A light melodious symphony of alarm woke me up from my slumber. I silenced the alarm sliding my index finger over the mobile screen. I have detested all my life waking up to regular buzzer or any screaming, loud alarms. It would wake me up with a jolt but would leave me in a grumpy mood for couple of hours. So I decided to switch to lighter music to wake me up. I pulled the mobile close to my eyes, peered at it to inspect the time. The digital clock ticked along and it was six o clock in the morning.
Any other day, I would give myself a 15 mins grace period that I would spend just gazing at the ceiling, rolling around or just lying, but today we had a bus to catch. We rushed through our morning chores and reached the hotel lobby. We went to restaurant for the complimentary breakfast and it was pretty much the same. We decided to grab some quick bite that would keep us full for next couple of hours. Finally we stepped out from hotel premises. It was still very early and not many vehicles could be seen on road. We strolled past the divider to reach the other side of road and walked 50 meters to get to the bus stop. Udupi is 65km from Mangalore and several buses ply on that route. The frequency of these buses is pretty amazing, and unlike Pune you can rely on these buses for reaching destination on time.
We took a “Mangalore-Manipal-Mangalore” express that halts at Udupi, a city that is popular across India for its Udupi restaurants. We visited couple of temples at Udupi and also wandered through the University City of Manipal located at about 5 kms away from Udupi. Finally after enough sightseeing, we headed back to Udupi bus station where our next food destination was located.
Kediyoor, a lavish food joint located perfectly in the heart of Udupi city. It is one of the oldest restaurants that, we were told, has existed for over two decades in Udupi. Let not the tag of “Over 2 decades old” deceive you, when you come looking for this place. They seem to have undergone a constant churning process and this place does not seem to be out of date. They boast of a separate veg and non-veg restaurants and a cake-shop to satiate your sweet tooth. We walked into non-veg section and were greeted by smiling and effervescent manager. Though the restaurant seemed to be fairly vacant, and we could have taken any seat, he escorted us to one of the tables nestled into the corners of the restaurant.
I had a question encircling my mind since I heard about this restaurant. To put my inquisitive mind to rest, I posed the query to manager when he appeared to take our order. I asked him about the meaning of the word “Kediyoor”. Though I believe the essence of the meaning of a word and its impact are lost when they are translated, but kediyoor, as was explained to us, relates to Lord Krishna and his being a go-pala (one who takes care of cows- cowherd). Restaurant boasted of some very exhaustive menu which included kebabs of Lucknow, biryanis of Hyderabad and Chinese dishes. However, eating some kebabs, tikkas or biryanis did not make sense to us when we were visiting the place for some local food experience. So we shunned the menu and decided to seek the manager’s expertise with local food. The dishes that he proposed we order were “Mangalorean Fish Fry”, “Chicken Sukka” and Kori Rotti“and we duly obliged. Before the meal had arrived, we were deliberating about our next order but the portions of our meal were large, really large and it put all the deliberations to rest. To start with Chicken Sukka was a gentle reminder of us being in a coastal city, with a generous quantity of coconut that seemed like the soul of the dish. Mangalorean Fish Fry was neatly fried and presented and the signature dish of Mangalore-Udupi Kori Rotti (not to be mistaken with North Indian roti).
Kori means chicken in Tulu which is one of the prominent languages spoken in Mangalore and Rotti refers to a flat bread preparation made from rice paste, turned into flat sheets and dried out. Hard and crisp rottis are broken into small pieces that forms a bed on which chicken curry is poured and served. This is one dish that every Mangalorean takes pride in and it becomes more evident when they talk about their Kori rotti with a gleam in their eyes which is what we witnessed in the eyes of the hotel manager. Our experience at Kediyoor and at Udupi was enriching and fulfilling and it was time for us to head back to Mangalore city, where our next destination- dinner at Hotel Maharaja, beckoned us.
Ambience: 4* Service: 4* Taste: 4* Impact on pocket: 600 rupees
Hotel Maharaja is located very close to Woodland hotel and being familiar with that locality we walked our way till our food destination. The restaurant is located on level two of the building. We discovered that we were early visitors and had only managers and servers to our company. Unperturbed, we ordered for Chicken Uruval and Prawns ghee roast to be brought in as starter and a pint of beer for me and lemonade for missus to wash down the starters. The area where we were seated had pretty poor lights and ambience did not do justice to the reputation that the hotel carry. We were told that they have a terrace area which has a pretty decent ambience and was the first preference for most of the patrons. Disappointed with the ambience, it was time for us to dig into Chicken Uruval. The dish was coated in masala and it tasted of cashewnuts, sourness of tamarind, green chilies and curry leaves. It is a starter that would go perfectly with cocktails. As chicken Uruval came to its finishing stages, our second dish of Prawns ghee roast had already made its mark on the table, with a tantalizing aroma of clarified butter (Ghee) whirling around in the room. It was time to pay our respect to a dish which had originated in this city and gradually made its mark on global cuisine. I tasted it first at a restaurant in Pune as it came with a tag of ‘Chef Recommendation’. It caught my fancy and I was determined to try the dish at the place where it originated. First things first, this dish is a brilliant medley of flavors that would take your taste cells by storm and force you to sit up and take notice. It is going to tingle your olfactory organ with a pleasant aroma of ghee, and as you bite on, the sourness of tamarind, spiciness of chilies and sweetness of succulent prawns create a symphony of flavor. This comes as a highly recommended dish from us.
Finally, it was time for us to order main course and we went with Fish (Mackerel) Pulimunchi accompanied with Neer dosa. PuliMunchi is a compound word meaning Puli- tamarind (sour) and Munchi- chili (Spicy). So as expected, the dish was sour and spicy. A warning that must precede before you rush to have this dish, the spice quotient of this dish is on a higher side. It will render your taste receptors numb for few seconds when you taste it, you may face runny nose, so keep you handkerchief or a tissue handy, as you don’t want to be spoiling your sleeves and if you do, that’s a bad manner. But with neer dosa it turns out to be a brilliant combination and if you have some more appetite left, you can have some ice-cream to pacify those burning taste receptors.
Ambience: 2-1/2* Service: 4* Taste: 4* Impact on pocket: 700 rupees
Our experience at Mangalore was enriching and fulfilling. We had got more than we had expected in these two days. We know it is not possible to encompass a complete gastronomical experience that a city would have to offer. There are many dishes out there on the platter of Mangalore that are still untasted and it gives us a reason to keep coming back. Mangalore gave a fillip to our food journey, and there are many more food destination that await us.
See you again at a new food destination!!
Read about our Day 1 food excursions here