Sunday, January 7, 2007

Kamat's Yatri Nivas, Bangalore: Lunch on a Banana Leaf

Our recent visit to Bangalore was M's first, and she wanted to tour the city. My cousin was kind enough to let his driver take us around for the entire day. After a busy morning, we visited Kamat's Yatri Nivas in Gandhinagar to explore the Northern Karnataka cuisine. The northern part of Karnataka is home to hard working farmers and their hardier cuisine. The staple diet includes Jolada Roti (leavened bread made from jowar flour), served with butter, spicy curries and chutneys.

In the fourth floor restaurant, lunch is served on a clean banana leaf, and waiters in the traditional garb of a dhoti, kurta and topi, decorate the leaf with a dazzling array of multicoloured vegeterian dishes. The scallion, a few sprigs of methi (fenugreek), roasted papad, orange coloured spicy garlic and onion chutney, a tomato cucumber raita; lentil cucumber pachhadi, spicy brinjal (eggplant) curry, a greens dish and another lentil curry. Phew! Home made yogurt (or curd) is set and served in an earthern cup (see top right of pic). Fluffy rotis come straight from the outdoor cooking area (see next pic). I cautiously apply the butter, tear off a piece of the roti and use it to scoop each dish in turn. Finger licking yummy! As we finished each roti or curry, servers magically appeared with more of what we just finished. There was also a glass of buttermilk spiced with crushed ginger, chopped peppers, curry leaves and hing. After a few rounds I can barely chew a morsel, and as waiters lined up to serve more, I had to cover my leaf with my hands and insist on not being served any more. Of course, they also had rice and Kolambo, which I just could not partake of. Then they bring out the best ... fruit salad with mango ice-cream! However full I am, I can always eat dessert!

All this for Rs 100. Yes, its about 2 US dollars!!! (That is how much a cup of coffee alone will cost you at one of those Western-styled Coffee shops in Bangalore or Mumbai).

We were so full, we could barely walk down the stairs and ... *don't roll your eyes* we actually took a room at the hotel for a two hour nap. ;-) After freshening up and a nice cup of 'Kapi' we continued on our bangalore city tour (pics in next post)

Making of Jolada Roti:
At three such stations, workers continually kneaded, rolled and roasted the bread on the pan over a charcoal hearth. The roti stays soft when roasted on the pan alone; if it is flipped over the open hearth, it roasts to a nice crisp. They serve both varieties.

Full Disclosure: Our relative owns the restaurant and I did not have to pay for lunch! :-)


Sia said...

hi arun,
i stumbled on ur amazing blog while looking for the jolada rotti recipe. the pics in ur blog is making me all nostalgic. ur blog is surely a link to homeland for all the kannadigas staying abroad. keep it up. will be ur regular visitor

bhatnp said...

Hi ,
can you suggest some good jolada rotti joints in mumbai --mail me to