General manager attributes it to traditional cuisines and staff loyalty
One of the city’s oldest concept restaurants, The Taj Gateway’s Karavalli, has been included in the list of Asia’s top 50 along with six other Indian restaurants. The 22-year-old restaurant, on Residency Road is the only one from south India to figure on this year’s S. Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Asia list, which was announced on Wednesday.
The panel was made up of food critics, chefs, restaurateurs and culinary experts, ANI reported. An offshoot of the famed World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants were voted by a group of more than 900 international members of The Diners Club World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.
The others on the list
The other Indian restaurants on the list are Dum Pukht (New Delhi), Wasabi by Morimoto (Mumbai), Bukhara (New Delhi), Indigo (Mumbai), Varq (New Delhi), Indian Accent (New Delhi).
Karavalli is rated 44th on the list while the top honours went to the Narisawa in Tokyo.
“It’s a huge honour and privilege,” said Albert Rebello, general manager, The Gateway Hotel Residency Road. He said Karavalli is one of the few concept restaurants that has not changed a bit in the last 22 years. “Most other restaurants reinvent [themselves] every three-four years. But Karavalli has stuck to its traditional charm,” he said.
He said that Karavalli’s core team of chefs, including master chef Naren Thimmaiah, as well as the service personnel have not changed in 15 years. “Happy people make tasty food!” he quipped.
Mr. Rebello also sought to dispel the notion that Karavalli is a ‘fine-dine’ eatery. Instead, there has always been a conscious effort to keep it homely and earthy. “We serve jaggery and water before each meal. We use pani panja (traditional handtowels) instead of paper napkins.”
Karavalli’s cuisine combines vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare and brings flavours from the kitchens of Mangalorean Bunts and Konkanis to Kodavas from Coorg, Malayalis, Calicut Muslims and Syrian Christians of Travancore, Havyaka Brahmins of Vittla to the Portuguese cuisine of Goa.
Mr. Rebello also said that there is no pressure to contemporise the restaurant in the face of growing competition in the sector.
“Our tradition is our strength. The idea is to take guests back to their roots,” he said. On future ambitions, he said: “We want to be India’s first restaurant to figure on the list of Michelin Star Restaurants.”