pillars painstakingly foraged from ancient traditional Kerala bungalows (nallukettus) and the heavy solid wood furniture that reminds one of plantation homesteads. Antiques from all over the country have been personally collected by the owners and used in the decor.
The bar table itself is a piece of art, its various components being impressively fashioned from a single, large tree trunk.
A snooker table, carrom board and library are also housed in the Wetlands.
The walls are lined with framed photographs of wildlife, clicked by Aditya (the owner’s son) himself, in an admirable showcasing of his talent.
The bar is well stocked and serves a good range of wines, beers and other liquor. The bar tender is happy to concoct cocktails and he shook me up a fine vodka and passion fruit potion 😀
The passion fruit concentrate is home made from their seemingly inexhaustible supply of the exotic fruit and is free of all artificial additives. I fell in love with the golden liquid and would have loved to buy some of it but unfortunately it is only for their in-house use.
A few complimentary snacks are served with the drinks and more can be ordered from the restaurant.
The Restaurant –
The restaurant Poshini which means to nourish, also lies swathed in the embrace of passion fruit and other flowering vines that even intrude through the thatched roof with enchanting impunity and to hover over the tables in flowery chains.
Heavy wooden tables and chairs lend an old fashioned air that is further enhanced by a display stone tablets from the 4th century BC that were found on the river banks.
There is a section allocated for cookery demonstrations which can be booked at the office.
The food is served buffet style at all meals and the fare is multi cuisine. The resort being at quite a distance from any external restaurants, it would make sense for the guests to opt for the all meal plan.
As far as possible, the fruits and vegetables used, are grown at the resort and very interesting recipes have been created to utilize some of the exotic produce.
Vegetables that are not available on the property, are procured from the local farmers and nearby markets. Ravi the owner, being an agriculturist, helps the farmers with seeds and advice on smart farming and in turn buys back their produce.
Some of the milk is obtained from the native Hallikar breed of cattle that are reared by the villagers.
The fish is fresh out of their ponds, the poultry is free range and the meat is all halal.
It is noteworthy that they have 2 completely separate kitchens for vegetarian and non vegetarians and there is no sharing of ingredients or equipment.
Drinks from the bar can be ordered at the restaurant and one can enjoy the meal with beer, wine, cocktails or any beverage that is available.
The Cafe –
The Wonky Monkey cafe functions in the evenings at tea time and one can sit there sipping on the beverages and enjoying the complimentary home baked cookies and snack of the day.
The view is addictive and so are the pakodas and one can g(r)aze (= eat and gaze 😀 ) till darkness falls and the lights of the dam twinkle across the water.
My meals –
To be honest, when I travel I look mainly for the local foods of the place and trying out something novel or unusual, even though it may be extremely simple, is what enthuses me. Not for me, the onslaught of multi cuisine that bombards the palate from all regions.
However, the actual traditional dishes of this region are apparently not too many and of course at a practical level a resort of this stature has to cater to taste buds from all over the globe.
Hence along with a few typically local dishes, the buffet consists of a combination of pan Indian, Asian and Continental, with a little more focus on Kerala cuisine, where the owners hail from.
I did find it comforting to note though, that the food was prepared in as homely a style as possible and despite quite a large range of items, they do try to maintain that simple heartiness in all the dishes, keeping them distinct from commercial restaurant style fare that is high on oil, artificial additives and spices. All their breads, pastries etc are baked in house.
All meats are served and special requests and orders are executed if possible.
At times, Aditya also steps into the kitchen and cooks up a a storm 😀
We were lucky to taste his authentic Coorg style Pandi (pork) curry and a smoky chicken masala cooked on firewood.
My picks from the relatively comprehensive menu, were the tangy Carambola soup made from their home grown fruit, a healthy and delicious ragi drink, succulent chicken in home grown palak (spinach) sauce, the melt in the mouth palak paneer with home made cottage cheese, almost all their vegetable dishes and desserts like coconut pudding and home made ice creams including passion fruit, cheese, peanut butter and even pani puri 😀 I would have preferred them less sweet though.
At breakfast I indulged in their fresh fruit juices and their South Indian offerings of dosa, idli and vada were of excellent texture. The parathas looked great too but I was unable to make space for them.
They also have the regular Western breakfast with all the usual trappings including eggs to order and such like.
Some of the items that were served at meal times over the 2 days of my stay were soups, pastas,vegetable and chicken baked casseroles, the usual Chinese fare like noodles, chilli chicken, fried rice and fried babycorn, grilled and fried fish, meat curries, Kerala parota, biryanis, mixed rice, salads from local vegetables and fruits and various pastries and sweets … a spread that would give most palates a good time.
There is a certain ‘Indianising’ of some of the other cuisines but that is just my over enthusiasm for authenticity that compels me to mention it 😀
The food is very hearty, the bar is well stocked and the service is helpful and attentive. Manjunath from the restaurant takes a personal interest in assisting each guest, even to the extent of individually checking if every one has had their meal before closing hours.
I would have been happier to see a bit more of the local cuisine but on the whole I think the spread will satisfy most palates.
And now if all this eating has filled you with guilt, fear not for we can always retrace our steps to the activities mentioned in the previous post and burn off those calories right here 😀
For more pictures see My Facebook – Red Earth Kabini-Food and Drink
Nov 8th-10th, 2017