Every trip to India is precious and special. We make the flight across continents once in two years and try to pack in as much as possible. Quality time with the extended fam, shopping and not to forget, food. Lots and lots of Food. And every Eating Out experience is a story in itself. During or visit to India this Summer, we had traveled to Bangalore(now Bengaluru), to spend some time with my husband's sister and his extended family. My husband has bittersweet memories of Southern India as he spent his College years there. We had a great trip but we wanted to do something special to celebrate our last night there. My husband Debashish, took us all out for a South Indian Dinner at KARAVALLI , at the Taj Gateway Hotel in Bangalore.

Debashish is a foodie par excellence and trust him to do his research well,and come up with best pick when it comes to Eating Out. Only 10 per cent of our Eating Out adventures are on the blog. iF you want to read about it, then click Here.  I know, I should be more dilligent in penning it all down, but sometimes the food coma which follows , makes me drift off to dreamland sooner.

Karavalli is an experience in itself. The decor is old school classic. There are three kinds of seating arrangements. I would recommend a reservation, but we didn't have it. The staff were very accommodating despite the fact that we had a large group. We decided to sit indoors but skipped the canned air. A large table with french doors leading to the garden was perfect for our large family dinner. We could hear the water gurgling away and splashing across the small artificial waterfall. The garden was beautiful and the evening just became special .

Being a Food Blogger, I got chatty. Very soon Mathew, the Food and Beverage Manager , was regaling us with the history of Karavalli and introducing us to his lovely staff. Karavalli is celebrating its 25th year and I feel its one the best Indian restaurants I have been to , in recent years. And mind you, I am not even a fan of South Indian cuisine as such. Karavalli features the South Western Coastal Cuisine of India. So you have food from the Havyaka Brahmins, the Syrian Christians of Travancore, the Portugese from Goa and the Calicut Muslims to name a few. The Chefs have curated age old recipes which used to be made by the Moms and Grandmoms and brought it all together. Its Fine Dinning with a touch of History.

They do have some Specials , like the TIFFIN SERVICE, which usually serves up two people and their fresh SOUTH WESTERN GRILL , which features the Catch of the Day, grilled with a sauce of your choice.

We went ahead with the more traditional approach. Chef Ramachandran and our server Anthony  helped to navigate through the menu with their suggestions. When the experts are there, you just sit back and enjoy your meal. They were table side at every course. Being a Food Blogger has its perks for sure. It was Private Dinning one on one.

We started off with some Crisps and some Rasam . The Crisps came with three Chutneys or dipping sauces. My notion of South Indian food was already changing, I must tell you.

While we waited for our next course of choice, Chef sent in some freebies. KOLI BARTHAD (Succulent pieces panfried with Coorg Vinegar and a blend of special spices) was on the house.

The next complimentary item from Chef's kitchen was OGGARANEDA ARITHA PUNDI (Coconut and Cumin Flavored steamed rice dumplings, tossed with curry powder and mustard. They were very similar to Gnochhis.

Then came in the appetizer we were waiting for MEEN ELLEITAD(Fresh black Pomfret marinated in Malabar Masala, wrapped in a banana leaf and pan fried to perfection.

 KORI GASSI (Tender pieces of Chicken cooked in finely fresh ground coconut, coriander, Bydagi Chili  and tamarind). 

It was time for main course. By this I was already almost full. We could have stopped here and it would still be a delightful meal in itself. But my husband had planned another great course with Chef Ramachandran and our server Anthony.

It was time for the LOBSTER ! 

Fresh Appams were made almost table side and were a perfect accompaniment to the Lobster . Our daughter , who is generally a picky eater, loved her first taste of Appam.

As if a rice dish was just the missing link. POTHI CHORU(Rice with clarified butter and chicken curry, wrapped and steamed in Banana leaf - a Moplah specialty). 

Dessert was complimentary. Chef Ramachandran kept surprising us with his freebies from the kitchen spread through out dinning experience.

From Left to right - Jaggery Fudge, Alai Pradhaman(rice flakes cooked in milk and jaggery), Coconut Ice Cream . 

Tamarind Ice Cream 

What Indian meal is complete without an offering of Paan !

With our bellies full and hearts happy, Chef Ramachandran took us on a tour of the restaurant and the kitchen. Now thats Food Blogging royalty treatment.

We had a great family dinner. Loved the ambiance. It was fine dinning but the atmosphere was not stiff collar.  The food was interesting and the service was great. I loved the sheer variety of what was on offer on the menu. Its one of the best South Indian Restaurants I have been to. 

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