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Monday , 23 April 2018
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Cuisine Papera: Back to Kodava Culture

Cuisine Papera

Indian Food Trail is on a trip down South to the picturesque Kodagu  Coorg (known as Scotland of India). As Part of the work got a chance to visit  this beautiful hill station and was fortunate to witness first hand the rich culture and traditions of the Kodava people who are very warm, affectionate and hospitable folks and love good food. Got a chance to visit one of the best Antique Hotel‘Cuisine Papera’ in Gonikoppa. Had a talk with the owner of the Restaurant Mr. Adengada Rajesh Achaiah. Here are some of the Inputs from Interview by Manasa Gowda 

  • What inspired you to become a restaurant owner?
    • Opening a restaurant was never planned. We started with a homestay (papera.in) way back on 2009 by fluke. A friend of mine had over booking and wanted us to accommodate a couple of them at our place. This was team a from a renowned  MNC in Bengaluru. They fell in love with the location, the views and the peaceful surroundings. They shared the pics on their office notice board and friends. Eventually, by word of mouth many people contacted us & food was our USP. From this, stemmed the idea of providing food for the nearby bar (which did not serve any food those days) and the rest is history.
  • Your hotel ‘Cuisine Papera’ Flavour of Kachampuli names seems to be different can you tell us whats the meaning of it?
    • The term “Pape” means sir in a local tribal language. Friends in college started calling me “Pape” (for reasons I don’t remember) and it kind of stuck with me. “Papera” means Pape’s.

“Kachampuli” is an extract from Garcinia fruit, which is used exclusively in Kodava cuisines, especially non-veg. Since this is unique ingredient that goes into most of our dishes, we chose to add that to the name

  • Can you give a brief introduction about your Interior decoration of your hotel?
    • I have always been curious about Kodava culture. Talking to elderly people and listening to stories from their time, the lifestyle etc fascinates me till date. The interiors, is just a reflection of what I cherish and respect. There is an ulterior motive of educating our customers, especially the younger generation of the tools and techniques that were used in olden days.
  • How many years you took for collecting these antique items?
    • I don’t really have a track of this… but roughly 25 years I guess. We had a pile of stuff in our attic, which belonged to my great grandfathers. I did not want to get rid of this treasure and kept it safe. When we opened the restaurant, I knew it was time to display them
  • How much money you had invested in buying these Products?
    • Again, this is something that I did out of my own interest and procured the collection over a period and not in one go. So it is really difficult to attach a number to it. But yes, I can say it is quite a lot given that all these items are mostly few decades old and “antiques” doesn’t come cheap 😊
  • What are 3 tips for running a successful restaurant?
    • Cook local dishes, the rest we get to eat everywhere else
    • Cook something that you will happily eat yourself without thinking twice about the quality or hygiene
    • Be open to feedback, positive or negative
  • which one is the signature food of your restaurant?
    • Given that we serve Kodava cuisine, Pork items are our highlight (that is a delicacy for Kodavas). Pork Curry with Kadumbutt, Noolputt – Kolicurry (chicken) are a few to name. Pork Choodals, Dragon pork, Fire Pork are couple other dishes that we have huge demand for.
  • Can you please share that signature recipe to our readers?
    • That would mean people won’t walk in to the restaurant to savour our dish anymore! (LOL kidding). Pork is marinated with a paste made with onion, garlic, green chilies, turmeric and salt. The marinated meat is then cooked on slow fire (brings out the flavours). Once cooked, we add pork masala (roasted spices ground to fine powder) and finally add a dash of Kachumpuli.
  • Where do you get ingredients from?
    • Most ingredients like spices, masala etc are sourced from our own estate/made in house. Veggies, meat, fish etc is sourced multiple times a week (to ensure freshness) from Hunsur/Mangalore/Mysore/Kerala and at times local market
  • What are your future plans for the restaurant?  
    • I would like to make this place kids and elderly friendly. If space and pocket permits, I would like to have lift installed. Apart from that, continue what our patrons think we are good at, work on what we could improve on.
  • What do you cook yourself and your family at home? 
    • Lime juice & Lime tea is my specialty. This is something that I make often. I hardly cook something at home, but I do help around a bit when we make akkiotti(Rice roti). I brag that the ones I make are more like white poori, as it puffs up real well ( my sister in law won’t like this statement! She is the one who taught me to make otti lol 😊)
  • If you were to open a new restaurant other than Gonikoppa, what style of food would you pick?
    • Assuming you meant out of Kodagu, I would still stick with Kodava cuisine. Why limit the best to people of Kodagu only? 😊
  • What was the worst meal that you’ve had?
    • I am a no fuss eater. Given that one eats when hungry, I value food the way it is as long as it satisfies my hunger.
  • What’s the worst meal you’ve prepared?
    • Like I mentioned, I hardly cook. So I guess I can proudly say I never spoil my dishes!!

 

By: Manasa Gowda

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