A bite of Bannur mutton

The pandemic has helped turn culinary fervour inwards, with home chefs experimenting with Dalgona coffee and artistic focaccia. The most heartening trend to be born out of the successive lockdowns is the popularity of the home catering business. Across cities, home chefs have delivered fresh, local cuisine offering respite to families. Impresario Handmade Restaurants, which runs popular chains such as Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe and SOCIAL among others, is celebrating home chefs with its new initiative Local Heroes.

The first instalment runs till September 28 at all Bengaluru SOCIAL locations, with home chef Kalyan Gopalakrishna, of Karnivore Kitchen in collaboration with SOCIAL’s City Chef Saurabh Arora.

A bite of Bannur mutton

Gopalakrishna specialises in Naati (country/homestyle) cuisine native to Karnataka, with a focus on its non-vegetarian carnivorous offerings. The provenance of Karnivore Kitchen in April 2020, was an act of providence, when Chef Kalyan was forced to close down his Balanced Plate Café in Bengaluru, and had over eight kilograms of meat sitting in his freezer. He started a simple menu offering local recipes, cooking over 30 kilograms a week. He now offers a smorgasbord of local meaty delicacies celebrating lamb, chicken and pork.

“I have followed my mother’s culinary footsteps and picked up local recipes from Mysuru and Bengaluru. I do not use any oil, and only cook with rendered fat from the meat. The spice mix we use in our recipes is packed with more pepper (from Malnad) and whole garam masala (from Delhi). I focus on Bannur mutton: a local breed of sheep that is rich in fat and flavour.”

The dishes on offer at SOCIAL are the Bannur mutton chops fry, Bannur mutton palav, Bannur mutton pepper roast, karnivore chilli chicken and chilli pork, and pork belly fry. The chops are fall-off-the bone tender, having been marinated with a pepper-forward wet rub and then cooked on the stove top. The Bannur mutton palav has short grain rice that soaks up the fat rendered from the mutton, and the spice builds with every bite.

A bite of Bannur mutton

“Bannur sheep are bred with a rich diet of milk bread, green channa and grain, and at six months they weigh thrice as much as regular lambs,” the chef explains.

For the month-long collaboration with SOCIAL, all the naati chicken, pork and lamb have been sourced from the same butcher the home chef uses, and all the spice mixes have been prepared by Chef Kalyan.

A curated cocktail menu by SOCIAL complements the spicy meat offerings with sour-sweet notes, and local ingredients. ‘Don’t Aam Yourself’ is an extra dry martini , fashioned with a raw mango flavoured vodka. The chilli pork packs quite a punch, leaving you looking to the gin fizz cocktail for respite. The drink accommodates a panaka of jaggery, pepper, cardamom, saffron, sonth, and lime juice.

City Chef Saurabh Arora says the drink and food pairing has worked well. He trained with Chef Kalyan for three weeks, to get a uniform taste across six locations, “We also helped the chef standardise his recipes,” adds Chef Arora. Karnivore Kitchen is the first of many collaborations both in Bengaluru and across SOCIAL locations adds Ranveer Sabhani, Business Head - South, Impresario Handmade Restaurants. “This is a litmus test for us and our next offering in Bengaluru will be Bohri cuisine.”

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:54:37 AM |

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