Restaurant Review: Coorg, Bangalore

Posted on February 27, 2011

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This weekend D decided that our apartment needed a pest control treatment. It’s a rather painful exercise involving emptying the kitchen cabinets, moving furniture, covering books & clothes and all round messing around. There is however a silver lining. The kitchen is out of commission for most of the weekend and we ate out a lot of our meals. One of those meals was at Coorg – the restaurant.

Coorg is located on the Krishna Temple road, Indiranagar. If you drive past the 100 ft-CMH road junction towards the Old Madras road, Krishna Temple road is the first right turn. The road has a number of commercial establishments, Imperial Hotel, Nilgiri’s and such. 100 odd meters from the turn, on your right is the Coorg. The restaurant is on the terrace of a house and you need to look carefully or you will miss it. Coorg is run by a coffee planter-turned-restaurantuner K.C. Aiyappa and what an excellent decision it was for A to become a restauranteur; at least an excellent decision for me :-). Coorg is open for dinner only and that too Friday through Sunday. Dinner is served as a buffet spread and there is no other choice on the menu. The restaurant does not have the license to serve liquor but it does serve some very nice coolers.

You walk up two flights of stairs into this wonderful al-fresco dining experience. The restaurant can comfortably seat about 30 people. The furniture is all made of bamboo and there is a Mangalore-tiled roof to save you from a sudden shower. The lighting sets the mood for a relaxed evening and A who looks like a 70s rocker, plays music from the 70s too. The restaurant is a family run setup; A’s wife oversees the kitchen, and when school is out, his boys man the till. The kitchen and the wait staff has been with A since his plantation days and boy do they know how to cook and serve. The “walls” of the restaurant are adorned with pictures and charts, introducing you to the history, geography and culture of Coorg. There is also a little play nook for kids. A is a wonderful, welcoming but discreet host and that certainly adds to overall experience.

The buffet spread usually consists of a mayonnaise based salad, chicken curry, another non curry meat (chicken or pork) dish, a vegetable curry, a non curry vegetable dish, dal, rice, iddiappam and curd or raita. The king of the spread, however, must be the pandhi (pork) curry. After you have served yourselves all that you need, warm and delightfully fragrant rice (akki) roties are served at the table to go with your curries. I have always found that conversation at dinner table is inversely proportional to the taste of the food served. At Coorg, D and I, have nothing to say to each other when we eat, perhaps a occassional “ooh” or at best a sigh of satisfaction. For me it is the pandhi curry that always, always seals the deal. The curry has this wonderfully done meat cooked in a masala with a distinct taste of pepper and has this delectable tamarind tanginess. A tells me that each Coorgi family has a unique blend to the masala and each family’s pandhi curry tastes a little different. For me, I have decided that I belong to A’s family; there can be no better pandhi curry. If you can tear yourself away from the pandhi curry, the rest of the spread does taste adequate but frankly without the pandhi curry its really all pointless. Perhaps I am being too harsh; I have always liked the vegetarian options. I have tasted some nice mushroom and brinjal curries on my previous visits, and this time, A had served up a wonderful non curry dish made from raw jackfruit. The jackfruit was slightly crunchy and slightly fibrous and was cooked in a gentle-tasting masala. It was the perfect foil to the pandhi curry. As you gorge on the pandhi curry, remember to save some stomach space for the desserts. There are usually two choices – a caramel custard and a coconut pudding. The caramel custard is made just the way I like it where the custard is firm and the sugar on the top is caramalised to give a slight (really slight) burnt taste. The coconut pudding is another house speciality. The pudding melts in your mouth and, what I can only describe as fragile, taste of coconut leaves you surprised and happy. If you haven’t still figured it out, I love eating at Coorg. Even if you don’t eat meat or specifically pork, I would still recommend Coorg for its excellent vegetarian food and lovely ambience.

If I must complain, then it must be about A still not accepting a credit card. For someone like me that can mean an embarrassing run to the nearest ATM. The buffet is reasonably priced at Rs. 360 per head plus taxes and remember to leave a nice fat tip for the quiet, courteous, efficient wait and kitchen staff.

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