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The ocean's best pick



Kudla: a true seafood carnival

SITUATED BANG in the hub of the city is Kudla (Mangalore is referred to as Kudla in Tulu) — a unit of the Banjara Group of Hotels. Prakash Shetty — MD of the MRG Group of Hotels — is the man behind the cosy joint, on the premises of Ramanashree, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road. Kudla has an ongoing Kudla Seafood Carnival, which is on till February 28. The food, as the name suggests, entails only Mangalorean cuisine. So be prepared for lots and lots of coconut-based spices, curries and gravies.

Homey place

The place, with wooden pillars dotting the hall and real green plants, makes a pretty sight. This place with a homey feel, has fishing nets and uncooked fish, squids, prawns, clams, crabs even lobsters kept in ice to give diners an idea on the freshness of the seafood.

For starters we munched on prawn chilli fry, and chilli squids and plenty of sandige (fried wafers). Though Kudla serves liquor, it also serves traditional Kudla drinks. So we opted for the cocum kadi, a very refreshing drink typical of the Konkan coast. Must say, this new flavour with its tangy taste kind of grows on you. Served chilled, it also complements the seafood starters.

Coming to the main course it was the kane curry (lady fish) and the anjal mustard curry (seer fish). These were served with the traditional neer dosa. So soft that it simply melts in your mouth. You can down humungous quantities of this dosa and still hunger for more.

Next we tried the pundi (rice kadabu) and the thick appams. These too go well with the coconut-based curries. The best part of Kudla is that it is suitable for even those who wish to eat on a budget. It serves a thali every afternoon — fish thali (Rs. 50) and chicken thali (Rs. 65). Diners get to eat a curry (fish/chicken), a dry fry (fish or chicken), rice, buttermilk and two vegetables. So, if you plan well, you can mix and match these thalis with the starters and the drinks and give yourself a king-sized treat. "This is also for the IT crowd that wants its food really fast," explains Melwyn D'Souza, Manager.

Those who wish to have a really stretched lavish meal will find dinner ideal. You can listen to some good music, coupled with a drink of your choice and simply feast on all the seafood starters (if you don't enjoy seafood, then Kudla offers chicken and mutton too). When ready for the big meal, you can stick to the neer dosas and the seafood spread and still walk away feeling quite light on your tummy. Pity, vegetarians don't have much here.

Unusual desserts

Like all good things have to have a happy ending, we too had to have the dessert. Kudla serves traditional desserts — ragi manni, (ragi?! "Well, we use ragi for desserts," says Melwyn), rice manni and the payasams. We had the rice manni. It was served cold and had a dash of jaggery and ghee.

Once again not too heavy on the tummy, and refreshingly delicious. Kudla can be contacted on 56684050/222202475.

SHILPA SEBASTIAN R.

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