Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brigade Road's best-kept secret

Brigade Road's best-kept secret

The unprepossessing Kohinoor is easy to overlook, but walk in for some hot, spicy Kerala-style non-veg, says Shrabonti Bagchi

Shrabonti Bagchi

It's easy to miss Kohinoor unless you know of its existence or are looking for it despite its being located smack on Brigade Road, Bangalore's high-street retail paradise. It is also probable that one tends to overlook Kohinoor for that very reason — it is a restaurant as unpretentious and basic as they come, and surrounded as it is by glitzy showrooms selling high-end shoes and clothes, Kohinoor's unprepossessing facade never quite catches the eye unless you are a die-hard fan of this old eatery.
And there are die-hard fans galore who return again and again for a quick, wholesome meal at ridiculously reasonable prices.
So very old world is Kohinoor that the information we are interested in featuring here falls on bemused, and somewhat wary, ears — as if they've never heard a stranger request and it falls squarely between being asked to serve the food on Dresden china and an order for yak meat. In hyper-PR'd Bangalore, where every restaurant worth its name has a publicity manager willing to let you create your own signature dish if you so wish, this is not only refreshing but also proves that at Kohinoor, they are only concerned about serving their food and getting on with the day's business.
Kohinoor has been in business for almost 40 years and little, from the decor to the menu, has changed. The lunchtime crowd mostly goes here for the fish curry and the Kerala 'parottas' or the chicken/mutton biriyani, which is one of the fastest flying items, says Hassan the manager. They have a substantial 'brain' menu — from brain curry to bheja fry — but demands for those has fallen over the years, says Hassan. The chicken/mutton gravy dishes also do brisk business and can be ordered with plain rice or with the several types of rotis on the menu here — from oil-free chapathis to Ceylon parathas. Vegetarians can go for dal-chapathi or veg curries. For eggitarians, there's a wonderfully savoury egg bhurji (scrambled eggs).
The biriyanis cost about Rs 60 a plate and one is more than enough to satisfy even the most enormous appetite. The curries are also priced in the Rs60-Rs70 range, with a plate of chapathis (two in number) priced at Rs 20.
Kohinoor also serves an authentic Malayali sherwa — a spicy accompaniment to biriyani — that some patrons order with the Ceylon parotta. Though you may not be able to find this on the menu, a true Kohinoor fan is known by his acquaintance with this dish and insistence on it every time he eats here. The Kohinoor sherwa recipe seems to be a closely guarded trade secret and despite persistent coaxing, the amiable Hassan refuses to part with it!
Address:#213, Brigade Road, Bangalore, Ph: 08025587895


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