Pereira Hotel, almost 90 years old, still provides affordable and authentic Mangalorean food
Pereira Hotel is situated at Hampankatta, in the heart of Mangalore, across the road from University College. It is an institution where scores of blue-collar workers and middle class people satiate their hunger at affordable prices. It serves authentic Mangalorean Catholic food, using recipes handed down to the cooks by its founder, Ignatius (Inasam) Pereira.
While working as a butler at Milagres Parish House, Pereira was encouraged by the Vicar, who provided seed capital to start an eatery. It was launched in 1921, in a small low-roof-tiled room, where he offered meals.
Pereira Hotel, then known as Inasamache Hotel, drew crowds of farmers who came to town and managed to find cheap accommodation and food.
Inasam ran the hotel till his death in 1975, passing the ladle to his son, William, who ran it till his death in 1987. It was then inherited by his two sons, Oscar and Oliver, the latter being the owner since 1993.The original one-floor structure has given way to a multi-storeyed building, with the hotel operating at three levels. Despite being a hotel that records over 300 footfalls per day, it has no menu card because, as the manager, Patrick Rosario, explains, most regulars know what to order.
A meal basically consists of a full-plate of boiled rice, a bowl of rasam ( saaru, for vegetarians) or fish or meat curry, a vegetable and a salad. The lowest price for a standard meal is Rs. 15. There are extras on offer which can be ordered on “full” or “half” plate basis, depending on one's budget.
While the working people fill the ground floor dining hall, there is a family dining hall on the first floor. In addition to meat and fish dishes, the hotel offers sannas, chapattis, parotas and pancakes. As far as the main course is concerned, try out the pork sarpatel, chilli fry and vindaloo and roast on special days. Special masala fish, fish molly and oil fried masala fish are some of the other specialities. A similar range is also available in mutton and chicken.
Most of the dishes are priced in the range of Rs. 25 and 50, with notable exceptions like pomfret fry. The hotel lays great emphasis on offering authentic, wholesome Mangalorean meals at affordable fares. .
Many NRIs returning from abroad, often head back to the hotel for the tasty meals and to grab a bit of nostalgia. Even as new hotels and restaurants spread across the city, this eatery has its share of regular patrons.
Though it is a no-frills hotel, those wanting to use fork and spoon or paper serviettes can avail of them. Though there are no in-house soups and desserts, the hotel arranges for dessert from a nearby noted ice-cream parlour.JOHN B.MONTEIRO