The quiet neighbourhood of Southern Avenue plays host to The Coastal Macha, a restaurant serving coastal cuisines from across India. To celebrate turning one, it recently launched a new menu, which incorporates cuisines starting from the South-west including Mangalore, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and Konkan to Kerela, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Up a short flight of stairs, one enters the dining zone coloured in hues of blue and white, with little ships on a wall and bulbs in hand baskets on the ceiling. On one end is glass, providing a beautiful view of the sprawling avenue below.
To beat the afternoon heat, I was served Kokum Cooler — a crimson coloured sweet mocktail, with traces of jaljira adding an edge. The cuisine being coastal, coconut is obviously an essential ingredient.
The quintessential Prawn Goan Curry carried it in ample amounts along with coriander and coconut milk. Cooked with fresh prawns, it is a creamy dish with the squish and crunch of the prawns adding diverse textures.
Another take on a Goan dish is the stuffed squid with crab meat. The crab is sauteed with spices, stuffed in the squid and then sauteed again over a tomato and chilli paste. A tearing of the squid leads to the delicious and tender meat inside, but this dish has to be eaten hot and might result in dirtied hands as well!
Travelling south on the coast leads to Coorg, from where comes the dark roasted and spicy Coorgi Masala, made with pork. A Pandi curry, this is a Kodava community specialty, made with one of the sourest vinegars available called kachampuli.
A fiery jolt to the senses is what this dish delivers. Another hot dish is the pork Gongura Fry —a tangy and sour representative of Andhra Pradesh. The meat is well cooked over a sorrell leaf based paste.
To devour the above dishes, various types of rice can be eaten. Other choices include the softly chewy and slightly sour Appam, and the sweet and melt-in-the-mouth Malabar Paratha.
The Tender Coconut Pudding, however, takes the cake. A devilishly delightful offspring of coconut malai, coconut water and thick milk, this white coloured dish, garnished with cherries and cashews, melts on just touching the mouth. Such a dish is an absolutely must try but this one cannot be shared!