Das Sreedharan is full of stories—of his grandfather’s tea stall in the foothills of Munnar, of growing up around spices, vegetables, cooking and conversations, being vegetarian, restaurants in London, celebrity chefs and guests and more. Since it was started in London in 1994, Rasa has been a phenomenon. Inspired by Kerala cuisine, Das’s minimalist fare served in eight Rasa restaurants in London has a steady stream of visitors. And now Rasa has opened its first restaurant in India in Bangalore — because Das always wanted to start a restaurant in town and also thanks to good friends Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble.
We take our places in the trademark pink walled, airy restaurant for the super set lunch. First comes a basket with crisp papads, vadas and chips. There is also an array of chutneys. As mentioned earlier everything has a story behind it. And so Das talks about the soggy papads or poppadum that were stored forever in curry restaurants. “I wanted to make everything fresh,” he says, and sure enough everything from the vadas to the banana chips are all made in house and are super fresh.
Das’s chutney story is about the sweet, shredded mango mess that used to masquerade as chutney in the Indian restaurants in London. The chutneys or rather pickles come in innovative flavours including bittergourd and baby mangoes. There is thick sweet mango lassi on the right side of divine. The dishes now come thick and fast. There are fluffy, light as air phulkas, vegetable kurma, channa masala, sambar, rasam and white rice. The moru (yogurt) curry is so flavourful that you would certainly turn into Oliver Twist asking for more. Even though I am not a great fan of cabbage, the toran is delicious. There is also avial and carrot pachadi. The parippu payasam makes for a fitting finis to a lovely meal.
The menu at Rasa is changed on a daily basis to ensure only the seasonal ingredients go into the preparations. For conversations around food, there is Freshway where organic farmers sell their produce. There is also the Sunday surprise where there is an elaborate brunch and some great music. On Saturdays, when he is in town, Das organises Chai Talks by interesting people with tea and vada—the chaya kada (tea shop) concept in a new form. It is all happening at Rasa at 514 B, CMH Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore -32. Call 41518237 or log on to >www.rasaindia.com