Though I have lived in Karnataka for the last 16 years, I have not travelled across the state except for the usual tourist destinations. When a friend recently brought up the name Maravanthe, I was curious about the place and was surprised that there is a lot to know about this coastal town, its culture and cuisine.
Maravanthe is a town located in the South Canara district of Karnataka about 450 kms from Bangalore but very close to Kundapur. The town has a scenic beach named after the town and is considered to be one of the more beautiful beaches in South India. Whats special about this area is that it is flanked by the ocean on one side and a river (Sauparnika) on the other side. The beach though quite popular destination among the tourists is still quite untouched hence it supposed to a paradise of sorts for those who crave a quiet peaceful getaway. The cuisine here is an additional reason to visit this little town I hear as their seafood preparations are their specialities.
Though the town and its beach sounds like a must visit destination, I settled for trying out their cuisine at a new restaurant in our city named Maravanthe. The restaurant located in close proximity to the Indira Nagar Metro station is the brainchild of two young entrepreneurs who wanted to showcase their coastal cuisine to the ever growing cosmopolitan crowd of food loving Bangaloreans.
My mom and I visited Maravanthe on a weekday afternoon and were pleasantly surprised to find it crowded with office goers. The restaurant decor is simple and quite in line with the village decor with more focus on serving coastal delicacies of Southern Karnataka. After a brief glance through their menu, we started the meal with a tall glass of Kokum juice which is a speciality there. While we waited for our beverage to arrive I did notice that in addition to the seafood specialities from Mangalore they even had Punjabi offerings.
As a Keralite, I know the difficulties of getting fresh seafood in Bangalore and more importantly at prices which don’t pinch the pocket. I knew that my meal here would be only to taste the best they had to offer and had only seafood on my mind and so we began with a piping hot Crab meat soup. Normally I would have to search for Crab meat in my soup but there was loads of crab meat in this soup here to my fascination.
For appetizers, we began with a personal favourite – Prawns Ghee Roast and I must say I was not disappointed. The prawns were well coated with a blend of spices with bits of cashews soaked in ghee.
My mom loves mussels so on the recommendation of our attendant we decided to try their Mussels Sukka fry which is basically grated coconut preparation mixed with their spices and tossed with mussels. The quantity served for each of their appetizers is for two to three people and at that pricing it was definitely value for money. The Sukka is also available for crab, mussels, prawn, chicken and mutton.
On the insistence of our attendant, we also tried two of their best Fish dishes. First was their Silver Fish coated with Rava and fried. While some may feel this dish is a bit bland, the taste is quite original as that is how it is meant to be crunchy and delicious.
The second dish was Bale Yele Masala which literally translates to Fish in Banana leaf which is quite common in Kerala too. But the difference lies completely in the marination of coriander, mint and green chillies. This dish brought tears to my eyes for 2 reasons – I loved it though it was quite spicy to put it mildly. A must have if you can tolerate spicy food.
For our main course, my mom decided to try the dish which seemed to be the most sought after in the restaurant which was the Maravanthe Fish Meals. The meals at first glance seems to look a bit less for someone who is deciding to have a quick lunch of it but as you delve into the meal you realize that its a perfect Mangalorean meal starting with the neer dosa and fish curry, rava fish fry, rice and sambhar along with a dry vegetable, dried prawn chutney and papad. No doubt, the best choice for office goers who want grab a quick meal but a sumptous one!
I decided to stick to trying their Kundapura Chicken Curry and Pulimunchi (Kokum spiced gravy) with local delicacies – Moode,Gatti Kadabu and Pundi. I have had both these curries before at various Mangalorean restaurants across the city but this was the best I have tasted by far. Both curries are packed with local flavours and while each is so different from the other in combination with the rice delicacies I genuinely felt overwhelmed.
Just when we thought we would wind up our meal we were also served their special desserts – Coconut pudding and Ragi Manni. I was fascinated with this gelatinous halwa made with millet and jaggery which looked quite unassuming but tasted quite heavenly. We just couldn’t have enough of the Coconut pudding and Ragi Manni and kept going back for one more bite.
The special dessert for that day was the Arishina ele kadubu which is a traditional dessert made for special occasions. It is made with rice flour stuffed with coconut jaggery steamed in turmeric leaves wherein the flavour of the turmeric leaf provides that very special flavour and aroma to the dish.
I would have loved to try their Mangalorean special, Gadbad but there’s always a next time especially after such a wonderful first experience.
Maravanthe may not be one of the most talked about restaurants in the city but as someone who believes that good food speaks for itself this place definitely packs all the flavours of the coast especially for those on a budget!
Address : 322/1, 1st floor, CMH Road, Indiranagar, call 08049653410.
Phone: 91- 80 – 49653410